By Linda Nathan
Marketing . . . interviews . . . query letters . . . Where do I learn it all? How can I possibly learn it all? Can I get an appointment with that agent? What will that editor of the publishing house I’m interested in think? Whose table shall I sit at for dinner tonight? Where do I fit in among these four hundred and fifty people all focused on writing and getting their work published . . .?
…he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray (Matthew 14:23).
Peace. It is such a rare commodity in our pressure-ridden culture. And Christians are no exception. Nor Christian writers’ conferences. There’s so much to learn and to do in such a short time. Knowledge of the craft overflows. Influential contacts are made in minutes. Deals are hammered with a few introductions.
But are they made in the power of the Holy Spirit or in the always-striving flesh? What will endure eternally? What is for the glory of God? What relationships are being built solidly on His Word? Which ones merely glorify the parties involved? Merely earn money? Such discernment doesn’t come easily. It involves drawing apart with Jesus to pray and to test. It involves desiring God’s way enough to give up earthly rewards, if it comes to that. The power to write glorifying God doesn’t come easily. Walking in godly relationships definitely doesn’t come easily. Because the cross isn’t easy. And underlying all of the busyness and commotion of our lives as Christian writers is the fact that ultimately God is building His Body His way, and that all we build will be tested by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13 NIV).
…his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.”
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Are we building with straw or gold? The ultimate test of any conference—and our worth as writers—is, is God pleased? Do we lift up Jesus? Do our relationships in the Christian marketplace—does our work—proclaim His truth clearly?
Publishing for the Christian—or any—marketplace is fraught with snares: seeking fame, becoming a “star,” overlooking or dismissing those who aren’t as prominent as others. One agent told me that an agent these days is expected to create “star power” through media glitz. Apparently holiness and godliness are not the primary aim. Lifting up the “platform” too often is.
But the Lord would have us take the lowest seat at the table, to come aside, to enter into His holy presence, to lay it all before Him, and to test everything by His Word (2 Thessalonians 5:21).
For that to happen, we must draw apart from the crowds, from whatever popularity and fame we have, and be still and surrendered—a current that is the exact opposite of today’s marketplace. For Jesus is looking for another kind of “star power”:
Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life . . . (Philippians 2:15)
Linda Nathan is the president of Logos Word Designs, Inc.
(http://www.logosword.com), a writing, editing, and publicity firm that specializes in services for the Christian market. She is also the author of The Dark Side of Karate, an inside look at the occult aspects of the martial arts ( http://www.darksideofkarate.com).
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