Am I the only Christian who struggles with the self-promotion required from writers in today’s market (whether traditionally or indie published)? I’m certain I am not alone.
David said he would not offer anything to God which cost him nothing. No matter what the work of our hands is, we are commanded to do it as unto the Lord. To do our absolute best and then leave it at His feet.
We are also commanded to be humble.
How does one walk in humility while at the same time saying, “Read my book. It’s wonderful!”? Doesn’t that sound prideful?
It’s a conundrum.
If we are writing our very best and doing it in a way as to please the Lord, would having the book fail to reach readers because we failed to do our part to help readers find it serve His purpose for that book? Well, I suppose it could if the purpose He had you write it was only for the lesson you would learn in the process. But in general, I would think the answer is no. So doesn’t the writer have an obligation to help the book find its intended readers? That means marketing.
I remember reading once that if you think you are humble, then you aren’t. Ask yourself if you are humble. If you say “yes” to that question, you are probably proud (proud of your humility?). If you say “no,” you’re probably humble. The truly humble don’t think less of themselves; they think of themselves less.
During the past few weeks, I’ve learned that Betrayal is a finalist for the RITA Award and that Heart of Gold is a finalist for the National Readers Choice Award. It is, of course, an honor for peers and readers to choose one of my books in a “Best of…” category. At the same time, should Christian writers compete against one another for such titles? And if one does enter and her book finals, is it prideful to announce on Facebook and/or her web site that her book is up for an award? Is it pride or is it giving others an opportunity to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep? (There I am with more questions.)
I’ve wrestled with those questions posed above often since my first Christian fiction title, The Forgiving Hour, was published in 1999. I have one writer friend, a New York Times bestselling author, who doesn’t enter her books and no longer allows her publisher to enter her books in any kind of contest (FYI, books in the Christy Award are submitted only by publishers, while the RITA Award entries come mostly from the authors). I have another friend (who worked as an editor for many, many years) who believes major book awards help readers find books and therefore it is an author’s obligation to put her books forward if her publisher does not.
Who is right? Could they both be?
I am in a mad dash to finish a book this week, my first contemporary story since 2008’s The Perfect Life. Still many many words to write while still attempting to offer God the very best I’m capable of. (And I don’t feel capable at all at this stage of the game.) Prayers appreciated.