6 years ago this very month, Seeking Christmas arrived on bookshelves. It was a dream I’d worked on for years. Roadblock after roadblock seemed to meet me along the journey. Eventually, I received the letter from the publisher that my proposal was accepted and they’d like to offer me a publishing contract.
Here’s what I asked my blog readers in August 2013:
- Find your anxiety level rising as Christmas approaches
- Feel the commercialization overshadows what really matters
- Wish you could simplify Christmas
- Feel the hectic pace and busyness makes advent devotions impossible
- Desire to capture the true magic
- Long to create memories & traditions with depth & meaning
- Wish there was a devotion for today’s busy family
- Want more than just a devotion
- Want an experience
- Want to address all of the above AND complete half of your gift list
For 6 years I’ve prayed for Seeking Christmas to catch fire. Sadly, it never lived the life I dreamed it would.
Does that mean it was a failure?
I suppose that depends on how you choose to view the entire experience.
I hired a consultant while I developed Seeking Christmas. From the very beginning, he told me my path was never about the book. Honestly, I didn’t get it at all. In my mind, it was all about the book. I was deeply passionate about the family, traditions, and memory making. Of course, it was about the book.
He tried to help me see beyond this one project, that I had more to offer than a Christmas experience book.
I thought a publishing deal was the end. I thought it would release and the rest was history. I thought it would be the christian Elf on the Shelf.
I quickly realized ALL the marketing rested on my shoulders.
To that point I refused to buy into the “build a platform” idea. I said I’d NEVER speak publicly. God began to show me if I wanted to share this with the world, I needed to do the actual work of sharing.
I began speaking at women’s gatherings. It was one of my greatest fears. Turns out I fell in love with speaking and something I was terrified of turned into something that brought me incredible joy. Connecting face to face with women ignited something else in me.
This step led to the preparation for me to lead women’s ministry at my church. Again, I needed time face to face with these women to hear their struggles and understand their hearts.
Because of Seeking Christmas, I began to consistently write on my blog in very intentional ways. My writing skills developed right before the eyes of my readers. You’ve watched me grow through all kinds of seasons.
All along, the sales of Seeking Christmas were pitifully low.
I’ll be totally honest, part of me wishes I’d never published it. All the writing conferences I’ve attended, they stress the importance of a first success. If you release a flop of a book, you are toast for future books.
But then I look at all God did in me and this ministry, and I see that without stepping out to publish Seeking Christmas, nothing else would have followed. Seeking Christmas drove me to develop in areas I wouldn’t have on my own.
Mainly, Seeking Christmas taught me to say no to fear. It taught me to trust God when I can’t see “success” in the way I’ve always viewed it. It taught me that success occurs in the process rather than the end result. It taught me to release my fear of failure and accept that failure might actually be the success I needed most.
Over the summer my copyright attorney called to ask about updating some filings. I let him know I planned to simply let Seeking Christmas go. I would not continue to pay the publisher to keep it in the distribution system. I was done.
I’ve not fully processed my feelings over it yet.
The prideful part of me feels embarrassed. I look back and see how naive I was. Driven by passion and desire, full of hope that it would bring a gift to families I deeply desired they experience.
The cynical part of me wonders why I spend so much time trying to help people solve their problems or share my discoveries. Do people even care?
Then I look around at this loud online world and wonder why I’m even still here on this blog space.
Then I hear God’s whisper. He gently reminds me to show up for the ones who are looking for help, encouragement, or a dose of inspiration.
So today I officially say goodbye to a once held dream for Seeking Christmas. It’s no longer available on Amazon or online book retailers. I have in my inventory 15 copies you can buy from my store here.
Just for fun, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane.
My family has cheered me on through every passion, idea, & project. They’ve encouraged me to follow my dreams and never quit. Today, is hard because it feels like a quit. But I think at times, we have to quit something to prepare for another.
Here’s a little trailer my family made with me 🙂
I say goodbye to the dream I held in my heart for Seeking Christmas today, but I look forward to what God has next, which I never would have stepped into without walking the road with this book for the last 6 years.
But you know what I will still have that I hope families will use? The ornament download. I’ll be updating my shop to offer the ornaments with a family activity. I hope the heart of Seeking Christmas will live on even if the book isn’t around. And now that I think of it, maybe this is the very best way. Maybe all along what I want most is families to get into the actual Bible together. Maybe this will simplify that for them in a hectic, materialistic season.
Hey, I appreciate you. You are the absolute best readership I could ever ask for. Sometimes I can’t believe you are still here with all that is available online to read. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.