From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share their tips and strategies that have helped them achieve a successful self-publishing journey. The following are the words of Laurie Norlander, author of “Mirror Images.”
My self-publishing journey began atypically when I received an email announcing my novel, Mirror Images, had won the 2012 Women of Faith Writing Contest. The grand prize included a publishing package from WestBow Press, and on July 29, 2013, my first co
py arrived in the mail. The cover was beautiful, the interior design crisp and professional, and I felt like a “real author.” It was hard not to fantasize about meteoric book sales paving the way to a successful writing career …
I quickly planned a launch party, set up interviews, and shot an author video. I did book signings, author chats, and attended reading group discussions. I opened a Facebook author page to interact with readers. My efforts seemed to pay dividends. Two retailers agreed to stock Mirror Images. Libraries in surrounding communities purchased copies and had readers on waiting lists. I even signed a contract to present at a book festival sponsored by UW-Eau Claire! Feedback began to trickle in. It was gratifying to hear people say they loved my characters and hoped I’d write a sequel.
My first royalty check arrived and positive reviews were posted on Amazon. I had to corral soaring expectations. In September, I attended the Women of Faith conference in Kansas City and had the privilege of distributing my book at the WestBow Press booth. It was exhilarating to watch readers line up for autographed copies and to meet and talk with so many amazing women.
Despite initial interest, local sales gradually waned. Fourth quarter online numbers were modest. Reality set in. I was probably never going to see my name atop a best sellers’ list. Surprisingly, the thought was liberating. My journey took on deeper significance as I was reminded why I write. Sales are wonderful, but what truly matters is that I honor God with my talents and trust Him to use my efforts to further His Kingdom. I’m currently finishing work on The Jonah Complex, a suspense novel about a troubled psychiatrist overcoming chemical dependency to save a homeless man from a killer.
Lately, I’ve given away more books than I’ve sold—to a non-profit’s silent auction, a new pastor’s wife, a mentor hoping to spark a love for books in a teen. I still pray God will place my book in the hands of the right people, but I’m no longer thinking of agents or acquisition editors. I’m thinking of that at-risk teenager, the lady from church with pancreatic cancer, the agnostic friend whose husband has ALS, the young couple struggling with the loss of their newborn baby. If Mirror Images offers them encouragement, inspiration, or simply a few hours of relaxation, to God be the glory.
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 www.facebook.com/WestBowPress, 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