Tag Archives: selling books

A Better Way to Sell Out

Writing makes me happy. NovellaBag

But I have something of a strained relationship with publishing. Being an introvert, I don’t want the spotlight, though being human, I do like being well-regarded. Publishing is legitimizing, but it’s also exposing, which depending on your personality can be invigorating or shall we say unpleasant, as in fly-unzipped-on-laundry-day awkward.

So if I’m going to do this—publish I mean—I want to know that what I’m showing off is something larger, or more substantial, than just me showing off.

Discounting the inevitable derision could present a challenge otherwise.

I want what I wrote while blissfully ignorant of any exposing to be unmistakably and unavoidably not simply mine.

The trouble is, overexposure has become the norm, if not the expectation for modern authors in our manic, addiction-inducing culture. And having conceived the work in such a sacred exchange, slapping on the sandwich board to hock it as so much product feels a little like spitting on your grandma. I’m not so much worried about the gut-wrenching agony of being imprisoned in the hype machine. It’s more the fear that I’d be forced to become my own stalker-murderer and suffocate myself with my promotional monogrammed book bag.

So I’ve been thinking this through because I could publish anonymously or with a pen name, which seems attractive until it comes to interviews and such. There are ways to avoid detection and “live off the grid” as it were with things like voice scramblers that writer of the Fourth Realm trilogy “John Twelve Hawks” used. But somehow rejecting publicity to such an extreme feels more like a publicity stunt…

No, I think if I’m going to do it, publish, I need a better reason to sell out than hoping to sell out.

“Unscrupulous people fake it a lot; honest people are sure of their steps. Nothing clever, nothing conceived, nothing contrived, can get the better of God.” (Prov. 21:29-30)

A little later, the sage says, “The payoff for meekness and Fear-of-God is plenty and honor and a satisfying life.” (22:4)

I don’t know if not putting a price on the product of our inspiration is necessary, but it’s certainly advantageous. Making writing your livelihood is a perilous prospect, though not unmanageable. In the end, “Do your best, prepare for the worst—then trust God to bring victory” (21, final verse). The nut to be cracked here seems to be in what you “prepare” for, whether to provide for your own needs or for others’.

So I’m still wrestling. But I’m also praying, believing there’s a right path for everyone moving forward with the call to get the WORD out.