I thought about responding to a comment I received on yesterday’s blog, but then decided I’d do it here. The comment said essentially that the writer didn’t worry about sales all that much because that wasn’t her goal when she wrote. The part I want to address is the following partial quote: “…some of the very best moments and memories will be that one who said, “I really feel like God spoke to me through what you wrote.”
For sure that is a nobler calling and purpose than sales, and I want to give two examples to amplify what she is saying. The first is just cute and personal, but nonetheless valid. It involves my younger daughter. All parents want their children to be proud of them and to love them. I’m no exception; in fact, maybe I crave it more than I should. Still most of us are under few delusions that we will regularly hear that from our children. The words, “Gee, Dad, I’m proud of you,” are hard to say for some strange reason and I was no exception with my father. It’s not that we aren’t proud; it’s just that we don’t say it as often as we should.
So you have to take consolation in the indirect, unspoken ways your children tell you that they are proud of you. My daughter found out that the local libraries have copies of my first book, “Under the Burr Oak Tree.” It’s included in a section of books written by local authors. She couldn’t help herself. She had to go see it on the shelf there with her own eyes. When she couldn’t find it, she went straight to the check out desk and asked where it was. The woman told her that someone had checked it out. Imagine that in a library. My daughter couldn’t leave well enough alone, she asked if anyone else had checked it out, and was told yes, at least three other people had checked it out previously. She couldn’t wait to tell my wife that people were checking my book out. It’s a little thing, I know, but it sure did make me feel good.
The second incident came a few weeks ago after church when a woman came up to me at coffee hour. She told me she had purchased one of my books and given it to one of her daughters to read first because she was reading something else.
She told me, “I just had to tell you what an effect your book has had on my daughter. You know she doesn’t come to church much and I can’t tell you when she actually read a book last, but she said she couldn’t put yours down. She practically has it memorized. I don’t know how many times she said she read it, but she described it to me scene by scene like she was telling me about some friends of hers, and she particularly liked the fact that it showed that no matter what we’ve done, God still loves us.” The woman choked up a little and then said, “Thanks. I think she got the message.”
Give me one comment like that for every book I write and I’ll let Grisham have the NYT best seller list. I’d rather have that kind of best seller.