What if Nobody Likes it?

Insecurity is not preferential. It invades everyone's psyche from time to time, even more so the creative. We get it. You spend months of your life pouring out your passion on the pages of a notebook or tapping away late into the night after everyone has gone to sleep. You make notes on your phone, record thoughts as you drive, and have bookmarked a thesaurus on your internet browser.


You love writing. It's a release for you. It's a way to take all the emotion of the day and share it with someone who won't judge or degrade you, the glow of the screen, and glorious feeling of progress as you finish yet another chapter. Then the time comes to actually release your book.


Oh no.


Fear sweeps over you as you realize your friends and family, people you love and admire, will spend their hard earned money on something you created. "What if they hate it?" you ponder. "What if it's so bad they never want to buy another book from me again? WHAT HAVE I DONE!?"


I understand. I think every author feels this way at the finish line, but let me give you a little perspective.


Value the Act of Obedience

As a Christian author you are writing something God placed on your heart. Yes, every author wants to sell millions of copies and retire on a beach in the islands, destined to write forever and never work another job in their life, but what if it's not about that? What if it's just about "the one"? What if your book so impacts "the one" an entire family line is redeemed? Don't make it about the money, the prestige, or the respect. Let's face it, book publishing is a terrible retirement plan. Instead, remember why you started. You HAD to write. You were like the prophet Jeremiah - the fire was shut up in your bones and you could not contain it (Jeremiah 20). Don't let the temptation of notoriety and fame skew your mission. This was never about your fame. It is ALWAYS about His.


Think Father First

I remember talking to my Spiritual Father one day about some societal challenges we are facing within the church. He made such a simple yet powerful statement I still lean on to this day. "Son, if the Father is pleased with you, nothing else matters."


Some may not like your book. That's ok. At least you wrote one. I can't help but think of Theodore Roosevelts speech, "The Man in the Arena":


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Only ONE critic counts, and He is pleased with you. Listen, God authored the greatest collection of books in human history, THE #1 best seller of all time, estimated nearly 5 BILLION copies printed, and still millions of people hate it. Shrug it off, hone your craft, and move on to book number two. You'll keep getting better.


Celebrate

You. Wrote. A. Book. Wow! Be proud of your accomplishment! You and I both know writing is more than sales. It's part of who you are, so write! Enjoy the journey! When it comes time to sell, we have some tools for that, but in the end, you are an author. Let's be honest, that's just cool to say.

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