I’m a writer, which, in the literal sense, means I know how to put words on paper or screen. I’ve been this way since I was young, keeping diaries as a girl, prayer journals as a new Christian, and one of those students teachers liked, because I actually enjoyed essay questions. The only area my writing skills didn’t work was in word problems in math — hated those, still do.
Into the adult world, my writing became an area where God allowed me to find satisfaction, whether it was in writing emails or annual reports for our organization, newsletters to supports, or papers to help new workers on the field.
When my husband encouraged me in the early 90’s to write a tract entitled “Lust Under the Veil,” I wrote a 350 page “tract” that became my first book. I guess I can say, that was the turning point in my journey. I loved writing, I wanted to write, and I saw how God could use my gifting for his kingdom purposes.
Writing, however, is different from publishing. Putting it simply — writing is the easy part.
Because we lived overseas and in areas where I could not openly publish books under my real name, I wrote under a pen name. I don’t remember now how I initially connected with a “real” editor, but I did, and he helped me greatly in getting my first book to be a better product. However, in the end, because I was an unknown, they did not choose to publish my book. As a result, I chose to go the self-publishing route, and had a very good experience with XulonPress, which ended up publishing all three of my novels.
To keep this short, I’m only going to focus on this aspect of my journey today. For me, there were some strong positive aspects of self-publishing:
- I could do it long-distance. I didn’t have to be in the States for any part of the process.
- I paid one price, and they provided the print-on-demand copies. I didn’t have to buy a quantity of books and store them (this was very good, since I was still overseas).
- Self-publishing gives you a high percentage of royalties.
- You have to be the one to “sell” your book. Get it out there. This worked for me, because I can sell them when I’m speaking or through my website, now.
This good first experience with publishing encouraged me to keep writing. Because I had such a niche market, I knew my books were not what traditional publishers were looking for at the time. I haven’t regretted self-publishing these books, and I’m grateful for the way God has used them in the lives of others.
Some things to remember when self-publishing:
- Get an editor. You can do a lot of the process, but you still need others reading your manuscript and editing. It’s painful, but must be done.
- Not all print-on-demand organizations are the same. Do research before you pay.
- Ask yourself about your audience. Are you writing for family, a small group of people? Then self-publishing is probably the best. If you think your work has a wide appeal and can compete on the market, then it’s worth pursuing traditional publishers. Do research on other books like yours — is anyone else writing on the same topic? That’s your competition.
- Most bookstores will not stock self-published books. Just remember that if you’re looking to see your books on the shelves.
I’ll write more on this in the coming weeks, but wanted to share from my experience, as many have asked about what I’ve learned. Feel free to share your feedback too! I’d love to hear from you.
Writers need each other! An author shared at a conference I attended that “writing is a journey with a lot of rejection. Get a support group”. I pray my words will encourage you today in whatever way the Lord is leading you.
Grace and Peace