Saturday, March 29, 2014

Confessions of a First Time Author

I’ll admit it. I feel a bit overwhelmed by the whole “market yourself as a writer thing.”

I’ve nervously watched as my ratings on Amazon climbed up and then rocketed down again. I’ve nervously anticipated my first book reviews, hoping they would be positive or at least fair. I’ve rejoiced with each endorsement and celebrated each tweet.

As a first-time author, I've learned that launching a book requires hard work – and you put excessive amounts of time and energy into writing letters and leveraging every bit of public access you have. One author told me that the work only begins when the book is published. It’s so true. The first part is the writing, the second part is this steep-to-climb Mount Kilimanjaro of marketing.

Then it hits you. Or, at least, it hit me. I was in danger of becoming completely and utterly self-obsessed.

When I started to write this book, I was following a single story. It was the story of a woman who wanted to serve God with her life. Her desire was mine as well. I wanted to focus on these brave, historic, world-changing women. I wanted my identity to disappear in the face of God’s obedience and their examples.

And yet here I was, being thrust into the spotlight.That role is uncomfortable for me as an introvert.The hardest part of being an author is knowing when to push forward and when to sit back. You have to engage in publicity. In modern publishing, slim marketing budgets demand it.

True. But - here's the rub - it is easy to equate your self-worth, your value, with the success of the book.

So, I prayed last night. I asked God to take this pressure from me – all of it. I asked Him to keep me humble and focused on the message, not on my own glory. I asked Him to do with this book what He wants. If I have any desire, it is that my message encourages just one person, one reader, who needs to hear it.

On my afternoon walk down Michigan Avenue, I was processing all of these thoughts. Three phrases came repeatedly to my mind: For Him, About Him, Through Him. They were so clear that they became almost like a chant. For Him, About Him, Through Him. For Him, About Him, Through Him.

These three desires express what is on my heart:

FOR HIM: I want to write for God – not for myself. I want the glory to be His alone.

ABOUT HIM: I want my words (every tweet, every email, every interview) to be about God's purpose, not about me

THROUGH HIM: I want to do this through Him, because if I do it myself, I will only be exhausted. It is too hard.

For Him, About Him, Through Him...

This applies not just my writing, but also to every goal in my life, and also to your life. Whatever you are doing, do it with all of your heart. But open it up and give it fully to God. Let him take the glory, but also take the burden. It is far too heavy to carry it alone.

"Take my life and let it be, fully consecrated unto thee."
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