Tuesday, September 23, 2008
an audience of one
A story is told about French author Victor Hugo anxiously asking his publisher about sales for his new book Les Miserables. Hugo sent a telegram that said simply, "?". His publisher sent this response, "!".
I'm not sure if this story is true but my brother and I got a good chuckle out of it. Then I remembered that I'll be doing the same thing this time next year and hope I get a "!" back myself. But other than send you a bookmark and beg you to read my book, what control do I really have over sales figures?
Back in the dark ages of that very dismal year, 2007, I remember praying at one nail-biting point, "Lord, I'm willing to work as hard as you want me to, but you'll have to do all the rest." I think the same applies to the success of The Frontiersman's Daughter or any book. I write my heart out and then He sells it. But what if it still sinks instead of swims? Sigh.
Reading tastes are such a strange thing. My folks like to read spy-thriller type books. My brother's tastes are more eclectic/broad. Randy likes to read magazines mostly. Wyatt loves the Hardy Boys. Paul has graduated to Captain Underpants. I hate science fiction. Sorry, trekkies! You could give me the finest science fiction book on the planet and I would have a hard time making it past page 1. I really prefer to read historical works. So I'm just saying book sales, like individual reading tastes, are a mystery to me. I look at the NY Times bestseller lists occasionally and shake my head. Vampires, anyone? Huh?
Recently I highlighted this verse: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
And then beside it in the margin, I scribbled this quote by Kay Arthur, "Our responsibility is to carry out the work God gives us. He'll be responsible for its impact."
Really, when all is said and done, I am writing for an audience of one. And that has little to do with sales figures. And I'm so thankful.