The best “edit” I made to my approach to my fiction

Back in 2013, I self-published the third installment of my Herezoth trilogy.

I had social media going to promote it. I had my old blog. I was new to the game and was super-focused on numbers: twitter followers, blog hits, sales, reviews.

I wanted to hit the ground running. I wanted to do things the right way, but also my way. And even where I found success, I was unhappy. Nothing was good enough. I couldn’t define what I actually wanted or what I was shooting for.

Then in 2014 (on May 30 of that year) I had what I call my conversion experience. I had been born and raised Catholic and had always practiced my faith, but discovering how personal was the love of the Lord for me, utterly unexpectedly, in the midst of great changes in my life after leaving grad school in Chicago and returning home to New Orleans, changed everything. My priorities ENTIRELY shifted.

I realized I had made something of an idol of my work as an author. So I stepped away from it.

I took a break from the game: a LONG break. I stopped writing fiction. I stopped posting on my blog. I took my trilogy down. I focused on developing a prayer life and listening to God, on trying to learn to let God lead me. And man, did he lead me somewhere!

The best edit to my approach to writing and promotion was to put all that behind my prayer life and my relationship with God.

When, in 2020, I took up my trilogy again to start editing for a second edition re-release, I had a different mindset than I ever did before approaching my fiction. I edited with the thoughts:

  • How can I do this secular work in a way that honors God?
  • How does my fiction promote themes that are worthy of promotion in a way that is genuine–not forced, not preachy, not saccharine?
  • Can I edit things here or there so as to make my novels better reads, more engaging, easier to follow (there are a lot of characters)? While doing that, can I let the story and characters naturally display what can happen when you strive to act with honor and integrity and take responsibility for your actions and your errors?

Now that I am back to blogging and to social media and such, I find myself a lot more peaceful about it all. The numbers don’t matter as much.

The numbers don’t matter because my definition of success has changed.

I find I have learned to trust God to bring the people to my twitter feed, to my blog, and to my novels (when I re-release them) who need to find those things. I will do what I am able to do to promote them. I will learn better ways to promote them. And He will do the rest. I’m not in charge. It’s not all up to me. I’ve learned in so many ways that His providence is real and His goodness unimaginable. He’s got this. He will work through my fiction and my promotional efforts as He knows is best. And that’s enough.

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