In this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journey. The following blog is from Donna Renay Patrick, author of “It’s in Your Praise!” and “At All Times” For more information on the author visit her website, Twitter and Facebook page. To begin your self-publishing journey, get a free WestBow Press publishing guide today.
Traditional or Self-publishing?
When it became evident that I was about to write a BOOK (*yikes!*), I began my research into whether or not I would use a traditional publisher or if I would self-publish. Of course, having never been an author before I had no idea there were so many options. But there were MANY options on both sides, so I begin my information-gathering journey. At the end of the day, I had two choices: I could go with a traditional publisher who would handle the marketing and pay several thousands of dollars to publish it, or I could go with a self-publisher, pay an amount more in tune with my budget, and handle my own marketing. When I did some in-depth research into Westbow Press, what impressed me most was their connection to Thomas Nelson Publishing. I was familiar with Thomas Nelson because they have published Bibles, books, commentaries, and other church-related learning materials for centuries. The other thing that impressed me was the number of packages they offered, depending on how extensive I wanted my reach to be. I could publish a single format or multiple formats.
Selecting the Right Self-publisher
If you are considering, or have perhaps already begun your self-publishing journey, it is very important to select a self-publisher who “gets” you; in other words, they embrace your vision, and won’t water down your message. This will take time and patience. It will be a matter of asking the right questions. Go with the wrong publisher and they may not allow you to tell your story the way you want it told because their vision is not aligned with yours. I had no doubt Westbow Press would guard my vision because I knew their publishing pedigree. I knew their connection to the Christian community.
When I was in corporate America, I had completed a Paralegal program and spent several years (more than I care to count) working in some of Dallas’ largest and most prestigious law firms. I truly believe my writing skills were honed during those years drafting motions, briefs, and other court papers for my lawyer bosses. Proper grammar, spelling, and context are extremely important when doing legal writing. So when we got to the editing stage of my manuscript, I pretty much did the editing myself. I was glad that I could take advantage of the editing services offered by Westbow, but while I did consider their suggestions, for the most part, I did my own editing. Had I not spent those years learning to write, speak, and think like a lawyer, I would not have been able to do that.
Overcoming the Challenges
My biggest challenge being an author has been marketing my books; so I had to get creative. I had no clue – it was truly a faith walk. Westbow handled getting me on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so I didn’t have to worry about that. But I didn’t depend on them to sell my book. I had a great support system in the church, and of course, my own church hosted a book signing for me. After that, I kept my ears and eyes open for book signing opportunities. As time went by I have learned much about having a marketing strategy, knowing your target audience, and being ready when people ask you what your book is about.
My self-publishing journey has been fun, informative, and a major blessing in my life. It has certainly catapulted me to another level in ministry. I’ve made new author-friends and taken advantage of networking and learning opportunities for authors.
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 through the Blog Guidelines Page. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar, punctuation, and length.