If you've been thinking about writing a book, but your intimidated by publishing, this blog post is for you. I've been working with Jennifer Williams who recently self published her book through Amazon. I told her I'd love to interview her and share her tips on self publishing for those who are interested in doing the same!
Jennifer Williams lives in a small-town south of Nashville with her husband of 30 years, their two sons, and a goofy dog. She enjoys the simple things in life like long walks, sweet tea, flowers, birdwatching, and date nights. She has a masters degree in psychology and has served in ministry for the last 25 years. She has a passion for writing and encouraging women to believe God's promises and to find quiet pauses with Jesus.
She has been published in The Joyful Life Magazine, Proverbs 31Ministries/Compel Training's 40 Reminders God is in Control Devotional, ParentLife Magazine, and Faith and Family Values Magazine. She also writes regularly for her blog, aquietpause.com.
Recently, Jennifer published her first book on Amazon: SHE believed: seven simple practices to build trust and overcome worry.
Jennifer and I spent a lot of time over the last few weeks finishing up the tweaks on her book cover and artwork for promotion. I thought it would be fun to share a little about her experience with self-publishing. So, we sat down together to talk about it.
What topics spark your interest to write about and why?
My greatest passion for writing is sharing the truth of God’s word and encouraging others to believe His promises. I also like to write about ways to carve out quiet pauses in our busy lives, to strengthen relationships with the ones we love, and to find beauty in the little moments. I feel like these things are crucial for our spiritual and emotional health.
If someone wants to write a book where do you advise they start first?
The first thing to do is simply write. Writers will never write a book until they first put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Writers should write from their hearts and experiences or from knowledge about a topic. The best writing comes from what is natural, not forced.
It is also important to set deadlines. Many writers set a number of words to write per day or to finish a chapter by a certain date. I initially committed to write each chapter for a Bible study group that I was leading last fall. It forced me to write. Then, I set a timeline for finishing the book process. It spurred me on to completing my book.
What resources would you recommend for someone wanting to learn to write better or just write in general?
Compel Training (Proverbs 31 Ministries) has been a valuable resource for me as a writer. For a small monthly fee, I get access to weekly training videos, Facebook writer groups, and many other resources that teach critical aspects of the writing process. The encouragement and writing opportunities offered by Compel Training are a huge plus for me, too! If that isn’t in the budget, there are so many resources available for free online.
What advice would you give an aspiring writer for staying consistent in their writing?
For so many years, I wrote as a hobby in my journals and on my blog…when I found the time. Being inconsistent and uncommitted, left me feeling very frustrated. I knew I was called to write, but it was always the last thing on my list after everything else was done. This year I decided to change that. After listening to so many writers discuss the importance of dedicated time to write, I took the plunge. I scheduled two mornings per week to write. If I found some extra time in the week, then great. If not, I knew I had those two mornings. A writer has to write. But, most of us can’t write full-time. So, I encourage writers to schedule at least one block of time (or more), for at least two hours each week to write. Get up early, stay up late, go to a coffee shop, skip the Sunday nap. Start small. Find the time.
What was your experience with self-publishing a book?
Fear was far worse than the experience. Isn’t that always the case? I literally dreaded the process of working through the self-publishing software on Amazon. And, it was absolutely the easiest step. The toughest part for me was editing the book and formatting it properly. Fortunately, Amazon provides a variety of book templates to get you started. Google was also my friend to figure out the weird formatting issues…like when a new chapter started on the wrong page. Amazon allows you to create a book cover or upload a book cover as well. I loved working with you, Abigail, to design my book cover and website. You really listened to my vision and the designs reflect it perfectly.
Writers shouldn't be intimidated by the process. I am not very techy at all, so if I can figure out how to self-publish a book anyone can do it.
If you had to do this all over again is there anything you would do differently?
I would start sooner. I wouldn’t let fear keep me from pursuing my dream and calling. I would make writing a priority in my schedule.
If you would like to check out Jennifer’s blog and new book, go to aquietpause.com.