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As I work with my amazing Marketing Director Patty on getting things ready to promote the book I have had to grow a new muscle. That would be the muscle of brevity and/or concise…ness. If you’ve been with me for all of these years you know that I’m much better at that for a sermon (never longer than 25 minutes) than I am in writing. She has been great to work with and I’m learning and trusting a lot.

So, maybe even to get it out of my system, I’m going to word vomit all over this blogpost before continuing (starting really) my social media campaign for the book. Beyond needing to write it all out, I want you all to be updated as to what has been going on. Some of you have cried alongside me as I have written about the best and worst moments we’ve had over the years. Others of you have come along as the years progressed. You all mean a lot to me so I wanted to keep you in the loop.

The book is something I have been working on for the past 4 years. I was never really sure that it was going to be a book (rather than just a Google doc) but always hoped that something would happen. Then, it did. I came across Christian Editing and Design and was blown away by them. I met with another company as well (doing my due diligence) but they just confirmed that I should go with CED.

At this point I will point out the difference between hiring a company to put the book together and self-publishing vs being published by an established company. The main reason one would prefer to be published is for credibility. It shows the public that there is something worth buying here. Further, it gets your book into book stores and into a greater distribution online. After hearing from people who have gone down this path, I chose to hire CED (which you can do and still take THAT book to publishers) and self publish. Here’s why…

My story is my credibility. I haven’t put together a page turning fiction piece or even an inspirational devotional. This is OUR story, mine, Rachel, Joe, Bella, TREY, and all of you…our story. I don’t need someone who hasn’t been with us to anoint our story as valid or worth reading. Beyond that, I don’t inherently care if this even ends up in bookstores (it most likely will not). If what I believe will happen comes true, this book will get into the hands of those who need to read it by those who love and care for them and many more (more on marketing later). Also, very often, when you get “picked up” by a publisher you have to buy “x” amount of your books in order for them to even publish it. One man I spoke with is sitting on 400 copies (he’s given away many) of his book after paying the publisher $7,000. Lastly, when you go with a publisher, it’s their book and they ultimately can make the call as to what does or does not go into the final script. You can fight for what you want but I’m not about to spend my emotional energy fighting for my story. I’d rather my time and mental effort went into putting out the best book possible, helping the most people possible, and getting into the right people’s hands. Every moment I’ve worked with CED has proven this to be a wise decision.

When I hired CED, I got a whole team. The owner of the company checks in with me from time to time. I have a project manager who responds to me within minutes. I have spent a month working with my content editor. Now, the copy editor has the script and will eventually pass it on to my final editor. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with my cover page designer even before I had the title of the book solidified or any idea of what the cover would look like. Soon, I will start working with my interior designer and choosing which pictures to add and where they go. I mentioned Patty earlier, she is outstanding and only getting started. When I spoke with someone who went with a publisher and told them about “my team” he said, “Yeah, I’m jealous. I didn’t get any of that.” I have been nothing but confirmed in this decision.

The process has been fun, exhilarating, educational, and challenging. I have learned how to use editing functions that I didn’t know existed. I have not only hired a company but have been blessed with adding (to a degree) family. They are now members of Team Mitlo – One (if you know you know). Each of them has taken the time to know our story and has shared how it has impacted them. They treat this with the respect that you would hope. Along with all of that, they are all…like me, like us. They have been through life, they get it. They don’t like to play the Christianese game. They have a faith that has stood the test of time and experience. Perhaps the most valuable input they’ve given me drastically added to the scope of the book.

Janet, my content editor, was bringing me along through my first edit. Each chapter of the book has a section of what we went through but then a “for you” section that is for anyone going through their child having a life threatening diagnosis. Janet suggested a “Hey Christians!” section for those who want to help but very often end up making things worse (I told you that they get it). It was that suggestion that finalized the title for the book, added to each chapter, and expanded the book for so many more people to read. The title is “Stand – Emotionally and Practically Surviving When a Child Gets a Life Threatening Diagnosis. There’s still our section of each chapter. Then, for those whose child is diagnosed and those immediately around them there’s a section of each chapter called “How to Stand,” and for all of those wanting to come alongside the family in their battle, “How to Help Them Stand.” Whereas before only people who knew us or had a child in danger would be inclined to read this book, now everyone SHOULD read this book. The new sections give people insight and instruction as to how to best help people going through this. You all blessed us so much and now we can share with everyone how to do what you did! Whereas my original goal was to take what we went through and have it be put to good use to parents facing the worst time of their life, now that goal has only expanded.

How will we get this to the people who want/need to read it? Here’s our marketing plan. Patty will be working on a lot of the online distribution and how to market it that way. I have come up with this.

  1. I already posted about giving people the opportunity to be a part of “Tribute” section. I look forward to more people hearing about this as we move along. Won’t you help me spread that word?
  2. People purchasing the book for their hospitals. Going through hospitals directly can be a painstaking process with budget meetings and line items and blue tape. However when people, wherever they live, get copies of this book into the hands of those caring for people receiving this diagnosis, there is a much greater chance of getting a re-order moving forward.
  3. People purchasing copies for organizations like Pressing On. Pressing On is a Pittsburgh based organization that comes alongside families in Children’s Hospitals. Each book given to them WILL get into the hands of people who need it. There are other organization like Pressing On (but clearly not as good…I’m biased) in many cities across the United State.
  4. People purchasing copies for the leadership of their church. Anyone in the care ministries and/or leadership of a church could benefit from hearing our story and hearing our input on how to help.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my niece Mia helping me with my promotional videos/reels. She’s a film major at Liberty and perfectly suited to direct and produce them. We persevered through noisy neighbors, birds, cars, and a mean fly to make 5 – 30 second videos…in 2.5 hours. They will be released (and more created) this week!

Lastly, I will be posting soon about how to Partner with me in this process. We have funded this ourselves so far as we felt led to do so that we could get started right away. Partners will be those who contribute:

Contributor $100
Supporter $250 (Name mentioned in “Thank You” section of book
Producer $500 (Mentioned in “Thank You” AND on back cover
Angel $2,000 (All the above and being mentioned in any speaking engagement
pertaining to the book)

All Partners are invited to a Pre-Release Party.

So that’s it, that’s where we are right now. Thank you for reading this. Thanks for coming alongside us for so long. If you could, pass this on to whoever might want to be involved and stay tuned for more updates and ways to be involved!

***It has been lovingly brought to my attention that I did not explain HOW you can become a partner. Please email me at and let me know of your intentions. I am humbled by your interest and desire to be a part of this!***

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