Friday Conversations With A Self-Publishing Writer 10/11/13

The Christian Inspirational genre is certainly one of the hottest markets for self-publishing authors.  When someone’s faith mixes with experience writers communicate with their readers in a unique and extremely uplifting way—a way that enriches mind and heart to see possibilities beyond their circumstances.

Although many of the books in this genre are written (or ghostwritten) by well-known people, many more are written by people like you.  Their “real life” topics cross over faith denominations into the “real world” with subject matter such as: liberation from life’s burdens; healing wounded hearts; the gift of beauty for ashes; and eternal security.  No one—literally no one—can tell these experiences better than the person who has lived through them.  However, there are a few unique methods to remember when developing the manuscripts, and they begin with preparing yourself to “tell the truth” to the best of your ability.

Whether you are creating your manuscript yourself, or you’re working with a self-publishing team (publishing consultant, author representative, production supervisor, designers, and production managers), and/or a ghostwriter, here are a few things to remember:

  1. Build the timeline.  Most inspiring stories come from finally seeing a positive—even miraculous—result from some not-so-pleasant experiences.  The timeline (for this one book) is most easily built backwards.  Starting with the conclusion of events will allow you to see all the pieces leading up to that more clearly.
  2. List the people.  Make a list of the people who were connected to this process.  There will be the quickly-remembered ones; there will also be the ones who are only recalled as you work on the next guideline—the “scenes.”  Depending on your decision whether or not to use their real names is not a concern at this beginning level.  What is important is that the roles they played are identified.
  3. Picture the scenes.  Use your wonderfully developed imagination to “see” the scenes (as in a movie).  Such as: When I tell the story of my Mother’s last days on this earth, I can see the CNA—a gentle giant of a gentleman—lifting her ever so carefully from a gurney to her bed.  Any movement—even her hand raising to motion for water—caused intense pain.  However, when he moved her, she experienced NO pain.

When inspirational writers begin their creative process with these three foundational exercises, it is remarkable how quickly their true story is developed.  Filling in the details becomes easy.  Then, once the first draft is complete, the other decisions—such as using the names of the real places and people—are also much simpler.  My suggestions for those choices are twofold:  If there are more than three people (other than you) in the story, consider using fictitious names.  Tracking people down to get permission to use their name can be time consuming and slows down the production of the book.  Also, if the place where the majority of the scenes are centered is too well-known—and would overshadow the impact of the story—then consider “setting” those scenes in a more generic place.

Final thought: NEVER hesitate to tell your story!  There are many hands and hearts out here in the self-publishing world to help you through the process.

Royalene ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.

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