Daily Dose: Local Author Talks Self-Publishing Devotional

Inspirational Devotional Designed for Busy People

Published in 2015, Daily Dose is a 90-day Christian devotional self-published by local author Todd Diedrich. With messages designed to be short and to-the-point, the title comes from the idea that an inspirational message, like coffee, is a kick-start that can carry people through their busy days.

“My audience is really targeted to the person on the go, whose life is hectic and who doesn’t have twenty minutes to sit down,” Diedrich explained.

The book is a result of combining his Christian faith and interest in communication. “I have a firm faith, and this is my outlet to share those inspirational moments. I kicked around some ideas, like a children’s book, and settled on daily inspiration.”

With an idea in place, Diedrich began writing the book over a period of just a few weeks. “That was the easiest part of the process,” he said. “The words just flowed.”

During the writing process, his experiences as missions director at a local church helped develop the messages of Daily Dose. Traveling to third-world countries like Cambodia and building schools, he’s witnessed the inspirational attitude of people in poverty.

Cambodian schoolchildren.

“Be thankful, be appreciative: [the trip] had a huge impact on my desire to share those short, be-grateful moments,” he said. “You see so much poverty and people in difficult situations, but they’re so appreciative when people come and touch their lives in a way no one else could.”

One instance of this appreciation came when the mission team gave a group of children some candy, a simple gesture that garnered a big reaction.

“I will never forget the looks on their faces. You’d think it was a million bucks,” Diedrich said. “It makes you appreciate what you have.”

For the next step, Diedrich did his homework on the process of self-publication and selected four publishing houses to work with. After several phone interviews, he narrowed it down to two publishers and asked for more talks before making a selection.

Boats transport Cambodian schoolchildren to floating school.

“I wanted to make sure I was partnered well with someone I was comfortable with,” he said. “I knew it was a long-term commitment.”

Once Diedrich’s selected self-publisher agreed to work with him, the book went through a process of editing and selecting fonts and formatting. “I learned an unbelievable amount of information that I did not realize went into publishing the book,” he said. “[A book] was just a pretty cover to me, but all those things from the perspective of a reader are highly important.”

Just as Diedrich approached the final stages of publication and finalizing details, he experienced a setback: the publishing company was unexpectedly sold.

“At that point, my heart’s racing: I’m two weeks away from signing off on my work,” he recalled.

Although the publishing company couldn’t complete the work, it did refer him to a new publisher, WestBow Press. After having developed a close working relationship with his editor and publicist, Diedrich would need to adapt to a new company.

Cambodian missionary Dareth Ly. Dareth watched his entire family be killed during the Khmer Rouge genocide. He escaped by laying in the rice fields and survived by eating bugs in the rice fields. As a young boy, he was sent to the US through a refugee camp program and lived in Minneapolis. After graduating college, God called him to go back to Cambodia and help others. Unbeknownst to Dareth, his mother actually survived the genocide camp, and through a series of unbelievable connections over twenty years after the genocide, he and his mother were reunited. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA45zfcjd9U

Fortunately, the new publisher was able to fast-track the process and no re-editing was needed. In the end, Daily Dose was published four months later than it would have been. It is available in softcover, hardcover, and e-format through retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Upon publication, Diedrich took advantage of Westbow’s marketing services, which included press releases. Lately, he set up website with short posts like the ones in his book and is also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. “Marketing is really fascinating,” he noted. “I didn’t think about that as an author; I was focused on the words.”

One of the greatest things he learned from the publishing experience is about the e-book, which he said is a leader in how we consume information, with some titles only available in that format.

Diedrich has no plans for a second Daily Dose, but may complete a children’s book at some point. Either way, he knows he would be better prepared for the publication process. “If I decided to write a second book, I’d be much more prepared for all the nuances,” he said.

Given what he knows now and observing what has worked, Diedrich said he would do a few things differently, like having a book launch party and being more liberal in his approach. But even so, the publication process has been rewarding.

“It’s been a great experience,” he said. “I would hands-down do it again.”