Elizabeth Bantz

Elisabeth H. Bantz, better known as Betty Anne, began writing in 1976 after receiving what may have been a vision, or perhaps just the birth of a story, the day she registered her youngest son in kindergarten. Along with the story came a directive as she knelt in prayer: “Write a Christian romance.” Other than the Grace Livingston Hill novels published earlier in the century, she knew of no one publishing Christian romances, but she began writing anyway. To read about her journey, or to view excerpts from her books, go to www.bantzbooks.com. She is the mother of five, the grandmother of fifteen, an artist and musician. She resides near St. Louis, MO, with her husband. They have been walking together with Jesus since 1966.

Self-Publishing: One Way To Get Your Book Out There

For me, it wasn't about being a published author, it was about getting the stories God had inspired into the hands of hurting people. We see them every day, even in our churches. They’re standing on the fringes, wanting to belong but wondering how. I felt an urgency to make these stories available to help such people step across that invisible line into the presence of God Most High and join the body of Christ.

I was one of those fringe people, attending all the church functions but never really knowing Jesus, until one day I asked Him a question, and He answered me. I heard His voice. It changed the course of my life. And several years later, when the time was right, He gave me a story to write, and then another, and then two more. Yes, I took the usual route for the first two books—query letters, synopses, proposals—but they were harder to write by far, and it wasn't up to par. I still have the stack of rejection letters to prove it. Even so, I appreciated the editors' encouraging comments and have learned from them.

Since I am a graphic artist, proofreader, editor, and copywriter now retired from the printing field, it wasn't difficult for me to take on the role of cover designer, page formatter, and editor. I did have help with the proofreading, but we could have done better. If you choose to self-publish, be sure to gather as many qualified helpers as you can.

The first POD publisher I tried proved to be a costly mistake. I wouldn't recommend X-Libris. But I have enjoyed working with Book Surge (booksurge.com), now an affiliate of Amazon. Their book prices (and set-up fees) are higher now than they were in 2003, when I first began publishing. (I suppose that's to be expected, but I don't have to like it.) I buy a quantity of books—whatever their periodical sales promo stipulates, usually at half price, and sell them to customers at a more reasonable rate. I'm not in this to get rich, but to reach hurting hearts that only God can mend.


PRO: You have full control over cover design, formatting, and type styles.

PRO: You can make changes in your book or cover at any time.

PRO: You have full control over the content of your book(s).

PRO: You have full control over marketing and sales.

PRO: You choose how much you charge per book based on how much you paid for it.

CON: If you do not have graphic arts experience, you may have to hire a graphic artist or pay the publisher to do it.

CON: You have a fee each time you print books.

CON: Your judgment may not always be the wisest. There is safety in many advisors.

CON: You have full control over marketing and sales.

CON: If you choose to keep the retail price low, your profits are low. If you choose to keep the retail price high, you lose sales.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.


My four-book generational saga begins in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair. Two people meet and marry. Each has just lost a loved one. Both are in pain. One loses herself in self-pity and recrimination, so the other loses himself in work. Their daughter, Ruth, suffers through it, and can do nothing to draw them out of their self-imposed prisons. Then the flood of 1927 claims her parents, and Ruth discovers family secrets in the attic. Letters hidden in a trunk. She has a mysterious aunt out there she's never met. And a shunned grandfather.

The Secrets of the Heart series is written by fictional storyteller, Kinzey White, who meets Ruth as she nears the end of her life, and is fascinated by this spunky lady. Book 1 (Family Secrets) follows Ruth on her journey to find the truth. She travels cross-country by train and meets more than a handsome traveler . . . she meets Jesus. Book 2 (The Secret Cove) is set in the 1960s, when Ruth's niece, Rachel, defies her father's wishes and elopes with her new teacher, David. They are separated almost immediately by schemers. But their son eventually brings them back together with a simple prayer. Book 3 (Sins of the Father) begins in the ‘90s, when Rachel and David's twins befriend the new girl in town and encounter resistance. Book 4 (Snatched), however, is about Kinzey White herself as she tries to find her kidnapped daughter, and it is set in the present. From reader response, this psychological thriller seems to have become everyone's favorite.