Ten, nine, eight… Less than 24 hours before lift-off and Destiny at Dolphin Bay goes live in Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon. Here at Seaglass Sagas I’m celebrating the launch of my first book in the Desert Island Diaries series during the month of August.
“Of making many books there is no end,” wrote King Solomon of Israel ca. 1000 B.C. (Eccl. 12:12, NIV). He, of all people, should know—as the author of 3,000 proverbs, 1005 songs, a treatise on philosophy, an epic romance, and more! If that was true back then, think how the publishing business has boomed since, in these days of worldwide electronic delivery.
They say 350,000 books get published each year—4,500 a DAY on Amazon. Yeah, I know the math doesn’t compute. Maybe someone’s differentiating between print and ebooks. But whatever…any way you read it, that’s a ginormous number of books to choose from!
In spite of that endless excess and overwhelming avalanche, I still consider books one of the greatest treasures of the modern world. In the not-so-distant past, books and scrolls cost a royal fortune. Not only handcrafted and labor-intensive, but special copies sometimes had covers inlaid with gold and jewels. These precious manuscripts might be kept in a trunk—often fitted with three locks, whose keys were held by three different people. Wow, and you and I own books to burn.
Seven, six… Instead of launch and lift-off, it’s tempting to tuck my efforts into a treasure trunk or dresser drawer and leave it all to be discovered by posterity in the apocalypse. Or perhaps dig a hole and bury it. Or hide my little candle under a bushel basket. Where have you heard those analogies before?
Because, after all, my title among 50,000 others doesn’t rank high in the category. Oh, yes, I could curl up comfortably somewhere in a marketplace niche or get lost in the tangle of Amazon algorithms. How can I imagine I have something to add to the noise?
“A book has no influence until somebody can read it…This is the power of the word, and it is dangerous.” –Dorothy L. Sayers, The Mind of the Maker
But on the other hand, I’ve spent more than half my life closing the lid on my treasure chest. Fear and doubt have tied me in knots, silenced my voice, and smothered my light. Whatever demons called my treasure trash and caused me to bury it at the back of a closet, I’m resisting now.
I don’t expect riches and renown from this launch venture. But I do recognize that my background and passions have given me a unique perspective on life with a distinctive message to communicate. And I want to invite others to share my joy in the story universe I’ve created and experienced.
“You will never find your place in the world by being like everyone else.” –S.C. Lourie
Five, four, three… So how will I find my way through the maze of marketing and publishing? What can anybody do to encourage themselves to stay the course long past the launch date, to keep at their calling when excitement wanes and resources shrink?
Today I keep returning to my mandate here at Seaglass Sagas:
- Jesus – Surely, if I conceal any other main motive in my heart, disappointment looms just around the corner. Every morning, I remind myself again to focus on Him, to write not only for Him but with Him.
- Others – “Joy to the World” is my missional marching hymn. Though I haven’t met all my readers yet, I trust that God will use this launch month to help me cross life trajectories with people I can inspire, entertain, and challenge. I pray my work may find its way to those it will resonate with.
- You – Note to self: Finish the work with joy and celebrate. Never, ever hold back.
Because no matter what, whether Destiny at Dolphin Bay or any of the books that follow leap to superstar success or crash and burn like the space shuttle Challenger, I won’t leave them locked up in a strongbox any longer.
Sure, they’ll stay safe—and so will I—protected by passwords and privacy. We’ll remain tranquil and untouched by criticism or cool comments. Out of harm’s reach, yet unable to pluck a single heartstring.
Life is too short to hoard my stash of stories. God knows the time will come (and soon enough) when my health may fail, my mind may blur, my desire dull and my creativity crumble. When, as Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Dillard writes, “you open your safe and find ashes” (The Writing Life).
“Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.” –Eccl. 11:1
Two, one… I’m reminded of the Old Testament anecdote of Prince Jonathan, who proposed a feat of daring potential. A shot in the dark, a launch into the deep, if you will. Because “perhaps,” he said to his young armor-bearer, “the Lord will act in our behalf” (I Sam. 14:6, NIV).
So, armor-bearers and fellow word-warriors, I can’t continue to lurk, untouchable, if I’m going to touch others. Who knows what God will do with this book launch? Perhaps the Lord…
You know I don’t play to the crowd or the customers or the critics, necessarily. But God forbid I should downplay the blessings and benefits I’ve received from my readers. I write for our pleasure and transformation together through truth to beauty. That’s the secret power of a story.
Thank you, each one, for your irreplaceable part on the Destiny at Dolphin Bay team—as production crew, cheerleaders, even the cast 😊. I’m depending on your support, reviews, and suggestions to make the next book better.
“Small beginnings are the launching pads to great endings.” –Joyce Meyer
Tomorrow it’s a lift-off…! Let it go…out of the cedar chest, off the computer file… Up from the launch pad into the blue… Let’s shoot some fireworks out the rocket windows as we go.