Look Inside: NIV Beautiful Word Bible

Posted by on 07/25/2016 in:

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The NIV Beautiful Word Bible features five hundred familiar verses chosen from every book of the Bible. Verses from beloved stories, prophecies, and promises are artfully illustrated in full color to enhance your devotional experience in God’s Word, and perhaps even inspire you to take up your art pad and colored pencils and create your own unique Scripture artwork.

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To read the text and view the illustrations in the Olive Tree Bible App, simply select the NIV Beautiful Word Bible as your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Tapping on any of the images will bring it up in its own window, where you can pinch to zoom in. The Bible text has been designed for viewing in a single pane. This allows you to scroll up and down to see the images inline and in context with the verse from which they are drawn. Or use the Verse Chooser to go directly to any Bible chapter and verse you like. And as with any Olive Tree Bible text, you can add your own notes, highlight words or verses, and bookmark your favorite passages.

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And the visually appealing illustrated Bible verses from the NIV Beautiful Word Bible are available for you in the Olive Tree Bible App, even if you have a different Bible text open. Just tap and drag the split window to access the Resource Guide in the App.

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Whenever the NIV Beautiful Word Bible has an illustration for a verse in your main window, that illustration will appear in the Resource Guide (under Images). Just tap to view it in the Resource Guide.

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Add the NIV Beautiful Word Bible to your library today!

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Look Inside: Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible

Posted by on 07/21/2016 in: ,

By Olive Tree Employee: Genny Gager

Bible commentaries and study notes are great tools for understanding what the Bible has to say to us today. Often overlooked, however, is the value that using scripture to understand scripture can bring. God’s inspired word is a complex tapestry of themes all woven together, and the development of those themes can provide us with insight into the relevant message of the Bible for today’s readers.

Finding our way around these themes can be a daunting task, especially given the variety of subjects covered in the Bible. A word search can be helpful, but it can give an incomplete picture due to the complexity of language and the context in which words are used. The great news is that Olive Tree offers the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, which links various themes together as they are touched upon and developed throughout Scripture. The very heart of this product is the thematic chains that number in the thousands, and people at all stages of learning about the Bible have used it in the 100 years since its initial release. The Thompson Chain resource is also a great study Bible, offering cross references, book outlines, book introductions, maps, and harmonies to aid us in our study.

We’ve put quite a bit of attention into converting the rich topical content so it can be used in the Bible Study app. Our goal was to make navigating the famous topical chains easy and intuitive and to allow quick access to the additional materials as well.

We’re going to walk through a quick example of how the Bible Study App can make navigating the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible enjoyable and easy. The example uses and refers to the iPad version of our software. We’ve designed this resource to work seamlessly with the built-in resource guide.  Although we’ll be relying on the iPad version in our example, other versions of our app will have similar functionality.

If you want to follow along with the example, bring 1 Samuel chapter 17 up in your Bible. With everything set up, the screen will look similar to this (your screen may look a little different depending on what resources you have and how you have your resource guide set up):

To activate the chains, tap the name of the Thompson Chain under the commentaries section of your resource guide. Your split-window view will change to a listing of verses directly related to your location:

Choose the verse you want by tapping on it in the split window. In this example we’ll choose 17:4:

You can now choose the theme you want to explore in the list under that verse, for instance choosing 1409, Giants, results in the following:

Now it’s as easy as tapping on each verse reference to get a popup where you can read the appropriate Bible text.

When you are done with this chain, you can tap the back arrow at the upper left corner of the split screen to return to the verse menu.

The wealth of other information in the Thompson Chain resource is easily available as well. Return to the base screen of the resource guide by tapping the back arrow until your screen looks similar to this:

Notice the entries for the Thompson Chain located in the Introductions and Outlines sections. Just tap on an entry to quickly access the information.
Finally, some other gems are available but a little less obvious. For this example, tap the David entry under the People section. After you’ve tapped on it, the screen will look like this:

The Resource Guide automatically shows you that there is an article on David available in the Thompson Chain resource. Tap on the article to read it.

There is also an image on the Journeys and Life of David under the Images section that you can open.

Tap the “double arrows” to make the image full screen, and pinch and zoom to make the image larger:

We hope that this quick example will help you explore and learn about the Bible with the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible, a trusted resource that has been used by generations of Bible enthusiasts. When used in combination with the Bible Study App, you are just a few taps away from unlocking the themes of the Bible as they weave in and out of the entire text.

Right now you can get the Thompson Chain Reference Study Bible for 40% off the regular price.

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Works of William Perkins

Posted by on 07/19/2016 in: ,

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By Olive Tree Employee: Harold Coleman

Who is William Perkins and why are his writings relevant to us today? These are fair questions to ask about a man who wrote over 400 years ago. His life and writings spanned the early decades of English Protestantism during the Elizabethan period. He is thought by many to be the father of Puritanism, not as its founder but as its defender and as a developer of its theological positions. As a moderate Puritan, he worked from within the Church of England, slowly influencing the church towards Protestantism. His writings were so popular that the numbers of copies sold often outnumbered many contemporary Reformed writers combined.

Perkins held to the doctrine of Solus Christus (Christ alone) and Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) as the twin foundations of biblical preaching. He was an advocate of unclear Scriptures being interpreted by clearer portions of Scripture, rather than by tradition or speculation. He was a strong proponent of double predestination, which was criticized by his contemporary, Jacobus Arminius. As a reformer, he speaks to our use of Scripture today. Is understanding Christ the focus of our study in the Old as well as the New Testament? Do we rely on traditional understandings of tough passages or do we dig into Scripture in light of other Scriptures that are clearer?

Volume one of his works contains three sections: “A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament”, “The Combat between Christ and the Devil”, and “A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount”.

A Harmony of the Books of the Old and New Testament lays out how biblical history intersects with the history of the world during biblical times. Perkins believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and that the Holy Spirit accurately represented God’s intent through Scripture’s human authors. This section begins with an unbroken progression of years from Adam to Solomon. At that point, he could tie in secular historical facts as they were known in his time in order to date the Bible from Solomon through the New Testament book of Revelation. With updated archaeological information, modern readers may have different understandings of those dates, but seeing Perkins’ dates is informative.

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What I find most important in this section is the extensive timeline of events through biblical history that correspond to chapters about these events. These chapters are particularly helpful in putting together the bigger picture of 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles. These scriptural links can be accessed through the commentary notes in the Resource Guide as you study passages of the Bible in your main window. By adding a note to the dating of an event with a calculation to the Julian calendar, I can add my own estimated B.C. or A.D. dating of the event according to Perkins. This gives me a point of comparison with date estimates that have come since Perkins’ time. While this timeline doesn’t serve as an outline of any book, particularly in subject or doctrinal matters, it helps to put any biblical event in perspective with other events.

The Combat between Christ and the Devil considers the battle waged in heaven and on earth through the end of Revelation. It is an extensive commentary on Matthew 4:1-11, with implications for individual believers and the church as they too are assaulted by the schemes of the Devil. In reading this section, modern believers will see that we experience similar temptations and assaults but also have a high priest who knows our troubles from his own experience.

A Godly and Learned Exposition of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount is crucial to Perkins’ understanding of the Gospel. He saw the Sermon on the Mount as the cornerstone to the Gospel because it is authored by Jesus himself after a whole night in prayer. He breaks the sermon into twelve branches. In this commentary, he has a style of making points, arguments, answering objections, and then expounding on ‘The Use’ (application) of the section covered. His style offers a model for preaching or teaching directly from Scripture. His commentary is lengthy in its analysis and explanations of points and objections but is very readable. Although Perkins taught at Cambridge, he doesn’t lose the reader in deep discussion of Greek or theological fine points. His intention is to instruct the pastor or devoted student of God’s Word thoroughly and practically, as he saw modeled by Jesus. In sermon preparation, you can find years of material in this single commentary on the Sermon on the Mount that will provide insights for returning to this most famous sermon many times.

Volume Two of Perkins’ works is a commentary on Galatians. It is the compilation of three years of sermons by Perkins on Galatians 1-5. After his death, Ralph Cudworth edited the sermon notes into this commentary and added his own commentary of chapter six to complete it. Much like Luther and Calvin, Perkins saw the importance of this letter as differentiating between the old Law of Moses and the new law of grace as given through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Writing at the early stages of Protestantism, he draws out the importance of a biblical view of law and grace and argues against traditions that may be as relevant today as they were in his time. He believed that as Christ taught in plain speech, his sermons should also be plain to understand.

You can now add this classic resource to your Olive Tree library!

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What’s the difference between a Concordance and a Cross Reference ?

Posted by on 07/18/2016 in: ,

Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s intimidating to ask what something is when it seems like we should already know. Maybe you’ve heard of the theological term or Bible study method before, but that doesn’t mean you know what it actually is and it can be embarrassing to ask.  Well, we’re here to help. In this blog we’ll talk about the difference between a Concordance and a Cross-Reference and how they can help you in your own Bible study.

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Cross References

A cross reference is a verse that has a similar theme or topic as the verse that you are reading. In the Olive Tree Bible App these are most easily found in the Resource Guide under Related Verses.

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In the above screenshot I’m reading Ephesians 4 in the NIV. Under related verses I see nine cross reference entries that are already a part of the NIV translation. I can tap the resource of my choice to bring up the specific cross references related to the text open in my main window.

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I chose the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and now see a list of topics and words sorted by verse. The great thing about the Bible App is that I can tap any of these verses for a quick look without having to leave my primary reading.

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Cross references are a great tool when you are trying to study themes or topics found in all of scripture. But if you are wanting to do a specific word study then you’ll want to use a concordance.

Concordance

A concordance offers more precise lookups on specific words than a cross reference and shows you where those words appear throughout scripture. Like cross references, many Bible translations include a brief concordance section with the text but in order to do comprehensive word study a dedicated resource is the way to go. In the Bible App the easiest way to use a concordance is via the Lookup feature.

In this screenshot I’ve tapped on the word patience in Ephesians 4:2. I then tap on Lookup.

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Then I’ll select the Olive Tree NIV Concordance.

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Now I get a list of where the word patient appears throughout the Bible and I can easily access those verses in the popup window for easy reading.

You’ll notice that Olive Tree Concordance’s actually have three options.

  1. The verse references are a list of where the English word patient shows up throughout the Bible.
  2. The Strong’s numbers are where the Hebrew and Greek words that are translated as patient appear throughout the text.
  3. And the dictionary takes me to an explanation of the Hebrew or Greek word.

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Recap

As you can see there are differences between a Cross Reference resource and a Concordance.

If you are looking for related themes and topics to the scripture passage you are reading, a Cross Reference is a great tool.

If you want to do specific word study across Greek, Hebrew, and English then a Concordance will be a tremendous help.

Go here to see what Concordance and Cross Reference resources are available for the Olive Tree Bible App.

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Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK)

Posted by on 07/15/2016 in: ,

The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) is the best known and most widely used collection of 500,000 Scripture references and parallel passages. By using The TSK in Olive Tree Bible App you’ll save tons of time and effort.  No longer do you have to leave your original text to search for a reference.

I’ll demonstrate how to use it with the Bible App running on an iPad.

First, select your preferred Bible translation in the main window. Then tap and drag the split window to access the Resource Guide in the App. The Resource Guide takes your downloaded material and connects it with the text you have open in the main window.

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Under the ‘Related Verses’ section you’ll see resources listed along with a number badge. The number indicates how many entries there are in that resource for the text that is open in the main window. Since I have the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) installed, the Bible App has found cross references relevant to the Titus passage I’m reading. I can then tap on the TSK to see all 19 entries that are indicated.

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The TSK organizes these cross references by topic and by verse making it easy to do further study on the particular themes found in Titus.

I can then tap the reference in the TSK and view it as a popup, or even split it out into a new window without leaving my original text.  This feature alone saves me valuable time that I’d otherwise spend flipping back and forth between references.

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As you can see, having the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) cross references in the Bible App will help you broaden your biblical understanding of specific themes and enable you to quickly study large portions of scripture.

What are some ways that you’ve utilized the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (TSK) to deepen your Bible Study?

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Share Some Encouragement

Posted by on 07/06/2016 in: ,

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If you’ve ever been through a tough season in your life than you know how important it is to get support and encouragement from those close to you. A kind word can be a much needed ray of hope and really give you the perspective you need.

From your smartphone you can easily text a quick word or prayer to a friend right when you’re thinking of them. With the Olive Tree Bible App you can actually share a scripture verse or even an entire devotional reading right from the app, via text, to your friend or loved one who needs to be encouraged. Here’s how to easily share right from the app!

For Android

  1. Tap and hold to select the text you want to share.
  2. Select ‘Share’ in the menu bar. For some phones you’ll need to scroll the menu bar to the side to see the share button.
  3. Select your messaging app and then enter the recipient just as you would for any text message.

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For iOS

  1. Tap and hold to select the text you want to share.
  2. Select ‘Share’ in the menu bar. For some phones you’ll need to scroll the menu bar to the side to see the share button.
  3. Select your messaging app and then enter the recipient just as you would for any text messaging.

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This sharing feature works with any type of word based resource like a Bible, Devotional, eBook and more. Try it out today and share some encouragement with someone you know!

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Empower Your Study With Mounce’s Expository Dictionary

Posted by on 07/05/2016 in: ,

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Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of  Old and New Testament Words is an invaluable resource for your personal Bible study and can go a long way in illuminating God’s word. Here are three ways you can use it in the app to aid you in your study.

The first way you can utilize Mounce’s Dictionary  is just as you would a traditional dictionary.

Select the dictionary from your library and  use the verse chooser to  look through the resource as you would a hard-copy dictionary. Mounce’s dictionary allows you to look up words in English, Greek or Hebrew.

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The second way is to use the Lookup Feature.

Tap and hold a word in the Bible text and an option menu bar will pop up.  If you tap the Lookup button you’ll get hits from your resources on just that specific word. If there is an entry for that word in the English Dictionary you’ll be able to select Mounce’s Dictionary and read more about that word and the Greek or Hebrew that it was translated from.

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But what if there’s no entry on the English word? This is where a strong’s tagged Bible and Mounce’s Dictionary work so well together.

The third way is with a Strong’s tagged Bible or similar resource like the NIV Word Study Bible.

With a Strong’s tagged Bible you can easily access Mounce’s Dictionary by searching on the Hebrew or Greek word that you’ve just tapped. In the screen shot below I’ve just tapped the word Scriptures and with one more tap I can tap lookup to read about the Greek word in Mounce’s Dictionary

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Add Mounce’s Expository Dictionary to your library today!

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7 Reasons to Use Olive Tree’s Mac App

Posted by on 06/30/2016 in:

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Who doesn’t love a good Top Items list? I know I do! Here are seven (7) reasons why you should use the newly updated Olive Tree Bible app for Mac alongside your mobile. Ready. Set. Go!

1. Multiple Windows

One limitation of working with the Bible app on mobile is you can only have two resources open at a single time, three if you count pop-ups. This limitation exists for various reasons, ranging from screen size to processing power. This isn’t a problem on your Mac. Open multiple windows to your heart’s content and resize them however you’d like. The possibilities are endless. This is a perfect way to maximize your study time.

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2. Universal Search

Have you ever wanted to search your entire library for a topic or word? The Resource Guide helps with this to an extent, but it only works with enhanced resources. With the Bible app for Mac you can type anything you want in the search field and get hits from your entire library. This alone is a time saver or reason to get lost in rabbit trails, you decide.

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3. Multitasking

Do you like using Pages or Google Docs to write your sermons or notes? That’s easy with the Bible app for Mac. If you have multiple monitors, have the app open on one screen and Pages open in the other. Don’t have two monitors? Resize your windows and you can still do the same. Try doing that on your phone!

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4. More Text on the Screen

Given the fact my phone is 5.5″ (iPhone 6s Plus) versus the 13″ screen of my Macbook Pro, I can fit a lot more text on my Macbook’s screen than I can on my iPhone. This means I can study a lot easier than I can on my iPhone. I can read more with less scrolling, which saves time and effort.

Look how much more text you can fit on a desktop (iMac) versus a tablet (iPad Mini 4).

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5. Merge Floating Windows

The next two reasons are exclusive to the Mac version of the Bible app. First is the ability to merge multiple floating windows into a single window. This is a convenient way to organize your work space & to move windows around, especially if you have multiple monitors. You can achieve this one of two ways: 1) Go to Window, and select “Group Floating Windows into 1 Window,” or 2) the keyboard shortcut ⌘(Cmd)+Y. Presto! You’ve grouped your many pop-ups into a single window!

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6. Quick Details

There are lots of things you can get to with a tap or mouse click in the Olive Tree Bible app. A few of these include: original language parsing data, Strong’s definitions, verse links, and footnotes. In the Mac version of the Bible app you can get to this information even faster. At the bottom left of the main window is a Quick Details pane. As your pointer hovers over text, such as a Greek word in the screenshot below, the Quick Details window is populated with information about that word. Now you can quickly get information without the need to tap/click on the word to open its pop-up.

Want to see the full entry? Hold the “Control” key (to freeze the Quick Details pane) & move your pointer to that area. Now you can scroll and read all the data, such as the dictionary definition that is not currently visible in the shot below. This pane can also be resized by clicking & dragging on the “Quick Details” title bar.

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7. Distraction Free Studying

The refreshed user interface of the Olive Tree Bible app for Mac was designed to get out of the way so you could focus on studying. How often have you tried reading the Bible on your phone only to get distracted by a call, text message, or notification? Happens to me all the time, and sometimes I don’t have the luxury of turning on Airplane mode to keep it from happening. The simple gesture of sitting at a computer often implies that it’s time for serious work, which can make it easier to focus and get studying done distraction free. Plus, it’s far easier to “unplug” your computer from the Internet without feeling like you’re cut off from the world.

What Are Yours?

What are some of your favorite features and tips when using Olive Tree’s Mac app? Leave a comment and share them with us and other Olive Tree users.

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Tips For Getting Your Book Published

Posted by on 06/24/2016 in:

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Guest Blogger: Pete Nikolai

While the majority of people believe they have a book in them, very few actually start writing their book and far fewer finish. If you have started or even finished your manuscript then you may have begun looking into the options that are available for getting your book published that run the gamut from “the big five” traditional publishers to self-publishing. An author is usually best-served by considering the options in that order. Being published by a traditional publisher has numerous benefits including broader distribution and the affirmation and market position that comes with the support of an industry leader.

The first step to getting your book traditionally published is to develop a comprehensive book proposal as early in the process as possible—preferably before you start writing. In doing so, you will get to know the wants and needs of your target market, identify competitive titles, and begin to determine how to create the book your target market needs along with how they might become aware of their need for your book. Your book proposal should encapsulate the information literary agents and publishers need to evaluate your book’s commercial viability.

As you work on your proposal you should also research the literary agents that may be interested in representing you (if you want to be traditionally published). Most of the publishers you might be familiar with do not accept “unsolicited materials” directly from authors. Publishers rely on agents to sift through thousands of proposals and manuscripts to identify the strongest ones and to pitch those to the publishers who would be the best fit.

One way to identify agents to consider is to determine the ones who represented the authors of books similar to yours. Many authors mention their agent in the acknowledgments section of their book and many agents list the authors they represent on their website. The Write For Us page on the HarperCollins Christian Publishing site has a link to a list of literary agents who represent authors of Christian books along with links to other helpful resources such as a book proposal template.

To secure an agent, first identify several candidates and then visit the website for each to obtain their submission guidelines and follow those guidelines very closely. Your ability to adhere to those guidelines is a good indicator of whether you will be the type of author agents want to work with.

Give yourself a reasonable deadline for each milestone such as hiring an agent within 3 months and then securing a publisher within 6 months. Doing so helps you stay focused on your objectives and also provides some perspective as to when it might be prudent to consider other options such as self-publishing.

The majority of the books published and sold each year are self-published. Most readers rely on recommendations from their friends and associates or on reviews on websites to determine what to purchase so whether your book is traditionally published or professionally self-published will have little impact on how your book is perceived by potential readers. The most important elements include a quality manuscript and a professionally produced book (pages and cover).

Nearly every book is made available on the various book retailer websites and included in industry databases so it can be ordered by any bookstore. However very few self-published books are actually sold to bookstores and other accounts in any way close to the intentional and methodical efforts of a traditional publisher’s sales team.

At WestBow Press (the self-publishing services division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing that I manage), we help hundreds of authors self-publish their books and the ones that get strong reviews and sell well initially are then sold by the HCCP sales team to bookstores and other accounts.

If the deadlines you set for being traditionally published have passed and you’ve decided to pursue self-publishing then do your research so you know what to expect and are ready to take the necessary steps. Self-publishing service providers (such as WestBow) have a team of experts on hand to edit, proofread, design, market, sell, finance, print, and distribute your book.

Whether you self-publish your book or have it traditionally published, it can and should be a tool to impact your readers for good. You will put an amazing amount of time and resources into your book, and it can serve as part of your legacy—if you get it published well.

For more information including a free guide to publishing your book, visit WestBow Press today!

Pete Nikolai is the coauthor of Write Your Book and has been in the book publishing business for over 25 years, working in a variety of roles for Thomas Nelson Publishers before becoming the Publisher of WestBow Press.

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