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Organizing a Book on Theology

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journey. The following blog is from Russell E. Gehrlein, author of Immanuel Labor—God’s Presence in Our Profession. For more information on the author visit his website and Facebook page. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today.

In March 2015, I gave a two-hour presentation on the theology of work to a small group of local college students as part of an independent study for my master’s degree with Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Three years later, this slideshow had become a 282-page book. This unique resource is a solid introduction to this critical subject so that the average Christian worker can understand how they can experience God’s presence at work every day.

I imagine there are other biblical scholars or theologians who have a concept they are passionate to share with others to aid them in their own spiritual growth. Let me share a few lessons that I learned along the way that kept me focused on the task and helped me succeed.

Getting the Project Moving in the Right Direction

My wife said I should write a book on this subject. Six months after my presentation, I created a tentative chapter outline. I put it on the back burner until July 2016, when I began to copy my notes and quotes from my presentation, and pasted them into the appropriate chapter.

I knew I needed to wrestle with this topic a bit further to fill in the gaps in my understanding. In January 2016, I selected a dozen more books to read and concluded my research in June 2017. At the same time, I began to write a series of articles about work on my blog, Reflections on Theological Topics of Interest. Twenty of these articles were adapted and expanded from my notes, and thirty were new. I took these original articles and put them in the appropriate place in my book. The page count grew. I somehow found the courage to send some of these articles to a few faith and work organizations. Two of them, the LeTourneau Center for Faith & Work, and the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics took a chance on me and posted a dozen articles on their websites.

Consolidating my Research

The best thing I can recommend to other writers of theology is to develop and follow a detailed plan with realistic milestones. The plan I put down kept me on track, allowing me to start on May 1, 2017, expand my rough collection of organized notes and articles, and have my first draft completed by Labor Day (an appropriate date for a book on the theology of work).

I spent five weeks taking my list of 300 Bible verses I created for my independent study, identify where they belonged, and inserting a short summary or reference in each chapter. I chose ten to twenty key of those Scriptures, and did a little more study in commentaries to augment my own observations. I compiled a Scripture index, which would be a helpful tool for those who wanted to study further. I took seven more weeks to page through the thirty books I had read on this subject and typed up quotes that were especially inspirational or reinforced my own views. I selected over three hundred quotes from both classic and modern writers, typed them in one long document, placed them in a logical spot in my book, and created footnotes. I made an effort to tie this perspective on work to the other aspects of systematic theology. I found illustrations to help my readers see how to apply these truths. I reflected on my own personal career journey, added some experiences from family and friends, and shared them throughout.

It was a long and difficult road, but it was one I was glad that I took.

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 through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.


Self-Publishing Lessons I Learned

In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journey. The following blog is from Jack Manilla, author of “Secrets of the Pink House For more information on the author visit his website and Facebook. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today.

Self-Publishing Newbie

When it comes to running a successful business, I know what it takes. I have worked at many well-established companies including two Fortune 500 companies. But when it came time to publish my personal story in “Secrets Of The Pink House,” I didn’t know what that entailed. At first, I thought getting my book published would be a quick process, taking just a few months to set up the presses; but the truth is, writing and then getting your book published is a very long journey. If you want it done right, it requires patience and expertise.

The publishing team at WestBow are some of the best at what they do. We went through a very detailed process to ensure we were developing a high-quality book, and they were with me every step of the way.  The experience taught me that those considering publishing a book, especially their own personal story, should take into consideration the time and effort it will take to complete. It can be rather daunting, so they should factor that into their decision to publish or not.

Writing a Book is Like Running a Business

“Secrets Of The Pink House,” was indeed a labor of love. After being encouraged for many years to turn my story into a book, and share the lessons I learned while going through some of the roughest patches of my life, I decided to accept the challenge of putting my experiences down on paper.

Writing a book is like running a business; you have to spend serious time working on it every day for it to be successful. Not just a few minutes here and there, you have to invest at least one to four hours of time daily to make it successful and to wind up with a finished product exactly as you envision it. As with everything you do, the effort you invest determines the quality of your finished product.  If writing is not something you are truly passionate about, and you consider it more of a hobby, then taking up the challenge to write a book may not be for you.

Another thing I learned while on this journey was the importance of knowing yourself.  It is critical to stay authentic when writing your story. No one knows you or your story better than you.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help

Lastly, just like when you were in school, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Reach out to your publisher, family and friends, people you trust and invite them to provide you with their opinion and feedback or bounce ideas off of them. They may help you remember a key piece of information or paint a better perspective of a moment or event.

Remember, you may be an expert on your life’s journey, but there are great benefits to bringing in others and learning from their experience like WestBow, to help you achieve the goals you hope to reach when publishing your book.

At the end of the day, I hope that those who pick up a copy of my book learn that through faith, trust and hard work, they are able to succeed in whatever path God places in front of them, and that might just include writing their own story down to share with the world.

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 through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.


Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, Part Two

Welcome back to another installment of suggestions for beating writer’s block! Every self-published author has experienced it, or will someday. How crippling it becomes to your writing, though, depends on how you view it—and how you handle it.

Of course, what works for one writer won’t necessarily work for another, so these tips are like a buffet: try a bunch of things, and then come back for seconds on the things you liked!

In our first post, we discussed keeping things in perspective, having reasonable standards, and skipping the troublesome parts of your story for the sake of progressing forward. Let’s continue with today’s new set of tips!

Door 2Don’t wait to be “inspired.”

We’ve said this a hundred times so this will make it one hundred and one: write every day! No other piece of writing advice is so universal, so common to successful writers everywhere. You’ve worked other jobs before, right? And did you ever experience “waiter’s block?” “Carpenter’s block?” “Accountant’s block?”

To some extent, you have to treat your writing like any other job that you’re expected to do. Some days you’ll be more “in the zone” than others, but you should always show up, ready to do the work. One of the best things about writing is the ability to rewrite! If you wait for the muse to pull you by the ear to your desk, you could find yourself waiting a long time.

Set a schedule for yourself.

This is tied closely to the last tip above. Again, at that other job you had, you probably had a schedule, right? Well, have one for your writing too! One of the benefits of a writing career is the ability to set your own schedule, not necessarily to not have a schedule at all. Treat your writing time as a sacred block of time, and protect it.

Singer/songwriter Billy Joel once commented on all the songs that he never would have written if he hadn’t shown up at the piano with nothing particular in mind, but ready to do the work. Treat your writing the same way: show up, ready to do the work.

Read!

When you’re not writing, make sure you set aside time for reading! Read your chosen genre and outside it, fiction and nonfiction, prose and poetry. Not only will it make you a better writer, it can also plant the seed for your next story.

And don’t forget newspapers and magazines either, online print. Newspapers and magazines present situations and events; create characters, place them in those events, and ta-da! You have a story!

– 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 through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length


Dream Stealers

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 Larry D Horton, author of “The Final Journey”. To learn more about this author visit his website or Twitter. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

Dream Stealers

The call to follow one’s writing dream often takes a path strewn with potholes, detours, delays, spits and sputters. Others may throw road blocks along your path that hinder you from fulfilling your dream. An author (Bear Grylls), that I admire, calls those others dream stealers. Each of us, if we reflect back through our lives, can identify individuals, events, circumstances, and maybe our own fears, that have prevented us from fulfilling our writing dream.

We cannot let those dream stealers determine whether we fulfill our personal dream or a more profound call on our lives from the Lord. As a writer, you will experience rejection from publishing houses, family and friends who will try to protect you from disappointment out of their love for you, or possibly your own self-doubts. All are dream stealers.

So how do we overcome them?

Overcoming those dream stealers is easy to write about. There are certain basic skills and disciplines that, when used, can help you overcome the hindrances that you confront. Discipline, self-belief, surrounding yourself with affirming individuals, are just a few of the secrets to eventual success. But we have to be honest and realistic. Doing all of these is much harder in real life than it is to write them down in this paragraph. Life is hard. There are no guarantees that success will be your experience. At the same time, there are no guarantees that you will fail.

Writing is truly a calling from our Lord. That is the one thing that we, as Christians, have that makes the final difference in whether or not we overcome our writing dream stealers. The strength, common sense, discipline, and wisdom to see our dream fulfilled are all ultimately gifts given to us from our Lord. And when we stand in the center of the Lord’s will as writers we will have the peace that surpasses all comprehension, a peace that guides and strengthens us regardless of what dream stealers we run into on our writing journey.

Believe in Your Dreams

Your dream may be something new. For others, it may have existed for decades. You may have already experienced dream stealers. Others of you may have given up on your dream many years ago because you were unable to overcome a dream stealer. It is my prayer, whether you are dreaming a new dream or one that has been with you all your life, that you will not surrender to the dream stealers. Keep believing in your dream. Never give in to the temptation to abandon that dream. Give your dream back to the Lord who first gave it to you and ask that He show you the path that you should follow to make your dream live.

Follow your heart, your dream, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Then hold on for the ride of your life.

– 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


Tips for Beating Writer’s Block, Part One

Today we’d like to begin discussing something that affects all writers, self-published or otherwise. Yeah, you know what it is already: writer’s block.

Why are there so many articles on writer’s block? Probably because writer’s block is to authors what a pulled muscle is to an athlete: one of the common denominators of the trade, something every participant can identify with. And like that pulled muscle, it’s one of the most frustrating.

Remember what writer’s block is, and isn’t.

In search of inspiration.

“Writer’s block.” It sounds so impenetrable, doesn’t it? And that’s part of the problem. But it’s not a wall or a force field or a dead-end street. It’s just a temporary inability for a writer to decide on the best direction for their story. Realize that there IS a best direction; you just haven’t figured it out yet. Relax!

Remember, you’re in good company!

Charles Dickens has had it. Ditto for Stephen King, John Grisham, J. K. Rowling, Tom Clancy, Stephanie Meyer, and James Patterson. You name the author, and it’s guaranteed that (s)he has stared at the monitor, blank sheet of paper, or piece of parchment and thought, “I have no idea what to write.”

And you know what? They went on to write classics and bestsellers. A problem doesn’t seem so insurmountable when you see other people solve it, does it? Well, every writer in the history of the craft has solved it; you will too.

Lower your standards.

Poet William Stafford perhaps said it best: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” He wasn’t promoting substandard writing, of course. The point is, it’s common for writers to set unreasonably high standards that aren’t achievable on a consistent basis. Remember, a lot of your story is going to manifest itself in the rewrite, not the first draft. The important thing is to just keep moving forward; you can always come back and fix that “clunky” scene later!

Just skip it!

So you’ve already written “A,” “B,” and “C,” and you have “F” and “G” plotted out. But you’re stuck on “D” and “E,” and have no idea what to do with them. Sure, you can pound your head on the desk until you figure it out, or you can just skip ahead for now! Jump to the next place in your story where you’re on “sure footing,” and start writing from there. You can always figure out the gaps later–and you will!

– 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 through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length


Writing Advice from Famous Authors

Regan Platt is an offline marketing intern at Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She is currently a senior at Indiana University where she studies English. Regan is in Indiana University’s Liberal Arts Management Program, an honors level interdisciplinary program that incorporates Kelley School of Business courses with a liberal arts education. 

Don’t stop reading.Don't stop reading.

William Faulkner: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Meaning: Faulkner emphasizes the importance of immersion. If you constantly surround yourself with writing, then you can start to observe both valuable techniques and common pitfalls. As you put to practice what you’ve observed, your own writing will become all the better for it.

Write the book you can’t find.

Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”               

Meaning: This quote can be read as a call to arms for dreamers and “creatives.” The world would have so much less to read and dream if those with great stories never shared them.

Follow your instincts.

Saul Bellow: “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”                                    

Meaning: Bellow comforts and encourages fellow writers who work in bursts of passion. Inspiration may come at the strangest and least convenient of times, yet when the muse calls it is best to answer.

Beware the predictable.Robert Frost Quote

Robert Frost: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

Meaning: Frost suggests that strong writing occasionally necessitates a stream-of-consciousness technique that leaves only feelings and ideas. This emotional work results in literary moments of ingenuity.

Show, don’t tell.

Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

Meaning: Our final quote by Chekhov reverberates the traditional writing advice “show, don’t tell.”  Engaging writing leaves a reader to do some of the “visualizing” work themselves. Rather than dully listing the circumstances, great writing will reveal what’s happening in an innovative way.

– 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. 


Making Sense of Our Senses – Touch, Smell and Taste

To fully immerse our audience in the worlds and settings we craft for them in our self-published novels, it’s important to let readers engage all their senses. A while ago we talked about sight and sound, today we’ll discuss touch, smell, and taste.

Touch

Our heroes often find themselves in unusual situations. After all, the whole point of us creating these adventures is to help our readers escape reality. This often means they are touching or coming into physical contact with unusual or repellent objects, things that our readers have probably always tried to avoid touching.

A great way to enhance your description of touch is to focus on the physical reaction it evokes. Your hero’s skin might crawl or become covered in goose bumps; they might faint or feel ill.

The use of adjectives will also help you with your descriptions of touch.

Smell

Smell and taste (below) are probably the hardest senses to represent in our writing. The first thing to do is to decide what feeling you want to create in your readers.

Smell links us to our past. Use its associations to help describe the conditions under which a scene is taking place. A bad smell in a horror story usually forebodes a gruesome occurrence. The smell of smoke is an indicator of danger.

BlindfoldHere are a few smell words you can use to tap into your readers’ emotional triggers:

• Acrid
• Fetid
• Aromatic
• Fragrant
• Pungent

Taste

Try and associate taste with textures. Think about various flavors and see if you can come up with a texture to represent it. This will help our readers appreciate exotic, alien, or repulsive flavors they have never experienced before.

Here are the classifications of taste along with a few words and textures they might be paired with:

• Bitter: tart / vinegary
• Salty: briny / brackish
• Sour: tart / acerbic
• Sweet: saccharine / syrupy
• Savory: aromatic / wholesome
• Metallic: bloody / rusty

Bringing all Five Together (and Adding More!)

Skilled writers will be able to combine all five of these senses to really bring their story to life. The rule of thumb is: the longer your description, the more senses you should engage. You can even try to incorporate other sensations, such as our kinesthetic sense and our balance (our kinesthetic sense is the awareness of our body and the position of our body parts, and our balance relates to our physical stability). These are good senses to tap during fight scenes.

– 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. 


Creative Exercises to Keep You Going

Whitney Eklof is currently an offline marketing specialist for Author Solutions, the world leader in supported self-publishing. She has a master’s degree in telecommunications from Indiana University, focusing specifically on storytelling across a range of mediums and story world creation.  While at IU, she also served as an associate instructor, educating students about writing, storytelling, and other telecommunications-related subjects, and worked as a writer for Indiana University’s Media Team.

Creativity can be hard to come by. Some days we’re just worn out, or we feel we’ve exhausted our creative juices. Writing, an inherently creative process, is no different. There are days we’re just dog-gone out of the dose of creativity we need to keep pushing our story forward. However, we don’t have to languish in our creative void – there are a whole host of creative exercises we can try to get our writing juices flowing again. Below are just a few suggestions, from the obvious to the obscure.

The obvious

Free write: You are probably familiar with this technique. Simply set aside what you’re working on and write. Write whatever comes to mind; write in full on stream-of-consciousness. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar mistakes or that the paragraphs don’t flow together. Just write. Free what’s in your heart and mind and put it on a page – you never know where it’ll take you.

writing-1209121_960_720Read: We are often inspired by others. In fact, that may be the reason you started writing in the first place. Maybe you read a story that sucked you in completely and charged you up to write something of your own. Take some time to go back to those roots. Read something you really enjoy; even better if it’s in the same genre you’re writing in. See how someone else spins a sentence or brings a character to life. Let someone else inspire you instead of trying to will creativity into existence.

Utilize writing prompts: There are hundreds of books and websites full of writing prompts. Whether or not they relate to your book’s subject-matter, taking on a prompt can let your mind roam free. Don’t be afraid to embrace a genre you don’t normally write in either! Writing prompts give you just enough direction to send you down the path to creativity.

The not so obvious

Exercise: When we think about trying to jog our writing creativity, we often focus on writing-related exercises (the obvious ones mentioned above), but exercises unrelated to writing can also help us find the creativity we need to finish that next chapter. In comes the most straightforward exercise of all: exercise. It gets your heart pumping, gets you out of that hunched-over-your-laptop position, and just flat-out increases creativity. Scientific study even supports it!

Meditate: Mindfulness meditation has exploded in popularity over recent years. Mindfulness is about slowing down, taking in your surroundings (and your body), and simply being. It’s a practice about being present, and not letting the distractions of life in. The process of mindfulness can boost creativity as it helps us focus and frees us from worry or tangential rabbit holes.

The obscure

Play: That’s right, play. Sit down with your children, nieces, nephews, pets, or even by yourself and play. Free your mind from stress and worries and just imagine yourself as a princess, a powerful wizard, or simply be your dog’s favorite ball thrower. Play not only incorporates exercise; it helps expand our thinking in new directions. Instead of thinking linearly all the time, we open ourselves to more lateral thinking and associations. You might be surprised at how creative kids can be, they may end up providing the inspiration you needed. Beyond that, play is simply important, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

Restrict yourself: This one probably seems counter-intuitive. You probably imagine creativity is a product of freedom, and sometimes that’s true. However, there is power in restricting yourself, as the story behind the creation of Dr. Seuss’ classic, “Green Eggs and Ham,” demonstrates. By reigning in your boundaries, you’re forcing your brain to work within confines it may not be used to – giving it a new challenge and forcing you outside of your comfort zone.

Creativity is something we can find in the most unexpected of places, and it’s something essential to writing – no matter if we’re writing a sci-fi saga or a how-to helper. When our creativity wanes, it can bring our writing to a halt, but it doesn’t have to spell the end of our story. There are thousands of creative exercises out there and the ones listed here are but a few. So, please, take some of the ideas listed above and give them a whirl, or share some of your own creative exercises to help a fellow writer out of their creative void.

Write on, fellow writers!

– 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. 


Making Sense of Our Senses – Sight and Sound

The majority of people connect most strongly with visual stimuli. As a self-publishing writer, it is our job to make sure we cater to all our readers’ senses to fully immerse them in the world we are creating for them on the page. But how to best do that?

It’s All in the Details

During your pre-writing phase, consider your five main senses and then decide which ones will best help you set each scene. Try and think of at least one detail for each of the five senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste—that will best place your reader in the story. Then write the scene, including as many specific details as possible. You may decide you don’t need all those details when you edit your work later on, but it’s always better to have too much than too little to start with.

Here are some of the ways you can use each sense to enhance your writing:

Sight

As we’ve already said, most people tend to be visual learners; thus, the majority of your story will be told using visual descriptions. We then use our other senses to add further details, fleshing out the environment. Think of your words as your readers’ eyes that allow them to look through the page and into the world you have created.

Simon de Vos – Allegory of the Five Senses

Here are a few sight words you might find helpful for creating the right atmosphere (but the list is near endless, of course):

• Craggy
• Billowy
• Crystalline
• Globular
• Obtuse
• Translucent

Remember, the use of color also creates atmosphere through emotional triggers and associations.

Sound

Sometimes we are deprived of visual cues. This is probably the scariest situation we can find ourselves in: alone in the dark. So what do you rely on? Your other senses, particularly any sound you can hear to help you piece together some sort of mental image about your surroundings. What am I hearing? Where is it coming from? How far away is it? Is there someone else in here with me? All the elements of a horror story are coming together.

Remember, you can always invent new words to create sounds on paper. Words like whizzing, hoot, and BOO! are called onomatopoeia.

Try to use action words to help convey the intensity or volume of the sound. Are the waves crashing against the rocks or gently lapping at the shore?

– 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. 


Five Tips to Help You Get Your Manuscript Finished

You were inspired. You started out strong, but you’re starting to run out of gas before the finish line. Not to worry! Here are five surefire tips to help you complete your manuscript and self-publish it. Put them into practice and you’ll holding your first book signing before you know it.

Calendar1. Set a target date when you want to hold a finished copy

Imagine what it will feel like to hold the first copy of your book. Having that goal in mind can be a key motivator to keep you writing. It might be a specific day like your birthday, wedding anniversary, or a date that coincides with an upcoming event (a speaking engagement, conference or convention).

2. Pay attention to your best time/place for writing productively

Most people are more productive at certain times of day than others. When you write, keep track of the time and location when you’re most effective, and try to set aside that time each day for writing. You might be at your most creative in the morning, for example, or at night after the kids have gone to bed.

3. Set a schedule that will allow you to hit your target date

Now that you have a target date for completion, work backwards to establish a schedule to reach your goal. Let’s say you want to have a book signing in six months, but it will likely take you two months to get your book designed, printed and distributed. You need to submit your manuscript for production four months from now. Do you intend to have it copy edited? If so, you’ll probably need to allow another 60 days, leaving you only two months to get your manuscript ready to go.

4. Make yourself accountable to someone for finishing your book

Designate someone who will hold you accountable for sticking to your schedule. It can be a friend, family member, or someone familiar with the process. For example, publishing consultants at AuthorHouse have served in this role for thousands of authors. A firm but gentle hand can be all the encouragement you need to stay on track.

5. Plan an event to celebrate the book’s completion

For many authors, writing and publishing a book is one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives. Celebrate this feat! Throw a launch party at your home for friends and family. Give out copies of your book to those who’ve inspired you. This is more than a book, it’s part of your legacy. Take a few moments to pat yourself on the back and enjoy your achievement.

Millions of people have an idea for a book, but only the disciplined few earn the title of published author. You can be one of them!

– 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. 


Using Research to Craft a Better Book

Research is a must for self-published authors because it shows that you are informed and knowledgeable on a topic, and it gives you instant credibility with potential readers. Don’t think that research is only necessary for nonfiction authors; fiction writers can benefit from doing their homework, too!

The good news is that when you are writing about a subject that you’re passionate about, researching can be fun and rewarding. Today we present WestBow’s six-step guide to getting that research done!

1. Read

Magnifying glassIt’s a cliché that good readers make good writers, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Immersing yourself in your topic (or genre) will inspire you to write your own book. Plus, surveying what books are out there can help you write a book that fills (not falls into) the gaps in the marketplace.

2. Let the Research Lead You

As you’re delving into your topic, the information you find might surprise you. Don’t ignore this; take advantage of the opportunity, and follow the research to its natural conclusion. Keeping your mind open will help you produce a more well-rounded book, even if it’s not the book you originally envisioned writing.

3. Make Notes

Write down anything and everything (including the source and location) that you may want to include in your book. This will save you time as you write, and help you cite the information accurately. Remember to always credit the original source when using another author’s ideas or information, whether a statistic, theory, song lyric or quote.

4. Walk a Mile…

…in someone else’s shoes. Arrange to spend time with people who fit the profile of your characters so that you have a better idea of how they talk and work, their mannerisms, what their environment is like, and so on. Be willing to get out of your comfort zone and use all of your senses to record information. This will help you create believable characters and establish authentic settings in your book.

5. Ask the Experts

Don’t merely rely on books and journals for your research. Journalists talk directly with experts to get the information they need for news articles, and an author’s approach should be no different. Not sure where to find an expert on your topic? Start with a library or university. Whatever you do, don’t rely solely on unverified Internet research.

6. Know Your Audience

Decide for whom you are writing your book and find out as much as you can about this group of people. Immerse yourself in the communities and activities of your potential readers, either in person and on the web (online forums, for example), in order to get a clear picture of the people you are writing for.

– 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. 


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