Friday, March 27, 2009

Perils of Publishing

Like some of you, I have my favorite bloggers. I too, get frustrated when they  don't post often enough. I want to hear from them more often; I hate it when real life gets in their way!

But real life is like that. Sometimes, it gets in the way. Mine did. A couple of weeks ago, I heard from a publisher that a book I'd spent more than a year writing had an abysmal first quarter on the market. Bad. A years worth of work for nothing more than five hundred copies. 

I get paid when the work sells. That's all. Needless to say, I was disappointed, and my disappointment turned quickly to anger. After all, even the ox that tramples the wheat is entitled to eat as he works. Why not me? I want my work to reward me too!

You can almost hear frustration rumble and churn around inside me-- like an upset stomach after a night of bad pizza. 

Before long, I fought tears. Anger is frequently a first response for me. It takes a while for the real issues to surface. My worth, it seems is tied up with my earning power. As a registered PT, my hourly salary was never a question. My value was affirmed in my salary.

Not so as a writer.

A writer works on speculation. I take most of the risk. Publishers spread their risk over many many writers. Everyone else at the Publishing house gets a paycheck. Each specialist does his job. The cover artist, the editor, the marketing team, the sales team. All of them cash a check at the end of the month. Not the writer.

She (or I in this case) waits hoping that the whole team does its job, and does it well. 

I recognize that the team working on that project hadn't done their job. The editor told me it was the best in the series. The best he'd ever worked on. But it didn't sell. At least not yet.

So what's a writer to do?

Go back to the basics. As I've been working on Jeremiah, I've come to realize that God gives us our assignments. Fortunately, he doesn't hold us responsible for the results. Did God give me the writing task? Absolutely. Did I do it to the best of my ability? Absolutely.

Will He reward my obedience? Most certainly. Perhaps not today. Perhaps not here. Perhaps not in the way I'd hoped. 

But the Word gives me principles by which to live. Who would I be, if I preached them, but did not live them. 

Disappointment? yes!
Re-thinking? Certainly.

I'll continue to work my craft. To consider my options. To think about the effectiveness of various ventures. 

But I will not dwell on the things I cannot control. I will comfort myself on the truths that I know. God asked. I responded. 

Nothing could go better than that! How about you? What do you do in the face of disappointment?


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