My determination to write a book was not centered around a computer in a quiet room, writing and writing until the final project was polished and ready for review. Instead, it was a long three-year project and the result of reminiscing from the heart and pains of the past with the sole purpose of encouraging others.

Because of a reading disability—dyslexia—my words are carefully thought out, read over and over, until the sentence structure is accurate and words are spelled correctly. Words come together to form sentences. The sentences then shape the chapters until the book is completed.

Lots of thought went into not only the production of the book itself but also in a marketing plan. My decision to self-publish led me into uncharted territory.

The cover needed to draw attention to the book. The title, Gathering Courage: A Life Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability,was designed around a unique picture of the Snake River, Wyoming. I chose a picture taken by a friend who was paddling in a canoe through the shadows of the majestic Grand Teton Mountain range.

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Part of my marketing plan was to enter a book award contest and get reviews from readers. If these reviews were positive then I would go for the best of the best, a Kirkus review. To my complete amazement, in less than 30 days after printing the proof copies, Gathering Courage won two North American Book Awards. Reviews starting coming in and the results were amazing.

Even though I had received such great reviews, I knew a Kirkus review was highly regarded by school librarians, booksellers, and interested readers. A positive Kirkus review would open the doors especially to school libraries and to educators who work with struggling students. As an educator, I see students who struggle with the same reading disability that I have. Dyslexia is why I tell my story to a group of young students working hard to learn strategies that will help them succeed. Having my book in a library would be of great benefit. 

Receiving a positive review from Kirkus was far more than I could have ever imagined. Kirkus selected a reviewer who was interested in inspirational memoirs. That reviewer definitely read the entire book and gave Gathering Courage an honest review that will help me, as a self-published author, to stand taller in a crowd of other great books.

Thank you Kirkus Reviews.