Enough

An Open Letter to My Favorite Christian Women Authors: Enough!

Dear Favorite Christian Women Authors,

I love you! Thank you for following God’s calling on your life and writing amazing, best-selling books. Your words have positively impacted my life in many ways, and God has used you to draw me closer to Him. But I can’t follow you on social media anymore—at least for a while—until I catch my breath. I’ve had enough. Let’s just blame it on your publishers, so we can stay friends, ok?

The last month has been overwhelming, and I need a break. Although I will miss the numerous updates on your recent book launch, encouraging quotes from your new book, inspiration for spiritual growth, and cottage-like photos with pretty script letters, I’m out. For now.

In the past month alone, I’ve participated in multiple book launches with you amazingly organized and talented women who love to write. You’ve dominated my newsfeed with pre-launch, launch, and post-launch posts, and I just can’t take it anymore. #stillafan

I think I passed the fangirl tipping point when two of you launched your instant NY Times Best Sellers on the very same day followed less than a week later by another book launch from a fellow authoress and a few days later, another one…with more on the way. You’re connected to each other through a complex web of agents, editors, and publishers, and often tour together as part of incredibly successful women’s conferences, cruises, and conventions. When you really want to see your favorite authors succeed, it can be overwhelming when a publishing tsunami hits the marketplace.

I think my burnout began when I, as someone who aspires to do this myself someday, became caught up in the excitement of each one of your book launches. I decided on my own—yes, I take full responsibility for allowing my schedule to be hijacked—to follow your instructions and help you have a successful book launch (as if I have that kind of power!).

So, I did what you asked: Prior to each book launch, I joined your unofficial launch crew. I shared your upcoming book…and quotes from your book and pretty graphics about your book (a.k.a. ads) and links to your website on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I also visited your websites multiple times while participating in your launch contests, so I could help you get the word out. Thanks, Gleam!

I watched your pre-launch live interviews online, and then joined the live launch parties to celebrate your achievements right along with you in real-time. Then, I watched your post-launch interviews with the media, and sat in awe as I observed you sharing each other’s books on Instagram. Oh, and let’s not forget the most important part of the launch process: I handed over my hard-earned cash to purchase your book, and I’m reading it now. (This was actually my favorite part, to be honest, since I love books! In fact, that’s why I started following you in the first place!)

But our marketing relationship didn’t end there like I assumed it would. Instead, it grew.

Somehow, I ended up on the post-launch crew (I’m still completely unaware how this happened, as I was in a state of zombie-like alertness after the previous weeks of launch and pre-launch activities) where I was encouraged to:

  • “Start a book club!”
  • “Join my Facebook group!”
  • “Join my online Bible Study!”
  • “Tweet!”
  • “Share!”
  • “Watch us live!”
  • “Join us this week for ____________.”
  • “Download my app!”
  • “Be part of the amazing experience!”
  • “Sign-up for this extra-special email campaign, so you can get  the most out of my new book!” (Which turned out to be another form of advertising with “Buy Now” and “Have you bought the book yet?” buttons)
  • “Come see me speak! I’ll be at the [ *Insert modern, memorable conference name here complete with eye-catching graphics, fancy logos, and headshots of other speakers* ] Conference.” No, it’s not free. It’s expensive. It’s out of town, and you’ll need to get a hotel. And food. And arrange for childcare. But it will be worth it!!! Girlfriend time!!! And, besides, we want you there, so PLEASE COME! You will leave changed. Your life will never be the same. You’ll really miss out if you don’t join us. We’ve lined up an all-star cast of amazing speakers joining us (who also have books and t-shirts and coffee mugs and jewelry and food). But wait! There’s more! Lest you begin wondering if we’ve lost our ever-loving minds—it’s not about us! So, while you’re at our event, we will have opportunities for you to invest in some very worthwhile ministries where you can donate to sponsor a child, donate towards justice, donate to help refugees, donate to help against the fight against human trafficking, and donate to other ministries that need your financial support. Whatever you do, don’t forget your Bible (and your wallet)!

Enough!

Gosh, I feel terrible saying that. But it’s where I am this morning: Enough already!

I love you ladies! I love your ministries! I want to be like you when I grow up! (In fact, I’m wondering if I’m not shooting myself in the foot with this post. I mean, I really do want to write and speak and teach just like you!) You’re smart, beautiful, talented, and tech savvy. You love the Lord with all your heart, and you’re living out His calling on your life. Your passion is inspiring, and it makes me want to hear and read everything you have to say. I want to apply your wisdom and teachings to my life so I can be a better wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, dog owner, blogger, teacher, church member, and, yes, a better American! Really! You rock!!!

I hereby declare 2016 as “The Year of the Christian Woman Author.” Oh, how I wish I could be your biggest fangirl…but I can’t. Not right now.

You see, I’ve got piles of laundry to be washed, dirty dishes in the sink, toilets to clean, and a not-so-little guy that is being neglected while I’m on social media reading, sharing, and re-tweeting your latest posts and cheering you on as you run the race and fight the good fight.

I need a break. Thanks for understanding. 🙂

There are so many of you doing the same thing at the same time that your stylish social media photos are a blur to me. They all look the same: white background, a few plant leaves, some burlap, words in a handwritten scripty font, and maybe a Photoshopped, size-zero, young model with long brunette hair holding something pink, purple, or red for balance and aesthetic appeal.

I’m starting to feel like a target. 

I know that’s not what you want to hear, and it’s definitely not how I want to feel.

The truth is: I feel like your publishers are targeting my demographic with pithy phrases and catchy clichés packaged into cute info-graphics whose sole purpose is to tug at my heart (and purse) strings. Although your goal is to help me embrace that “I am enough,” somehow, their plan is backfiring!

The noise of new book releases has been so loud that it’s sounding like a gong or clanging cymbal (cf. 1 Cor. 13). I do not feel the love; I feel the laser on my forehead.

As someone who has been in advertising and marketing for almost twenty years, I recognize these carefully-crafted corporate campaigns for what they are: targeted advertising with sophisticated strategies of permission marketing with the goal of achieving larger pocket share. Thus, the target on my forehead.Enough!

Guess what? I’m not made of money! Or like my dad always said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” I don’t have the means to buy the books and the bling and the blog-cessories. It’s not in my budget to attend all the conventions, conferences, and cruises. And I can no longer afford to spend my precious time following your fabulous Facebook feeds anymore. Not for a while, anyway.

I need to sort things out. I need space. Margin. Time to reconsider my personal priorities.

Please don’t get me wrong: I think you’re great, and I’m glad you wrote your book! I am reading it, highlighting important phrases, and it’s having an impact on my life. But the amount of hours your publisher is asking me to invest in your project has exceeded the limitations of my free time, and it’s now cutting into the time I should be spending on my own priorities. It’s time for me to set some boundaries.

I’ve decided to unfollow you on social media for a while. Until I have the chance to catch my breath.

You might be wondering how I’m going to invest all this newly freed-up time: Well, first, I’m going to clean my living room. Then, I’m going to sit on my comfy, chocolate-brown recliner in my sparkling clean living space and re-prioritize my life. I’ll carve out alone time and pray to remember what my “first things” are, and then, I will put them first again. I will schedule my priorities; read the Word; read your books; listen for God’s voice; seek discernment and clarity in my own life. And then, I will implement some much-needed change in my life. So, thank you for helping me clarify what I need to do. Like I said, you rock!

I’m guessing (and hoping) that once I have my priorities in proper order, I’ll be back on your virtual marketing team again. And by that time, you’ll probably have another book ready to launch. I will join the publishing party, only this time, on my own terms—my own schedule. I’ll say my best yes (or no), and we’ll celebrate your success again! (And maybe, someday, we can celebrate mine, too!)

So, ta-ta for now! I will miss you, but I know this is what I need to do today.

#unfollowing #stillafan,
Laura

Facebook Comments

About the author: Laura Zielke

Laura Zielke (ZELL-key) is a deep thinker and Bible scholar. She is not afraid to question tradition and challenges people to evaluate their beliefs according to the Scriptures. Laura earned her M-Div. from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with an emphasis on Biblical Studies, Archaeology, and Languages. She has been blessed to serve as a lay leader in local churches for more than thirty years. Having been recognized as an outstanding leader, teacher, and entrepreneur, Laura serves as the Community Manager for the Nonprofit Leadership Lab (an organization dedicated to helping nonprofit leaders worldwide accomplish their mission), and she is on the board of directors at Shield Your Faith (an apologetics ministry). She and her husband of 21 years have one son who is in the 10th grade and homeschooled. Laura is an INTJ on the Meyers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, and enjoys helping people discover more about themselves, the Lord, and their purpose in life. Connect with her on social media: @thezwomann (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest).

2 comments to “An Open Letter to My Favorite Christian Women Authors: Enough!”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.

  1. Heather Bock - September 11, 2016 at 2:43 am Reply

    I love this post, and I hate the marketing side of publishing, just as I see the need for it. I hate that I have to self-promote to someday publish. Isn’t there any other way??

    • thezwomann - September 11, 2016 at 5:22 pm Reply

      Exactly, Heather. I had never thought much about it before, but after last month, I couldn’t not think about it. I’ll have to pray about this, as I definitely want to write a book that people will want to read. And, of course, they will need to know it exists!

Leave a Reply