Writing a book is a funny thing. You think about it, start to write it, gauge whether a publisher might be interested, and then complete the first draft. Then you submit it, forget about it, get the edits back, and repeat. Then the book disappears for another few months. By the time the book comes out, it almost seems like a distant memory, but that’s when you need to start to talk about it with everyone. You go on podcasts, write about it, hold a launch party, sign them, and wonder if you’re driving everyone crazy or promoting yourself too much.
You’ve put your heart into it, but it feels like one drop in the ocean out of all the books that are being released that month.
And then, if things go right, the book takes on a life of its own. You hear that it’s being read. You get clues that it’s being well received. You also see the odd negative review, or used copies being sold. You feel a little protective of that book as you’ve released it into the world, but you know you can do little to protect it.
People ask how the book is doing, and you have to say, “I don’t know.” Other than the number of reviews, Amazon sales rankings, and occasional reports from the publisher, you don’t know how to measure its impact. And while sales are important, it’s not the most important thing about a book. You want to hear that it’s making a difference in the lives of others.
It feels like part of yourself has been released to the world. The book feels promising and vulnerable at the same time. You pray that it will be used by God, but all you can do is promote the book a little without being annoying, and pray. Then you hear stories of other books where the author has stopped promoting them, and realize that they’re doing even better than yours, and you try to rejoice in their success too.
It’s all a little surreal.
That’s why stories from readers can be so encouraging. An author can live on one or two of these stories for months. If you ever read a book and it encourages you, please let the author know.
Writing a book is a gift, not an entitlement. Having people read your book is another gift. “Thank you, reader,” writes Daniel Nayeri at the end of his book Everything Sad Is Untrue. “Time is an unrenewable resource and you have given some to me. If ever you see me, consider this your invitation to say hello. You deserve my thanks in person.” That’s how I feel too. I’m thankful for everyone who’s read either of my books and shared about them. I hope they’re helpful.
And I want to give a few away.
Please fill in the form below to enter a contest to win copies of these two books. I’m grateful for your interest and grateful to God for the privilege of writing them.
(If you don’t see the form, click through to see the article on my website.)