It’s been one year since author Chrissy Whitten released her first memoir, Journals from a Warrior’s Mother: The Fight. We recently caught up since working together, and she filled me in on her life post publishing! Chrissy shares what she’s learned about promoting her book and an update on book two of the Journals series. But first, let me fill you in on the backstory!
The Fight is a compilation of Chrissy’s 2010 CaringBridge posts about the birth of her first baby, Lilian Grace. Doctors diagnosed Lily with heart problems and Edwards Syndrome (trisomy 18), yet she fought valiantly through three months of life, allowing God to work in the lives of those around her.
Although Chrissy initially shared Lily’s story in real time on the CaringBridge website, God later called her to write a book about the experience–including Scriptures and songs that carried her through that hard year.
Why would God give a child to a family, only to take them away a short time later? Chrissy has reflected on that question for over a decade. She says, “Sadly, we learn valuable lessons when life gets hard. It’s an opportunity for growth. A painful road leads us to where God wants us to be, so we can be who He ultimately created us to be. I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
This book is special and offers readers so much. Allow me to show you.
In January 2021, fellow editor Staci Mauney referred Chrissy to me for interior formatting. First, we found a template that would accommodate a date in each chapter head, like a journal entry. We added titles to each chapter to help readers recall Chrissy’s takeaway each day.
There are 103 chapters/journal entries. Most are only a couple pages in length and include photos or related graphics. The Table of Contents doubles as a timeline of sorts, marking Lily’s monthly birthdays and the ups and downs in between. It’s also a quick reference to the back matter sections.
In addition to her Acknowledgements and About the Author sections in the back, Chrissy includes A Note From the Author, a Book Cover Legend, summary pages of all Memory Verses, and a Playlist of music she recommends. How nice is that? This book is a great resource for hurting people and their friends.
Pictures and artwork can be found throughout. There are some beautiful illustrations by Chrissy’s aunt-in-law, Tammy Whitten. Owners of the Collector’s Edition can see her symbolic art in gorgeous, bright color. Chrissy explains the meaning of every piece in the Book Cover Legend.
I love how The Fight transports readers to the front lines. Lily’s vitals are interspersed and denoted by a mini heartbeat icon, inviting readers into her hospital room. Memory verses are marked by a sword. Each picture includes a caption. Chrissy even recommends a list of their favorite children’s books. White spaces are filled with larger icons that help illustrate the family’s journey.
“Danelle was an essential member of my book team! She persevered … to publish my book on a special date relative to my first daughter’s life. I highly recommend her for formatting and copyediting.” ~ Chrissy Whitten
About the Author
Chrissy L. Whitten holds a bachelor of science in leisure service management and a master of interdisciplinary studies in educational psychology, REMS, and leisure service management from Oklahoma State University. She has over thirty years’ experience working in youth programming and teaching fitness. She grew up in the Cushing and Stillwater, Oklahoma communities before marrying her husband, Michael, in December 2003. They lived in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, for fourteen years, where Chrissy was a 4-H extension educator. She founded the Warrior Princess Foundation after Lilian passed away and ran it for five years to raise money for trisomy 13 and 18 children. She now lives in Tuttle, Oklahoma with Michael and their two children (on earth), Piper and Daphne. Chrissy facilitates Calm Waters Grief student support groups for area schools.
Is your child fighting an illness? How does a parent cope through days, weeks, or months in a hospital with their baby? Are you worn from fighting your own battle? Where is God in this, and what is the purpose of your pain? If you need empathy and hope or simply want to gain perspective from a little warrior’s mother, The Fight is for you. In it, Chrissy shares her CaringBridge posts from 2010 when her daughter Lilian was born and diagnosed with heart problems and trisomy 18, Edwards Syndrome. She writes honestly about the bad days and the blessings, and describes how God walked her through it all. You’ll also find Scripture, songs, and soul food that will encourage and equip you for the battle. The Fight: Journals from a Warrior’s Mother is the first book in a series about a family’s faith journey through extraordinary circumstances.
Moms will appreciate this book the most, especially those who frequent the hospital or who’ve lost a baby to illness or miscarriage. However, it’s a rich resource for anyone who wants to support parents who are struggling through one of these circumstances.
How You Can Help
Chrissy would like to partner with people who will buy a copy of her book for their local hospital library. If you’d be willing, please email her.
Despite a serious health scare this past year, Chrissy managed to promote her book in person at several church meetings and local boutique shops. She’s found that social media is helpful in creating awareness, but appearing in person at an event sells books.
Authors have to step out of their comfort zone to meet potential readers or people who can help you sell. Stop by your local library, bookshops, or boutiques to see if they would be interested in hosting a book signing. Reach out to other authors in your genre about collaborating. Share each other’s books with your email list.
And follow up! Business owners and professionals are busy and often forget about your initial contact. If they were interested in collaborating, but didn’t follow through, contact them again.
Chrissy emphasized the importance of knowing who your target audience is and strategically thinking about where you might find those people. “Work smarter, not harder. You’ll have to invest time, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing.”
Case in point, Chrissy has contributed two articles so far to CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) Magazine (February 2022 on pages 31-33 and May 2022 on pages 49-50) and one to Voyage Dallas.
Her second article in CHD Magazine is the beginning of a blog scavenger hunt that takes you from her author website to four organizations that helped her. Email your takeaway from each site to Chrissy and you could win a signed copy of The Fight: Collector’s Edition! A drawing will take place next Wednesday, June 1.
Her promotion plan also includes contacting libraries about hosting book signings and collaborating with podcasters and bloggers that share her target audience. She has an author website and continues to journal there.
As for this year, Chrissy hopes to release book two in 2022, which is a sequel journal about the year after Lilian earned her wings. She recently finished her rough draft and sent it to her editor. Yay! That’s an enormous accomplishment. This time around, she self-edited her manuscript before submitting, cutting close to 15,000 words from the original entries. Money saver!
Keep an eye on Chrissy. She’s planning to publish three additional memoirs (four total in the Journals from a Warrior’s Mother series) and multiple children’s books. Her writing will encourage and equip you. I am a stronger woman after reading and formatting The Fight.