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.
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.
When 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.
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.