f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Life of a Salesman

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, September 13, 2004

Life of a Salesman

It perhaps says a bit too much about my personality that sometimes I look at life and all I see is sales. Ford selling me a new car. CBS selling me more dead bodies. John Kerry selling me “change.” I swear I didn’t used to be this way. I think it may have come because I am this weird intersection of faith and business where, essentially, I’m making money off of my faith, but it’s not all that much fun.

In publishing, it’s basically all we see. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this industry is built on rejection. And rejection only comes when something is being offered or sold. So we have authors selling themselves and their manuscripts. Agents selling their expertise to clients and their clients’ projects to publishers. We in turn are selling ourselves to prospective authors and our books to booksellers. In that mix you’re bound to see exaggeration, twisting of the truth, biased statistics, and a whole host of shady information–even in Christian publishing. (As a copywriter we had a saying: you may have heard before: “You know where liars go, right? Yeah, the marketing department.)

None of this much jibes with the Christian life as I know it, though I’m sure there are books out there about self-promotion in God’s kingdom. It takes a constant battle of wills, however, to keep the mindset on the needs of others. Because that’s the basis of all this, truly. We have books that will entertain, enlighten, challenge, move, and deepen believers’ faiths. That’s a tremendous honor to have been given and to reduce, as happens how and then, to simply we have the next bestseller belittles it.

Even here. I started thinking down this path because I’m always aware of what’s going on at other places beside here. This weekend I came across Image’s new Forum and unfortunately my first instinct wasn’t, “Yay, another wonderful opportunity for conversation and the furthering of the dialogue on art and faith.” It was: “Crap. Competition. Good competition.”

I think I’m over it. Here’s the website to check them out. I’m sure it’ll be a terrific place to gather with a far broader group of thinkers and believers. I, in the meanwhile, have been given a new glimpse at the continued honor it is to write and converse with all of you at all. And so with, hopefully, your interests and needs in mind, I’ll keep pushing on down this path. Not selling–or not selling 100% of the time–but sharing and giving. Because it seems the better way. And I’d like to be able to sleep at night. So I can dream of your next bestseller and how, together, we’ll take the bestseller charts by storm leaving every other publishing choking on our ashes. Suckers.