Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

So You’ve Written a Book, Part 1

Oct 4, 2017 | Faith, Learning curve, The Sheep Walker's Daughter | 2 comments

The Sheep Walker's DaughterYou’ve written a book, found a publisher, and now it’s time to bring your work to market. I understand why some good writers choose not to publish. The learning curve is steep. Behind that beautiful book cover is mastery of marketing know-how and technical skill. Graphic arts are not most author’s expertise. Also, the risk is palpable. Put yourself in the public eye on social media and you risk looking stupid or getting sued.

When it came time to assemble my street team (people who will talk up your book) I felt overwhelmed. A forest fire threatened our community. I was suffering from poison oak, Bell’s Palsy, and failure of nerve. So I put together a prayer team.

Asking people to pray for my paltry little problems felt like whining. Today, wars and rumors of wars and mountains falling on us are daily occurrences. Requesting prayer for my project seemed, well, unseemly. As I write this, the nation is mourning a mass shooting. So instead of the blitz of announcements I’d planned, I’ll share thoughts on dealing with some of the small stresses in life.

Art and the way of faith

The purpose of art is to connect with hearts and minds. But getting eyes on your work is like baking a cake and hoping it will survive the presentation. As you slide it onto the plate, walk it to the table, slice it into pieces and serve it up, it is in danger of falling apart. I know whereof I speak. Last Christmas I came to the table balancing a plate of tasty desserts in each hand. As I held them out for viewing, they both slid off the plate and hit the floor! (The moral of that story is to keep a prayer in your heart and ice cream in the freezer.)

Just as we are not all master pastry chefs, we are not social media experts. Prayer seemed like a realistic alternative to me. I can point to three results.

  1. The act of asking for prayers helped me articulate the real need.
  2. The answers I received were refreshingly counterintuitive.
  3. The conversations were helpful to me and others.

We aren’t in this alone

The anxiety we suffer when we feel insecure in our abilities isn’t special. Master one task and the next one is sure to confound you. When we are transparent with people we trust, we give them an opportunity to build into our lives, and vice versa. Here are some lessons I learned as a result of reaching out.

  • Cease your striving. Struggling with technical issues discouraged me.
    “You are no good at this,” the accuser said. “You should give up.”
    “Slow down,” The encourager said. “The important stuff will get done.”
    So I reset my internal clock, which runs fast, to be more in tune with God’s timing. Mindfulness, prayer, and Psalms helped. “Lord, make me dwell in safety.” NIV Ps. 4:8b
  • A bigger effort doesn’t necessarily yield a better result. Emails hit my inbox that tout the necessity of spending thousands of hours and thousands of dollars on numerous promotions. They promise clicks that translate into sales (but not necessarily profit) and gain media attention (no guarantees). I confessed my discouragement, my friend and author Marie Sontag, shared her journal entry with me.

    Luke 5 1-11
    Lord, I pray that I will be okay with wrestling with you, and yet still obey you, as Peter did. “Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothingnevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” As I resolve to walk in obedience, I look forward to glorifying you in my writing – not me – to bring in a full net of fish – people influenced for you through my writing. I also want to partner with a few others, such as Sydney, to join in bringing in this haul!

    Marie went on to recount how the fishermen struggled with more than they could handle. they asked for help. Their partners in other ships came, and both ships benefited. Power is available to us when we do it God’s way. And it’s free!

In Part 2 of this post I will share three more lessons learned: Learn to wait; Stop pushing–let some things go; Acknowledge your progress–count God faithful.


  1. Nancy Fine

    Oh Sydney! You’ve hit on so many writers’ soft spots. Your transparency, faith and sweat-soaked wisdom offerings are rivers of living water to this writer’s soul. I’m eager to read the second installment.
    I learned of you on the blog entry on the Women Writing the West site–welcome to the group and congratulations on the republishing of The Sheep Walkers Daughter. After reading the heart in this entry I know your book will be nourishing as well. May it bless many.
    Nancy F.

    • yosemitesyd

      Thank you for these kind words Nancy. Working on getting Park 2 up right now. Some of my technical challenges have been learning how to post on my redesigned website!


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