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 Glenn Koster Sr.; author of “Life is a Long Story Short.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!
Where is the best place an author starts when they are telling a story? The obvious answer is at the beginning, but we each define the beginning differently.
I have been writing for decades but lost much of what I had written. Sometime in the early 1990s, I began to sense a desire to publish my autobiography as I have always felt my story is unique and an inspiration to others. But who would be interested in the story of an unknown writer, regardless of how unique it is?
Why is my story unique? Early in my life, I was abused and ultimately abandoned at the age of six. After just a short stint in the foster care system, I was adopted – but pulled from that home for abuse and neglect. I was adopted a second time in 1965, an adoption that truly provided a “forever home” for me. Despite being adopted twice I am adamant that my third adoption – as a child of God – is the one that mattered.
As an adult, I followed the footsteps of my birth father, becoming an expectant father while a sophomore in college, as well as a spousal abuser and an alcoholic.
By 1989, I did not like who I had become and set about to change things. I have been sober since that March and violence free since that May. That October, despite permanently sealed records, I was able to trace my first adoptive parents. Because of that connection, I was able to find my birth father and ultimately the rest of my birth family.
Eventually I was able to offer forgiveness to all who had a hand in the disruption and abuse I experience in my childhood. I was the only of my siblings to ever offer forgiveness, a truly cathartic part of my healing.
But the question hung in the air like a looming Kansas storm. How would I ever create the market for my story?
Along the way I have been collecting inspirational stories, all with a Christian moral principle, both from my life and the lives of people that I have known. The light blinked! Why not publish a book of those short stories first to use as a base to build readers who might be interested in my rather unique autobiography?
An effort more difficult than I imagined.
For starters, my book includes references in both a forward an “About the Author” section that mentioned my birth family. I had to provide evidence for those deceased and permission from those still living – even of those who were never mentioned by name. It was a daunting task and I almost gave up several times, but I was able to eventually reach that goal.
I also endured long hours of editing (and re-writing). Thankfully, I had several people on my side with experience in editing, proofreading, and marketing. They were a God-send!
Along the way, I lost my adopted Dad much too early. My work was finally released just a couple of days before what would have been his 85th birthday. I trust that he would have been happy with my efforts.
It has been a long and winding road, but I’m at the precipice now. The book is in print and a number have been reserved. I am excited about the prospects as I have chosen to use this as an experience to benefit local charities: Project Belong, Big Brothers – Big Sisters of Reno County, First Call for Help – Reno County, Heart-to-Heart (Newton, KS), Kairos (through a special book signing scheduled for April), and Relay for Life (another special book signing event in June).
Luke 12:48 reminds us, “To him whom much has been given, much shall be required.” I have been blessed. Now it is time for me to give back.
– 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.