“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake” (Psalm 21:1-3).
Securing a publisher today seems increasingly difficult, with authors facing rejection after rejection or, even worse, crushing silence. When acquiring editors give reasons for saying no, they may state, “Lack of platform,” or “Too similar to what we have already.” We authors wait and write and wait some more. Or maybe we plunge into the self-publishing waters, negotiating printers and means of distribution as we go it alone. Or perhaps we secure a prized publishing deal; we then hone and edit and long for the day of publication, checking our online rankings more often than our social-media networks.
But rather than look to publishers or sales figures for validation, better to follow King David’s lead in his most famous psalm, affirming for whom we write. We can modify his song by attesting that “The Lord is my publisher.” Here’s my writer’s version of Psalm 23:
The Lord is my publisher, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie in cozy studies,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of rejection,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your commissions and reviews, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my critics.
You anoint my hand with ink; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the publishing house of the Lord forever.
When we look to the Lord as our publisher, our commissioning editor, and our reviewer, we turn ourselves away from either seeking the praise of others or being debilitated by their critiques. Of course we need affirmation and help from our fellows, but when we write primarily for the audience of One, we find the freedom to speak truth with grace and love. Even if our author-ratings tank, we know the pleasure of the One who gives us the words to share.
To whom are you writing?
Amy Boucher Pye is a writer, speaker, and editor. An American living in the UK, she writes about God’s surprises – not least her life here (her first book, Finding Myself in Britain, will be released October 2015 by Authentic Media). She writes regularly for UK Christian publications, blogs at www.amyboucherpye.com and tweets at @AmyBoucherPye.