Building Your Own Kingdom

I had an epiphany this morning. It wasn’t one of those warm, fuzzy revelations; actually, it sucked a bit.

This whole author thing? It requires a hefty amount of kingdom-building. I’m not talking about world-building, which is really the setting and climate of a story; in fact, I’m not talking about writing at all, but about the business we call marketing. In the publishing world, authors are the brand and their books are the product, and authors are expected to establish their brand. Hypothetically, trust of the brand (or a relationship with it) produces sales. Experts estimate that it takes authors about five books to solidify their enough that it will begin to sell itself. In the meantime, authors are out on social media and in coffee houses making new friends, and hoping that by being engaging and interesting, people will be prompted to check out themselves and their books.

You might be wondering if that actually works. It does. In the past year and a half, I’ve watched my little kingdom grow from a small circle of family and friends to about 150 people I’ve never even met. And that’s because for the past year and a half, I’ve invested in nothing else. When I haven’t been at work, I’ve been writing posts, scheduling posts, conversing over and sharing other people’s posts. I’ve all but shouted, “Hey! Look at me!” And I’ve met lots of people, had lots of great conversations, and sold a fair number of books along the way. I got a publishing contract, for crying out loud.

Yep. My kingdom is alive and well, thank you very much.

Here’s what I haven’t done much of in the past year and a half.

Ministry.

There are lots of reasons I could give for this, all of them bad. Just like all Christians, I’m supposed to be ministering the good news of Jesus to a dying world, and I haven’t been. Too busy showing them Lydia Thomas, Author, and how cool she is. (Haha).

So this morning at church my pastor was talking about God sending laborers into His harvest (Matthew 9), and how the word “send” actually means to force out.

God started nudging me about a year ago. I was a part of another author’s book launch, and the question we were pondering was how we would love if we had only one year left. Most people said they would give up writing, but not this girl. There’s very little I loved more than writing.

In March, things intensified, and in April, God took my laptop, along with 90,000 words of my WIP (work in progress) and countless other projects. I kept on, though, pulling out an old PC and starting a new project. That died in mid-June. I was busy with other pursuits the rest of the summer.

As I gear up for my launch, I’ve been extra busy with the usual – writing, scheduling, and interacting – and I find that this is not what I am supposed to be doing anymore, at least, not at this level. I am actually starting to hate the marketing side of things.

There are people who need Jesus all around me, and sure, my online presence for Him will be a part of my ministry, but I need to let go where I am building Lydia Thomas, Author’s kingdom. I need to get back to those God has made clear I am to share His love with: kids. After all, He is “not willing that any of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14).

And there’s this one other thing I’ve been resistant to… Y’all can pray with me on that one. 😉

 

 

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