Monday, April 1, 2013

Mid-season sale

by Marion Stroud

Although we haven’t seen more than a gleam of sunshine for weeks, and the daffodils are out, but bowed over with a collar of ice and snow, our local shops are having ‘mid-season sales.’ It looks like a sign of sheer desperation. If we won’t buy spring and summer clothes with snow on the ground, perhaps we’ll open our wallets or get out our credit cards for 70% off! They’re probably right. Easter is here, we’re tired of winter clothes and most of us love a bargain. Economy is good – right?

But what happens when we apply this thinking to our writing? Are we prepared to spend time, effort and money to build that elusive social media ‘platform’? Are we willing to work on our weak areas and perhaps invest in a writer’s workshop or conference? Do we complain about having to pay the price for taking our writing up to the next level, or walking the extra mile to bring it to the attention of the reading public?

I struggle with the whole ‘social media’ concept and felt vindicated when I read a discussion on the Book Fun network which suggested that people rarely read blogs consistently, and while they are happy to ‘Tweet’, they rarely follow anyone else’s words of wisdom more than occasionally.’ Aha!’ I thought triumphantly ‘that let’s me off the hook’. But does it? The ‘father’ of British Christian publishing in the 1980’s and 90’s, Edward England, used to say. ‘It isn’t enough to write a book. It isn’t enough to have a book published. It isn’t even enough to have the book sold. You have only achieved your objective if your book is written, published, bought, read and acted upon.’

In November 2012 over 170 writers, editors and publishers from 50 different nations met in Kenya for Littworld, a conference for people in the print media. Everyone had a journey to get there, but I was so struck by these words, from a conferee who had had been given a scholarship to help him.

Thank you so much for the sacrifices made to help me attend this conference. By the Grace of our God, I have the ticket and will start the journey from tomorrow; Wednesday 24 Oct. I will sleep at Kigali(Rwanda) and Thursday morning, I will take the bus from Kigali to Kampala(Uganda) hopefully, around 03h00’P/M, I will be connected to another Bus from Kampala and I will get at Nairobi Friday morning. The problem is that; I don’t know the Bus companies I will be using, especially the one from Kampala to Nairobi!

Buses in Africa are not comfortable and the roads can be potholed and very dangerous. You might well share your seat with livestock or someone else’s luggage. Breakdowns and accidents are frequent occurences. And yet … for this African writer the chance to meet others and to learn writing and publishing skills so that he can spread God’s word in his own country is so compelling that he is more than willing to pay the price.

Our focus for the last few days is the price that Jesus paid  to set us free – which was nothing short of all he had! Superficially foolish. Ultimately life changing.

So on this ‘April fools day’ I ask myself ‘How much am I prepared to pay in order to obey God” Am I prepared to seem foolish in the eyes of others? Not in money spent perhaps, although it made need money from time to time. But in dedication, time and effort. What about you?


  1. Thanks, Marion, for your challenging post. We might complain about having to work hard to get our books out there and keep them there, but that's nothing compared to the efforts this conferee you mention put in to get to meet with other authors and learn. Also the words of Edward England you quote were a good reminder of what needs to happen for our books to make a real difference. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks Jo-Anne.My particlar piece of foolishness at the moment is trying to spread the word that my new book 'It's Just You and Me Lord' is available in Sam's Club for the US Mother's Day. Quite a challenge when you live in another country.But I hang on to 1 Cor.1:27 But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise ... the weak things shame the strong ... the lowly and despised things, and the things that are not ... sothat no one may boast