Gail Lipe: Self-Publishing? No Way?

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 Gail Lipe, author of “No Time to Quit

“Self publishing? There is no way I am going to have my work associated with some of the garbage that is self published.”

Author Gail Lipe with her mother Gail Johnson.

Author Gail Lipe with her mother Gail Johnson.

That was how I felt until I realized how much the publishing industry has changed. In the past, self publishing meant nothing in the book industry, and could even be a writing death sentence. Now, authors are discovered through self publishing.

The journey of writing my book, “No Time to Quit: Life in a Broken Package”, didn’t start until about 10 years ago. My sister and I took our mother to see the Statue of Liberty, and as we drove from Minnesota to New York, I interviewed Mom, recording her life experiences on tape. A few years later, Mom and I went to her home town in Kansas where I continued the research.

What is so great about my mother’s story? The fact that she is alive is a miracle. She was a premie twin born in a small country hospital in 1932. The hospital lacked the facilities to take care of a tiny one-pound-nine-ounce baby. She died shortly after birth, and a nurse disobeyed the doctor’s orders to call the morgue and breathed life back into her. That is the first of many miracles that paved the way for my mother to live a long life.

It took a while for me to realize how much her story affects others. My mother was the guest speaker at many functions, which is where I realized her story is unique. Watching others as her story unfolded I saw that the children were quiet and adults were riveted to the examples of God’s work in Mom’s life. That is when I decided her story can help others.

The manuscript was completed about three years ago, and I began sending it to agents and publishers, but no one was interested. Then last year, I ran across the Women of Faith writing contest. It sounded like the perfect place to submit the story, and I was hoping to win a publishing package.

I didn’t place in the contest, so I dismissed the whole thing. A few weeks later I got a call from Westbow Press, the company working with Women of Faith on the contest. I ignored the calls and stated I was not interested in self publishing. Then at the end of February, I got a another call while I was sitting in a hospital room with my mother. For some reason, I decided to talk with the man and explained Mom’s story to him. He choked up.

The next day, hospital staff said Mom is an inspiration, and I shared those comments with family and friends. Someone offered to help finance the project. It was like all the pieces were coming together and God was telling me that now is the time.

I received my first printed copy of the book in July, and it is beautiful. Working with each individual at Westbow Press along the way has been a positive experience. They took my manuscript, my ideas and my artwork and created a book I am happy with.

– Gail Lipe

Connect with Gail at her website; and through Twitter (@GailLipe) and Facebook (

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, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  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.

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