How Faith Paved My Road From Traditional to Self-Publishing

May 23, 2011

Stanice Anderson’s first two books were published by a traditional publisher. In this guest post, the author, inspirational speaker, and performance artist shares a story from her latest, much-praised, self-published book Walking on Water When the Ground Ain’t Enuf (see testimonials below). The excerpt reveals why and how a series of unfortunate circumstances and Stanice’s unwavering faith led her to publish the book herself.

by Stanice Anderson

In tough and desperate times when your creativity begs to be birthed, loose the confines of the ground; stand up in your faith and walk atop the waves…

In 2002, before the scheduled publication of my first memoir, I Say A Prayer For Me: One Woman’s Life of Faith and Triumph (Walk Worthy Press/Warner Books), my first agent and subsequent publisher Denise Stinson sternly said: “Stanice, becoming a published author carries with it a great responsibility to your readers. NEVER take it lightly! You will be accountable to God.” Or as Spiderman’s guardian told him, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Thus, as always, before I write or speak I whispered a simple prayer before penning this blog post for Writer Revealed: “Show me, Lord.”

In an instant, a thought so pure and sure was laid in my spirit as softly as a pillow on a freshly made bed: Make the most of this opportunity by sharing with Connie Briscoe’s readers the truest thing you possess. Your testimony. One that you’ve already written IS your submission!

“Already written, Lord?”

I saw His answer in my mind’s eye, like scrolling credits after a movie. I saw the title of my latest book’s first chapter, “Faith Testifies,” followed by the first story’s title, “Nobody Told Me The Road Would Be Easy.”

Confirmation! After all, it’s what I deliver from pages to podiums—my testimonies, my life’s stories.

So, I share with you my road from being a traditionally published author to an independent, self-published author (along with my son as co-publisher), through the following excerpt from the first story in Walking on Water When the Ground Ain’t Enuf.

* * *

It seemed that the words begged to be written and released into the world. This book wouldn’t take wait or maybe for an answer. When I insisted that we wait for my agent to shop it in the hope that it would be contracted by a New York publishing house, like my last book, I Say A Prayer For Me, everything inside me rose up with a resounding but inaudible, “No, that is NOT the route this time.”

Slowly, it became clear that my brilliant and connected agent was unable to sell it. She offered me consolation through her professional knowledge of the volatility of today’s market, which has hit everyone including the publishing houses. She took the time and gave me ideas on what the market could use and what I should write. Drop the non-fiction. Write novels. Give the people what they want. But sometimes, perhaps like me, they don’t know what they want until they see it, hear about it, see someone who’s been changed by it and wants it too. I can only write what I’m led to write at the time. Novels? Perhaps, later.

What does God want of me now? That was the question that was mine to ask and mine to wait for an answer. Though it tarried, I kept writing this manuscript, believing that it would be my next book.

One day, I felt led to approach a publisher friend on my own, and while she personally responded, “I love the title! I look forward to checking it out.” She deemed my proposed book a little too new and risky for the times—and passed.

Still I believed, if I waited and held on, God would send me a publisher. It made perfect sense to me. He’d done it twice before; but as time passed and my manuscript neared completion, restlessness plagued me until one evening as I pondered, “What now?” A conversation I had years ago with my mentor, Dorine, replayed in my head like I was hearing it for the first time, “Stanice, sometimes you can’t go with the sensible. You’ve got to go with your heart and your gut feeling.”

I meditated on it. Sat with it for a while. The words of life lessons over two decades in the making: Sometimes, you can’t go with the norm.

The truth in it grew louder and resonated within me. You can’t go with what others say or do. Or what you think it should be. Sometimes you’ve got to swim against the current. Remember we walk by faith and not by sight. In tough and desperate times when your creativity begs to be birthed, loose the confines of the ground; stand up in your faith and walk atop the waves with your eyes focused on Jesus and all He has brought you through thus far.

There comes a time, after the last phone calls are made and the computer screen goes into hibernation mode, when the inner urgings of your spirit call and you have to answer! On such a night, my spirit quivered as if touched by God, Himself, my mind and heart opened to a thought that before that moment either eluded me or in the noise of any ordinary day, I failed to recognize. Thoughts so pure I knew it could not be of an earthly origin, which is usually self-preserving, ambitious and selfish.

Now.

As I prepared myself to step up to the plate, a fast ball came out of left field in the form of a pink slip. Laid off from my job, I joined the ever-growing ranks of the unemployed. Couple the layoff with the necessity for double-knee surgery and it seemed like all hell had broken loose in my life. And just when I thought it was safe to get back in the water, my computer abruptly went to the dreaded blue screen, and then died. Everything I had ever written, including the manuscript for this book, was on the computer with no recent backup. How strategic that the attacks on my vision zeroed in on my finances, knees and computer. And while my computer could not be resurrected, an I.T. friend in California saved my computer’s soul—the hard drive. I walked on water—anyway. I wrote—anyway.

Assisted by family, friends, I gave inspirational talks, performed my one-woman show assisted by friends and a cane that I put aside once I hit the stage. I determined, deep in my soul, to let nothing stop me from walking on water. Yes, I determined to let nothing take my focus off of Jesus. I wrote on. I walked on—in the Spirit.

But even with that kind of resolve, in the stillness of the night, when emotional and physical pain seems greatest, and a positive end seems to elude me, in those moments, I’ve wavered. Looking at the pain instead of focusing on the promise. Listening to the whispers of doubt, rather than Jesus’ invitation, “Come, let us walk on the water, you and I,” which carries with it the power to enable me to do whatever He calls me to do.

Yet, immediately, like with Peter, he reached down—every time—and kept me from sinking.

Despite all of that and more, as far as this book project—STILL—everything inside me, shouted, NOW!

As my spirit leaped like a baby in a fertile womb, a string of words laced around my heart and formed sentences in my mind that seemed to come from the God of the universe:

Now is the time! Don’t worry about the resources you don’t have. Look to Me and know that you have every resource you will ever need in a thousand lifetimes at your disposal. Times are not just tough for you. There is nothing new under the sun and at this moment, like you, many are fearful of the unknown, disgusted and disappointed in the known, and hoping against all odds that they will triumph and get through these tough times.

People lost jobs today. Some lost loved ones. Today, people were diagnosed with illnesses or diseases and many were given prognoses that stung their psyches and crushed their hearts.

Today, people received foreclosure notices. They purchased one-half of a prescription in order to get two-thirds of the groceries they needed. Today the retiree looked for work they need in order to make ends meet.

Today women were raped and children’s lives and innocence were stolen.

For some, hope is dwindling as fast as a single mother’s groceries.

Again, the words resonated within like sonar pings tracked on a submarine’s monitor.

Now is the time! You can’t wait until your life is a mirror of perfection and everything around you seems to point to a secure and easy time. That perfect time, my daughter, will only come when you are flowing in one accord with Me and my Holy Spirit. Write, gather, and pray over the pieces you have already written. While you’re in the midst of getting through tough times, NOW is THE perfect time.

Thus, in faith, my son and I acted in faith and published this book that was destined to be—now.

* * *

Thank you for reading my truest. I pray that God has met you within the words, and that He will empower them to bless you from the inside out. Amen. So be it!
__________

Following are testimonials from the book jacket of Walking on Water When the Ground Ain’t Enuf–

“Stanice is real. When she speaks, she stands naked, sharing the beauty and the horror of her life. Her writing, full of heart and grace, is just the same.” —Sharon Ewell Foster, Christy Award-Winning Author

“With God-fearing candor, Stanice leaves an indelible mark on one’s soul,” —Victoria Christopher Murray, Essence bestselling author.

“Her words will make you soar above whatever is holding you down. Consider Walking On Water When The Ground Ain’t Enuf, as a jet ski polished to an amazing shine by years of walking in faith. Open the book covers, hop on board, and get ready to get your feet wet.” —Patrice Gaines, Author & former Washington Post Reporter

“Stanice Anderson is one of the most inspiring motivational speakers I know. She gives us truth (in love, of course) and all of her books will spur you to action and boost your faith.” —Carol M. Mackey, Author of Sistergirl Devotions

“Like its author, Walking on Water When The Ground Ain’t Enuf, is authentic, uplifting and inspired reading for anyone needing the wind at their back for transportation to a special place.” —S. Robert Morgan, Founder/Artistic Director, Essential Theatre & Actor, Butchie from HBO’s “The Wire”

“Powerful speaker. Inspirational woman.” —Zane

Stanice Anderson’s website, Walking On Water.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Connie Briscoe May 23, 2011 at 9:30 am

What a revealing and inspiring post, Stanice! Thanks for sharing.

I know you were recently featured in Black Enterprise magazine. How is the book doing sales wise? And how are you promoting it?

Reply

Stanice Anderson May 23, 2011 at 9:38 am

Sales are steadily increasing since Walking On Water When The Ground Ain’t Enuf came out in late December. However, sales are awesome after any of my talks, performances or WriteShops™. Thus, our promotion strategies include getting me in front of more live audiences, including radio and television, giving us the national platform that the previous traditionally published books brought.

We do a lots of events and I’ve never stopped nurturing relationships with readers and media, gained from my own memoir I Say A Prayer For Me (WWP/Warner 2002) and SistahFaith, an anthology edited by Marilynn Griffith (Howard/Simon & Schuster 2010), which contains two of my life- stories. The national audience is indeed a God-send and I continue to nurture and be nurtured by relationships with readers and media, some who’ve supported me since my first book, (12-Step Programs) came out in 1999.

Please understand that promoting and marketing is a steady grind; but with prayer and creativity (in that order) we see the results, in increasing sales and bookings and other doors flinging open.

My son and co-publisher, Mike Tucker, and I are a team, and we meld our strengths in promoting and marketing. Our promote strategy is innovative, multi-generational, and mostly Inspirational Speaker/Performance driven. We understand the market is saturated with books by an inordinate amount of voices; especially with the self-publishing so the “in thing.” So we give our unique voices rise and play to our strengths.

Mike is a journalist; yet a creative genius with press releases, short promotional copy that pops, off- and online promotion and marketing, event planning, and editing. He’s also a trendsetter and has two fingers on the fluctuating pulse of his generation.

I’m the writer of many words (LOL), a speaker who comes alive in front of a live audience; a performing artist by birth, and one-step short from a stand-up comedienne’s calling; I love interacting with and inspiring people, and I’ve been blessed with a testimony filled with miracles and hope that I MUST share; so give me a platform and I’m gone! I do my thing. Thus, our promotion and marketing strategies are built with those truths in mind.

Together, we understand that Ordinary and Mediocre are OUT! Pizazz, fun, unforgettable inspirational experiences, and excellence are IN! So we concentrate on innovative events and booking me as an Inspirational Speaker.

If you give people a reason to come out and once they come make them ecstatic that they came, they will vigorously share you with others. These satisfied event attendees and audiences equate to purchasers of books and services. Most on the spot—others; later. Great books, talks, events, & spin-off products equate to satisfied and inspired people who will keep coming back for more of what you have to offer and share you, enthusiastically, with others.

Reply

baker May 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

This was so hopeful. The message is never give up your dreams as bad a things might get. If you give up your dreams then what is left for you? Thanks for reminding me!

Reply

Stanice Anderson May 26, 2011 at 6:27 pm

thanks for taking the time to read and leave comments, @baker. It means a lot. God is blessing you, right now!

Reply

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