Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Interview with Anita Estes, author of Transformed—Inspiring Stories of Freedom
Anita Estes has been honored in Who’s Who of American Teachers for 2000 and 2005. Her writing appears in several different publications and has been a featured writer in The Cup of Comfort series. She is the author of When God Speaks-40 Days and Nights of His Promises as well as Transformed—Inspiring Stories of Freedom and has presently received her proof copy for Letters to God on a Prodigal Son —Overcoming Addiction through Prayer
Tell me about the first book you published. I was invited to be a speaker for a woman’s conference based out of Charleston, S.C. I was told it would be a good idea to have a book of the devotions and articles I had written, so I collected them together, added some art-work, I’m also an art teacher, and my first book was born, When God Speaks, 40 Days and 40 Nights of His Promises. The stories demonstrate how God is at work in our daily lives and throughout our struggles. Some of the topics include: Our Identity in Christ, Peace, Joy, True Prosperity and Resurrection Life. Each day includes a story, prayer, application and night-time reflection, which is ideal for a Lenten devotion. I published that with a POD company, Pawprints
What was it like working with Pawprints? Linda was a good person to work with for my first book. She was patient and allowed me to make edits that I saw as she sent files back to me. She did all the set-up of the files, gave me a good price, added me to Amazon.com, and now wants to put my book on Kindle, which will be available soon.
What writing experience did you have prior to your first book? I had been writing devotionals and articles for about ten years and had some of them published. I also belonged to ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers and was attending a few conferences. Through someone I met on-line with ACFW, they recommended Pawprints and I began looking into self-publishing.
Which writer’s conferences have you attended? I've attended The Greater Philly Christian Conference for 3 years. It’s been an excellent way to meet other authors, editors, agents, and people to critique my work. I also attended one-day conferences in Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania. The most recent was directed by Gloria Clover, my critique partner with ACFW.
What have you learned from attending conferences? When you attend a conference, sign up for an evaluation, it’s worth the extra money. Get your best writing together and be organized. Make a sell sheet if you have a book or books. Bring a written book or article proposal. Plan on visiting agents, editors, authors, and all the people available for you to see. Reach out and meet other people and network. Print up a business card and give it out.
What inspired you to write your second book? I became involved with a local Bible based treatment center that helped my son though a difficult time in his life. When I heard the men’s testimonies I wanted to help them write them. As I gathered their stories, I thought it would make a great book, so I compiled and edited the stories, which became Transformed—Inspiring Stories of Freedom. I learned a lot more about self-publishing as I took on the job myself to do all the work (formatting the book , files and creating the cover) and submitted it to a printer, rather than going through a middle man, POD, like Pawprints. I formed a company, Transformation House, which would help the Transformation Life Center. All the profits for the book are donated to TLC, a non-profit that receives no government funding. We are presently working on a project to have the men of TLC read the stories and put them on u-tube, so watch for that!
What did you learn in your experience with self-publishing? The first printing company I choose was Fidlar-Doubleday. They had a great salesman on board who helped me through the process of setting up files, embedding them and creating a cover to specs. My daughter helped me with the cover using Adobe Photoshop. I found it very confusing, but waded though it with her help. The first printing was without an ISBN since we were printing it to be sold at a banquet fundraiser. I had made some editing mistakes so we didn’t sell it then, but we had other outlets to donate and sell them to. I didn’t see some of the mistakes with an on-line proof, which was my mistake. I recommend that whenever you publish a book, ALWAYS purchase a printed proof. This was very hard learning experience, but I recuperated and re-edited it, then had more books printed.
After my second printing of Transformed I joined a self-publishing group on-line that taught me a lot about the technical aspect of publishing. I learned from them how to buy a block of ten ISBN’s and got my book ready to submit to one of the largest book printers and distributors for Ingram, who sell to Barnes and Nobles and other bookstores— Lighting Source International (LSI) . They are a large company and they don’t hold your hand through the process. You need to know how to do everything yourself, but they are helpful to newbies. Transformed is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and recently GoodReads. When God Speaks is on Amazon, but not Barnes and Nobles. My newest book is available for preview on Create Space. I’d love for some of you to give me your input. https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1077348
What is it like having your own publishing company?
Transformation House is only six months old, but I have been approached by other authors to publish their work and I’m considering publishing a few books other than my own. I’m currently editing a proof of Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son—Overcoming Addictions through Prayer. I’m using CreateSpace to print this book because I was told they have more promotional tools, such as the preview noted above.
I find that the most difficult thing about self-publishing is marketing, but I’ve been told that’s true for many authors, even those who are published with traditional publishing houses. I’ve learned a lot and received some good advice from the self-publishing group and authors on Christian Writers. They recommended I join groups like GoodReads, and I just gave three free books away in a contest and was added to a number of people’s books to read. I’m learning about that aspect slowly. This is my least favorite thing about writing. I like to connect with people face to face, so working on-line is a whole new learning curve for me. I’ve joined Facebook, Listmania, Linked-in, GoodReads and created a blog to discuss Christian ideas and promote Transformation House books.
My reason for doing all this is not so much about making money, but more about writing and publishing books for people who need encouragement and hope during difficult times, that’s my focus. I would like Transformation House to become a self-sustaining ministry so I can give books away to people who are hurting. My web-site’s new logo, www.anitaestes.com, is “Delivering hope to the hopeless and truth with compassion.” That is my goal.
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