Jeanne Dennis here. I hope all of you are having a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. With so many family, social, and church gatherings, yearly update letters to and from friends, and other activities that occur at this time of year, it seems that we have to work extra hard to promote our books without being obnoxious.
For instance, we don't want our family Christmas cards or letters to sound like advertisements for our books, but we do want to let people know that we have books available. Neither do we want gatherings to be centered around our publishing successes, but if people ask what we do or what we've been up to, we shouldn't be afraid to mention that we've been writing and publishing books. Sometimes, however, we can't control what happens.
Recently, I brought a friend to meet my family, and after we had dinner and sang Christmas carols together, this dear lady had to hear all about how wonderful and talented I appear in the eyes of my sweet mother. I apologized to my friend afterwards, but she understood how it is with mothers. Mothers love to brag on their children.
We can also err on the other side, never mentioning our books at all. I had several people at my church tell me recently that they didn't know I was an author.
So how can we find a balance, especially at a time of year when so many people ask what we do? I think we should take our guidance, as always, from Scripture.
- We can tell people about our books, but let's do it out of a desire to help others by sharing the messages God has entrusted to us, not to build our sales numbers.
- Let's celebrate our successes, but not because of anything we've done. Instead let's gratefully rejoice in the wonderful things God has accomplished through us.
- Let's remember that we are His servants, and as such, should always regard others as better than ourselves.
- Let's allow Him guide us in all we do.
- When the spotlight shines on us, let's take joy in the moments but always remember to transfer any glory that comes our way to God, if not in words, then at least in our hearts. All glory and praise and honor belong to Him and to Him alone.
So here on this Christmas Day, 2008, I want to leave you with a few scripture verses to ponder as you think about promoting your books in 2009. May God bless each of you as you seek to serve Him with your words, both now and in the coming year. (All verses are from the NASB.)
- "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." (Phil. 2:3)
- "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Phil. 2:5)
- "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth." (Prov. 27:2)
- "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil. 2:12–13)
- "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:4–7)
A blessed Christmas to you all!