Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reader Feedback - the not so Good and the Great

Plants bloom after rain falls, bringing color on the journey along the Appalachian Trail

I thought this was a perfect picture to illustrate what happened, and quite unexpectedly. Many weeks back I received some reader feedback cards having to do with my last book for Heartsong Presents - Wasatch Love. I must say it was rather discouraging. I received only negative remarks. One reader basically said the book had no redeeming value whatsoever. As was written - "I HATED IT!! Too much sex junk!! Not Christian!" Inspirational theme - "Where??" 

Another wrote - I would have enjoyed it more if - "Sin and fornication weren't taken so lightly and matter-of-factly. Forgiveness and true repentance should have been clearer."

I was devastated. I wondered if I had missed the mark with regards to this work. In fact, when the editor sent me the galley proofs for the book to be included in the fall re-release of the Utah series, I looked it over, trying to keep an open mind to see where it may have fallen flat. Truthfully, I could not see it. I believed that while the characters were indeed flawed (as we all are!) God provides a pathway to redemption. Through their situation, they were able to grow together in friendship and eventually in love.     

Fast forward. I open the mailbox today to find a fresh batch of feedback forms on my books. Inwardly my spirit groaned. More folks complaining about this godless work. But looking through them, there was not one negative comment. And nestled among the forms was a handwritten letter by a reader. I hope she won't mind me sharing some of her words that she wrote concerning Wasatch Love

"This (book) is one of the most comprehensive Heartsong Presents novels I've ever read on rebuilding relationships with God directly involved and doing the work.
"You fill the pages with how to's for love, finding Jesus, healing wounds, fixing relationships, caring for others...
"Thank you for helping to reignite my counseling efforts. You are dear to me."

Wow! Talk about a complete and total reversal. I thought I had blown it with this book. But I realized that this is really God's ministry. God's work. His work through what I can do with my meager means of writing. No, my books won't please everyone. Just so long as I please God with it and pray the story reaches those few to see the message - that with God, all things are possible.  

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