What was I doing at a writers' conference when I should have been home, locked away in my writing tower...er, office...diving into the core of the most challenging edits to date, edits due the next Monday with only a weekend between?
I was conducting twelve hours of fiction instruction, presenting a keynote address, meeting with conferees one-on-one, mentoring, and teaching a seminar. Time for editing, much less for marketing of the two books still needing attention? In the minus column.
That morning, the breeze teased my bangs, but did nothing to blow away the cobwebs that clogged the problem-solving portion of my brain. The sound of the waves against the shore, always hypnotic, lulled me and refreshed my spirit. But I didn't need calming, did I? I needed a new opening chapter!
As I watched the fascinating interplay of light and shadows from the trees hugging the shore on one side, a new concern grew. New, as in new that day. An old concern that haunts many authors: What if the books don't sell?
What if I do all I can and they still don't sell? What if I try every marketing technique known to mankind and a few I invented and only my friends buy my books? The repercussions are crushing, crippling. What publishing house would want to take a chance on more books if the current releases don't register stellar numbers?
My heart is in ministry. Maybe yours, too. You want to bless people, encourage people, point people to the only source of Hope. But sales matter for at least two reasons. The books have to get into the hands of the readers in order for them to be blessed, encouraged, and inspired. And healthy sales numbers help pave the way for future projects.
Beautiful setting. Sweet breeze. Warm sun. Time alone with God. And I spent it worrying about sales numbers and marketing techniques. I'm sure that's never happened to you, but bear with me a few more moments.
Just as if I were removing my jacket because the sun had grown too warm, I removed the cloak of worry, laid it on the bench beside me, and started taking photographs of the surroundings while my heart squeezed out songs of praise to the Lord. I focused on enjoying the solitude, if only a few minutes.
Then I packed up my laptop, Bible, and water bottle, kept my camera phone in my hand, and headed back to the building in which the conference would be held.
On the way, I stopped to take pictures of wildflowers along the water's edge.
I focused the camera on what I thought was...could it be?...was that a--?
A wild morning glory grew among the weeds and other wildflowers where the lawn ended. A wild morning glory. I'd never seen one, and I've lived enough years that it means something to say so.
What was one of the novels I fretted about whether or not I'd done enough marketing, the right kind, and if the book would resonate with readers so they'd not only buy but talk their friends into buying? When the Morning Glory Blooms. It's in its early months where even the convolution of a royalty statement's sales numbers aren't yet available.
But God knew how prone we are to wondering if our efforts are enough. So He made me almost trip over a wild morning glory to remind me that my efforts are never enough. Can't be. But His are. He has my back on this and every book that's committed to Him.
The God of the universe laid a morning glory in my path to drag my thoughts back to where they should have been all along. On Him. On the freedom that comes from working hard in the areas He directs...but leaving the outcome to Him, the One the wind, the waves, and the wildflowers obey.
Cynthia Ruchti's When the Morning Glory Blooms (novel) and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices (nonfiction) are available wherever books are sold, and are reflections of the God who cares THAT MUCH! You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.