To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish

Making Decisions
As citizens of the world, we have many decisions to make daily. As authors,
we have many choices to consider on a regular basis. How do we make our

“… do all to the glory of GOD” (1 Corinthians 10:31b) is a starting premise for
those of us who love the LORD and are called to make Him known.
This is our motive and our touchstone. But what about the details? As an
author, I have to:

select which idea I’m going to expand upon.

determine which genre I’m going to use.

decide who I’m going to approach for support.

decide upon trade or self-publishing.

short-list who I’m going to approach for editing, publication, marketing
strategy, cover imaging….

And of course there are the myriad of choices to make about character, plot
line even as I begin the project…. and so on and so on, as I write.
How do I determine which choices to make?
My first book was designed by GOD: He gave me the outline and I wrote from

My first novel was developed on my knees, literally, developing through
prayer and crafting.

My fairy tale (completed but unpublished) began as a dream, although it
morphed significantly by the time I finished the fourth (or was it the fifth) and
final draft.

In each of these cases it may seem I leaned wholly upon GOD. I wish that
were the case. Although I did give a great deal of attention to Him in the work,
I used my thought processes, creativity and discipline to work out the story
and to create the manuscript. (A whole other theological discussion could
follow about how much of that creative process is due to the GOD who dwells
within me, but that’s for a different occasion.) I find mind maps work best for
me when I’m working on fiction and outlines best for non-fiction.

Relying on the Spirit
As I continue to grow as a follower of Jesus, and as I continue to mature as a
writer, I realise more and more that if I work with Him and allow Him to lead
me, I am a better and more creative writer. The story threads come together
more clearly, the discipline is more honed, the process is more alive and fun
when I rely on the Spirit for planning, preparing and writing. This is the case
whether I’m writing poetry, fiction or non-fiction… the process is quicker when
I take time to be with the LORD, and the piece is better when I take His lead.
Practical application: from writing to publication and beyond to readership

So, when it comes to the practical choices about publishing and the various
ingredients in the mix, do I rely on the Spirit? I’ve tried to. But the world and
the myriad of directions and possibilities are hard to ignore. Sometimes I do
get distracted; the possibilities can be overwhelming.

My husband once said to me as I was frustrated with the slow growth of sales
with my first book, “If GOD tells you to go to the moon, you go… but does that
mean He’s telling you to stick the flag in the ground when you get there?”
In other words, when GOD tells us to do something, we are to do it. But how
much of the doing to we take on board ourselves, above and beyond what

He’s asked us to do?

When we write a book, do we then assume we’re to do the associated
things? Are we meant to find a publisher? Or start a blog? Or build an
audience some other way — or not at all? Are we writing for ourselves, for
our GOD (the audience of One) or for a specific targeted audience? And if for
a public audience, then how do we know which options to focus on to get our
words to that audience, or which order? Certainly there is far too much to do
everything, or to do it all at once.

Avoiding assumptions: staying in-step with the LORD
Each of these considerations is really, really important. So let’s take it all to
GOD in prayer, and let’s ensure the Holy Spirit is with us in everything we do.
Then we will have success, as defined by GOD. And we will have perfect and
total contentment and peace, knowing we’ve done all He has asked — and
haven’t got bogged down or distracted by those aspects He doesn’t require
us to do.

Sarah Tun

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