Launch-day Jitters: The Many reasons I'm Nervous About My new Book, and Why I Shouldn't be (Plus a Giveaway!)
My fourth novel, New Wine Transportation Company, releases today, and there are so many emotions--excitement, appreciation, relief, joy. But one of the biggest feelings is ANXIETY. Will readers relate to Pastor Daniel Whitefield in New Wine Transportation Company? Will they understand the message I'm trying to convey? Is the overall theme clear? Will readers like it?
I shouldn't be so nervous. But this book is kind of "different." It doesn't follow some common conventions of Christian Fiction. It is a short novel (the same length as my first, Grace & Lavender.) There are no female points of view, and while most of the story is from the perspective of the main character, six of the chapters represent six other characters. The genre is first and foremost "Christian Fiction," and it definitely fits into the "Southern Fiction" (or "Small-Town Fiction") sub-genre. But unlike a lot of Southern Fiction, it does not share characteristics with broader categories like Women's Fiction and Romance. It is more "general," which could make it more challenging to reach an audience.
One of my biggest concerns about the book is the subject matter. Drinking alcohol can be a "hot button" issue within the church, as demonstrated in the story, but that really isn't what the book is about. Please read the preface from the front of the book, below. I really hope people understand this:
"This story is not about drinking or not drinking alcohol. It is not meant to spark a theological debate and is not intended to be a representation of my personal interpretation of Scripture on the subject of alcohol. This story is about “the love of God [that] has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5). It is, like all my writing, about how God works “all things together for good” (Rom. 8:28). And it is about obedience to His leading, even when our direction is challenged."
Another concern I have is that, since the time I finished writing New Wine Transportation Company, I have completed a fifth novel that is more conventional and I believe has the potential to reach a broader audience, and I also feel like it's the best story I've written so far. Anxiety creeps in and tells me that, if people don't like NWTC, they won't give the new story a chance when its published one day, and I REALLY want to reach people with the not-yet-published story.
Now that I've spent several paragraphs telling you what I'm worried about, let me tell you why I'm ashamed of that worry. I believe wholeheartedly that I wrote New Wine Transportation Company for a reason. It has a purpose. And I need to trust God with that purpose, whether the book is widely received or it isn't. So far, the kind people who have agreed to review the book have said some wonderful things about it. One of the most touching and rewarding for me was that a reader had been inspired to "be reaching and loving the broken." That's when I knew I had put limitations on God. He can do with this story whatever He chooses. If one person is inspired to help their community, or if one person is challenged to trust God more (as I have been), or if one person is drawn closer to the Father through the message of this story, then that's enough. Even if it simply provides a few hours of entertainment for someone, that will make me happy. But I won't limit God. He can use it however He wants, and I pray that it will be used for His glory. And I pray the same for the next book, and the next, should He allow me to continue writing. I shouldn't be nervous about my writing if I've asked Him to be in control of it.
This past Sunday, at the end of service, I led the congregation in a song many might think of as a children's song. But it was very fitting for the sermon, and it's fitting for my book release, too, despite my nervousness. This is what I'm going to try to focus on. I hope you feel it, too, today. I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Down in my heart, down in my heart. I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart. Down in my heart to stay.
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Thank you for visiting my blog. I share devotional articles and musings about life, parenting, and the writing journey, as well as important news about my books. I hope you find something of interest here!
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