Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2 NIV)
Annette and I have attended various writer’s conferences together over the years. Some were held locally, while others required traveling a distance. All have offered wonderful opportunities to learn and grow - and not only in the areas of craft, marketing, or the publishing arena.
Here’s an example.
It’s custom for editors and agents to be assigned a table during lunch during the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. It gives writers a chance to ask a few questions and share their latest project with the host.
At one of these conferences, Annette and I sat together, waiting for a particular editor to join us. Before the editor arrived, a multi-published author spent a considerable amount of time talking about her books and other accomplishments, never once inquiring about anyone else’s work. Upon arrival, the editor sat in the seat saved for her, next to this author, who monopolized the editor’s time for almost the entire time allotted for lunch.
I watched the people around the table. It was obvious they didn’t want to be rude and interrupt the author, but it was also clear they were anxious, and getting more so as lunch progressed, nervous they wouldn’t have a chance to speak to the editor, themselves. Finally, during the last few minutes, the editor was able to devote attention to the rest of people sitting around the table.
Stunned that a known author would be selfish enough to take that much time away from writers trying so hard to break in, I pulled myself back. I didn’t know what was going on in this person’s life. Perhaps her boldness was a sign of insecurity in a publishing world that has grown more and more competitive.
At this same conference, Annette and I were able to spend enjoyable time with a writer we’d met the previous year. It wasn’t until I discovered three of her books in the conference book store did I realize she was published. She’d never mentioned it. Nor did she initially confess to being represented by one of most coveted agents in the CBA market.
Instead, this author spent time getting to know us. She asked about our work, our lives. We laughed and joked around together. There was a genuine interest in developing friendship.
Wow. What a contrast.
You see . . . it isn’t about “us.”
It’s about who we serve. And if we’re truly serving God by offering our gift of writing, then it’s about Him. It’s about ministering to the reader. It’s about providing an experience that touches and changes lives.
Many writers get that.
Annette and I have been blessed by many authors who have been willing to share their knowledge with us – not only at conferences, but here. On this blog. With you.
They don’t have to. They have plenty to do, believe me. But they understand that the bottom line is that we’re all in ministry together.
We need to be confident enough in our writing that we’re willing to share it. And marketing ourselves and our work is an important part of the business.
But we also need to walk that fine line of being humble and knowing where our success comes from.
Cause it isn’t about you. It isn’t about me.
It’s about Him.
Keep the focus, dear friends.
And have a great week.