Last Saturday I did a book signing for Super Center Saviorat the Lifeway Store in Roanoke, Virginia. I was impressed with the professionalism and kindness of the staff there. Having done a book signing at Barnes & Noble this year, I didn’t know what to expect from Lifeway.

The place was packed with Christmas shoppers. When I arrived, I got excited. Christian book. Christian bookstore. Cha-ching. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work, right?

As I was setting up, I had to make a few trips to the car. When I reentered the store, there were 3-4 people around the table looking at the book. I was pretty stoked. Then I sat down. And the people vanished.

Over the next two hours, I had several people come visit, but only one person bought the book. I signed two – the one that was bought and another that a friend brought in who had previously purchased it.

I can’t tell you both how disappointed and grateful I was.

Self-publishing is hard. Really hard. Especially for those of us who have a full life outside of book promotion. I’ve learned a lot this year, and I don’t think I’d go the self-publishing route again. To have a bookstore allow you to do a book signing is awesome. To sell one book is disappointing – to say the least.

On the other hand, I was grateful. In spite of the jarring reality of a failed book signing, I didn’t feel disappointed. What little I did feel was muted and quickly passed – even before I left the store. I can only attribute that to God’s gracious provision of encouragement. I should have felt a lot of negative emotions. But I didn’t, and for that, I am truly grateful.

I’ll be making a few more observations about the book and self-publishing, as well as future projects over the next week. Stay tuned.

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Jeff Noble

Jeff is the pastor of Northstar Church in Blacksburg, Virginia. He grew up in Arkansas, loves fantasy football and is an Apple fan boy. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @journeyguy.
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