by Marcia Lee Laycock
My husband and I recently returned from a cruise. It was a great trip, for the most part, but there were some things I found irritating. I often felt we were made to feel that we weren’t quite worthy of being on that ship.
One day we decided to go to an art auction. If you attended, you were automatically entered into a draw. I was a little excited when I won a gift bag. There was a watch in it that had a rather large price tag on it. That was nice. But then I realized there was also a $100.00 gift certificate included. I’d spotted something I liked in one of the boutiques. With the gift certificate I could easily afford it. So yes, I got a little excited.
Until I read the fine print. The certificate was only good at one of the high-end jewelry shops. It didn’t take long for all of us to realize that I was not going to be using that gift certificate in that shop. By the time I left, the well dressed clerk was looking condescendingly down his nose at me. I felt a little like I’d been trying to steal something by the time I left.
Then I had a closer look at the watch. It had scratches on the buckle and a stain on the wrist band. I know they say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and I really did try to be thankful, but I confess it left me with a bad taste in my mouth, especially when I later saw it “on sale” for $24.95! It felt like they were saying I wasn’t worthy of receiving something of true value, so, here, take this second-hand fake bobble and be happy. It wasn’t a nice feeling.
Think of my experience in terms of our readers. Do we give them something of value, something of true worth? Do we respect our readers? If we give them watches with scratches on the buckle and stains on the wristband they aren’t going to be very happy with us. They probably won’t finish the book they started and certainly won’t look for any others we’ve written. Our readers want and deserve quality writing, writing without typos and grammatical errors, novels in which the reader is captivated by the characters and swept away by the setting.
Learning to do that takes time and practice. There are no short cuts to producing great work. We owe it to our readers to take the time and effort to give them something that is truly worth the money and time they will invest in it.
After all, our readers are made in God’s image, being groomed for God’s eternity. He values them as though they were a “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” (1Peter 2:9).
If God values everyone so highly should we not also? Should we not always give our best to our readers?
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was also short listed for a Word Award. Marcia has three novels for middle grade readers and four devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.
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