“Dare to be naïve.” —Richard Buckminster Fuller
In 1999 before I signed with an agent, I had twelve contemporary Christian short story ideas that came to me like shooting stars from heaven as I studied the Bible. I wrote the stories to explain to myself difficult teachings.
After giving dramatic readings of the stories, listeners encouraged me to publish them. I did, relying on The Self-publishing Manual by Dan Poynter and The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross. I completed more than 35 steps in the publishing process.
At my marketing expertise level, 700 copies would’ve been sufficient, but I contracted 3,000 books printed through my company, Holy Ghost Writers Publishing. In 2000, I did it all again with 15 more stories and 3,300 books printed. Talk about naïve.
But over time, the stories, the extra books, and the publishing process have become a boon.
5 Reasons Self-publishing Pearls in the Muddle and Crumbled, Tumbled, Humbled—Saved Became a Godsend.
Reason 1. Self-publishing showed me how to find talented people-resources in my own backyard.
In the self-publishing process, a qualified Christian co-worker edited my books. My nephew created the illustrations. A family friend, a graphics designer, designed the book covers. Friends and family members contributed funds. Friends organized my first public dramatic readings. All shared my vision. Many would’ve worked without compensation if I’d let them.
Reason 2. Self-publishing taught me how to research an unfamiliar industry and hire business providers.
In the self-publishing process, I contacted Advance Book Information to list my books in Books in Print. I obtained copyrights, Cataloging In Publication information for the title page, ISBN numbers, and barcodes. I requested quotes from book printers. I scheduled bookstores for signings.
These tasks provided me experience for working with many business providers in building our dream house.
Reason 3. Self-publishing provided a basis for honing my public speaking skills.
I reaped public speaking experience from my corporate job, but my dramatic readings expanded my skills. I presented to women’s groups in churches, at women’s retreats, at community centers, from church pulpits, and to youth groups. I learned the worth of incorporating spin-off ideas by developing a workshop based on two of my stories about prayer and offering participants my books.
Today, this experience helps me build my platform as a writer. My presentations and workshops on the writing craft and industry allow me to give back to other writers what I’ve received.
Reason 4. Self-publishing demonstrated I had the determination to be an author and speaker.
When I pitched my first novel to my agent-to-be, my self-published books showed her my commitment. They also emboldened me to get two stories published in an online magazine.
I include my self-publishing efforts in book proposals to publishers to show my perseverance.
Reason 5. Self-publishing provided an avenue to help others.
I’m aware of one person the stories led to Christ. People have used the books for devotionals and Bible studies. Many of those extra printed books are on bookshelves of new Christian libraries in English-speaking third-world countries through donations to a library ministry.
Over my 8-year involvement in a prison ministry, I provided the books to young male prisoners, who passed them on to fellow inmates.
The books provide me a meaningful gift I can give new friends, associates, and acquaintances. A fun medium for witnessing my faith.
What “faux pas” has turned into a bonanza for you?