I had a dream- an awesome dream- of being an author. I dreamed of kids all over the world reading a bedtime story that was written by Stephanie Cameron, invoking peace just before a good night’s rest. I envisioned kids talking in the schoolyard about their favorite book and being named as a favorite. I dreamed about kids starting an “Ella Ma Challenge” in their school- pledging to turn the other cheek and extending forgiveness when they were treated poorly by a class mate. I dreamed of seeing the smiles and attentive faces of children listening to my book that provides a testimony of the Lord’s great work in my life. These are all things I dreamed of- before being published.
Once published, reality struck and I began to see just how hard it was to get my book noticed. Being published, while a significant part of the battle, is really only the first hurdle of many I didn’t see coming.
I’m stunned by the roller coaster of excitement and rejection and how quickly the tides of emotion can turn. I get so thrilled by a new “like” on Facebook and rejoiced just today over my first “like” in India- wow- am I really reaching that far with my message? I rejoiced over an e-mail sent by a new reader telling me their child enjoyed “Ella Mae the Courageous Cheerleader” and had a lot of good comments about the book. These small yet significant successes give me motivation to press on and continue to dream and promote. There is, however, a darker side.
There is a side where the church, people of faith, people I know and commune with, people I would expect to embrace my new book say, “No thank you.” There is a side where my own publisher focuses on widget counting, popularity, status and sales rather than the message of God being spread to people who need it. There is a side where I introduce my testimony and the door slams because I’m not known or popular enough to have earned a spot on the shelf. There is a side where I’m viewed as a “want-to-be” in a sea of competition. It’s that side that whispers, “Are you sure you made the right decision in doing this?”
What is the answer to that question? A resounding, “YES!” of course. Although it would be wonderful to be named in the NY Times Best Seller list and placed in every book store across America- that was really never my goal. The goal in all we do, whether in word or deed, is to glorify the Lord. I know that just like the Ella Mae story itself, the Lord delights in our weakness. He enjoys pulling through when the odds are against us. I’m telling you that when you are a beginning author trying to get noticed in this world, the odds are against you. I’m living it now. I take comfort in knowing this: I told God I’d write “Ella Mae the Courageous Cheerleader” if it meant just ONE person was encouraged, blessed, changed or inspired. I’ve received confirmation that one person was encouraged. All the rest is bonus!
I leave you with this. My daughter and I are memorizing scripture this year as a 2013 goal. Our current focus is John 10:9, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in, and go out, and find pasture.”
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