The Greatest Fear of New Authors

Ever since I signed a contract for Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like, I’ve been afraid. Actually, I was afraid before I ever signed the contract. I’ve harbored fears about writing a book, becoming a published author, and finding success. To be more specific, I’ve harbored fears about being unable to write a book, become a published author, and find success.

There’s now a checkmark next to “write a book” and “become a published author,” but there’s not yet a checkmark next to “find success.” I realize that success is a subjective concept, so here’s my version of it: being a well-known, well-loved published author. And I haven’t found that success yet.

The Greatest Fear

I’d love to tell you that Real Recovery has been a huge hit since its release in February. I’d love to brag on my fan base and my impressive following. I’d love to say that publishers are practically begging me to write a second book. But I can’t.

I’m certainly grateful for everyone who has bought my book and for everyone who has provided me with writing and speaking opportunities. Family members and friends have been very encouraging about Real Recovery and my publishing journey so far. I don’t want to ignore that.

But despite the encouragement I’ve received, I still have a big fear, which is perhaps the greatest fear of new authors: that my first book will be a flop and that I, therefore, will be a flop.

I guess I thought that my life would change dramatically when I signed the contract for Real Recovery. Cue the confetti, the book signings, and the happily ever after, right?

Contrary to that expectation, my life has been incredibly normal (with some added stress, of course) since that moment. In fact, I’ve been unpleasantly surprised at the amount of effort that goes into promoting a book and the lack of results it seems to yield. It feels like, no matter how many marketing ideas I have and no matter how many individuals and organizations I reach out to about promotional opportunities, Real Recovery won’t be as popular as I’d hoped.

There’s only so much that a girl can do.

Only Believe

And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus’ feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.” When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” While He was still speaking, someone came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.” But when Jesus heard this, He answered him, “Do not be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well.” When He came to the house, He did not allow anyone to enter with Him, except Peter and John and James, and the girl’s father and mother. Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat. Her parents were amazed; but He instructed them to tell no one what had happened. (Luke 8:40-55 NASB1995, emphasis mine)

Take a look at those bolded sections above because they amaze me. Really, Jesus amazes me. He knew exactly how Jairus was feeling when the synagogue official told him that his daughter had died: afraid. And Jairus had likely been harboring this fear throughout his daughter’s illness. I love that Jesus spoke to the fear inside of Jairus, and I love that in spite of the doubting and mocking He faced from His own disciples and Jairus and his wife, He chose to heal Jairus’ daughter anyway.

I know that the success I desire—of being a well-known, well-loved published author—may not happen. But I also know that Jesus simply has to open a door to make that a reality. After all, He simply had to take Jairus’ daughter by the hand and speak to heal her.

Even if Real Recovery doesn’t sell as many copies as I had expected, that doesn’t make it (or me) a flop. Thankfully, the success of our endeavors doesn’t lie in our hands. As Jesus told Jairus, “Don’t be afraid any longer; only believe, and she will be made well” (v. 50). The fears we harbor about subjective success only distract us from what God is doing through us and beyond us.

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