by Lanny Smith
I have a secret: I’m a self-publisher! I never planned to be a self-publisher but the market and trends have changed. Here’s how it happened:
Before I started my first novel, I prayed over it. I knew I needed God’s help and He came through for me. I wrote about a radical terrorist’s (is there any other kind?) attempt to attack the city of Los Angeles. God gave me the idea, the characters, their voices and the plot. I drew upon much of my background and experiences to create the story. God even gave me more than a few supernatural occurrences (backed up by scripture) to demonstrate how He works and might draw people to Him.
I wrote the story and revised it. After editing it about a thousand times, I sent out a few queries to various agents and publishers. After receiving less than encouraging responses, I succumbed to one of my character defects: impatience! I grew weary and decided to publish it myself. In my mind, I’d retain most of the control. (By the way, God is still working with me on the “impatience” issue.)
Now, you might be thinking: how does he plan to get on the New York Times Bestseller’s List?
Good question. When I decided to write, I never planned to do it for the money (and I’m not throwing subtle jabs at the terrific Christian authors who have done well, commercially speaking). Writing and publishing faith-based novels is a type of ministry for me – to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ through stories. I just want to glorify Jesus and possibly earn a few dollars along the way to support my family. (This link to a recent interview better explains my reasoning: http://faithflixfilms.wordpress.com/2014/05/09/lanny-smith-writer/)
Self-publishing authors still have to hone their skills and abide by the basics of story-telling. They have to do the research; “show” (more than “tell”) when crafting a compelling story; “hook” readers continuously to keep them turning the pages; “create” interesting characters; and “attend” to story structure. Finally, authors should read the works of other writers. This acronym might help you remember all this: rshcarow. (No, that was awful — let’s forget the acronym.)
My publishing partners hold me accountable to these standards. As a self-publisher, I can still get the vision out there. And if just one person catches that vision, then listen up: those mysterious voices you hear singing from afar might be those of angels rejoicing in heaven. The rest will be His story!
Lanny Smith is a Christian, a former “Class B+” surfer and a veteran of the U. S. Air Force. He lives in Jacksonville, Florida. His novel, THE RADICAL RIDE, is an explosive, suspense-thriller. His novella, THE CHRISTMAS BEACON, is an inspirational supernatural-mystery (and due out August, 2014).