Eileen K Parsons: Writing, Selling, and Keeping Your Sanity

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 Eileen K Parsons; author of “The First Rose of Summer.”

Prior to publishing my novel, “The First Rose of Summer,” if anyone had ever said to me, “The writing part is easy,” I would have thought they were crazy.  I’ve been writing for years.  Some days the words flow easily.  Other days, just focusing on the computer screen takes real effort.  Writing is a part of me.  I love it, but never would I say “it’s easy.”

Editing is far more difficult, sometimes downright painful.  Those first changes are the hardest.  ParsonsThese words are a part of you.  It’s like being told to cut off a finger.  But, the editor is an expert, it’s their job.  So, just as we don’t need eleven fingers, that extra, unnecessary scene has to be cut.  And, once finished, the editing has made your work greater.

Finally, it’s written, it’s edited, it’s sent to the publisher.  Release dates are set, launches are scheduled.  By the grace and direction of the Lord, your book is ready for the masses.  Your private launch is successful; family and friends buy your book and, thanks to their recommendations to their family and friends, your first public signing is also a success.

Those first signings, however, are not reality.  The real work is about to begin.

The independent book store hosts your next signing.  Refreshments are offered.  You set up your table, pray for God’s continued blessing and smile as the doors open.  Two people walk in.  Both stop for refreshments.  One takes cookies and coffee, tips his hat to you and promptly leaves the store.  The second customer walks over to your table, munching on a cookie and sipping their coffee.

“So, you wrote this?  Where can I get a copy?” they ask, admiring the cover and reading the description.

“Well, yes I did write it, and you can get it here, in this store,” you reply with a smile.

“No, I mean is it available in a real bookstore?  You know, like (chain bookstore)?”

You feel that “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding” look on your face.  “Yes, it’s available through (chain bookstore),” you reply.  You’d like to add, “This IS a real book store.  Look around!”  But, you don’t; you remain professional.

“Okay, thanks,” they say, turning away, scattering cookie crumbs as they leave the store.

Selling our book is the hardest stage.  Frustration and discouragement taunt us endlessly.  To overcome them, we must remember that not everyone wants what we offer.  Don’t take it personally.  More importantly, we must focus on God and His hand in our journey.  Trusting Him and His call on our life will help us stay sane, even as the cookie crumbs trail out the door.

–  Eileen K Parsons

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.


    1. Carroll,

      I did not have a publicist. I do, however, have a great support system in my family and friends. One of my aunts, formerly in marketing with a radio station, had a contact with the Mars Hill Network. They did a radio interview with me that no doubt helped. Another of my friends has been a librarian for years – she put me in touch with many local libraries and book sellers. The rest of the marketing has all been visiting gift shops, libraries, art centers, etc and sharing information about myself and my book – that’s where the bulk of my book signings have come from. I also check the internet regularly for book/author festivals that accept self-published authors as exhibitors. There’s usually a set up fee, but the exposure and contact with other authors are well worth it.

      I hope this helps. I’m willing to share anything I can to help. My contact info is available on my website.

  1. Thank you Eileen. My nonfiction book will be published soon and I am in the last phases of approving the galley proofs and artwork. Your words lifted me up today as I face the fear of rejection and then remember rejection of the world is expected but the approval of the Lord is what I seek. He has been here every step of the way and now I am stepping out beyond my computer and my little world to bring a message He put on my heart years ago. Bless you on your journey my friend.

    laura padgett

  2. Hi Eileen, I understand completely. I’m experiencing the same thing as an author. My devotional was published in July 2013. I had no idea how time consuming it is to promote my work by staying in the social media loops, setting up book signing and club talks. It seems I spend much of my time doing those kinds of things and less and a less time writing. I’m still learning to balance these different parts of my writer’s life. Yet, I believe I am doing what God has called me to do and I’m sowing seeds into His kingdom, so I try to have patience with myself trusting He will lead me on this journey as He always has. God bless every word you write for His glory. Thanks Eileen for sharing.

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