Thursday, February 5, 2009

Traditional Publishing or Will of God

Dear God,

I know you love me and want to bless me. I know you own the cattle on a thousand hills and all that. I know that all the wealth of the world is yours, so it is a small thing for you to do this one thing. To you, it isn’t a very big thing at all. Could you give me a big book contract? I don’t ask for much. I just want enough I can go buy a bigger house and a new car. And I want to enough to be able to quite my job so I can go to speaking engagements all over the country. And I don’t want to have to worry about money again.

I know it’s a small thing for you and I am trying to ask in faith, even though there are thousands of other Christian authors out there who don’t have a publishing contract. Now I know I might be asking with the wrong attitude, but at the very least, won’t you get me a contract so people will see that I’m as great of an author as I think I am?

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Ever pray like that? I’m afraid that I have all too often. That is part of why that as I write this I haven’t sent my latest manuscript to anyone. When I began this journey, I had a clearly defined and attainable goal—self-publish a book. But now I am headed down a different path and the whole atmosphere is different. On this side of the house, it is so easy to get caught up in the pecking order. An author with an agent is deemed to be a better author than those who don’t. An author with a publishing contract is considered a better author than those who just have an agent. Authors who sell a lot of books are considered better authors than all the rest. It is so easy to get caught up in asking God to help us get an agent and then a publishing contract so that people will respect our work. We then fail to ask the important questions.

One of the most important questions we can ask is what direction the Lord wants us to go with our lives. I know of some authors who have multiple houses who spend a lot of time flying from one place to another. It’s an exciting life, that I got a little taste of last year, but I quickly discovered that you can’t teach kids at a church in Fort Worth while you’re in Atlanta.

Then there is the question of what we should accomplish with our writing. Is there something that we can accomplish for the Lord by having our traditionally published that will not be accomplished if we don’t publish or if we self-publish? It may well be that we are hindering the Lord’s work by seeking a publisher rather than providing a means to accomplish the work of the Lord.

I would love to have my work published by a traditional publisher, but if the only reason is for the validation of my work then it may not be in the will of God. If it isn’t then something needs to change.