Can Authors Afford to be Humble?
by Joanne Troppello
In one of my pastor’s recent sermons, entitled True Humility, he spoke about David’s interactions with King Saul and how he did not try to steal the crown away from the king, because Saul was God’s anointed. Even though at one point, God’s spirit left Saul and came upon David—the young man and future king, did not rush God’s plan through his own devices; but rather waited patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing. Talk about an awe-inspiring moment! That sermon hit me in the gut.
As authors we love to write and that means if we want to continue to write—and get paid for it—we need to have an audience. How do we get that audience? In a nutshell: we need to continue to write books, brand our name, and market and market and market. Sounds like loads of fun, right!
So, what is a Christian author supposed to do?
We’re taught by God’s Word that humility as a believer is a high priority on God’s list. “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” (I Peter 5:5 NIV) Okay, so God wants me to be humble, but that is the antithesis of what I’ve been taught to do as an author in promoting myself and my books.
Is it possible to be both humble and proud at the same time? How can a Christian author market his or her books in a way that glorifies God and doesn’t bring glory to him or herself? This is a question that has plagued my mind for some time now and this recent sermon at church brought it squarely into focus again.
I’ve learned that God wants us to be in step with Him—not two steps in front and not two steps behind. Of course. this is not always easy and we’re human so we (me included) falter many times. However, God never said we had to do this life journey alone. He has provided His Holy Spirit to be our guide and His Word is a light unto our path. Once we realize that following God’s plan will benefit us in the end, it’s easier to let go of our own desires and follow after Him.
Now, humility for the Christian means we are giving credit to God for all of our accomplishments and acknowledge Him as Lord over our lives. Sounds simple, but our pride many times gets in the way and this is especially tricky for an author or someone else who needs to promote self for career advancement.
When you start to believe in your own power towards achieving success, you are heading down the wrong road. Pride goes before a fall. However, that’s where God comes into the picture as mentioned in I Peter 5:5—when walking in humility, God won’t oppose you, but He’ll shower you with His grace and favor. Now who wouldn’t want that? I know I’d prefer God’s umbrella over me rather than His opposition.
David was content to leave both promotion and demotion to God.
He didn’t worry about when he was going to advance to be king. He was at peace leaving his advancement to God’s timing. Yes, David was human, so I’m sure he had his moments of doubt and indecision—like when he snuck up behind King Saul in the cave and cut off a piece of his royal robe. True, he denied his men the many chances to kill Saul, but even cutting off the piece of his robe caused him pain because he knew Saul was still God’s anointed. If only we all could experience such a check in conscience when we walk in offense towards God—but each day is a new day and God is a God of second chances. Amen to that!
In God’s perspective, we only get to the top of the ladder by helping others up before ourselves. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. Usually I prefer reading the New King James Version of the Bible, but this verse our pastor read from The Message version and it really hit home. “Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.” (Phil. 2:3) Since 2010 when I really started promoting my books, I started out with a perspective of doing unto others as I would have done to me. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but just to share part of my journey.
To me it made sense to help other authors get promotion because one day, maybe they’d help me when I needed it. I started Pandora’s Box Gazette last year, several years after my three books were published. In the last few years, I’ve gotten sidetracked with life and did not write anything new and slacked off majorly in the promotion department. So, while I was trying to build up my platform and gain followers—again, I hate saying this word because it goes against the grain of trying to live in humility!!—I figured no one wanted to hear about little ol’ me. That’s when the brainstorm came that if I promote other authors it would be a win-win situation. I’d get FREE content for my online magazine and they’d get FREE publicity.
It’s been wonderful because the situation worked out beautifully for all involved and I’ve made some good friends alone the way—many who have reciprocated with free publicity for me. I truly believe that two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. (Ecc. 4:9-10)
I believe it is possible to live in the limelight without becoming a glory hog—but you can only accomplish this with God’s daily help. If you think you can remain humble in the limelight on your own terms, you’ll be mistaken and will take a hard fall.
Wouldn’t you rather trust God to open up doors of opportunity for you that are exceedingly abundantly above all that [you] ask or imagine according to the power [Christ] that works in [you] (Eph. 3:20)? Isn’t it better to walk in step with God’s perfect timing and specific plan for your life?
Don’t you think a God promotion is so much better than a God demotion? Can you imagine living under the umbrella of God’s unfailing favor and grace every day?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject and how you’ve dealt with it.
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is a published author of 3 inspirational fiction novels and the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Pandora's Box Gazette.
She has experience as a freelance writer in topics such as marketing, retail marketing, health and wellness, internet and media, travel and lifestyle, website content, app recommendations, and content for blogs.