It’s one of the reasons I love to write. To be able to communicate using myriad combinations of a mere twenty-six letters is nothing short of amazing. Still, my writing life is slowly being consumed by numbers.
Sales numbers and sales rankings. Number of blog readers and blog subscribers. Blog commenters and friends lists totals. Website views and page views.
I used to think the most difficult part of the publishing process was actually writing the book . . . until I wrote the book.
Then I thought the most difficult part of the publishing process was convincing a publisher that my book was exactly what he or she wanted. Not anymore.
I have joined the assembly of authors who have all learned that hard work doesn’t end with a book contract. The question now consuming my thoughts is whether people will purchase my book. Does anyone even know it’s available? So the impulse to examine the numbers begins.How many page views did my website receive this week? How many Facebook friends “like” my Author Page? How many people commented on my most recent blog post? Was it more than the week before? If not, why not?
My latest compulsion is to check for book reviews. As of today, Amazon shows thirty-nine mostly five-star reviews. Whew! But Christianbook.com shows only fifteen. Should I be concerned?
Just when I begin to get carried away by the numbers, I’m reminded that God is more concerned with people than with numbers. In Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, pastor and author Jim Cymbala notes, “The Bible does not say we should aim at numbers, but rather urges us faithfully to proclaim God’s message in the boldness of the Holy Spirit.”
Rather than fall prey to the lure of numbers, I must remember that God works, one person at a time, to build His kingdom. If the reason He prompted me to write this book is to benefit only one person, then it is a successful venture in His sight. If I’m doing what He has called me to do, then I must trust Him for the results . . . and for my affirmation.
Of course, I will do everything I can to market Daily Reflections on the Names of God. But ultimately, I must choose: is my focus on finite numbers or on my infinite God?
How do you resist the lure of numbers to bring you affirmation?
Ava Pennington is a writer, Bible teacher, and speaker. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is endorsed by Precepts Ministries founder Kay Arthur. Additionally, Ava is co-author of the Faith Basics for Kids series. The first two books in the series are Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? She has also written numerous articles for magazines such as Clubhouse, Today’s Christian Woman, Power for Living, and Called. In addition, Ava teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. She is a passionate speaker and teacher and delights in challenging audiences with the truth of God’s Word in relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit her at AvaWrites.com.