Marion McNair

Marion McNair received the 2007 Silver Angel award for excellence in print for her self-published novel, Bitter Roots. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and management from the University of Redlands, and studied creative writing at the University of California, Los Angeles. For thirty-four years, Marion worked in the telecommunications industry as a Communications Specialist. She is a licensed evangelist missionary, and an inspirational speaker, carrying message of love, hope, and redemption to the Los Angeles Women’s Detention Facility, conferences, churches, schools, and colleges. She is a lifetime member of the Telecom Pioneers, and has memberships in the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, Sisters In Crime, and the Mystery Writers of America. She participated in book signings and readings of Bitter Roots at Black Writers on Tour, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Harlem Book Fair, Leimert Park Book Fair, Los Angeles African Marketplace, Sisters In Crime (LA Chapter), and West Hollywood Book Fair. Bitter Roots has been on sale through Essence Music Festival in New Orleans,,, Barnes & Nobles, Borders, and other local and on-line bookstores.


...understand the differences between the subsidiaries, vanity and Print-on-Demand (POD)...

Self-publishing is not for everyone, but for me, it was the beginning of a wonderful introduction into the writing world. My story is probably not that much different from other aspiring writers, yet in some ways it is unique to me.

After seventeen years of marriage to a minister that ended in divorce, I was devastated and angry. I began writing God a letter, every day, telling Him of my disappointment and feelings of hopelessness and bitterness toward Him for my failed marriage. After two years of writing these letters, I heard a voice within say, “Read the letters you have already written.” I turned to the first letter, and after reading them all, I said to myself, “Gee, this would make a good book.” Then I heard the voice say to me, “Write it.”

I knew I had a gift. In college, my English professors always told me how much they enjoyed reading my papers, but I never gave it much thought. However, now the voice was relentless about writing my story. I enrolled at a local university and took creative writing classes, thus my novel was born.

While studying the craft of writing, I sought counseling to work through my anger and bitterness. Thank God, I can truly say that He is a deliverer. I am no longer stuck in unforgiveness, anger, and bitterness. Now I take my message of unconditional love, forgiveness, and hope to the Los Angeles women’s correction facilities, churches, and schools. Bitter Roots was painful to write, yet it is rewarding to see how God has used this book to help others.

Once I had completed my manuscript, I felt a strong responsibility not to allow it’s authenticity to be compromised. I wasn’t concerned about it becoming a best seller, or if my novel was commercial enough. I believed the success of my book would depend on the providential care of God. Although it is a work of fiction, the story was sent to me by God. The characters spoke, and I listened. I did my part, so now those who are to be ministered to by my book is God’s responsibility. Not only has Bitter Roots been received publicly, but also it has won the 2007 Silver Angel award for excellence in print. Write the story that God has given you. Don’t try to manipulate the characters. They will come to you and tell their story.

Many roads lead to self-publishing; however, it is important to do your homework. First, take your time and research the publishing companies; understand the differences between the subsidiaries, vanity and Print-on-Demand (POD). Regardless of how the publisher spins it, if you have to pay a fee of any kind, you are dealing with a subsidiary publisher. You can research publishing houses by going to I looked at about six self-assist publishers before deciding on iUniverse.

I chose iUniverse for several reasons: first, I had an opportunity to see the contract before I purchased their services, and second, unlike other publishing companies, the iUniverse contract is for only three years. And I still own the copyright to my book. After the contract expires, I can simply walk away. If I wish to terminate the contract earlier than the three years, I can do so for a small fee. If I wish to keep the cover design, I can purchase it for a small fee.

Some publishing companies have a seven-year contract, and they make it very difficult to get out of it, typically charging an extraordinarily high fee, that is, if they let you out of it at all. Be aware that some publishers own the copyright to your book once you sign with them; therefore, if you want to go to another publisher, the previous publisher will still own the copyright. At iUniverse, you retain the copyright to your book.

One complaint I hear most about self-published books is that they are poorly written. But your book can be and as professional as traditional-published authors. iUniverse offers an evaluation service in which an editor assesses your manuscript, gives a comprehensive overview, and recommends the type of editorial service needed., if any.

I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to get your manuscript edited. Professional editing focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, structure, logic, consistency, and continuity. iUniverse offers all of these services, which includes copyediting, line editing, and content editing. I chose content editing because it was the most thorough editing service. A content editor performs the functions of a line editor and ensures accuracy and consistency of sentence structure. In addition, an editor will check for continuity of scenes, details in the plot, settings, and character development. At iUniverse, a service advisor will work with you throughout the entire process. Mine answered all of my questions within twenty-four hours. I didn’t like the first cover design they did, so together we worked on one until I was pleased with it. All in all, I was very happy with the outcome of my book, and I highly recommend iUniverse as a self-assist publisher.

The Web site for iUniverse is If you chose them as your publisher, please give them my name, e-mail address, and telephone number as a referral.

Finally, you have a story to tell, and only you can tell it. Jeremiah 30:2 says, “Thus speaketh the Lord God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.”

Marion McNair
Beverly Hills, Ca 90211
Marionmcnair [at] gmail [dot] com

Bitter Roots