Have you ever worked at something really hard expecting to receive results, only to be surprised with the outcome? I have. I didn’t prepare myself for how hard promoting my work would be. Because I’m an independent author, book promotion has fallen entirely in my lap, and it’s a heavy load.
Number one, I dislike selling anything, even my own work. Number two, no matter how much effort I put in, I can’t make it rain.
I grew up a farmer’s daughter. I know about planting and hoping for a harvest from your hard work: picking rock, discing and tilling the soil, fertilizing the area, planting the seed, and cultivating the growing plants.
I remember the hot days of picking rock out of a field destined for planting. Some rocks fit the size of my hand, and I could easily toss them on the wagon or on the stone fence dividing the fields. Some rocks measured the size of my head, while some required a crowbar and more muscles than I had. Other rocks needed to be pulled from the field and hauled away by the aid of my dad’s little Ford 9N tractor.
When particularly hot, my mom would march out to the field with cold Mason jars filled with ice water. Nothing ever tasted so good. When the rivulets of sweat track paths down your back, salty drops sting your eyes, and you pant from exhaustion from exertion and the baking sun, cold well water tastes like a drink from heaven.
I’ve picked plenty of rock in this writing/publishing journey: difficulties with my health, lack of experience in the publishing arena, and novice novel mistakes. I drank the water of determination and encouragement and kept going despite the impediments.
I harrowed my tale, polishing it time and time again with rounds of edits. I planted the seed of my words in the fertile soil of my imagination, and they grew into more than I imagined: a completed, edited novel ready to print.
I’m tending the new plant now, giving it what I can to make it grow, but something becomes clear to me. Just like in farming–we had no irrigation system–you can’t make it rain. You can be in charge of all the prior steps of planting, but making water pour from the heavens is beyond my power or yours.
So I sight, I pray, and I realize I can promote my novel all I want, but I can not make people read it. For me, I don’t care about making money or merely entertaining people with a gripping or passionate tale. It is all about the message, the life behind the words. I’ve been through some dark patches, and I know what it’s like to think you’re not going to emerge from the cavern. I want to give people a taste of the Hope I’ve experienced–a good thing I think.
So . . . I keep doing what I can do, and at the end of the day I drop the possibility of my story’s reach into hands far bigger than mine.
You may realize you can’t make it rain either in whatever life situation you face. It’s not a bad place to be. Those kinds of times simply make us understand we can’t control everything. We do our best. We hope for the best. We pray for the best. It’s all we can do, and that’s life.