One of my absolute favorite parts of being a speaker is getting to connect with women and men after I speak, hear their stories, and help support them with their dreams and goals. A few weeks ago, I was speaking at an event in Lubbock, TX. After I spoke, a woman came up to me and told me after hearing my message she felt encouraged to run after God and His plan for her life, to stop making excuses for the right time or set of conditions and start today. She said she left my message feeling encouraged, inspired, and extremely blessed. She shared with me how she has a story she feels called to tell and, after hearing my message, she was sure God was calling her to share it with the world.
We jumped on a phone call a couple of weeks later to see how I could help support her in taking specific action to fulfill God’s calling for her life. During our conversation, I started to notice the questions she was asking me were similar questions I had been asked by other people consistently over time. At the end of the phone call she shared how helpful the information was for her, so today I’d like to share some of her questions and my responses in hopes the information will be helpful to you as well.
Who published Andrew’s books?
We self-published all of Andrew’s books. Andrew published Your Best Life Later through Xulon Press ( http://www.xulonpress.com/ ) and our contact there is Christopher Gonzalez. For A Gray Faith and The Ellie Project, we used Larry Carpenter with Carpenter Son’s Publishing/Clovercroft Publishing ( http://www.christianbookservices.com/ ).
We chose to self-publish A Gray Faith because time was limited. Andrew was battling cancer and wanted to complete the book as soon as possible. It does require spending some money to go this route, but it’s been a good fit for us as it gave us complete control over the books. This came into play specifically when I was able to publish The Ellie Project using Andrew’s original art and words. Since we were self-publishing, I had the final say, so I was able to tell the publisher, “NO, thank you,” to their idea of hiring an artist to replace Andrew’s drawings. Wasn’t happening. The self-publishing route has been a great fit for the goals we’ve wanted to accomplish with the books. I also recommend using an editor. I love mine! Her name is Julie Kragen and you can contact her at [email protected].
How did you get started speaking?
Andrew helped me start a blog in the summer of 2012. I discovered my long-lost passion for writing and once Andrew got diagnosed with cancer, I found a need to write constantly in order to process all our family was going through. To my surprise, some people started reading my blog posts and connecting with my family’s story. After Andrew passed away, I knew I had to speak, to carry on Andrew’s legacy, and to share A Gray Faith with the world, so I decided to write a blog post to the then-thousands of people following our journey, asking if they knew of opportunities for me to come tell our story and to share Andrew’s book.
I was blown away when people reached out from all over the country asking me to come share. I also started local. My first speech was at my parent’s Keller Williams office meeting in Denton, TX, and not long after, my high school alma mater invited me to speak at their staff devotional meeting. Start where you are and grow from there. In my experience, this journey takes patience, persistence, and the courage to say yes to all the speaking opportunities that come your way, even when you don’t feel ready. Trust you will grow with each experience and one opportunity will lead to the next.
I have much more to share on both of these topics, so I’m considering putting together a conference call or a webinar soon. If that would be helpful to you, please email me specific questions you would like for me to answer at [email protected]. You can also leave your questions in the comments below. Hope this information was helpful, as I want to see you soar and take massive action toward transforming your dreams into reality! Blessings.
PS – The month of May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month, so I’ve partnered with Head for the Cure to help raise money to find a cure for brain cancer. For the remainder of May, 20% of the proceeds from any purchases of Andrew’s books and/or stationery on www.ellieproject.com will go to Head for the Cure. Enter discount code: headforthecure at checkout.
PSS – If you are part of a church, small group, MOM’s group, book club, company, etc. looking for an inspirational speaker this summer, please shoot me an email at [email protected]. I’d love to talk with you more about coming to share my family’s journey and the powerful message of taking life’s challenges and transforming them into fuel to create a more meaningful and purposeful life.