From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of William “Chris” Shelton, author of “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father.”
Working as an investigator in child protective services for over ten years I felt like a man walking along a river and seeing a child drowning… so I did what anyone would and pulled them to shore, but then another was drowning, and
another until I was exhausted, but more children were still drowning… Suddenly, another person is running up the riverbank and I call for help, but they shout back, “Don’t stop me. I’m trying to get upstream to stop the person throwing them in!” Pulling people “out of the river” one person at a time is still noble, but exhausting and limited.
I spent hours in court waiting to testify and praying for these families when God put it on my heart to go to ministry school and then to write, “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father” (A Child Abuse Investigator’s Call to The Church). I didn’t realize it at the time, but what I was seeking was a “platform” to try and reach and influence more people.
I’m asked all the time when I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I think the real question is what is inside you that you need to share to make the world or even just one person’s life (even if it’s your own) better? It doesn’t matter if it is a poem, an encouraging story, or how to do something better, writing is that platform. Even if your platform is speaking only, you still have to write what you want to say first.
A lot of people think that the hard part is writing what you want to say, but sadly, many books that could have made a difference never get read, because the author didn’t know how to get the word out after it was written. Even if you have the money to pay someone else to promote your work you should still make it your job to know enough that you aren’t wasting your money.
When people ask me for advice, on writing a book, getting it published, and then promoting it, I’ve found that the best advice I can give them is to get a copy of “Platform” by Michael Hyatt, read it and then actually DO what it says! Years ago, an author could expect a publisher to do all the work, but times change and you have to as well or else go the way of the “buggy whip manufacturing companies”. Having said that, I’d like to leave you with this encouragement, “If anyone else can do it, YOU CAN TOO (if you want to bad enough)” and I hope you will for the world’s sake and God bless!
William “Chris” Shelton
Shelton joined the army out of high school serving as an infantry squad leader. He used his G.I. benefits to complete a degree in sociology and education before being recruited as a U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent out of the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area where he served another five years and was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal. He resigned to marry and raise their son near grandparents in NE Arkansas where he served another ten years in child protective services. He went to ministry school and wrote, “It’s Okay, You’re With My Father” (A Child Abuse Investigator’s Call to The Church) which has been described as a ride along with a Christian child abuse investigator. With statistics (and his experience) showing 1 in 4 girls is abused before adulthood and 1 in 6 boys, Chris shares his message to churches and civic organizations to become involved and make a difference. He has been featured in numerous news, magazine, and blogs and appeared on numerous TV and news programs. Chris said an unexpected benefit of writing and sharing his book has been the friendships that he wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.
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 www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, 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