At the last writers’ conference I attended, I didn’t have projects to pitch, so I was able to soak up as much as I could and actually enjoy my meals without vying for an editor’s attention. An acquisitions editor told me that he would not take on an unknown author unless that person had a large online presence and could participate in his own marketing. I asked him what would constitute a platform that would make him take notice. He quickly replied, “1,000 Facebook friends.” At that point, I had 600-some and I thought I was doing pretty well.
I am pretty goal-oriented and so I added the Facebook thing to my personal goals. In 2011, several of my short-term writing/marketing dreams came true. My book (without any marketing budget at all) reached a sales record of 1,000 copies, and then quickly reached the next step of 1,500 copies with one big sale. Because of that, 100% of the money we invested in publishing a few years ago was returned to us. My blog and website also continue to get a decent number of hits. And the book was translated and re-published in Romanian. All good things.
But I think the goal I’m most excited about happened last week: I got my 1,000th Facebook friend! That brings me joy not just because I fulfilled that editor’s requirement. I’m happy that I have found friends, otherwise lost to me, from as far back as high-school (I didn’t realize technology had reached my tiny hometown) or from far-away places. I love hearing from friends on the other side of the world in real time. I really don’t care whether my book makes a profit, and it’s hard to imagine that it ever would. But I do care tremendously that the message God gave me to write would touch people’s hearts and change their lives; so what I cherish are the encouraging comments I get that attest to that.
The true riches in my life don’t have anything to do with income. I have invested my life in significant ministry with people with whom God caused my path to intersect. I am rich in friends. And that’s what matters to me.