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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Measure Your Sales in light of eternity

She approached me from across a crowded hallway. "I feel like I know you," she said. "I receive your newsletters. Thank you."

I asked her about her family.

"I wanted to tell you thank you for Thin Places," she said after our small talk. "I've passed it to a friend who's passed it along several times."

In one quick moment, I felt sad. Passing a book along five times prevented five sales. But in the next moment, I smiled. I thanked her for passing the book along. I wondered who the book had been passed to, what had been the response, how God had worked.

Lying in my bed that night, I told my husband about the encounter. And I marveled at what sales might mean in eternity. Probably nothing at all. What will matter is influence, how my words expanded the kingdom of God. My hunch is that the passalong "sales" are what will make heaven so interesting. People I've never met who read my words, chew on them, and hopefully fall in love with Jesus more.

Don't be discouraged, then, if you see your book at Half Price Books, or a garage sale. Don't be bothered by people checking it out from their library. Don't fret when people pass your book on because they love it so much. Instead, be encouraged. Be thrilled. Be expectant.

Those "hidden sales" will mean something.

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  1. Mary, thanks for the reminder of where our treasure should be stored. Lyndie Blevins

  2. Mary, thank you for this bravely honest post. I think it's so hard for us creative spirits to navigate the marketing for our books, which is necessary but has its pitfalls. We want to tell the truth but also have to make a living off it, it's a difficult dynamic at times. Thanks for sharing!


  3. God has His hand on you, Mary. Again, your transparency gives us pause, causing us to reflect on our motivations, our heart condition. Thank you,
    Nan Jones

  4. Thank you so much, everyone, for your sweet comments. This post posted while I was on my way to South Africa, and am just now reading your words. Thank you.

  5. so so good, Mary, its not the sales but the message...went through that same thing myself some time back!


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