Becoming an Author Changed My Life

December 13th represents my publishing anniversary. On December 13th, 2011 my memoir Off Balanced hit the e-book market (Kindle and Nook). Last year I commemorated the occasion by reflecting on the publishing process.

This year I want to explore how becoming a published author changed my life, really in unforeseen ways. Thinking back these changes could only occur unforeseen. In 2011 I focused on staying the course with the publishing process. If you watched the embedded video above, you know that means marketing my book.

Belief in Off Balanced’s ability to empower others with cerebral palsy and educate their parents, teachers, classmates, friends, etc. left me fully concentrated on promotion. No thought entered my mind about how becoming a published author could change my life.

Webinar panelist Zachary Fenell

Sound checked and ready for “Finding your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.”

As the time passed though, I began noticing changes both professionally and personally. Professionally the changes proved multiple. Opportunities came to me due to Off Balanced. For example, last December Parent to Parent of Georgia asked me to serve as a panelist for their webinar “Finding your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.”

Another change manifested through learning new skills. Social media played and still does play a vital role in getting Off Balanced out there. Subsequently I ended up enhancing my social media skills, especially with Twitter and Youtube. Without my online book marketing experiences I never become qualified to hold a position like Online Relationship Manager for Handicap This Productions (HTP).

Plus, who knows what my relationship with HTP or author/motivational speaker John W. Quinn looks like without Off Balanced. Going back to early 2011 I read about Handicap This and John, looking up to them awed by their stories. Upon my inquiries both Tim Wambach from HTP and John agreed to read Off Balanced and provide promotional blurbs. Those inquiries seem like pivotal moments leading to stronger connections with people I possess utmost respect for.

Now the aforementioned offers a solid transitioning point to discuss personal change. Receiving respect back from those you look up to supplies a confidence boost. So does writing a book warmly received by readers. The average reader review for Off Balanced stands at 4.5 stars. Awesome for a five-star system!

Possessing such confidence boosts helps to maintain confidence, not always an easy task since life hits hard. As star power and mushrooms aid Mario, my confidence boosts aid me to keep going during trying circumstances.

To anyone out there contemplating writing a book, I recommend you pursue the ambitious endeavor. From my experience your hard work will pay off in rewarding ways.


Two-Year Reflection on Publishing Off Balanced

Two years ago today (December 13th) I became a published author when my teen memoir Off Balanced became available on the Kindle and Nook. Hence now seems a fitting occasion to reflect on my publishing experiences.

Let me start by saying if you want to sell a quality book, publishing turns into a very involved process. Please note I’m incorporating all the elements into my definition. So I’m referencing writing the manuscript, rewriting, editing, more rewriting, more editing, all the technical aspects to publishing, and marketing.

Thankfully I did enough research on publishing while writing Off Balanced to not get caught by surprise. When I finished my finalized manuscript and went through the publishing process on the Kindle and Nook I knew my work only began.

Allow me to clarify by utilizing the cliché light at the tunnel’s end scenario. In my mind I envisioned writing a book as one tunnel. Once out the light didn’t last. Instead ahead lay another tunnel, the marketing tunnel. Two years into exploring the aforementioned metaphorical passageway and I honestly can say I feel like I’m just starting exploration.

Off Balanced by Zachary Fenell

You can purchase Off Balanced for your Kindle or Nook.

Many, many marketing opportunities exist. Truthfully I found engaging in those while also pursuing freelance writing endeavors more tiring than I expected.

Yet in a way publishing Off Balanced certainly helped me with my freelance writing. Example, The Mobility Resource found me thanks to a newspaper article done on my book. Basically a marketing opportunity led to a long-term writing gig, pretty awesome right? 😀

Equate writing a book to a yin-yang. For yin’s darkness, you also encounter yang’s light. The darkness represents the bad, albeit disappointing sales, a poor review, or something else. Yang’s light symbolizes the positives, that overwhelming feedback from readers you do maintain, the multiple five-star reviews, and what not.

Personally I’m unsatisfied with Off Balanced’s current sales numbers, but I stay encouraged. I recognize the positives, continued sales over the past two years, majority positive feedback, the networking made possible simply by publishing my memoir. Acknowledging these wins empowers me to stay determined and to keep promoting my writing and my book.

Speaking about promoting, I invite you to check out the Off Balanced book giveaway promotion. Visit my writer’s website for details! Or, read Monday’s post “Upcoming Events, Including First Book Giveaway.”

Book News: Announcing the First Off Balanced Cyber Reading/Q & A

This month I will post the first Off Balanced Cyber Reading/Q & A to Youtube. The video will go live Monday, September 17th. I plan to read a selection from Chapter 4, “My First Crush.” Fellow author Neil Matheson (Daddy Bent-Legs) specifically references this chapter in his Off Balanced book review, writing “A chapter which Fenell devotes to re-telling of his first high-school crush is sincere, brutally honest in parts, and heartfelt.”

Q & A questions will come via social media. I welcome any inquiries regarding Off Balanced, disabilities in the media, writing a book, and/or the publishing process. You can submit a question here by commenting below. You may also tweet them to me on Twitter or post them on Facebook. For example questions, view the following Youtube video I uploaded back in May for Book Readers. Get your questions sent in by Friday, September 14th.

On Deck

Besides the upcoming Off Balanced Cyber Reading/Q & A, I’m looking forward to appearing on The Inclusive Class podcast Friday, September 28th. I will discuss inclusion inside mainstream classrooms with hosts Nicole Eredics and Terri Mauro. The podcast airs on Blog Talk Radio Fridays at 9:00am EST. You can listen to past The Inclusive Class podcasts at

The Inclusive Class

Who: Zachary Fenell
What: The Inclusive Class Interview
When: Friday, September 28th at 9:00am
Why: To discuss Off Balanced and inclusion in mainstream classrooms.

Book News: New Guest Posts, Interview

As August comes close to an end I want to take some time and share my most recent guest posts and interview.

Life of the Differently Abled Blog, Guest Post
August saw my first guest post in a series for Laura Forde’s Life of the Differently Abled blog. The slogan incorporated on the website’s header perfectly describes Laura’s blogging goal, “removing the fence around social barriers one post at a time.” Over the next few months my guest posts will share some personal experiences not included in Off Balanced. To start I explore how CP influenced my work ethic. Take a read, “How Cerebral Palsy Helped Shape My Work Ethic.”

The Ability Center of Greater Toledo Blog, Guest Post
Northeast Ohio met Northwest Ohio when I penned a guest blog post for The Ability Center of Greater Toledo. The center serves the disability community with the mission “to assist people with disabilities to live, work, and socialize within a fully accessible community.” My post, “Empower Yourself and Not Your Disability,” focuses on turning your handicap into an asset through a positive mindset.

A Place for Writers Blog, DIY Interview
Writer Julie Jordan offers a great service to fellow scribes with DIY interviews on her A Place for Writers blog. You fill out a questionnaire and she posts the interview. Anyone interested in the behind the screen work which went into Off Balanced should checkout my DIY interview, “APW: DIY Interview- Zachary Fenell.”

Stay tune to future posts for more Off Balanced related content. I’m continuously seeking new interview and guest blogging opportunities. If you wish to interview me or want me to provide a guest post on your blog, please contact me at 


Book News: Getting the Word Out!

Back in December when Off Balanced hit electronic bookshelves for the Kindle and Nook I knew much hard work remained ahead. In a way publishing a book proves similar to competing in a marathon. Writing, editing, and prepping your work for publication compares to training for the marathon. Everything leads to release day, or in our analogy race day. Now you must spread the word about your literature or else you will fail to cross the finishing line, aka reach your selling goals.

As you might imagine I’m staying busy balancing my Off Balanced marketing efforts with my other freelance writing endeavors. Last week Richmond Disability Examiner Nancy Carey interviewed me for an article. The article went live (web talk for published :)) this past Saturday. Take a look, “Off Balanced by Zachary Fenell, a memoir about teen life with a disability.” Nancy and I both submitted pieces to the book Living in a World of Possibilities, a collection of stories collected by Caring Communities’ Mona Freedman, RN. Carey’s sister Cathy Porter happens to have a disability. If you want to learn more about Carey and her writing, visit her website For more on Living in a World of Possibilities click the pic below.

Living in a World of Possibilities

Living in a World of Possibilities is available for purchase at Photo:

Beyond Nancy Carey’s Examiner article on me, I will provide some new guest blog posts soon. I already sent in a guest post set for publication on the Able Pathways blog soon. You might remember Able Pathways’ Rob Pritts interviewed me last month for their podcast. Here’s a link  in case you missed it, Able Pathways Season 4 Episode 11 “Off Balanced.”

Furthermore I recently received an invitation to blog for, a website dedicated to inclusive work environments. I will provide a guest post for them drawing parallels from Off Balanced and relating them to the work environment. As always, when these posts become available I’ll provide the links here on this blog. Until then take care!