There are things writers cannot control when it comes to getting published.
- When an editor or an agent reads our stuff
- The mood of the agent or the editor when they read our stuff
- The other books that are being pitched at the pub board meeting
- What’s hot and what’s not in the industry
- The background, personal preferences, and life experiences editors and agents bring with them to the story
This lack of control isn’t something that ends once we get a book deal. It carries over AFTER publication.
What can’t a published author control?
- Sales. Yes, there are things we (and our publisher) can do to spread the word and pique interest. But ultimately, we can’t force anyone to buy our book.
- Which genre is hot at the time of our release
- Where our books get placed in stores
- What stores carry our books
- Publicity. We can pitch stuff to various media outlets. Our publicist can do the same. But that doesn’t mean anyone will show interest.
- The backgrounds, personal preferences, and life experiences each reader brings to our book, all of which influence their reaction to it. This is exactly why the very same book can elicit one star reviews and five star reviews.
I think there’s this very tempting trap we can fall into as writers.
And that is this….
It’s up to us. The success of our book is in our hands.
If it succeeds, we must have done something right.
If it fails….
We must not have done enough.
As if more blog posts or more Facebook friends or more Tweets or more clever pins on Pinterest or more book signings or more giveaways would have translated into more sales.
In a post titled, Does Social Media Really Help? historical romance author, Jody Hedlund, said this:
“What we do in our limited scope on twitter or blogging is merely a blip in the wide-world of publication—especially with so many other writers on social media all scrambling to be heard.”
It reminds me of something Dan Walsh said at the ACFW conference last year.
We can bring our five loaves and our two fish to the table. But at the end of the day, God decides what He’s going to multiply.
So bring your fives loaves and your two fish.
Write the VERY best story you can write. Take advantage of the marketing opportunities that come your way. And then?
Find a way to let the rest go.
Don’t let rejections or sales figures or not finaling in a contest steal your passion and your joy.
Next time you find yourself stressing over things outside of your control, step away from the computer. Kiss your spouse. Hug somebody you love. Wrestle and laugh with your children. Smile. Be a blessing. Write from your gut. Praise God for all the good stuff. And don’t lose track of what matters.
God. Family. Friends. Writing stories that touch lives.
Whether it’s ten or ten thousand.
Let’s Talk: Do you let yourself get caught up in things outside of your control?
Jill Kemerer addressed things writers can and can’t control is a very lovely post titled, Stamina.