Writing FAQ: so how is the book doing now?

In the dining/book table tent with Howard Good, MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)

I never know how to answer this question: so how is the book doing?

As I’m all too aware, there’s always another book that’s doing better. Some other book is getting rave reviews. Some other book is lighting up the Twitterverse. Meanwhile, I’m way down the list on Amazon, somewhere in a dark corner of the basement with only six US reviews and three in Canada (won’t someone who liked Sacred Pauses: Spiritual Practices for Personal Renewal pretty please leave another review here and/or here?).

At the same time, I’m thankful for the positive things that are happening, but isn’t it too forward to say so? As a child, I learned not to draw attention to myself (whether part of my Chinese background, or growing up female, or just the lot of a middle child, I don’t know), and I have yet to learn the fine art of the humblebrag.

Still, since I’m often asked, I’d like to share some of the most recent Sacred Pauses news.

Some Random Happenings

While in Winnipeg earlier this month for the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly, I was glad to spend one noon hour meeting people and signing books. I was also surprised that instead of the usual glossy cover, the books had a different, sort of waxy finish. That’s how I found out that Sacred Pauses is now in its THIRD printing! Yay!!

According to my publisher, Herald Press, people seem to prefer the matte finish currently so more books are being printed that way now. The other change is that Sacred Pauses will now be print on demand — I’m told that means there will still be a reasonable quantity on hand, but larger orders may be shipped directly from the printer. I’m hoping that won’t mean extra delays, but if you’re placing a bulk order for a group, you might want to allow plenty of time for the books to arrive.

One church decided that having everyone read the same book might help create a sense of unity and energy for their congregation. I’m honoured that they chose Sacred Pauses for this, and I pray that reading and using the book will be a positive, community-building experience for them.

A small group of women decided that they were each too busy to read the book on their own, so they chose to meet weekly and read to one another. One woman would start and read aloud for however long or short she wanted to read, then they would stop to discuss, ask questions, share together, and another would read the next portion.

I had a great time leading a Sacred Pauses retreat for church leaders at St. Benedict Center in Schuyler, Nebraska, and followed that up with another retreat for Alberta Mennonite Women called Pause: A Weekend Away, which was a wonderfully intercultural and worshipful weekend:

Alberta Women Music Team

Worship Team Alberta Women's Retreat

Recent reviews include Congregational Libraries Today, which is the quarterly publication of the Church and Synagogue Library Association:

Recommended for personal use or for group study, Sacred Pauses will also be a useful tool for counseling or for pastoral care.

And this review by blogger and author Tony Roberts:

I’ve been savoring some Sacred Pauses this week. This book is bountifully bathed in Scripture and thoroughly entrenched in Christian tradition and springs to life with fresh illustrations and a gentle pastoral tone. . . . In each chapter, the Bible is used not just as proof-texting. Instead, the Word is enfleshed with Spirit, coming to life in the stories shared, the examples given, and the encouragement offered.

From the book, Tony was also inspired to write his own version of the Lord’s Prayer, which I’m pleased to repeat here as a fitting prayer to end this post. Thank you, Tony, and to all my readers. God’s joy and peace to you in all your sacred pauses.

Lord of all and Savior of my soul, may all creation glorify You.
Rule over our world and reign in our hearts, so we may do what is best and care for each other as you care for us.
Nourish us with your steadfast provisions that we might have the energy to serve you with our bodies as well as our minds and spirits.
Free us from self-blame, and we will resist the urge to bear grudges against each other.
Protect us from our own worst instincts as well as from the snares of the Evil One.
This day belongs to You, Lord, just as all our lives and all creation is Yours.
May each moment bring you glory and honor. Amen.


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4 thoughts on “Writing FAQ: so how is the book doing now?

    1. I’m learning that really there’s no such thing as “better” — each book is different, with a different purpose and a different readership. I know that your book(s), writing, and teaching are having an impact, and those who receive from you are in turn impacting others, so the effect is multiplied in ways that can’t easily be quantified. May God’s Spirit continue to lead and encourage you.

  1. Amazon numbers are no clear indicator of a book’s value. You have faithfully sowed the Gospel seed in a fine book that will bear fruit in many (some hidden) ways. Good work.

    1. You are so right, Tony — Amazon numbers, sales figures, whatever we might measure are no clear indicator of a book’s value. There is no way to quantify faithfulness or the change that happens in people’s lives,and those are the things that really count. I pray that your book too will continue to touch readers and offer encouragement and hope.

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