Pathways for the Christian Writer
by Julie Cosgrove
Journeying as a Christian writer, like most treks in life, has plenty of hills, dales and winding roads that one can’t see beyond the bend. Years ago, at the prompting of three friends and after much prayer, I became a freelance writer. My late husband moved a great deal for his job, and I figured I could write from anywhere. So I did, for five years. With God’s grace I landed some long-term contracts and many repeat customers. So in thanksgiving I tithed my writing day to Him first.
The desire of my heart was to write solely for Him, and He has granted that for the past four years by allowing me to have a part time job in a Christian workplace so I had steady income to fall back on. Writing is not steady income!
And in that reality lies a pitfall for most Christian writers (one of two, anyway). How can you put a price on what we write? Still, it amazes me that people expect to purchase an eBook for next to nothing, if not free. Most likely the author and group of editors labored up to a year to produce it. Yet no one blinks much of an eye at a $12.00 pizza or a $4.99 latte which took only minutes to make. (Plus both are fattening―reading isn’t…unless you have a bowl of M&M’s at your side.) People go on Amazon and buy a mass-produced scarf or a pair of earrings that cost more than an eBook. What if people paid as much per month on books as they did Cable TV? Maybe some of us authors could make close to a decent salary… is it wrong to hope?
The other pitfall is the popularity game. How many likes, follows, and reviews does a novel or an author possess? Is that how we measure our worth? We can be bold enough to say, “Of course not. I’m a child of the King. That’s my worth.” But the reality is our publishers bet on making money from our books, or they won’t sign any more contracts with us. And if we Indie publish the correct way, we will pay hundreds of dollars for editors, graphic artists, etc. Not many of us have that type of cash lying around to toss away. We want a return, if not a profit, on our investment.
Then there are marketing costs no matter how you are published. There are hundreds of how to boost your social media “klout” tapes, books and seminars out there. I must get at least one spam in my email per week promising if I rake over $50-$100 they guarantee I’ll get mega promotion on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Should a faith-based author be concerned about such things? Isn’t that God’s job to determine how many souls we win for the Kingdom and how many already-won souls we encourage and entertain with wholesome reads along the way?
Toby Mac sings that he prays as an artist he will rise above the road that is filled with self-love. That is my prayer, too. I want to keep things in proper perspective and not fret over sales or reviews.
Please don’t get me wrong. I really want you to like my books, tell your friends, and buy the next one. Absolutely. It warms my heart when someone stops to tell me either in person, in a text, or a post that they loved one of my books and couldn’t put it down. The quarterly royalty checks are nice, too. They help pay some bills.
But I also want the books, blogs and articles I write to honor God and give Him the glory. I hope that doesn’t sound glib or cliché. You see, I think this is an exciting time to be an author. When else in history has the possibility of something we write had the opportunity to touch a person clear across the world? A person we will never see this side of Heaven? That is both awesome and humbling.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to live, and write, in times such as these. Though at times it’s frustrating and I feel as if I am shouting in the wind with so much competition out there, help me stay in perspective as Your mouthpiece, and acknowledge Your power and purpose in the process. Amen.
Julie B Cosgrove
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Freelance writer, award-winning author and professional speaker Julie B. Cosgrove leads retreats, workshops, and Bible studies. She writes regularly for Light from the Word, Faith-filled Family Magazine, Thoughts About God, Life.com, Good News Daily, and The Journey. Julie has published three Bible studies, a devotional, two inspirational guides, and has nine faith-based fiction novels published or contracted to be published by 2017, including a new cozy mysteries series, The Bunco Biddies Mysteries. All can be previewed on her website.
Awarded one of the 50 Writers You Should Be Reading by the Author’s Show in 2015 and 2016, and Best Religious Fiction by Texas Ass’n of Authors in 2016, Julie is a member of Texas Association of Authors, American Christian Fiction Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Authors’ Network.
Julie is widowed and lives in Fort Worth, Texas where she is a church secretary, involved in mission funding, women’s ministries, and servant to two house cats. She is mystery aficionado—especially British ones—and loves word games.
Visit her blog: Where Did You Find God Today? http://wheredidyoufindgodtoday.com
Amazon: Julie B Cosgrove
About her latest release, Baby Bunco:
Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.
“Did you say she found a baby?” Janie stopped mid-roll, the pink and white dice warming in her clutched fist. “Here in Sunset Acres, a retirement community?”
Babs, seated to her left at the Bunco table, nodded. “That’s what Mildred told me as we were walking up to your front stoop tonight. Right, Mildred?”
“I went to collect a few more of my things since I’m staying with Ethel, and no more than three minutes later the leasing agent pounded on my door. ‘Come see,’ she motioned to me. Her eyes grew as wide as those mega donuts at the Crusty Baker.” She thumped her pencil against her score pad and groaned. “It took every ounce of gumption to follow her into that—ugh!—place next door.” She quivered her shoulders.
Janie shifted her gaze to the woman sitting across from her. “Ethel, you knew about this?”
“And you didn’t tell me?” Her voice elevated to echo-off –the-ceiling volume. She humphed and pivoted to face the storyteller. “Mildred. What happened?”
The other eight ladies halted their Bunco round. Each swiveled to listen in, their eyes fixated on the first card table.
Mildred leaned. “I paused at the steps, determined to not go inside. Only peek in from the front door. Then high-pitched, frantic cries came from the direction of the bathroom. Well, I had to rush to its aid. Every motherly fiber in my being dictated it.”
Murmurs and head bobs filtered through Janie’s living room.
Mildred sniffled. “Poor little thing. Alone, scared and red as a beet from wailing so hard. That house is cursed, I tell you.”
Janie patted her hand. “Now, dear. Just because someone murdered Edwin soon after he moved in there doesn’t mean...”
Mildred shot from her seat and paced, her arms flaying in circles, resembling the duck windmill on top of the antiques barn down the road. “Ever since I relocated into Sunset Acres it’s been one thing after another. Edwin murdered, then my nephew Bobby arrested, and now an abandoned newborn in a bathtub? This is supposed to be a quiet retirement community.”
Read Julie Cosgrove's Bunco Biddies Mysteries today! You may even win a chance to buy this one and more! Comment on this blog to enter the Amazon Gift Card giveaway NOW.