Becky Alexander: 1,264 Days

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes brief accounts, written by our authors, about how self-publishing their books has affected their lives. The following are the words of Pastor Becky Alexander, author of One Smile, One Arm. Becky’s book includes a collection of stories that originated on her blog

I waited one thousand two hundred sixty-four days for it, and when it came, I wasn’t home.

My book One Smile, One Arm began as a single post on a new blog on December 27, 2009. I actually have someone I don’t like very much to thank for it, though I will never admit that to him. This person had done some infuriating things and my stress level was through the roof. I decided as a distraction I would write a story about my life, something in

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

Pastor Becky Alexander offers 25 heartwarming and humorous stories about life with a short arm.

which he could not have an ounce of input. As I wrote, the words poured out onto the page. They were words about my first job, and my first experience of discrimination…

I looked at her blankly and blurted out, “What?” Confused, I replayed the words in my head. I couldn’t process them. I struggled, “What does my arm have to do with custard-filled doughnuts?” I simply could not make the connection. 

In that one unexpected moment, I was introduced to the rest of my life.

I titled the story “Custard-Filled Doughnuts” and you can find it on page 25 in my book. Writing the story energized me, renewed my wounded spirit. So I kept doing it. Three weeks later, I posted “Capitol Hill. ” Six weeks after that, I posted “Dumbest Question.” I continued writing and I never stopped.

Over a period of three years, I accumulated twenty-five stories about my life experiences with one arm. I toyed with the idea of getting them published, even submitted them a few places. One of my posts, “Friday Night Lights,” was included in a book called When God Makes Lemonade. But this January, as I listed my goals for 2013, I got serious about it. Goal #4 stated: Publish One Smile, One Arm.

Becky shot this photo upon receiving the first copy of her book.

The trouble was I had no idea how to publish a book. I just dove in. I found a publisher, WestBow Press. I attended the “Called to Write Conference” in Pittsburg, Kansas to learn all I could. I pushed through the submission phase, the editorial phase, the cover design phase, and the book interior design phase. Then in early June, I received this email message:

Production of your book is now complete and we are ready to send the book files to printer. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s all I’ve got to say. On June 12, 2013, a package arrived in the mail—and I wasn’t home to receive it. I guess I can’t complain, as I was in Hawaii. My daughter Cassie opened the package and texted me a picture.

I have loved this journey of 1,264 days. So now what? On to the next journey!

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-500 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  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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