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.


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.

" 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.

Sharon Hinck

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Ask and Imagine

Happy New Year, dear blog readers!

Our family has had a tradition of spending New Year's Day in a sort of at-home mini-spiritual-retreat. We worship, share, talk about the past year, go off for quiet time alone with our Bibles and ask God for a theme or direction for the coming year... perhaps an area of our character He is working on, or a new direction for our focus.

With our children grown, this year Hubby and I held our mini-retreat as a couple. It was fun looking back over the year and remembering our themes.

My word for 2011 was HOPE. That wasn't an easy theme for me. I entered the year feeling rather hopeless. Health setbacks had been discouraging for several years, which also led to career and ministry being on the shelf, and also brought a lot of isolation and loss in relationships. However, nudged by God, I agreed to write bonus material for the three Restorer books in preparation for new releases - so I was leaning on God as I hoped to be able to do the work.

Then in the spring, God also led me to an opportunity to write devotions for Mornings with Jesus. Each day was difficult. There wasn't energy or strength to spare. But somehow as I kept hoping in Him, He enabled little steps each day that would have been impossible without His grace.

For 2012, the theme that He brought to mind is "Ask and Imagine." I remembered how Jesus told the disciples that ,"You have not, because you do not ask." And also how He delights in giving us beyond what we ask and imagine. Since I'm beginning work on full-length fiction again after several years away, I'm also praying for God to enliven my imagination. So there are several ways the theme applies to my life.

Here's my verse for the year, and I share it also as a prayer for each of you reading this:

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." --Ephesians 3:20-21

Blessings in 2012!
Sharon Hinck

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Contest for Readers in 2012

A new contest to celebrate the re-release of the award-winning Sword of Lyric series!
The first book, The Restorer--Expanded Edition, released in October 2011 and The Restorer's Son--Expanded Edition, releases in April 2012.

In thanks for your support for these books, we are holding a giveaway to get a FIRST PEEK of the all new bonus material in The Restorer's Son--Expanded Edition!

And that's not all--ONE grand prize winner will receive a canvas Restorer Book Bag full of goodies like: 4 other Sharon Hinck books, a Restorer t-shirt transfer, clavo tea, and other treats.

Sounds great, right? So how do you enter?

1) Post a review of The Restorer--Expanded Edition to 3 major review sites (such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Good Reads, Shelfari, etc.) between January 2st and February 28th, 2012.

2) Email your review links to Sharon's literary assistant at jamie.words (at) For each review posted to a major site, your name will be entered in the drawing once.

3) On March 3rd, 5 winners will be randomly selected from the pool of contestants. And of those 5, ONE will be randomly drawn to receive the grand prize.

Put on your writing hat and enter the contest today!

* Please note that the contest begins January 2st and runs through February 28th. No reviews posted before or after those dates will be considered in the contest. The winners will be randomly selected from the pool of contestants who email their links to Sharon's literary assistant at jamie.words (at) Reviews that are not emailed to Jamie will not be entered in the contest. Once announced on the Facebook page, it is the winner's responsibility to contact Jamie with his / her contact information. In order to receive the PDF file of the bonus material in The Restorer's Son--Expanded Edition, the winner will also have to supply his / her email address. The grand prize winner of the Restorer Book Bag shall also have to supply a physical mailing address. Should any of the winners not respond to Jamie by March 10, 2012, new winners shall be selected. For any further questions, please contact Jamie at: jamie.words (at)