The process I went through to create books with multiple contributors
Although my two anthologies have polar opposite origin stories, they were released in 2021 within a month of each other.
Writers on Writing
I didn’t start out intending to write a book.
I started with a desire to showcase the writers who contributed to our publication, Koinonia, on Medium.
Koinonia is a publication that Janis Cox and I started in 2019 and it grew from the two of us to over 400 contributors. Julie Ranson took over the reins in 2021 and continues to promote the values of fellowship through a Facebook group, the prayers, the scripture prompts, the recommendations of others’ writings, and more.
I started the interview series in May 2019 and featured one writer interview each Friday. The interviewee answered a series of questions, including where their ideas came from, influencers, writing goals, how their faith influenced their work, and things they learned. They included a minimum of two photos: one head & shoulder shot and one personal picture.
After reading the inspiring answers to the questions, I believed other writers would be blessed by reading these interviews if I shared them in book format.
I sent out an email to all the contributors asking them if they wanted to take part in this project. Of the 92 interviewees, 35 responded favourably.
I went to work right away.
I cut and pasted each interview from Medium into a Word document, added a bio to each writer’s contribution; then wrote the table of contents, introduction, conclusion, and information about Koinonia Publication.
In August 2021, I shared the draft of the book with the contributors. I removed some of the more specific-to-Medium questions and included the writers’ social media links in their bio. I gave them a deadline to review and submit any changes or edits.
In the meantime, I hired a graphic artist to design the book cover. I bounced title ideas around and settled on Writers on Writing — Interviews with Writers of Faith.
Once I completed the final edits from contributors, I uploaded the book to Amazon. I created both a paperback and e-book version.
Since being published in August 2021, the book has received high praise and many writers are encouraged by the interviews.
What’s Your Story
Every year at Christmas, I reflect on the last 365 days, review my goal planning notes from years past, and write new goals for the year.
In 2001, one of my goals was to write a book called What’s Your Story. I wanted to collect stories from people who were born-again Christians.
It wasn’t until 20 years later when I had contacts from Christians around the world that this goal would finally be realized.
Through Koinonia and social media, I sent out a request to believers asking if they’d be interested in being featured in a new series on Medium that would eventually be collected into a book.
I created a google form with questions for each contributor to answer including how old they were when they gave their heart to the Lord and what was their life like before and after they were saved.
Twenty-five people answered my request and sent in their stories.
In February 2021, I featured my own story as the first in the series. I featured each testimony on Tuesdays on Medium and then cut and paste them into Word format for the book.
In August 2021, I sent the first draft of the book to all contributors. They replied with feedback, edits, and necessary changes.
I hired the same graphic artist I had used for the writers’ anthology to create the title page. I kept the same title, What’s Your Story, and added a subtitle, Personal Testimonies to Encourage Your Faith.
In reading it through, I couldn’t help but smile and be warmed by the many testimonies of the saints. I uploaded it to Amazon and created both an e-book and a paperback version. The book released in September 2021.
Although the germ of the idea to create each anthology was diametrically different, I believe that each book was created with perfect timing.
Amid the uncertainty and chaos that the worldwide pandemic has brought into our lives, my prayer is that many readers will be blessed by the encouragement and hope that both these anthologies bring.
(First featured on Medium platform January15, 2022)