Sales of Surviving Singledom recently passed the 150 mark. (150 copies, not dollars.) I was so stoked I posted this fact on social media. Even though 150 does not sound like a lot when compared with bestsellers – and let’s face it, a book about singledom in a world full of marrieds and families is never going to be a bestseller – it was a big amount to me.
I got excited because 150 copies is close to my goal of selling 200 copies. Before I die, I would love to sell 200 copies of Surviving Singledom. Despite what people may think, the reason for this is not related to breaking even. Selling 200 copies would not mean breaking even. (Those who have self-published understand this painful reality.)
The reason is not about my self-esteem either. Writing is not great for your self-esteem. You do not get adulation for your words. Even if you write well, lots of people will not buy your stuff. If the purpose of my writing was to boost my self-esteem, I would quit now.
No, the reason for wanting to sell 200 copies is purely based on the fact that the average Australian author sells 200 copies of their book. This statistic was given to me by a fellow Australian author. And I have decided that I would love to be an average author.
Some people have queried this desire. They wonder if I am selling myself short by wanting to sell “only” 200 copies. Anything can happen, they assure me, as though my sole purpose in writing was to create a bestseller, become famous and have a movie made out of my book. Because every book goes on to become a movie, right?
Christians, especially, seem intent on convincing me that great things will happen with my book. There is often an assumption that God will do big things with whatever we do. Honestly, it’s ok if my book does nothing exceptional. It’s alright if does not change the world. It might change the world for a few people, but that sounds to me like God’s work, not mine. I provide the words; God does the transformation in people’s lives.
Some Christians assume that God will make my book a huge success because I am a Christian writer and/or because I wrote the book under God’s prompting. As though obedience ensures success. It might for some people. But for me, maybe God never had a bestseller in mind.
Maybe God had a niche book in mind. A little, modest ministry to the minority, with a specific message of encouragement and hope. Maybe that is all God ever intended it to be. A unique book, yes, but average, written by an average author, with average sales, slowly and quietly doing its small part.
Who knows, perhaps God will indeed make Surviving Singledom a bestseller. God can do anything, after all. But I doubt He will do that. I think God gave me a niche idea for a niche market, and it will never be anything more. If it becomes a bestseller, then that is God’s business, not mine. In the meantime, He has called me to be average. And I’m ok with that.
How about you? Has God given you some seemingly “average” task to do? How can you pursue your averageness?