Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why I made the switch from self-publishing to traditional



By Jenni DeWitt




Jenni DeWitt
I started writing when my 2-year-old son, Cooper, was diagnosed with cancer. Every evening, I sat on the stiff, vinyl couch in his hospital room and typed out a story for our family and friends. Then I posted it on his online health journal, CaringBridge.


I wrote about the hilarious and heartbreaking moments of our day. Then I asked for their prayers. I poured myself into that health journal each night, convinced that if they kept coming back to read they’d keep remembering to pray, and we desperately needed prayers.


The more I wrote, the more I remembered how much I loved to write. So, as my son started to feel better and treatment slowed, I kept writing.


God was teaching me so much about my anxiety and about faith and suffering. I wanted to share it all, but Cooper’s health journal didn’t feel like the right place to do it. So I started a blog called Genuflected.com.


A year later I wrote my first book, Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Surprising Ways He Already Is. It helps readers learn to hear God’s voice by opening their ears to ways God might already be trying to talk to them.


Click to Buy
My next book was Forty Days: A Memoir of Our Time in the Desert of Childhood Cancer . It’s a book about the spiritual bootcamp God allowed me to go through during the first 40 days after Cooper was diagnosed with cancer.


Both books are self-published. I hired a graphic designer from Fiverr to do the cover design, and I recruited friends like Alison Kern to be my editors. I figured everything out as I went and muddled through formatting the books so they would look good both in print and ebook.


Finally, I had two beautiful finished products… and absolutely no idea what to do with them. I’m a persuasive person by nature, but I found the hardest thing to market was myself. 


It didn’t help that I was still so raw and fresh in the writing world. I didn’t know if I had any talent as a writer. How could I tell people to buy my books when I was scared my writing wasn’t good enough?


Of course I tried a few things - some campaigns and giveaways. I even sold a few copies. But it
Click to Buy
became clear to me that no one would read my books if they didn’t know they existed. I needed to figure out marketing. 


So, for the next two years, I poured myself into learning how to market. I read everything I could and watched every free webinar known to man. I even found a part-time job in the marketing department of a local business.


And I kept writing. Eventually, I landed a few paying freelance jobs. Then I won a writing contest. The prize was a chance to meet an acquisitions editor - a person who works for a traditional publisher acquiring manuscripts.


I’d been kicking around the idea of switching to fiction. I’d fallen into blogging and writing non-fiction books as a result of Cooper’s cancer journey. But, in my heart, I’d always dreamed of being a fiction writer.


Maybe it was time to make the change and give it a try with traditional publishing? I poured myself into more research and learned all I could about traditional publishing. I wanted to be prepared for my meeting. After all, this could be my big break.


Cooper and Mama
As it turned out, it wasn’t. But I did learn a lot.


In our brief meeting, that acquisitions editor helped me understand how important it is to think of the reader when you’re writing. She opened my eyes to asking the question, who will read this?


While creativity is key, it’s important to give the reader what they expect in some regard. For example, each genre and age level have a typical word count associated with them. And there’s a certain cadence and tone associated with each as well.


In talking with the acquisitions editor, I finally started to understand what I’d been missing all along… marketing is about focusing on your audience more than you focus on yourself.


It seemed so obvious the way she explained it - so clear. And, for the first time, I realized how much I craved a mentor. How badly I longed to find a guide to help me through the tangled web of book publishing. 


It’s been two years since that meeting with the acquisitions editor. Since then, I’ve completed my first fiction manuscript, a YA Christian fiction book full of intrigue, thrill and mystery. It’s based on the real-life prophecy of three days of darkness that’s been foretold for hundreds of years. Click here and I’ll tell you more.


Now I have my very own literary agent and guide, Jennifer Haskins, and I’m in the process of signing a three-book contract with Christian publisher, Little Lamb Books.


Traditional publishing is just as much work as self publishing. However, so far, I like it much better than being out there on my own in the great, big publishing world. I don’t feel so alone, constantly floundering around wondering what to do next. I’m grateful to be part of a team.

How about you? Do you prefer self publishing? Traditional publishing? Both? I’d love to hear what led you to your choice if you’d like to leave a comment! Today we are giving away a copy of Why Won't God Talk to Me?

Jenni DeWitt is a loud-laughing introvert who's learning to love like a Christian in this crazy, mixed up world. She enjoys playing fetch with her cat and writing YA Christian fiction novels filled with angels, demons, and a little human romance to keep things interesting. Online Jenni can be found at jennidewitt.com, but in the real world, she's probably reading a book on the dock of some obscure Nebraska lake. Jenni is the author of two self-published books - Forty Days and Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Surprising Ways He Already Is, but she got lonely out there in the world. Now she's happy to be part of a team as an author working with Metamorphosis Literary Agency and Little Lamb Books.

100 comments :

  1. Hi Jenni! Welcome to Seekerville. Thanks for this post, very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Mary! I'm honored to be here.

      Delete
  2. Hi Jenni! You've had quite the journey. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you stretch your writing wings.

    I believe there is room for all types of publishing and we don't have to choose! Isn't that the great thing about where the industry is today??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So right, Tina. It's a struggling time in publishing but also bright with possibilities.
      I think we've only seen the beginning of options.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I spelled hybrid wrong and tried to edit but it deleted the comment... whoops! Yes, Tina, you're right! I've heard hybrid authors who publish both self and traditional actually make the most money in the end. Lots of opportunities!

      Delete
  3. Hi Jenni! Thank you for sharing your story to your publication journey. I have enjoyed reading books that are self-published as well as the traditional published books so as Tina said above, there is room for all types of publishing just as there is room for all genres. What works for the writer is probably the best avenue.

    I would love to be entered to win your book, Why Won't God Talk to Me? That has been a question I have had recently, since my Mom's passing.

    May you be blessed.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cindy, I think we all end up asking that question at one time or another. Keep your eyes and ears open for answers. smile so sorry about your mom. I really miss mine. It has been eight years and I still want to pick up the phone and tell her some news.

      Delete
    2. Cindy, I'm sorry about your mom. My mom is 89 today and I'm heading over there after lunch. I'm one of eight children and the ONLY one who stayed close to home...the others are an hour or an hour and a half and a whole bunch are coming Saturday, largely arranged by me, so she'll get lots of attention.
      I tried to go this morning but she's practicing...she still plays the organ at our church...has for around 50 years! And she goes to lunch at the Senior Center everyday...it's hard to catch up to the woman!!! Even with her walker!

      Delete
    3. Sorry to hear you lost your mom, Cindy. I think sometimes grief can have a way of making God particularly hard to hear. I'll be praying for you.

      Delete
    4. Thank you for your condolences. It's been a rough three months since she passed. She had just turned 89 two weeks before her passing. She was my best friend too, so it was doubly hard to lose her. But I know we'll be together again because my Mom knew and loved the Lord.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Jenni. Although I've yet to venture into the world of self-publishing, I can see the temptation for those who'd like to get more books out into the world at a faster rate. Thanks or visiting today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it isn't just a temptation, but practical. As long as you've done all the steps to make it look good. smile I've known several people who have done quite well. And others who haven't. So its a tough business and decision. sigh

      Delete
    2. Yes there are definitely pros and cons to both ways! You just have to pick the way that feels like it will work best for you. I like the team aspect, like I wrote, but someone else may value the freedom and independence of self publishing more!

      Delete
  5. Jenni, good morning! I like working on both sides of the publishing fence, and while neither is perfect, what job is???

    How is Cooper doing? Can you share an update? And I love that you've developed both the non-fiction and fiction threads to work with. BRAVA!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, so true Ruthy. There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways. Jenni, your faith will pull you through either way.

      Delete
    2. Thank you ladies! Cooper is doing well. He's in 1st grade and we just passed the 5-year mark after diagnosis... a big milestone. Thanks for asking!

      Delete
    3. Very happy to hear the wonderful news about Cooper! Praise the Lord!

      Delete
    4. So happy to hear about Cooper. I went back to the beginning of the comments hoping for an update and I found one!

      Delete
    5. I am so happy to hear the good news about Cooper. May He bless Cooper with a lifetime of health.

      Delete
  6. Good morning, Jenni, and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for sharing your journey to publication. I can't imagine how hard it's been to go through what you've been going through with your dear son. But you've allowed God to take something so very bad and use it for good by reaching out in your books to others who are on that same rough, rough road. May God continue to bless the fruits of your faithfulness, to give you strength and courage, and to continue to heal your son.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Glynna, for your kind words and prayers!

      Delete
  7. Jenni, there's some good meat in this post. Right now I would go indie after I had published traditionally, I need the affirmation that someone thought I was good enough to back. That's a hang-up I've had. But if God TOLD me to go indie, and gave me a message to share in that forum, I'd do it. We have so many more options today.
    I'd also do it if I had a subject that traditional publishers wouldn't touch, but that's hard to imagine these days with edgier fiction being allowed.
    I don't know. The beauty of it is, I don't have to decide today.
    I will be "on" more than "off" today, I have time to get into a real conversation instead of bleating something and taking off. I'm caught up on my newspaper work and I've got a week's break before my next temp job. Lots of time to catch up on writing, which at this point is:
    -- Layering and looking for problems in my Speedbo project, an inspirational Christmas romance;
    -- Working with my crit partner on a chapter a month in my Oregon Trail sequel;
    -- Waiting to hear from a small publisher who has the "full" of the first Oregon Trail book; and
    -- Waiting to hear from an agency that has a "full" of my post-World-War-I book.
    I have multiple projects as you can see, but I live by something Mary C. said a while ago, "Be ready."
    I am still coming off the high of "talking" with Eva Marie Everson yesterday. Best guest post in a while...
    Back later,
    Kathy Bailey
    In a wider place, at least for now, in New Hampshire

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay Kathy. You go girl. Happy writing today.

      Delete
    2. Kathy, I totally get it--the need for affirmation that a publishing professional deemed my manuscript worth taking a chance on and actually paying ME money for it! I'm actually glad indie publishing wasn't "the thing" when I was first starting out and collecting rejections by the bucketload. Every rejection was a learning experience and made me a better writer.

      Delete
    3. Wow, Kaybee, you've got a week free...and a whole week plus of things to do with it. WAY TO GO!!!! :)

      Delete
    4. Enjoy your week and the adventure of writing!

      Delete
    5. Kaybee, you're smokin'! :) And ready!!! So proud of you!

      Waving to Myra and agreeing about needing that validation from a traditional publishing house...at least in the beginning.

      Delete
  8. Hi Jenni and welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. Wow, what a trial you have been through and aren't we all thankful you had the Lord to lean on. Whew!. And like Ruthy, I want to know how little Cooper is doing? Sounds like you are hanging in there with a strong faith. And what a blessing you can share that through your writing.

    As for your question, I think there are disadvantages and advantages to both ways of publishing. Like others have said, at least we have the choice. Personally, I like going through a publisher. I just feel more confident about what I put out there as they have such a thorough editing process.

    Good point about focusing on the reader. I tend to forget that. sigh.

    Have fun today and thanks again for joining us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra, that's a good point! Cooper is doing well. We have two boys and people often ask... now which one had cancer? I'm always grateful he's healthy enough they can't tell!

      Delete
  9. Jenni, I so enjoyed your post. I have to say, your cover for Forty Days made me tear up. I'm sorry your family walked through childhood cancer. I can't imagine how difficult it was. It sounds like God strengthened you through writing.

    I've done quite a bit of thinking about self-publishing and traditional publishing. I'm pre-published. At this point on my journey, I am aiming for traditional publishing. I want to learn how things work, how the necessary tasks are best completed, and I think it will be easier for me to learn those working with a team of those in the know. If I ever get published, I may choose to go hybrid or indie at some point. Not sure yet. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing some of your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I sometimes wonder if it would have made more sense to publish traditionally first to learn the ropes and then branch out on my own. But it didn't go that way. The things I've learned the hard way with self publishing will definitely help me in the traditional publishing world though! I wish you all the luck on your publishing journey. Keep in touch!

      Delete
  10. I enjoyed your post. I am thinking I would like to be traditionaly published first and then have some things self published like the small books on how to teach children at church. We'll see what happens. I don't feel any of them are ready for publication yet. I am continuing to write new as well as work on what I have finished.

    Praying everyone has a great day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha we think the same! I just mentioned I sometimes wonder about the order of doing both. It could be a good strategy to do traditional first! And I can definitely relate to editing. I think I'll still be editing my book at book signings! LOL "I'm just going to add a quick comma on page 50 then I'll sign it."

      Delete
    2. Jenni LOL I know just what you mean about editing at book signings. I always want ONE MORE CRACK AT IT!!!

      Delete
  11. BTW, Cooper is like the BEST hero name. Has anyone called dibs on it yet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of my sons is named Cooper. It's a great name. But I've never used it in a story.

      Delete
    2. I had a LAST name Cooper...does that prevent me from ever using it for a first name???

      I DON'T THINK SO!!!

      Delete
    3. A 'Cooper' is a craftsman who makes or repairs casks and/or barrels. I think it is a strong first name. I feel it would wear well on an Amish craftsman as they have many such. But would an Amish use the name 'Cooper'? Maybe Debby, our Amish expert, could tell us.

      Delete
    4. I'm sure he'll be excited to hear he may have some heroes named after him in a few books some day! It's a family name (last name) on my husband's side, and I just love it. His full name is Cooper Jack.

      Delete
    5. Vince, I haven't heard of an Amish man named Cooper. Although if he came to the Amish faith later in life, he would still be called by his "Englischer" name, which could be Cooper. Great name for any hero! And Jenni's Cooper is a hero, for sure! :)

      Delete
  12. Hi Jenni - I would guess many of us here write our best work when faced with extreme emotion. I know I do. I admire your beginnings, in that writing was something you could do to help your son as opposed to just feeling helpless. I get that. I had a special needs son, and consequently, many hospital stays and times of feeling helpless. God allowed me to care for him 24 years before taking him home to heaven 5 years ago. Since then I have been able to write an emotionally charged memoir of his life that is a treasure to my family and anyone who loved him. Great things can come out of our worst times. I also admire that you chose to self publish. What a feat! I am hoping to be traditionally published someday just because that's where I feel my calling. But who knows? Maybe God will lead me to self publish Randon's story one day. His life was so obviously used by the Lord to bring others to Him. Maybe the world should know about Randon. Thanks for such a great post. Keep writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes... you know exactly that helpless feeling! I'm so sorry to hear you lost Randon. I'm sure the story you wrote about him is cherished. These sick kids have so much to teach us about joy. The world could learn a lot from them. Keep writing and good luck!

      Delete
    2. Cindy, I'm sorry about your precious son. I pray God will show you the path to publication so Randon's story can impact others and turn your pain into something beautiful for the Lord!

      Delete
  13. Thanks for being in Seekerville today, Jenni. Where do you live? I am also from Nebraska--in Kearney.

    I hope Cooper is doing well these days.

    I want to be traditionally published. Cost is a major factor, but I don't know that I can do it all on my own.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Sandy! I live in Albion but at this very moment I'm on a field trip with my 4th grader in Grand Island, so I'm not far from you! Good luck with your publishing journey!

      Delete
  14. Going off to Do Yard Work, back later.
    KB

    ReplyDelete
  15. Welcome, Jenni and thank you for such an inspiring post. I'm sorry you had to walk through the valley of cancer with your little guy but God will use it to bless others through your writing. I would self-publish if I had the money behind me but that isn't my reality right now. So, I'm working towards traditional publishing and want to build a career and brand there first. Please put me in the draw for your book. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jenni, welcome to Seekerville. The photos of you and Cooper and the journey you've been on touched me deeply. For those of us who write, putting words on the page help us to process life. May God bless your precious son.

    Congratulations on the sale of your YA! It sounds like a gripping story.

    I'm traditionally published and like you, appreciate the editorial and promotional support as well as the publisher distribution. I've self-pubbed a novella but as you know, getting the word out is difficult, especially with one or two lone books.

    Janet

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you're so right... writing helps to process those feelings! I'd love to hear any tips you have about traditional publishing. What are some of the top things you've learned?

      Delete
    2. Jenni, I write for Love Inspired Historical. I've learned LI editors expectations with word count and point of view. They want only the hero and heroines. They want the POV shifts to take place in a new scene. They want the hero and heroine to meet early on but they also want both points of view early on. Not knowing these things wouldn't stop an editor from buying a book, but knowing them means fewer revisions.

      Janet

      Delete
    3. I should've said that the word count varies by the line. LIH word count is between 70-75k. I think LI and LIS is between 50-55k.

      Janet

      Delete
    4. Oh that's interesting, thank you Janet!

      Delete
  17. Jenni, WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, my friend, and this blog has both touched and taught me deeply, so THANK YOU!!

    First of all, nothing tears at me more than a baby or child with cancer, so my heart definitely goes out to you. And like Ruthy and everyone else reading this post, I want to know how Cooper is doing and how old is he now?

    You said: "In our brief meeting, that acquisitions editor helped me understand how important it is to think of the reader when you’re writing. She opened my eyes to asking the question, who will read this?"

    WOW. Just WOW!! Well, not just "wow," because I have to say that statement is a lightbulb for me today. Yes, I know one of the basic rules of writing fiction is to know your audience, but something about that point blank question really drives it home, so THANK YOU again!!

    And SUPER CONGRATS on your 3-book contract with Little Lamb Books -- that is AWESOME!! I assume this is for fiction?

    I am not a nonfiction reader except devotionals and an occasional spiritual self-help (aka God-help) book, but I can't help but believe that Forty Days and Why Won't God Talk to Me? are much-needed books for a targeted audience, so have you tried to get them traditonally published in order to broaden your reach?

    In fact, I just purchased Why Won't God Talk to Me because I've been working on my ability to hear God more, so I'm excited to see what you have to say.

    Anyway, WONDERFUL post, Jenni, and may God bless you and your career abundantly!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie! I'm so glad you found the post helpful!

      Cooper is doing well. We go back every 3 months for checkups to make sure the cancer hasn't come back. If you met him, you'd have no idea all he's been through in his short life. He looks like a healthy, actively little 7-year-old! He was 2 when he was diagnosed and treatment was 3 1/2 years long. He's been off treatment since 2015.

      Thanks for asking and thanks for all the encouragement about my books! Yes, my new book will be fiction. I have wondered if some day one or both of my non-fiction books would be picked up by a traditional publisher to reach a bigger audience, but I don't know how often that happens, do you?

      Thanks for purchasing Why Won't God Talk to Me? I can't wait to hear what you think of it or if you find it helpful at all. Feel free to email me at dewitt.jenni@gmail.com if you want!

      Take care!
      Jenni

      Delete
  18. Jenni, it's a delight to have you as our guest today! I know this post will enlighten many writers who are facing the decision of whether to go indie or seek a traditional publisher. There are definitely pros and cons on either side.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jenni, welcome! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I was so touched how you shared your stories with friends on Caring Bridge.

    I wish you well with your novels! I've done both traditional and indie publishing and love things about both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Missy! I'd be curious to hear what you love about each of them if you want to share?

      Delete
  20. Jenni, I've had so many great mentors and been good advice through the years on writing. (I must not be a good listener because I'm still not published. LOL.)From contest judges to editors. There is so much to learn. I'm one of those who'd like to indie publish after I'm traditional published. Indie is scarier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is a good career to be in if you have a love for learning, that's for sure! It's one of the many things about writing that keeps me intrigued.

      Delete
  21. Congrats on going over to traditional! I'm with everyone else in wanting to know how Cooper is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for asking, Boo! He is doing really well. There are still some side effects from the chemo we are dealing with like hearing loss and word recall, but otherwise he's one happy, healthy little 7-year-old!

      Delete
  22. Welcome to Seekerville, Jenni! First, Cooper is adorable. Love seeing that little sweetie's pictures.

    Trad or Indie? I'm traditionally published with Tyndale House Publishers and Barbour Publishing and love working with both. Right now that is taking up all my time. But a couple of years ago, I self-published 4 novellas with my Seeker buddies. Those collections are currently OOP, but I enjoyed the process and will probably re-release those novellas again when I have time.

    So, I'm a hybrid has-been and future wanna-be. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that's interesting! So what led you to work with two different publishers? (Remember... I'm still learning the traditional publishing world.) Is it all a matter of what a publisher will and won't pick up? And I like the idea of being able to self-publish when it feels right at different times of your life. It's good to be reminded to keep the whole picture in mind. Things can always change back and forth over time.

      Delete
    2. Jenni, my full-length novels are with Tyndale and novellas with Barbour. I had some time between contracts for fulls and was blessed to pick up some projects with Barbour.

      All those novellas were a huge blessing in more ways than one. My first two novels were basically written when they were contracted, so I didn't really know how well I could meet deadlines. If I remember correctly, I wrote four 20k novellas for Barbour in 8-10 months, meeting all four deadlines.

      That was the equivalent of a novel, so the experience definitely boosted my confidence in my abilities to churn out the work.

      Delete
  23. Jenni, I've never had a child w/cancer, but I once fostered a child with Down Syndrome that had cancer. Parents of these children live in another world. And while one of the parents is at the hospital, the rest of the family is at home trying to cope.

    I'm so inspired to learn how you made the best out of a heart-wrenching time in your life.
    Thank you for this post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Connie! Yes, when you are caring for a sick child, it really can feel like you live in a universe that's slightly different than everyone else's reality.

      We were fortunate to have friends and family to help us out. It really made all the difference in the world! And, of course, God can bring good from any circumstance, although it's hard to see when you're in the middle of it.

      Delete
  24. Jenni, thank you for sharing your story with us. You took a really bad situation and used it to help others, which is about as high as this calling gets. I'm not a member of the "everything happens for a reason" school, there is no rational excuse for a sick kid, but I am a believer in using what comes our way, as we talked about in yesterday's post. Bless you!
    Kathy Bailey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathy! I can remember sitting on the floor of my kitchen and feeling so very all alone in the middle of Cooper's cancer treatment. I searched for books written by others who felt the way I was feeling, and I couldn't find any. That moment was one of the major driving forces that led me to write Forty Days. I wanted other moms to know they weren't alone when they were feeling insane from stress and searching for God in an upside down world.

      I think it's interesting what you say about "everything happens for a reason." I'm not exactly sure what I think about that yet, but I do believe no matter what happens in this world God can turn it into good for those who love Him. That being said, I also know sometimes it really doesn't seem like it when you're in the middle of heartache.

      Delete
  25. Thank you, Jenni. It always helps to read about a writer's journey, and what works for her/him. Very interesting the way you found what's right for you. I can imagine all your experiences give your stories richness. Hope all is well with everyone now :-)

    Nancy C

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nancy! I never thought about it like that, but I bet you're right. All our life experiences add a certain richness to our stories. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  26. Thank you, Jenni for sharing today. I was so happy to read in an earlier comment from you that Cooper is doing well!!

    Reading about your journey has been uplifting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathryn. I'm glad! Have a great day!

      Delete
  27. Hi Jenni, I'm happy to read above that Cooper is a healthy first grader today.

    What you highlighted today are my thoughts, exactly. (I'm unpublished.) I'm also a persuasive person but I have a hard time marketing myself. I've thought A LOT about self-publishing but the thing I always go back to is how will people find me? So, I'm going to pursue traditional publishing for now, and maybe, in the future, switch to self or do both.

    Congratulations on your professional success and on your son's healing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Then you totally get it. In the end, I guess it's good we have options. I wonder, does anyone ever feel like they have this publishing thing all figured out?! Probably not, I guess.

      Delete
  28. JENNI, Thank you for sharing this interesting post! I'm so happy to know that Cooper is doing well!

    Blessings and ((((HUGS))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! In the end, that's what matters most to a momma above all else... to feel like our babies are okay. No matter how old they are! Kinda puts the traditional vs self-publishing battle in perspective in a way.

      Delete
  29. Jenni, thank you for sharing your journey. I pray with a small group of ladies each Monday morning for Children at Risk, including those who have debilitating illnesses. Four of the young boys we cover with prayer are battling leukemia, and my heart goes out to them and to their parents.

    I know your books can provide that needed support when folks are dealing with sick children. God does amazing work, especially when He turns darkness into light. Bless you for ministering to other parents through your writing and your powerful testimony. Praying for your continued success!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "When He turns darkness into light." I love that Debby! How awesome you pray for these children. The prayers of friends and family were key to helping us through when Cooper was sick. They provided wonderful comfort, probably more than any of them know!

      Delete
  30. Praying for Cooper's continued health, as well!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your YA story sounds intriguing. Yes, I know about the three days of darkness. How insightful to use that in your story. Can you share a bit more about the plot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, not many people have heard of the 3 days of darkness, that's great! My book starts out with Tess, a teenage girl, having disturbing dreams. She can't figure out what they mean, but they won't stop and they feel important. Then she finds out other kids in her class are having the same dreams. They join forces and start searching for answers. They end up uncovering secrets that have been buried in their small town for years. I don't want to give too much away. (I'll have to work on my elevator speech!) But as Tess reunites with her estranged father things start to come together in a race against the clock and the impending darkness.

      Delete
    2. I just went and read about the Three Days of Darkness. Wow, and all the prophecies sound like what's going on the world today!

      Delete
    3. Thanks for the sneak peek, Jenni! You've hooked me! :)

      Delete
  32. I'm traditionally published, although I had stories in two of the Seeker anthologies. Recently, I've been thinking more and more about writing a few stories that wouldn't fit my traditional pub line. Those would need to be self-pubbed. Something to ponder. We are fortunate to have both options.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we are! And who can focus all their creativity on one genre, right?! I'm sure most writers have multiple stories and books floating around in their heads at all times! LOL

      Delete
  33. Debby, I've got some work that doesn't fit my niche exactly, too.... and you're right, we are fortunate to have options available now, right? This is so amazing!

    Jenni, I love my traditional publishing work. Absolutely love it. But I often work faster than they do, and that leaves me time on my hands and when I have time on my hands, I write stories!

    I also do other things, but I love writing.

    And here's my tip on indie publishing... if you do it, set up a plan to do it well.

    Stock up some work ahead of time.

    Get those covers done....

    Get two or three books written ahead.... and a novella on the side doesn't hurt either!

    And then publish them 5 or 6 weeks apart while you write the next story...

    REPEAT.

    REPEAT.

    REPEAT. :)

    When I got the call for category romance for Love Inspired (Book #20 coming out in NOVEMBER!!!! THE LAWMAN'S YULETIDE BABY!!!!) I knew two things... they published great stories and they liked productivity...

    So I spent the next several years making sure I did both. Productivity matters in the faster publishing circles.... Amazon, romance, category...

    If you're literary, you've got more time and maybe less pressure.... but you most likely are not going to sell as many books.... Sometimes you will.

    But it's not likely.

    This career is laden and layered with choices, steps, and options.

    Explore at will.

    It's a big world out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Off Topic, Ruthy, but I'm reading Peace in the Valley right now. I want to write contemporary cowboys! This is so fun!!!!

      Delete
  34. Hi Jenni. Wow, what a story! I love how God has led you through some tough circumstances and is using your journey as a testimony. I've self-published two novels, and, like you, I found the marketing aspect not so easy! I've never pursued traditional publishing, and that's probably good considering I plan to switch genres. I'd like to try for traditional publishing as I move into Christian fiction. The books I've self-pubbed are general market and are part of a four book series. This story is like my child and I couldn't bare to have anyone tweak it, which is why I went with self-publishing. And, I was 41 when it released, which I thought was so old, and I couldn't bare to wait years to see this story in print. For future stories, including my own testimony, I'm okay with waiting. I've been doing a lot of praying and listening for God! Your book about God talking to you sounds like something I need!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Right now I'm a self-published author. The reason I self-published was because I was new to the world of publishing and book writing, and I hadn't the foggiest idea of how- well, anything, worked. My sister self-published before me and my dad was good with computers and could get everything taken care of without me having to pay anything (and for a fourteen year old who doesn't have a job, that was a very appealing idea) so that was why I self-published.

    I definitely plan on traditionally publishing some of my books though someday (just as soon as I write them, that is). I don't want to completely forsake self-publishing. Some of my books have a self-publishing feel and some a traditional publishing feel, and some a small publishing feel. Like I can see them published that way and no other. Does anyone else have those feelings? Or is it just me?

    As an author (not to mention reader) of YA fiction myself, I have to admit that your YA story sounds interesting.

    I'm glad that your son is doing better now.

    ReplyDelete
  36. hi Jenni
    I didn't get to Seekerville yesterday, so I'm posting late. I loved this post. I am also thrilled to hear Cooper is doing well. My little man is also 7 years old and I couldn't imagine what it would be like to deal with him having a serious illness like Cooper did.
    Whew... Blessings to you and your writing career. That YA novel sounds really cool.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you, for telling about going to traditional publishing from self-publishing. I don't often see that. It was encouraging. Your story touched me.

    ReplyDelete
  38. As a reader, I have often read wonderful books published by the well known publishers but I also know there are wonderful works self published. I would love to be entered into your book giveaway.
    Thank you and Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jenni, thanks for your post. Your writing Journey sounds an awful lot like mine. I started writing CaringBridge entries and also articles for my church's newsletter when my son was terminally ill. God taught me so much during that time and I wanted to share it with others. Eventually those journal entries and articles became my first book. Thanks for sharing your story!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jenni, thanks for your post. Your writing Journey sounds an awful lot like mine. I started writing CaringBridge entries and also articles for my church's newsletter when my son was terminally ill. God taught me so much during that time and I wanted to share it with others. Eventually those journal entries and articles became my first book. Thanks for sharing your story!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'm running a day behind, but still wanted to say hello and thank-you for sharing your post, Jenni! Also, I'm praying that Cooper will continue doing well. I'm sure what you've experienced in that journey has been able to help many others.
    Blessings from Georgia, Patti Jo

    ReplyDelete