Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So Many Ways to Measure...

...and not measure up.

It began innocently enough. When my first book was published in 2006, I visited the amazon page, just to see the book at the same site with so many of the books I've loved over the years. There was a number posted by the listing. 50,000. Wow! I'd sold 50,000 copies? What an adrenaline boost.

A closer look showed me that the number actually meant I was 50,000 spots from the top. 50,000 other books were selling better than mine. For months, watching that number rise and fall became a daily habit.

Seeking to build community with readers, I began a blog. Stat Counter cheerfully informed me on a daily basis how few people were interested in what I wrote. Oh, it was fun seeing the IP addresses from various countries who dropped by, but Stat Counter also told me how few seconds they spent visiting. And when I visited the blogs of friends, I saw dozens of animated comments. My sense of inadequacy built.

I also began sending out regular Book Buddy newsletters. The double-opt-in service I use is able to inform me exactly how many people on my list actually open the email, and how many click through a link in the newsletter.

I became an affiliate at a couple online bookstores, and was given the information of exactly how few people actually clicked through from my website to order books.

Information is power...but for me, it simply had the power to discourage me.

Now, following advice of industry professionals I trust, I've migrated my facebook profile to an author page. One of the "benefits" is that facebook now inserts little graphics of down-trending arrows and percentages - showing me how "less friended" and "less talked about" and "less shared" I am week by week.

Yikes!

Our culture is sure skilled at measuring. Digital scales, financial analysis, social media "likes," clicks, comments and shares. Useful tools, perhaps. But most of those measures just keep telling me I can't measure up.

I'm so grateful for the love of God. He measures so differently.

"...so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

What a gift to know that we don't have to struggle to measure up to earn God's love. Through Christ, we have forgiveness, grace, and love beyond measure.

Blessings!
Sharon Hinck

6 comments:

barbarah said...

Though I'm not an author, I've had the same struggles with having a blog for five years. I don't necessarily want to be a "big-name" blogger, but every blogger (and writer, I would guess) wants more readers.

Another blog friend wrote recently about similar struggles and concluded God wanted her to "feed whoever comes to the table." That concept helped me as well. Whatever my "numbers" are, I trust He'll give me what He wants me to share with the readers He brings by.

I rejoiced to read recently that you were beginning to write a new book! I took just a moment to pray that God will give you the writing and the readers He wants you to have.

Sharon Hinck said...

Barbarah, what a wise and wonderful comment! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I love that concept of serving whomever comes to the table. And THANK YOU for the prayers. The progress on the new novel continues to be slow...but it IS moving forward. :-) BLESSINGS!

Cheryl Klarich said...

What I love about you is that you keep pushing forward in spite of everything! In your weakness He is strong!!

Praying for you. :)

Sharon Hinck said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I love how God uses the weak... how He transforms... how He measures things so DIFFERENTLY than we do. Hugs!

Accidental Poet said...

I would just like to say that I am one of the ones at your table. I am working on Christian fantasy myself, and your Sword of Lyric series encourages me. I loved the story line, I loved that the CBA published it, and there are two or three series that I hold mine up against, now that I am in the editting process.
Thank you for being obedient.

Sharon Hinck said...

Accidental Poet -
You are SO welcome at the table. :-)
Here's a mug of clavo for you.
And I pray for God's blessing, inspiration and open doors as you work on your book!!