Katherine Whitehead: The Shining Dream

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Katherine Whitehead, author of “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” To start your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Pres publishing guide today. 

Dreams don’t have to fade like sunsets. Sometimes they refuse to set.

Gum CoverMy dream to publish a book shone for 36 years. I started to write when my children were toddlers. Authors used typewriters then, not computers. The carbon paper was horrid. Everyday I wrote in a small notebook that fit in my purse. I recorded our daily lives and told about my faith. While I waited for my children in doctors’ and dentists’ offices I also wrote children’s stories. When my daughter and son were in grade school I wrote the first draft of my mid-grades book, “The Mysterious Growing Gum.” My dream was shining and I kept my faith in God, no matter what happening to us.

My hyperactive son was the inspiration for this story. He made a horrible mess from kitchen ingredients. It delighted him! I was not happy. In “The Mysterious Growing Gum,” James who is ten, makes a mix of spices, cooking liquids and hand lotion. He spills some on his gum and the gum starts to grow and GROW.

The gum totally disrupts his family. His 15-year old sister, Ann, and their dog save James from real danger. He is distressed because he doesn’t know what he did to make gum grow.
He feels responsible for creating such a problem and devises a messy way to eliminate the gum.
Writing this story was real joy for me. I wanted to write something children would have fun reading. The sun was still shining and I had faith and hope.

A career teaching music to elementary public school children was the next writing time thief. My love of music dimmed the writing sun. The job was too demanding to write. Finally retirement! Writing again made the sun shine brighter and the book was revised and finished. My husband cheered me all along the way and was a great help. But after 36 years I didn’t know what to do with the book!

I researched publishers and found Westbow Press. I liked their religious emphasis and they were well established, helpful, professional and they cared about doing a job well. They call me often and help and encourage me. The sun still shines and I’ m glad I never gave up my dream.

My profits will go to the charity, Save the Children. Many children have no dreams except to wish for food, water, and shelter. I hope to help and make their dreams grow brighter.

This is the first verse of a hymn written by Bradford Torry in 1875. It’s still true and one of my
favorites. It helped me hold on to my dream and keep my faith shining.

growing gum image

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Charlie Liebert: Answering Questions About Jesus

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Charlie Liebert, author of two WestBow Press titles “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer” and “ANSWERS for ‘The Hope That Is In You.’” For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

At age 70, in 2012, I was teaching a Christian Business Men’s group a series of lessons on personal evangelism.  Week after week I heard a common refrain from a class member, “I don’t share the Gospel because of all questions I can’t answer that my unbelieving friends and family ask me.”
Jesus was often questioned and he frequently answered them with another question to expose the questioners’ motives and presuppositions.  He was using a strategy anyone could use to get to the Gospel without first directly answering their questions.charlie

Since I’ve taught college Business subjects for the last 12 years, I developed a series of lesson plans.  After I finished teaching the lessons, several of the men asked if I would give them the plans so they could share these concepts with other believers.  As I shared this experience with one of my spiritual mentors Bob said, “Why don’t you write a book explaining this concept?
I took this as a call to work and I began to put “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer!” together.  It took a lot of Bible study to fully develop the concept and as I did I realized just how much Jesus used this approach in dealing with the Pharisees, the rich young ruler and many others.  After I’d completed an outline and several chapters I was discussing this concept with another Christian brother and he said,”…but eventually you need to answer their question.”  I agreed and the second call to write came.

Always BeI became a Christian at age 35 and by the time I was 40 was doing a ministry related to creation, science and the Bible.  I even worked for Answers in Genesis for a short time in those early years.  In the middle 1980s I set up a web page www.SixDayCreation.com that allowed readers to ask questions that I would then answer.  After more than 20 years of Q and A, I developed answers to over 100 common questions the world asks Christians.

So my second book began, “ANSWERS For ‘The Hope That Is In You.'”  As I wrote, in addition to answersanswering over 100 questions, I added analysis of the differences between Biblical Creation and Atheistic Evolution.  Both of these books have just gone live (June 2015) and I will begin promoting them as soon as I get the website running. As I read ANSWERS during one of the proof steps I realized I’d been critical of Evolution but I really hadn’t made a strong enough case against it.  So book three is underway, “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s DEAD!”  These three miracles are: Magic — something from nothing; Frankenstein — live from dead stuff; and Uphill Molasses, the uphill flow of evolution in a universe that is running down.

I have also written some fiction but that’s another story.

Follow Charlie Liebert on Facebook and visit www.SixDayCreation.com for more information.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


Adam D. York: 3 Takeaways from CBA’s International Christian Retail Show for a Self-Published Author

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys.  In this piece, Adam D. York, author of “Meet Penny Nickels,” shares his experiences from the 2015 International Christian Retail Show which took place June 28 – July 1 in Orlando, Florida.  For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

ICRSlogo
There’s nothing more important to first-time authors than opportunities to introduce your book or platform to the masses, especially when it involves the retail market. Exposure is key, and every moment to be face to face with buyers and retail suppliers is a must. Even more, for self-published authors, opportunities to network with other authors and publishers can be of great value when it comes to professional growth.

All of these reasons are what led me to become a member of the Christian Bookseller’s Association (CBA) and register for CBA’s International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). My goal in attending the show was precisely to learn about various retail organizations and what they are looking for, to network with retailers, publishers, and authors, and to gain wisdom from leaders within the CBA.

Adam D  York_ICRS (2)

WestBow Press author Adam D. York stands outside the 2015 ICRS conference.

I was pleasantly surprised by the conversations I was able to have with retail exhibitors, publishing companies, and breakout session leaders. For a first-time, self-published author, those moments were priceless. On top of that, getting a face to face interaction with WestBow staff helped give some relational personality to their highly organized publishing process.

As an encouragement for first-time and self-published authors, here are three takeaways from ICRS that are sure to help along the publishing journey:

 

Be a Human Sponge

meetpennynickelscover

 

Before you even set foot into the convention center doors, study and prepare for whom you want to see
and what you want to learn. Take note of key names, speakers, and organizations that you’d like to visit and learn from. (The official ICRS app is very helpful for pre-planning your conference experience). Upon entering the conference exhibit hall, take mental notes of what seems to be trending throughout. Take photos of retail displays to get ideas for what you might be able to pitch or offer a retailer for your own product.  Ultimately, don’t pass up opportunities to soak in wisdom from specific breakout sessions that relate or correlate to your own book or message.

York and his wife, Kathryn, spent their time at ICRS networking with industry professionals.

York’s wife Kathryn at ICRS.

Make Yourself Known

Especially in the conference-style setting, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to other authors, publishers, and retailers. Keep on hand your business card, informational brochure, or book to be able to leave a lasting impression. You’ll never know where those conversations or moments can lead. If applicable, invest in WestBow’s author book signing opportunities to have your books on hand for conference attendees or pay for display space on WestBow’s exhibit bookshelf. As a step further, study the pre-conference guide to find out if there are any specific, face-to-face appointments you might want to make ahead of time.

Look Beyond Your Book

"Meet Penny Nickels makes it ICRS debut!

“Meet Penny Nickels makes it ICRS debut!

While your book is ultimately the first priority, there’s much value in dreaming beyond the book and building a brand. For a children’s book, are there characters that can be brought to life as toys? Maybe you can create a correlating coloring book to sell alongside the book? For fiction books or novels, are there opportunities for sequels or spin-offs? For self-help books, is there a product or message that can be expanded upon in addition to the book? Since we live in a digital world, WestBow’s e-Reader cards are valuable tools to invest in for shows like ICRS, as it gives conference attendees a fast way to view and experience your book. These are the types of ideas you can gain inspiration for at ICRS. It sure can’t hurt to dream big.

Above all, the very fitting 2015 ICRS theme “EXPECT” says it all. God is always faithful, and when He gives us a message to proclaim to the world around us, we should expect Him to do great things as we do our part to share that message. Make the most of your opportunities, and watch God use you to make a difference in this world.

Adam D. York is the author of  “Meet Penny Nickels”, a children’s book published and released by WestBow Press in June 2015. He currently serves as Director of Alumni Communication & Young Alumni at Belmont University. Adam and his wife, Kathryn, reside in Franklin, Tenn. Keep up with Adam via his personal blog, Dream. Write. Lead.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us@WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

 

 


Dan Salerno: Relationships Are Complicated

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Dan Salerno, author of “20 Short Ones.” For more information and to receive a free publishing guide please visit www.westbowpress.com

20ShortOnes

I began writing 20 Short Ones during a year where I read the Bible four times straight through, from
Genesis to Revelation. So I was thinking about God’s word a lot and began to see it as a collection of stories about how God relates to us. At the same time, I looked back on my own life as a series of stories; so much of 20 Short Ones is auto-biographical. The stories kept on coming until I had 20 of them, with a theme of relationships.

Short stories work for me because the format forces me to get to the point quickly without much time to go into tons of detail. However, if I’m doing my job as a writer, there’s enough of a storyline there to grab the reader’s attention and keep it. The whole idea is engagement, to get the reader to experience and think.

salerno mugWhen reviews of my book started coming in I was actually surprised to find that a few of them mentioned lessons hiding just beneath the surface. For instance, to take a chance in getting to know someone, to be open to new experiences. Finally it dawned on me that there was a specific message of hope that was being offered by way of all this storytelling. Hope in the kindness of others, hope in not always having to figure out the next step in friendships before taking it, the hope of redemption and love. Most of all hope that God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us is very real.

In regards to the actual process of publishing a book once it’s written, a major lesson I’ve learned is that I no longer own it. What I mean by that is that I had a definite idea of what each story in the book is about, but many times, a reader sees something else. The first few times this happened, I was thrown for a bit of a loop, but now I realize it’s actually evidence that any work, once it’s shared publicly, is open to interpretation. That’s a good thing because it leaves tremendous freedom for meaning to be found, discussion to take place and feelings to be shared.

Visit Dan Salerno online and Like  Dan on Facebook  for more information.

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com.  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.


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