Before writing this post today, I looked at my website to see when I had posted last. The date was August 24, 2016, more than nine months ago. The first post on my website was from September 20, 2015. After one year of writing and posting to the blog, I was getting a steady (but very small) stream of visitors, with a comment here or there, and 13 people asked to be added my email list. I started an author page on Facebook about the same time and had 36 people following me by the end of 2016.
When I recently showed a proposal for a new book to an agent, he told me I should show the number of people who followed me on social media and by email list. My response was, “But what if the numbers are really embarrassing?”
My numbers were really embarrassing. They were embarrassing and disheartening nine months ago when I stopped blogging to concentrate on other demands in my life. They were embarrassing and concerning three months ago when I started working again on a non-fiction book I originally hoped to have finished last year. They were embarrassing and terrifying two weeks ago when I left a writers’ conference with the names of agents and publishers interested in my book idea—every one of whom had reminded me how important those numbers were.
Books don’t sell themselves, and publishing houses can’t afford to invest a lot of money marketing new authors. If you want to sell a book to a traditional publisher, you have to show you have people who already know about you and want to hear what you have to say. The numbers matter.
I’m so grateful that numbers don’t really matter to God.
Five loaves of bread and two small fish—how embarrassing. Half a year’s wages required to fill the need—how impossible! Placed in Jesus’ hands—how miraculous.
“Father, I am placing my small numbers into your hands today. Please bless it so that many may be fed with the good news of your faithfulness. Amen.”
What is my mission as an author? The goal dearest to my heart is to help Christians think about what they really believe and then to act as if they believe it. It all begins with understanding what it means to be a Christian. Then we have to learn to live like a Christian.