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Guest Blog-From Struggling Reader to Published Author by Stefanie Potts

20th May, 2021

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For my next 2 blogs, I will be featuring 2 guest bloggers who I had the pleasure of connecting with on Facebook. Today's blog is by Stefanie Potts, enjoy!

I most certainly did not choose a writing career. I defiantly never imaged the title author behind my name. Writing chose me, or shall we say God has a funny sense of humor.

Growing up, I struggled to read. If I’m honest, I wasn’t a proficient reader until my second semester of college when I took Introduction to teaching Reading as one of my major courses to receive my Bachelor of Science in Education.

I had many strategies I learned over the years as a student to get by, but reading was always a struggle; however, I did love stories. In fact, I still love to listen to people tell stories. I love to watch movies for the story line. I loved to listen to people tell their life stories. I am fascinated by people’s relationships with others.

Graduating with a degree in Education and spending some time in a local public school system, I came to know just how important reading was. Books help students on so many levels. In your early years of school, it is said that you learn to read, but as you progress through the grades (about 3rd grade in the United States/8years old), there is a shift in learning. The shift is from learning to read, to reading to learn. This makes it quite difficult for students like I was to be successful in school. If you still have not mastered the art of reading you quickly fall behind in everything. Subjects you used to excel in now have become a struggle. Not because the subject itself is a struggle, but rather you are not able to keep up with the reading and comprehend the content. Talk about a blow to one’s self-esteem. The things you thought you were good at suddenly become a struggle.

Even when students struggle to read, books can still be used as tool to help with life experiences, transitions, and major life changes. In a school setting books are often used to introduce a new topic or skill.

When I finally became pregnant with my second child, my first child was already 4 years old. So, he was old enough to have a conversation with about a new baby entering our home.

So, what does every good teacher do????? That’s right, I searched high and low for the perfect big brother/big sibling book. There are many out there some of which are wonderful at explaining basic changes in the home. You are going to have to wait. Help mom get a diaper……….  Yet, some of them were not so great, at times it felt they were even creating animosity in the home towards the new baby, by resenting the changes in the home. It was almost as if some of these books portrayed the baby as a homewrecker.

Through all of these books, I felt like there was one specific topic or theme I was looking for that I just couldn’t find. It was the theme of bonding with a new sibling through love and appreciation. I wanted to foster a relationship between my children before my second was even out of the whom.

About this time, I came across a quote by Toni Morrison. She wrote, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” It was if she had written that quote just for me in that moment. Ha Funny! I put that into the back of my mind and went about my life.

As I approached the end of my second pregnancy, I had a story playing over and over again in my head.

There was about a week straight of me awakening out of a deep sleep with this story playing in my head. I felt as if it was a nudge from God to write this book.

Finally, about 6 or 7 days of being woke up in the dead of night, I got out of bed and I typed a manuscript of what would eventually become my book. It didn’t take but 45 minutes to write. I saved it on my computer with the intention to never pick it up again. I did my job. I wrote the story down. There was nothing that was going to become of it. Remember, I couldn’t even read as a child; so, how could I write a book?

Time went on and I became pregnant with my third child. The book crossed my mind again. Gosh, what a shame, here is another great opportunity to use a book that fostered love and relationships between siblings right from the womb.

Then I had this great thought!!!! If this really was God’s way of nudging me and this really was his will, He would make it happen. All I needed to do was send it to a few mainstream children’s publishers and the rest was up to God. It was going to be a BESTSELLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, I did exactly that. I sent it off to all the big publishers of children’s books, that I could find. AND……………………………….. I didn’t hear back from a single one.

Ok, well than I heard unless you have a Big Name or a national story or event that happened in your life it’s near impossible to get a big publisher to pick up your book.

So, I tried some smaller publishers I found online; however, most of them wanted between $10K and $15K to publish my children’s book. Although I had felt like God had gifted me this idea for a children’s book, He certainly didn’t gift me the finances to support it. I also didn’t believe the publishers were all that interested in my story. It appeared they were interested in my money. After all, I didn’t feel like I got all that much for the money I was to give them. They just got your book published and they were done, the rest was up to you.

Maybe I misread God’s nudges. Maybe this was not His will, but secretly my will. I was done; I wasn’t supposed to me an author anyways.

My heart was quiet for a time, but the book always came back to haunt me.

I started following other authors and their pages on Facebook. I read their publishing stories and I networked. I did a lot of searching and a lot of listening.

I came across a publisher that seemed to align with my book. I set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of working with them to publish my book. It was like divine intervention. This publisher seemed as interested in my story as I was. The vision for my book became whole. They expanded the purpose of my book beyond what I had even envisioned . It felt like it was meant to be. The best part….. This was not just a “Here’s your book, good luck!” This was a working relationship. Alongside, publishing my book they were investing in me as a person and marketing my story. They gave me the tools to get my book out there. They offer all kinds of training to continue to share my story.

My favorite part of my publishing journey……. Along the journey with this publisher…………. I became pregnant with my fourth baby, my first girl. Totally by coincidence or maybe more by God’s plan that I did not see…… My book became live and available for purchase on the very same day I gave birth to my daughter. There was an overwhelming sense of completion. In that moment it felt as though Matthew 25:21 had been written just for me. “His Lord, said unto him, Well done, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

This may be the end of my journey to getting this book published, but I know this is not the end of my story. I look forward to where this book takes me and what other stories God has to tell through me.

This was not an easy journey, but it’s one I’m sure glad I followed. It was worth the ride.


Stefanie Potts – Author of On My Way

Mom blogger at Purposely Parenting 365 on Facebook and Instagram

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