Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Power of Words

It has been three days and I am still pretty well glowing. Let me explain.

On November 23, 2017, I self-published a book that was written for the benefit of a small Christian niche that calls themselves Standers. A Beginner's Guide to Defy Divorce and Take a Stand for Your Marriage is a short book that took a number of months to complete because a large portion of it (more than half the book) is testimonies that I needed to collect. Still, I worked pretty hard to get the book out before the holidays because the holidays are a big time when this niche seems to have a lot of activity.

Because it did take so long to compile the book, I took time to accumulate a group of about 20 advance readers who promised to read and leave honest reviews of the book on Amazon to help me attract more readers. I also reached out to a few book bloggers. Of everyone who said yes, only one actually posted her review of it. She is a book blogger who greatly enjoyed another of my Christian books (and gave that one a nice review with a five star rating) but she gave the new one only 4 stars.

(Note: The other book bloggers have either messaged they will not be reviewing this book, after all, or they have not yet gotten to it in their reading cues.)

To me, four stars is on the positive side of mediocre so that was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. At least the book blogger did not hate the book. She is also not a member of the niche to whom I had written. So her review was both helpful to boost Amazon ratings and not so helpful in regards to my gleaning niche-specific feedback.

A month and a half passed with no sales and no new reviews. I decided that maybe I would be better off blogging about cooking and DIY homemaking projects than writing to a group of people who do not even read what I write. I am pretty sure that repeatedly writing to be unread is part of the definition of, "waste of time." So I started a new blog and secured an accountability partner for it.

Funny thing: My accountability partner turns out to blog about marriage. She wound up joining a group that I belong to AND saw a post with my book cover in it. Because she knows who I am, she emailed her congratulations and a screen shot to me.

I was hugely surprised! I didn't even know that a sale had been made (not even ONE at this point) and yet someone had posted a photo of her hand holding my book. Instantly, I looked for the thread and liked it to bring it to the top of the group page, then I messaged a friend of mine to tell her about the thread and she also followed it.

Two questions were subsequently asked and answered by the lady who loves my book. The first question was if the book was good and where she got it. Her answer was:
It is awesome. Read 5 chapters in 1 night!!!! Barnes & Noble

This is when I began to glow. If you see a warm light coming from the direction of northeastern Wisconsin, DO NOT BE ALARMED. No nuclear weapon has struck. That is likely just me.

I'm sure the second question helped to pique interest. "Tell me about the book," was answered:
It talks about God's original design for marriage and standing for your covenant. Has testimonies too.

[In fact, it has 40 testimonies. Just saying.]

Several more people joined the thread after our questions were posed and, by the next day, my book was being read by 5 more! Today, I contacted the woman who made the original post to thank her and let her know that her positive comment had helped me to help at least 5 other people (4 e-book sales and one Kindle library borrow). She responded to my message and, not only did she agree to leave her review on the Bookseller's website, but her answer added serious brightness to the glow I am sure you must be seeing on your horizon. (If you cannot see it, it should be visible after nightfall.)

Here is the best part of this whole story. The woman said,
Your book has blessed me in my stand so much!!!! 

Now those words, my friends, make all the work I put into this book totally worth it. Yes, I mean it. My words made a difference for at least one hurting person and her few words of praise made a huge difference for the way I feel about the work I have done.

If there is one take-away from this story that I want you to have, it is this: 
Words make a difference, so consider yours and use them wisely. 

My words made a difference to that woman and her words made a difference to more than just me. "It is awesome. Read 5 chapters in one night," resulted in 5 more people reading my book AND encourages me to not close the door on writing more to that audience.

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