Currently Browsing: Inspiration

A Dream and a Miracle Part I

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Debra Irene, author of “Helen’s Heritage: Life Stories of Helen Herbert Gillham.” You can learn more about Debra by visiting her websiteFacebook, and Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

How It All Began

A storyteller of real-life adventures and everyday life – that’s what I call myself. So how did this all begin? The year was 2010. I was working through the financial repercussions of a devastating divorce a few years earlier. I had two very good-paying jobs, one a career job, and three sons in college. Even though I worked about seventy hours a week, I managed to find a little time to devote myself to a lifelong dream of writing. I started one of my project ideas – a small book of vignettes reflecting on people in my life. I was determined to complete the project despite my schedule. I had heard about self-publishing; and, as I gazed out my condo window at a traditional publishing company in downtown Kansas City, I wondered about the best way to break into this world of publishing. So I called my friend Brenda for advice, who confessed that she wasn’t sure but she knew someone who would know. She said I needed to attend his two-day writing seminar in Franklin, Tennessee. This was, of course, impossible. Remember – I worked two jobs; was in a financial crisis, and this suburb of Nashville was 575 miles away.

Brenda said, “At least think about it.”

I looked into airfare and hotel possibilities for two to three nights and knew that I would have to come up with the registration fee, which I believe was between $200-$300. I remember feeling overwhelmed with it all. Then another friend offered to drive for a little getaway if I was able to take the time off. I tucked that away in my memory bank as I pondered how to come up with all of the necessary funds.

Miracles Happen

One evening, I attended a business social event at a local Marriott hotel. The grand prize giveaway for the evening was 60,000 Marriott reward points. As I signed my name on the strip of paper, I told our hostess that I needed to win the grand prize and jokingly asked if there was a Marriott in Franklin, Tennessee. She assured me there were a couple nearby and throughout the evening told everyone I needed to win to go to Franklin, Tennessee. People laughed and wondered why anyone “needed” to go to – where? Yes, Franklin, Tennessee. At the end of the evening when the names were drawn, I watched as the third and second place winners claimed their prizes. Then when the name was drawn for the grand prize, the hostess laughed and said, “She’s going to Franklin, Tennessee!” (By the way, my name really was legitimately drawn.)

My friend, Brenda, smiled when I told her the Marriott story and encouraged me to just wait and see if something else fell into place. Then a week later, I was on a call with the administrator of my 401(k) plan at work. One of my sons needed an additional $3,000 for school that semester, and I investigated the possibility of withdrawing some of the money for educational purposes. After answering many questions and jumping through all the hoops, I found out our situation didn’t qualify for that withdrawal. But the administrator said, “You do have a small amount from a previous rollover that you can withdraw without question.” I was shocked to learn the amount was almost the exact amount needed to cover the registration fee for the writing seminar. That was the final piece. We had to find another avenue for the funds for my son, and I had to arrange for time away with my two employers; but I was going to Franklin, Tennessee!!!

– WBP –

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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


Keep Writing When You Want to Quit

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following blog is from Rodney Hunt, author of  “Out of Control: Finding Hope in a Broken World.” You can learn more about Rodney by visiting his blog. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Fighting with Doubt

I am never going to finish.

There are plenty of other books out there already.

There are so many better writers than me.

No one is ever going to read this.

I might as well give up.

These are some of the thoughts that went through my mind as I spent three years writing my first book Out of Control: Finding Hope in a Broken World. I wanted to give up many times during the process of writing and publishing. One of the reasons I invested in the publishing package with WestBow Press was because I knew it would help hold me accountable to finishing my goal of becoming a published author.

I believe the greatest obstacle writers face is themselves. We have to do battle with internal struggles that cause us to want to give up. The muse brings inspiration and is often a writer’s friend, but the muse can also whisper discouraging thoughts in our head at unfortunate times. Tackling the negative inner-dialogue is an important part of the publishing process.

Never Quit

Thomas Fuller said, “An invincible determination can Rodney Huntaccomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.” It takes a great deal of determination for a writer to go from the initial idea of a book, to the rough draft, to the final draft, through the editing process, and then finally to print. You have to persevere through the tough days and moments when you feel like giving up. Don’t quit.

I felt like giving up again and again, I ended up changing the title of my book three times. At one point, I almost started over completely. I felt like giving up when I went months without making much advancement due to my busy schedule. Somehow, I kept finding moments to write an hour here or there just to continue making progress. My mantra became, as someone once said: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

I felt like giving up after I sent my first draft in for publication. Looking over the proofs, I realized there were some significant grammatical problems that needed to be edited. I hired an editor to go over the work one more time from beginning to end. I persevered.

The Fruit of Perseverance

OutofControlMy first book was finally published after many hours, days, and years of hard work. There was something special about getting that first copy of the book in my hand, it was a reward in itself. An even greater reward was when someone purchased the book, read it, and left me my first five-star review. That was the reason I set out to write to begin with – to influence others.

This year, I am now in the process of marketing my book. I need to see this process through till the end. I currently have ten five-star reviews on Amazon, and I am working to ensure many others have the opportunity to find a way to hope in our broken world.

 

– WBP –

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 and follow the WestBow Press Twitter account @WestBowPress. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length. 


Cynthia Eggl: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; Author Shares Her Story of Survival

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 Cynthia Eggl; breast cancer survivor and author of ““Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace – My Journey through Breast Cancer.”

I completed monthly breast self-exams, annual mammograms starting at age forty, annual physicals, with no indication of breast cancer.  Excruciating breast pain radiating out under my left arm finally forced me to my doctor’s office. Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family; I’m the first to be diagnosed with this disease. I was stunned when I learned I had stage

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

Cynthia Eggl chats with a reader at a recent book signing.

2b breast cancer in April 2011. Despite having a double lumpectomy, removal of nine lymph nodes, sixteen chemo, and thirty-three radiation treatments, I decided I would take action to help others—by educating people about being proactive, rather than reactive, and encouraging and inspiring them to offer up their walk to God, should they be placed in a similar circumstance. I chose faith over worry!

There is no doubt in my mind that God entrusted me with the message of hope, which I shared when I published my book, Boundless Blessings and God’s Grace—My Journey through Breast Cancer. Publishing a book was never on my bucket list. Many family members and those closest to me told me what an inspiration I had been to them and others throughout my battle. Writing my journal was cathartic—it helped me deal with my emotions, allowing me to provide updates as to how I was coping. But it also provided a way to spread the message to trust in God during challenging times, to educate people about awareness, preventative care, and offered a look from a patient’s perspective in surviving this grueling health ordeal as I fought for my life.

Eggl CoverA recent gratifying moment occurred when I stopped in an office to drop off my signed books, and by the time I left, I had sold and signed three more books. One person purchased my book because of a recent TV story I had done, and she wanted her sister, who had been recently diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer, to be able to read it for encouragement. I have six book-signing events scheduled during October and November, giving me a chance to thank people for their prayers, compassion, and support.

I am still fighting the side effects of my breast cancer battle today, but I take whatever it is God gives me and make the most of every day. My favorite quote is, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I am quite simply grateful to be alive!

My book is available as an ebook, in paperback and hardcover, published by Westbow Press.  More information can be found at www.boundlessblessingsandgodsgrace.com or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Cynthia-J-Eggl/137992159692239

– Cynthia Eggl
10/3/2013

WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 300- 450 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WestBowPress. 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.


Fishing for Sales

WestBow Press author Leon R. HayduchokA few years ago, when I was first researching options for publishing my book, I saw warning signs posted all over the internet: Danger! Shark-infested waters!

If trying to get a book published is like swimming with sharks, then promoting a book is like going out to sea on a fishing expedition. For those writers able to get onboard with a major publishing outfit, the fishing is good. The big boats have expensive equipment that locate the fish, and they drop enormous nets, scooping up fish by the ton. It’s an impressive operation. Now I realize fishing on these big boats isn’t necessarily easy—the hours can get long, the waters can get rough, and the stink can get to you—but the fishing is usually good, really good.

For those of us who don’t climb onto a commercial boat, we step into our dinghies—alone—with a few rods and a tackle box. We don’t have expensive equipment to locate the fish, and we don’t cast a $30,000 marketing net to catch tons of sales. We just set our lines and wait, catching one fish at a time.

But what if we don’t catch many fish? What if we scarcely get a nibble? What then are we supposed to do? (more…)


Foods for the Writer’s Brain

Foods for the Writer's BrainIf you’re looking for a way to renew your focus and energy towards writing, the answer could lie in your eating habits. Don’t underestimate the power of food to motivate, energize or comfort you.

Feed your brain

Many studies out there show that certain foods can help boost, maintain and recharge brain activity. Eating these foods on a regular basis might help keep your brain healthy and ready for productive writing sessions.

  • Avocado
    This tasty green fruit is full of vitamins and nutrients that are thought to aid in cognitive brain functions. Make yourself some guacamole and get to work!
  • Beets
    The nitrates found in beets are said to increase the flow of blood to the brain. If you’ve only ever eaten beets from a can, a whole new world of fresh, delicious roasted beet recipes awaits you.
  • Walnuts
    Another food with healthy fatty acids and antioxidants, walnuts pack a mean nutritional punch. Eat whole walnuts, including the skin!
  • Berries
    Berries are high in antioxidants that protect your brain cells. Eat healthy, antioxidant-rich foods — such as spinach, berries, garlic, etc. — on a daily basis.
  • Salmon
    Salmon is rich in healthy omega 3 fatty acids that are essential for brain function. Eat salmon or a similar type of fish once a week to regularly rebuild your brain cells.

 

Reward yourself

If you’re having a hard time sticking to your writing schedule, consider coupling the task of writing with a comforting, rewarding food habit. If you combine your writing time with ice-cream-eating time or hot-tea-drinking time, you’ll create an inviting, relaxing atmosphere that you’ll want to return to each day.

  • Coffee
    Enjoy a cup of coffee while you write. In moderation, the caffeine can help keep you alert and focused as you work.
  • Hot Tea
    When writing becomes stressful, a warm, cozy beverage should help ease your nerves. As a bonus, many types of tea are rich in healthy antioxidants.
  • Dark Chocolate
    Aside from its comforting deliciousness, dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants and natural stimulants like caffeine.
  • Ice Cream
    We’re not aware of any health benefits here, but ice cream’s mysterious powers of motivation are not lost on anyone.

 

Tell us what you eat while you write!


A Solemn Day of Remembrance

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22

Today we remember the lives of those who were tragically lost during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although 11 years have passed since this catastrophic event occurred that changed America, the legacies of those souls who perished still live on.

Take a moment today to say a prayer for those families who were affected by this event and remember our heroes who lost their lives trying to save others. WestBow Press honors a few memories through select books. (more…)


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