I live on an island, and I work at home. So I don’t visit many bookstores, though I spend an unconscionable amount of time on Amazon.com! But on many a Saturday, I trek to my local Target store to buy hamburger buns and ketchup and LoveCrunch Dark Chocolate granola, and weave through the accessories section to see if there are any purses on clearance that I can’t resist.
No purses on clearance today, dang it. But I did spend a little time cruising the book aisles, and it was depressing. I mean, weight on your chest, darkness at the edge of your vision depressing.
Trying to figure that out.
My two primary theories–wait, I guess that would have to be my primary and secondary theories…are these:
- I’m in the midst of indie-publishing my first novel, and the competition, even at just one box store that doesn’t really focus on books, is voluminous and very, very shiny. How can I find a place in this polished and crowded market?
- The books are dark. Many are evil, scary, mean and hopeless, and/or blasphemous, shallow, pornographic or otherwise worthless. Is this really what Americans want to read?
It’s discouraging. I don’t know whether my story will flop, because it’s full of hope and humor and faith, or whether it will be a welcome bright spot because it’s full of hope and humor and faith.
Not that there aren’t some hopeful and meaning-filled books on the shelves, of course. There are, and if you want to you can buy cookbooks full of healthy recipes, classic children’s stories, volumes of local history, a bright purple Bible, or a copy of Da Jesus Book, which is the New Testament in Hawaiian pidgin. I did snag one of those, and hubby and I plan to read it aloud to each other over the course of 2017.
I don’t fully understand the dark feeling that my cruise through the books provoked in me. I didn’t like it. I need to ponder it. I need to invite my Creator to search my heart and see if there is any grievous way in me connected to competition, envy, greed, or pride. Because whether my book flops or shines is largely irrelevant. That I please my Jesus and become more like him, this is what matters, only and always.
I think a few minutes meditating on Psalm 139 might help…