Persistence Pays Off

Recently I reviewed a book and promised the author I’d post my review on this website. The book is charming and suitable for all ages. Here is what I wrote:

The Doctor of Bellechester by Margaret A. Blenkush is a pleasant read with likeable main characters. It is just the book to curl up with on cold winter evenings or to take with you on a vacation. The setting is an English hospital, where Dr. Merton is in search of a junior doctor to replace him when he retires from his practice in the small town of Bellechester. A touch of mystery now and then—especially concerning a kind young woman—creates suspense and engages readers. Just the right amount of description facilitates visualizing the story as it unfolds. Realistically, issues related to women today surface here in 1959 as well. Fans of medical stories and shows in particular will be pleased with the book’s details of hospital life and treatments. Although the book can stand alone, readers can anticipate following the adventures of Dr. M.E. Senty in the rest of the series. It is suitable for all ages.”

My goal in life was to be a freshmen English teacher at Notre Dame Academy. Never happened. Most of my adult life has been spent writing books. A few years ago, my journey took another turn. A friend asked me to help her get her book published. Traditional publishers were not inclined to accept it. Her request introduced me to Amazon’s self-publishing feature.

One of my own books brought back to life

Doggedly I learned the system, and my friend’s book was successfully produced. This led to a new ministry: I publish other people’s books—so far eleven of them. And I’ve taught others to use the system, now known as Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Having mastered the kdp process, I’ve been able to publish authors’ books that have gone out of print—in particular my own! One of these authors was delighted this week when she received an order for thirty of her re-published books. That made me happy too. I feel like a midwife.

Working with kdp has sometimes been a struggle, making me identify with the Little Engine That Could. Page numbers appear on the wrong pages, you’re told the fonts aren’t embedded, the cover you’ve painstakingly designed disappears. Solving such problems can entail emails, chats, and phone calls with Amazon personnel. Despite the temptation to quit, we must try, try again until by persevering, the problem is solved. This experience is an apt metaphor for problems that life throws our way. In my formation years in the convent, one of our favorite songs was called “Never Give Up.” I try to take that to heart.

John Whittier wrote “Don’t Quit,” an encouraging poem that echoes this idea.

I’ve also been editing books as a side ministry, almost twenty of them. This week one author notified me that her book won first place in the Catholic Media Awards category books for youth ages 10-16. She wrote, “I believe that your professional editing helped boost it to the top. Thanks for sharing your expertise.” This is very gratifying.

So although my classroom teaching days ended some time ago, I’m having a fulfilling life in ways I never dreamed. Who knows what’s next?

• Have your dreams been altered, maybe for the better?

Here is a powerful rendition of an old favorite: “Climb Every Mountain.”

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