James Michael Castleton
"There is nothing like the publishing experience to teach you who you are and who you need to become."
Author James Michael Castleton explains why he chose to self-publish his book, Mending of a Broken Heart, with WestBow Press.
Choosing to Self-Publish with WestBow Press
James Michael Castleton: So I came to WestBow after a pretty thorough process of evaluation. When I decided to publish, the major question in my mind was whether to pursue traditional or mainline publishing, or self-assisted publishing. So I spent several months understanding the similarities and differences between the two.
Self-assisted publishing has become increasingly sophisticated and increasingly able to offer authors the full portfolio of services that previously were available only through traditional publishers.
One of the things that was very attractive to me about WestBow is its affiliation with Zondervan and HarperCollins. The ability to stay actively involved in my project, help direct its marketing and publicity, as well as having available to me full professional editing and marketing services was very attractive from the standpoint of self-publishing.
Growing as an Author with WestBow Press
James Michael Castleton: So there’s always a need for people to write. Everyone has a story to tell, and each generation has its own questions that it needs to have answered if we’re going to live meaningful and fulfilling lives. So publishing my book allowed me to answer a question that has been deeply meaningful to me for most of my life.
But beyond that, there is nothing like the publishing experience to teach you who you are and who you need to become. It is probably one of the most demanding and grueling, yet one of the most rewarding, processes that someone could undertake. All I can say is that I’ve grown immeasurably as a result of it. I’ve learned my strengths, I’ve learned my weaknesses, and I’ve learned how to persevere in the midst of a very difficult and challenging industry.
"I came to the conclusion that before the soul can be healed, it first must be reformed."
Author James Michael Castleton shares what persuaded him to write his first book, Mending of a Broken Heart.
Writing the Book Mending of a Broken Heart
James Michael Castleton: I’ve been a physician for about 30 years. I was born and raised in California. I enjoy hiking in the backcountry of the High Sierra, sunrise photography, reading and writing poetry.
I’ve been working on Mending of a Broken Heart, my current book, for about five years, but I have been writing off and on for nearly most of my career. I found that writing, for me, was and has always been the best way to answer a question. So, whenever I had a question that I really was seeking the answer to, I’d sit down and work that out for myself in writing.
Self-Publishing Mending of a Broken Heart
James Michael Castleton: The biggest reward I’ve received from publishing my book with WestBow Press is answering the question that started the whole process, namely the nature of meaning and the purpose that gives life hope.
About 10 years ago, life brought me to the point where I needed to answer the question of meaning for myself. That question led me to faith. I came to the conclusion that before the soul can be healed, it first must be reformed. I learned that the question of meaning will eventually beg questions and answers about which faith has a lot to say.
And Mending of a Broken Heart approaches the topic of meaning from multiple perspectives. It does so from the perspective of Greek philosophy, anthropology, medicine, Eastern philosophy and faith. It discusses how each can contribute to understanding meaning, where some fall short, and how faith provides unique answers to this question.
Receiving His Book
James Michael Castleton: It felt amazing to hold the book. It’s been a long journey, a challenging journey, but there’s nothing more rewarding to seeing your work in print.
"Publishing is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. There’s a reason it’s been said that writing the book is the easy part."
Author James Michael Castleton offers self-publishing advice to aspiring authors. He explains what challenged him during the process and the steps he took to move forward and finish his book, Mending of a Broken Heart.
Advice on Self-Publishing
James Michael Castleton: Every author will face challenges in his or her writing journey. One of the biggest challenges for me was simply setting aside the time on a regular basis to write.
One of the things I’ve learned is that you can’t write simply when you’re feeling inspired, but you need to write on a regular basis to bring your project to conclusion. The other thing, perhaps, that’s been the biggest challenge is learning and understanding the grit and determination it takes to market and promote your book to the public at large.
Publishing is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. There’s a reason it’s been said that writing the book is the easy part. That’s maybe 20 percent of the journey. Eighty percent of the journey is what it takes to bring your book to market.
It’s a very competitive and a very demanding market, and each author owes him or herself the dedication to take the time to learn what it takes to become an author. I think if you do, you’ll learn the value of having the sort of team behind you that WestBow offers.