I’ve published a number of books, but there probably aren’t many of you who have read them. That’s because I’m writing in obedience, and the market God has chosen for me is not large. I’m okay with that.
I became convinced God wanted me to reach out to the male nonbeliever, the person who is reluctant to discuss faith issues, and to plant the little seed that will open the door for someone else to go further. There are planters, then there are the farmers who cultivate and nourish the seed as it grows, and finally there are harvesters who get the wonderful pleasure of helping Jesus reap the crop.
In spite of the fact that I attended a high school with a mascot and name of “The Harvesters,” I seldom get to be in such a role. Those who write Christian fiction are in the business of planting seeds, hopefully to as many as possible. Planters who, like Jesus telling parables, use storytelling skills to make subtle or perhaps not so subtle points that lead someone to begin to question and hopefully to seek answers. Then the farmers and the harvesters take over.
If we are writing under a calling, God has an audience in mind for the work we are producing. Hopefully, He wants us to reach a huge number of people. We would all like the maximum number of people to read our writing. With my book Mysterious Ways, God obviously knew where He wanted it to go and He saw to it that it went there. As I said, I have no idea how that was accomplished. It wasn’t a large group, but it was where He intended it to go.
We all have to ask ourselves that question: What if the market God has in mind isn’t a large number, what if it is a smaller group?
What if it is only one?
What if that one is us?
Are we still willing to write in obedience if God has a very small audience in mind? I made the commitment long ago to do that. It’s something each of us needs to decide for ourselves.
We have to go through an exercise where we can really come to terms with what we deem to be success for our writing. Do we need the big sales to feel we have achieved success? Do we have to reach a certain group of people to feel that? For a secular writer, if they don’t sell thousands of copies, they aren’t considered a success. How many does a Christian writer have to reach to feel successful?
If I only sold one book and it led to a person finding salvation, it would be enough although I know all of us certainly want to reach out to more.
How do you define success?