Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thankful Thursday: My first book

It’s Thursday and I am thankful for the publishing of my first book, Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories!

Words cannot describe the delight my heart and soul feels in finally completing my journey to become a published author!

Ever since I was a little girl, I DREAMED of this day and now it is here!

I don’t even know where to begin to share my sheer delight with you! But I will try by sharing a shorter version of my publishing journey:

My dream has always been to write books and so when I arrived in college, I dove head first toward developing my skills as a writer and to keep this story short, I will tell you that I prayed a lot about it and under God’s direction, studied Print Journalism. Soon I found that in addition to my creative writing pursuits, I wanted to become a journalist not only because I love listening to people and learning from their stories during the interview process but also because my second passion is photography and I love being able to capture life’s most memorable moments on camera. So I graduated with a degree in Print Journalism but did not land my dream job at a newspaper or magazine apart from a summer internship which did not end in me being hired.

My mom is an educator and after seeing my struggle, she suggested that I try substitute teaching because since I have a degree, they would pay me and I could stay financially afloat. So I faced my fears (thinking: “Manage a classroom of kids? All by myself?”) and absolutely fell in LOVE with the kids! So, after a year of working as a substitute teacher, I decided to become trained in teaching so I could be a teacher and a writer. I was exhilarated to be accepted into an alternative certification program which is geared to transition people who do not have a degree in Education, into the world of being a classroom teacher. And long story short, I failed. I loved the kids, the kids loved me and most of the parents applauded my work, but it just did not work out and so in June 2011, the door to education closed.

Now the backstory is that one day during the Spring Semester 2011, I was home sick and my dreams to become a published author were dancing in my head. So I decided to get out of bed, go to my computer and do some serious research on how to become a published author. And of course, I started off by looking up all of the big names in the publishing industry…Zondervan, Thomas Nelson, Harper Collins, etc. Somehow during this search--
looking back, I see it was God directing me--, I found a self-publishing company called Crossbooks which is, according to their website, "an imprint of B&H Publishing Group, the trade publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources." It was my first introduction to my destiny. So I called and unlike all of the other big names in the industry, less than five minutes later, a representative from Crossbooks who we will call M, returned my call.

I poured my creative heart out to M, sharing my dream to be a published author of books that inspire people to know their true value, educate and point them to Jesus Christ. And I explained what I had been doing all day—trying to get in with the big names in the traditional publishing industry. M kindly explained to me that it’s tough for new authors to get into the traditional publishing industry because traditional publishers tend to only want people who are: already famous, best-selling authors of multiple books or have a blog following of over 1,000 people. Since I did not meet those standards, M suggested I take the self-publishing route to my dream. He also told me how Lifeway and B&H Publishing have big-name authors on their roster such as Beth Moore. Really? Beth Moore? I thought. Tell me no more, I’m in! And so I signed up for a publishing package with Crossbooks.

To keep this story short, the main challenge in my self-publishing journey was money because when you go this route, you have to finance the process as opposed to traditional publishing where they take care of all the costs for you. But the benefit with Crossbooks as a self-publishing company is they, as far as I know, offer all the services of a traditional publisher and you still get to keep the rights to your book. God made a way for me financially and at first, I thought my book would be published by Christmas 2011. But then I was advised by a well-known Christian author to make sure I have a book editor go through my book before I publish it instead of relying on my own editing skills because if I want my book to be taken seriously, I need to have it professionally edited.

God helped me find an excellent freelance editor named Sally whose special skill is in knowing how to edit an author’s book without removing their “voice” or messing with their writing style. God made a way for me to pay my editor and she sent my book back to me with all of the suggested edits. I was overwhelmed because she wanted for me to change entire scenes, character names, places and so much more of my book—okay not that much but at the time it seemed that way—and so I did not touch my manuscript for all of 2012.

So what changed between 2012 and now? Earlier this year (Winter 2013), I had a talk with one of my pastors and I shared my news that I was working on a book project. Before then, I had not told anyone outside of immediate family. And immediately, my pastor admonished me, “Alexis! Why didn’t you tell me before that you were working on a book project? THIS could be the book that puts you on the map! THIS could be the book that launches your dreams to be a professional writer! You need to get this finished!” And then he added, “A lot of times, we sit around waiting for God to move in our lives when God is waiting for US to MOVE!”

And so I moved! One weekend in March 2013, I sat at my computer and tackled the content edits to my book and surprisingly, finished it all during that weekend. And my project just started moving forward from there: I resubmitted my manuscript to my editor, she applauded my work and performed the copy/line edit and sent it back to me for proofreading; the three talented professionals whom I asked to write an endorsement for my book all read my manuscript and sent their endorsements to me in a timely manner; my preferred book designer, Brenda McClearen, created my DREAM cover for my book and my book went into the final stages of production with Crossbooks in August 2013.

And then by surprise, I found out on the evening of September 7, that my book had gone LIVE a few weeks earlier than I thought it would which was great news!

So here I am, a newly published author and I am so grateful to God for taking me on this journey and making a dream of my heart come true!

All I have to say to you now is, God is AWESOME! And my pastor was RIGHT, sometimes we are waiting for God to move but not doing anything about it on our end. So if you are in a similar place where I was—overwhelmed by the work required to make your dream come true—I challenge you to MOVE! Trust in God and go with it! If it’s meant for you as part of God’s plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11), it WILL happen BUT you have to WORK for it and keep in tune with God through His gift to us, prayer.

I’d love for you to buy my book! It’s available on Amazon.com, Crossbooks.com, BarnesandNoble.com and you can also order it through my official website, alexisagoring.com!

Thank you for reading this testimony in its entirety! I hope and pray that God will make a way for you in whatever you may be going through and that God will bless you with your realizing that your GREATEST dream has already come true—you are LOVED, by GOD


I encourage you to share your dreams with the One who loves you most (God) and to trust Him to, in His perfect timing, make it happen!

Love,

Alexis

2 comments:

  1. Great post Alexis! Thank you for laying out your journey, and for following through! I'm praying for much success for your first book.

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  2. Hi Summer! I am happy you liked my blog post about my journey to becoming a published author! :) Thank you for praying for my book's success! You're the best! :)

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