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All around us, authors are struggling. Sales plummet. Amazon removes book reviews for reasons never announced. We weary of the constant marketing and promotion allotted to authors in this era. We question ourselves, wondering if this is worth it at all.
To keep us going, the Lord sends exactly what we need during those times of doubt – a review written for one of our books, a comment from a connection on Facebook, a tweet from another author on Twitter, a spoken endorsement, an affirmation from God’s Word, or a reminder that our reward is with Christ alone.
And so, encouraged to remember that we work for the Lord, we press on.
How can we keep encouraged during times like these?
Last month, I wrote about the importance of book reviews and the need for authors to review one another’s work to help each other along. I suggested we purposefully begin to tackle our To Be Read (TBR) book piles, systematically working through those titles and writing reviews for other authors’ books.
That post struck a nerve. Last I knew, it had been read over 1,000 times. If you missed it, here’s the Tweet I’ve been using to educate the public on how essential reviews are to writers. Click on the graphic to go to that original Seriously Write post.
Reviewing other authors is but one way we can help one another. Jesus’ Golden Rule applies to our careers and our conduct as writers just as much as it applies to all other parts of our lives.
So, ask yourself: What do I wish others would do for me? Consider carefully.
That is where we should begin to help others.
I encourage you to evaluate your heart in this matter. Often, we feel jealous of another’s success, or we’re fearful that if we promote another writer our own work will suffer. These are sinful responses to what we know the Holy Spirit would have us to do. Our response should be to obey him.
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). It’s not complicated. It’s simply hard to do, for we place ourselves ahead of others. But, surely, the Lord will enable us.
Some writers have banded together, some in structured affiliations, some through spoken or unspoken agreements. We retweet one another. We comment on one another’s blogs. We read, review, and promote one another’s books. We encourage one another.
Some authors pay heed to the sound of discouragement or frustration voiced by other writers on Facebook, Twitter, or a discussion group, and we take advantage of the first God-given opportunity to uplift that one with a shared word, a retweet, or an addition of their name to a list of authors we recommend.
Some seize the opportunity to read the post of an unknown Christian writer when it comes across our feed, and then to comment and affirm that writer.
These actions are simple and take far less time than reading an entire book and writing a review. But they can have a powerful effect in the life of a writer. Helping others encourages us as well.
As Christian writers, we aren’t in competition with one another. We’re ministry partners together – all of us living and working to please the Lord. He’s the one we serve. He gifted us. He inspires us. He provides the market for our work. We must knock down jealousy, comparison, and the desire to be regarded higher than another.
These truths that we know so well apply right here in our world of writerly work. We write about the Lord and for him. Surely, with his help, we can treat others as we would like to be treated, doing even more than the minimum.
The world is watching. Will we demonstrate Christ-like living?
Even more importantly, Jesus is watching. Will he be pleased with our choices?