Thursday, October 4, 2012

Part 2: Q & A with William Sirls, Author of The Reason

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Q & A with William Sirls – Part 2

I read that you went to WestBow before being published by Thomas Nelson. Does that mean there were many rejections first? Did you have an agent at that time? Why did you pick WestBow?

Whenever I think about this, I shake my head. God has been too good to me. I’m fortunate to have missed any rejection. Looking back, it’s funny, because I don’t think I ever had any intention of publishing the original story. When I was released from prison in 2010, I was given the opportunity by some family members to work on the book and hone it so that it was presentable to readers. I loved the creative control one has with self-publishing, so we started looking around with our three biggest goals being expanded editing, a good product, and distribution. I really didn't care about the book ending up on a shelf at a store … I wanted people to go online and get it if they wanted to read it … which brought us to WestBow.

I have a niece that loves doing research. She knew what we wanted, and she sent me a link with WestBow’s information and handful of pretty good reviews, so I gave them a call, and ultimately nobody compared to them. Since Thomas Nelson is the driving force behind WestBow, it was a pretty easy decision.

A few months before the self-published version of the book was going to be released, WestBow’s publisher and director of channel sales, Alan Bower, had me testing different titles and different covers with my group of trusted readers. Before long, we were comfortable with what we had and decided to print 100 advance copies to create a little buzz.

WestBow took some copies, I took some, and the rest went to friends and family.  I had also decided to call some of the biggest churches in the country and asked if they had any avid readers who would be interested in reading advanced copies of the book and maybe provide me with feedback.  Once I had permission, I included a letter with each copy. I introduced myself, provided my phone number and email address, and mentioned I would greatly appreciate it if the reader would let me know what they thought. 

I didn't hear anything for a month or so, and was expecting, at tops, maybe a half a dozen responses. I wanted to identify recurring themes or concerns readers had so that I could make revisions before the final version of the book was released.

Then I received my first email from a woman out west that said she enjoyed the book and couldn't wait for it to come out.  It was an awesome feeling. Then I received a phone call from a woman that ran a church bookstore, wanting to know how they could buy it.  Before I knew it, we had well over 200 responses from men, women, teenagers, and ministers, sharing how the book affected them in ways that I couldn't believe. Their responses have changed the reason I want to continue to write. Fortunately, one of those advance copies ended up on the desk of a receptionist at Thomas Nelson, and it was her response to the book that resulted in it being passed on to their fiction team. Just before we were to release the self-published version of The Reason, Thomas Nelson picked up the title along with a request for me to write two additional titles. Once again, God has been quite good to me, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Read part 3 of the interview tomorrow.
Read part 1 of the interview here:
Read review here:


  1. God is able to do far more than we can think or imagine. Seems like His handprints are all over this one.

    Blessings, Janice

  2. Thanks for the comment, Janice. You are so right.