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 Joyce Rachelle, author of “The Language of Angels.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!
I knew at the age of 6 that I wanted to become an author. And unlike many other things I knew at the age of 6, this didn’t change.
I was probably not going to put together something good enough for people to read until I was forty or even older, so right after finishing college and just before looking for a job, I decided I’d try to make money writing. I became freelance writer, picking out jobs and writing content online anonymously. One of my assignments was about the difference between traditional publishing and self publishing. A quick Google search led me to download WestBow Press’s publishing guide – which helped a ton – and then I wrote the article, got my paycheck, picked another assignment, and forgot about it.
Fast forward three years. I’m standing in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Taking out the slip of paper I had prepared the night before, I start praying. “Please, God, help me become a published author. I may never write for Zondervan or WestBow or any of those other big publishers and I may even have to wait a decade before I come up with anything noteworthy but please, if I was meant to do something else I wouldn’t still be dreaming of this.” I find a gap between the limestone wall and stick my prayer along with the others that had claimed the spot before me.
A month later something awful happened and it shook my faith and began a spiritual crisis that would go on for years. I avoided my friends and withdrew into myself, and when I couldn’t run to God, I went to the only way I knew to vent my thoughts – I wrote them down.
It’s nine months later and I’m sitting in front of my computer screen with a finished manuscript of a first novel. Not having planned anything beyond this point, I stare blankly into space and wonder how on earth I would get a publisher to notice me. Publishing wasn’t a big business in the Philippines – not Christian fiction anyway. I let weeks pass by without incident until one evening my phone rings – an unknown caller – and I pick it up.
“Good evening ma’am,” says a male voice on the other line, “I’m an agent from WestBow Press. Would you like to avail of our services for publishing your book?”
Words fail me. My head fills with questions that I stammer as they each crowd their way out of my mouth.
“How did you get my number?” I ask.
“You downloaded our publishing guide four years ago and — ”
“But why call now?”
“We’re just doing a follow up on our subscribers.”
“But why didn’t you call me four years ago?”
But deep down I knew why he hadn’t called four years ago. Because four years ago, I would have turned him down. Four years ago, I would have told him to remove me from his list. Four years ago, I didn’t believe I could write anything big. Four years ago, I did not yet have a finished book.
Looking back to my prayer at the Wall, all I did was tell the Lord what I probably could not do. I probably could not put together something worth an ISBN. I probably could not be an author at the age of 26. I probably could not get published by WestBow Press. And all He did, in his amazing glory, was prove me wrong on all counts. And the rest, they say, is history.
– 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.