From the outside, being a writer seems exciting. At my first writer’s conference, I was awestruck by the published writers there. These were people whose names were household words—well, not in my household, but I was just getting started, so I could be excused for not knowing all of them. But surely they were celebrities in their hometowns. Most certainly they had to stop and give autographs in the grocery store or dry cleaners. And undoubtedly they lived in the lap of luxury. After all, they were published authors!
My first novel was published several years later. I’ll never forget the thrill of opening that box and seeing the cover with “Richard L. Mabry, MD” printed at the top. I listened carefully, but so far as I could tell, there were no cheering crowds outside my window, no marching bands in the street. I opened my Internet browser, but there was no headline about the book. What I did find, however were a bunch of emails about interviews and guest blog posts that I’d lined up to get the word out. No matter that there were no cheering crowds yet. Surely these would do the trick.
Now, fast-forward to the present. Recently I received the print copies of my self-published novella, Doctor’s Dilemma. That made three novellas and ten novels I have had published, but by this time reality had set in. I took a minute to thank God for having brought me this far in a second profession I never dreamed about. I showed the book to my wife, Kay, and gave her a personalized copy. I reviewed the blog interviews and guest posts I’d set up. And then I went about my business. I didn’t take the time to listen for cheering crowds and marching bands. I knew better than to expect any.
At church, a few people know I’m an author, and we talk a bit about it. I’m sometimes asked to sign a book. I’ve been asked to share a little about the publishing industry with various groups. But that’s about it for the famous part. And as for rich, well that’s not going to happen, either.
Do I mind that I never got that “standard rich and famous contract?” Not really. My words have been read by many more people than the population of the town where I grew up. If I’ve succeeded in my mission, when those readers turn the last page of my novel they find they’ve been left with a message—not a hard-sell of Christianity, because that’s just not my style, but rather a message that no matter how far we drift from God, we can always turn back to Him. I’ve been allowed to use the printed page as my pulpit. And that’s rich and famous enough for me.
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