Last summer I took a hiatus from the CAN blog as I began the process of selling our home in Illinois where we’d lived twenty-eight years, while flying back and forth to Salt Lake City looking for a home. We ended up storing our belongings and living in a small apartment while having a house built here. In December I spent a month in Tennessee taking care of my parents after my mom had an accident. Once I finally settled down, I was excited to hear about the second Monday slot and the chance to again offer encouragement to fellow writers. Then a couple of weeks ago, I received my first royalty statement from the new devotional book (my third) that released last year. Suddenly the thought of writing something encouraging seemed ludicrous.
I hadn’t expected high numbers since I’d been unable to do much marketing. And I knew that I’d failed to do even some basics, like asking friends who liked the book to post online reviews. But the sales were worse than I could have imagined—the word “dismal” kept coming to mind. I remembered how writing the book consumed my life for five and a half months so it would be ready to release in the fall. I thought about the weekends and often twelve-hour days spent at the computer to come up with 365 devotional ideas. My husband and I had postponed our special thirty-fifth anniversary trip for several months, which meant we’d had to change the destination. I felt bad for myself, for the publisher who’d invested so much in me, and for my agent who’d worked to get the two-book deal.
Why am I even doing this? I wondered. Wouldn’t it be better to pour my time and energy into something else? I asked God those questions. I read over notes and emails I’ve received from readers. I listened to a couple of women at a baby shower telling me how the book blessed them each day. And I remembered why I write: because I believe that God has called me and equipped me for this. The real bottom line is obedience and faithfulness and trusting God for the results. So I’m trying to see this disappointment as an opportunity to reevaluate my motives and attitudes. As I finish my current work, I’m making plans for a fall marketing push on the last book (using tips I’ve gleaned from the CAN blog and digest, of course). And I’m hoping that one day these awful sales numbers will be something I can laugh about—and maybe use to encourage a fellow writer on their own journey.