By Angela D. Shelton
I’ve heard it said many times. It’s even crossed my own lips. Perhaps these words have slipped off your tongue as well.
If I can help only one person with my writing, it will be worth it.
There it is—the ultimate selfless act.
We struggle through the outline, the muddle in the middle, the rewrites, and the endless versions of the cover. Hours, days, months, or even years of work, devotion, and corrections that finally result in our finished product. Our masterpiece. The finished novel.
It may go to a publisher, or we may self-publish, but eventually, we release it into the wild. Or at least into the Amazon jungle of the thirty-three MILLION other books.
Perhaps you’ll be fortunate enough to be struck by lightning more commonly known as the instant success story—hitting gold with your first-ever book release. If this is you, congratulations! I am truly happy about your victory.
But for the rest of us, those who see some sales, that peter off into the void—let’s talk about what comes next.
Don’t back off. Grasp hold of the vision you had at the beginning. You’ve probably already memorized this verse, but it may be a good time to remind you. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 NIV
God gives the gift of writing to many, but only a few write for public consumption in articles, books, or other scholarly work. Even fewer will see their work published. Some people look at me in awe when they find out I’ve published a book. That should tell you how rare you are, though it’s easy to forget when we’re spending so much time interacting with other authors.
If your book isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped, you may still be in the learning phase. I know I am. I’ve recently taken a self-publishing course to figure out where I went wrong. In the past two months, I’ve learned an awful lot about how to self-publish the correct way, and let’s just say I didn’t get it right the first time.
Do you know what that means to me? It means that it’s time for a do-over. I’m revamping my covers, going back over the blurbs, and getting that magnet finished, so it’s ready to go to build my newsletter. I’m also planning to attend my first conference this year.
Although we’re blessed with gifts, we’re also expected to fine-tune those talents. I’m an accountant in my day job. God gave me the ability to reason through business fiscal issues. But I still needed to get my degree in accounting, my MBA, my CMA, and countless other fine-tuning certifications and educational experiences. The extra work to hone my skills in accounting and business prowess has taken my ability to the next level. Why should I expect my writing to be any different?
The long and short of my message to you is this. Don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep learning. Keep refining your gift to bring it to the perfection God intended.
In the end, I can’t wait to stand, shoulder to shoulder with you, as we hear those words we’re living to hear — “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21 NIV.
P.S. If you don’t know what a magnet is or the importance of a newsletter, connect with me offline and we’ll chat about what I’ve been learning about marketing. We’re all in this together!So, you’ve released your first publication. Congratulations! But it’s not selling? Now what? @AngelaDShelton #ACFWBlogs #writetip #critiques #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet
Angela D. Shelton works as a healthcare accountant and owns/works a cattle ranch in Georgia.
Calling on her experience from the farm and drawing on her husband’s military and law enforcement understanding, she’s created a post-apocalyptic world in her novel series, Collapse. The stories revolve around a small-town Georgia family who turn to farming just in the nick of time to be self-sufficient when the supply chains in the world collapse.
Ms. Shelton is a member of the Christian Indie Publishing Association, the American Christian Fiction Writers, and Word Weavers International. The first two books in the series are available now on Amazon. The prequel to the series, Downfall, is available for free on her website www.AngelaDShelton.com.