Friday, July 25, 2014

Tired of Being Discouraged?

I am discouraged.

Being a published author has not turned out the way I had hoped.

First, I’m sticking with my day job. It seems the only way to make a living writing is to break out with your book and gain a television or movie contract. Let’s face it. The vast majority of us who are published will never see our book in any kind of media format. Not even an audio book!

Second, the publishing industry is in turmoil. Thanks to Amazon, ebooks dominate. While that is a good thing particularly when I want to pop open my iPad and read any of dozens of books on a whim it has changed the way readers browse. Far less readers are going to wander through the Christian fiction section of their local bookstore (assuming it hasn’t gone out of business!) and just happen upon one of our books. More of us are turning to self publishing which turns out to be mostly a scam unless you go to the right company.

Third, writing a book is no longer a joy because the real work is in the promotion and marketing. I didn’t anticipate having to spend a couple of hours a day on social media to promote my book. I’d rather spend that time writing and editing. Publishers don’t do very much to help you promote your work. They leave 99.99% of that to the author.

Fourth, Christian publishers are in jeopardy. Being Christian in today’s society is tantamount to being a leper in the time of Christ! Marketing our books to the non-believers is almost impossible. And, the believer base is shrinking. Here is what I mean by that last statement. George Barna in his book, “Seven Faith Tribes of America” states that 67% of Americans claim to be Christians. That is startling! But, when he polled them about their beliefs, this group only pays lip service to Christianity. They are NOT practicing Christians! Only 16% of Americans are practicing, “committed” Christians. Wow! That is sobering. As Christian authors we must either make our story more “worldly” and be rejected by traditional Christian publishers (which is one reason why they may be in so much trouble) or we must take the safe route and focus on that shrinking, smaller group of committed Christians. Traditional publishers just haven’t figured out how to handle this situation.

But, being so discouraged, here is what I know and what I cling to every day.

God has called me to be a creative person in His Kingdom. God has given me the opportunity to tell His Story in my own way. He has invited me to be a part of His unfolding narrative. I have to remind myself of that constantly. You know the scriptures. As a Christ follower we were never told the path would be easy and the work would be light. We were told to be diligent in hard times and to carry our cross. I will persevere. Never give in. Never give up!

God is still in control. In the midst of this chaos we call American society, God is still working. His plans will prevail. This world in which we live did not catch Him by surprise. And, that is why we must work harder to make our words reach that 67% of Americans who have lost their way and only think they have their lives sorted out. We are God’s tool to tell the ultimate Story.

Finally, Christian fiction writers have a community. We are disjointed, separated, fragmented but we are here for each other. We need to be more vocal and more supportive of each other. I simply pray for every author listed on this page every week. I read the blogs of most of the authors on this page and make comments and share links to broaden our “tribe”. Please do the same for me and for everyone else you know struggling in this industry.

I do have one bright star on my horizon. In September, my co-author Mark Sutton and I will release a new book on depression, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”. That is NOT the book I wanted to write. I wanted more of my Jonathan Steel demon series to come out. But, this book has the potential to change so many lives. It is God’s plan! And so, as is often the case in my life, God has a way to achieve His purpose using my gifts, talents, and skills in a way I never planned! Imagine that! His plans are greater than mine! And, His plans still include me being a published author!!

1 comment:

Beth Shriver said...

I used to try and keep up with all that authors feel they need to do but I don't have the time and money to do those things. But I wonder if it's the authors who have dug themselves into this hole more than the agents and editors. If writers are competing with each other maybe that's one reason why agents/editors don't feel the need to pitch in. As for me I just keep my head down and write.