With the release of a new book, authors typically follow the reviews closely to get a “read” on the response to their work. I’m one of those authors. Several times a day, I login and take a look. It’s kind of like showing up at work with your new baby and having the group give it the once over. You labored painfully, birthed it, and now it’s on display for everyone to see. And comment on. I recall my always-appropriate mother once step back from a wrinkly squawking bundle of joy and say, “Wow! Now that’s a baby!” It was the kindest remark she could muster in the moment.
That’s typical of the information you receive on your book baby. Some days you feel pretty good about the data. Other days, not as much. And the perfectionist in me can fixate on the few that are not so good.
I’ve been blessed not to have anyone take to my bundle with a hatchet or an ax to grind, but on a five-point rating scale, you pray for reviews in the four or five star category. But today, I’ve got a new favorite. A three-star favorite.
The review caught me off-guard, as three stars is not a predictor for great news. She had received the book free of charge through an Amazon program, and often folks get books they’d never have purchased on their own. So as a faith-based author, you occasionally get some folks unhappy that you reminded them about God.
But this reader titled her review as “Helped Me Realize a Thing or Two.” That created real curiosity on my part. Here’s what she said:
“I’m not usually into self-help relationship books that are based on religion but this one seemed like a good fit for my situation. I picked this up weeks before my husband plopped down divorce papers on the counter so… yeah. There’s that.
There is a lot of helpful advice here to take – religious or not. The religion base didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The thing that stuck with me the most was the fact of “I choose you.” and being married or even being with someone for over a decade, sometimes you forget why you’re there. Sometimes life sweeps you up and drops you both on your butt and all you can think about is all the stressful parts of life. You lose sight of the fact that this person is here because they decided to dedicate their life to helping you. To being there for you. Yet it’s so easy to push them away. To say we’re fine when we’re not. Then get angry that “no one was there for us.”
I still choose my husband today and he still chooses me. Beyond that, we’ll have to figure it out. But I am thankful I decided to pick up this book.”
And so, she helped me realize a thing or two . . .
God is at work in my work. When I’m sitting at the computer, I’ve got the Christ-following reader in my head. I thought I was writing for them. God’s got the bigger plan in mind and my hands on the keyboard belong to Him and His purposes. He sees every reader as a candidate for kingdom principles. I need to understand that.
5-Star reviews are great, but ministry is the point. Whether the reader’s a believer or not, I write to point others to Him and His love for us. Period. Not to entertain or amuse, (but maybe to challenge) and to draw them closer to an intimate connection with God.
Since ministry is the point, God holds me accountable for that privilege. There are days when getting the words on the page is demanding and difficult. Getting the right words on the page must always be my standard; can’t settle for anything less.
So thank you three-star lady. Today – and maybe for a lot of days still to come – you are my favorite.