Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Should Our Hands Be On or Off Our Obstacles, or Both? by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy
My debut novel, Calculated Risk, had just released. I eagerly began performing my post-release activities.

I received an email from a family member. Her friend and she had visited a popular online bookstore to purchase Calculated Risk, but the bookstore claimed my print book was temporarily out of stock. Then an email from a friend arrived with the same complaint. These women preferred to wait to order Calculated Risk until that bookstore restocked rather than go to another online bookstore. But would they? Or would they give up checking the bookstore website, get busy, or find another book? Would others react the same way? A bowling ball dropped in my stomach.

What was worse was this bookstore had failed to upload my book cover photo. Also, my website steered people to this bookstore.

Hands On

After three days, the out-of-stock message remained. I sent an email to my publisher. The marketing rep said they’d taken care of everything from their end. I reported the problem to the online bookstore. The rep said they were out of stock due to an increase in demand of my title. A purchase order had been submitted to my publisher. She uploaded my book cover. Both businesses were doing their job.

Two weeks went by, then four, then six. Finally, eight weeks later the out-of-stock message disappeared from the online bookstore’s site…after Christmas sales opportunities had passed.

Another discouragement arose. For some reason, the announcement emails I sent to various groups in my Contacts were delivered to very few people. I didn’t know who received the email and who didn’t. Rather than make a pest of myself, I didn’t resend individual emails. I reached some in other ways. I slipped a bookmark in our Christmas card. I announced the release on social media networks.

Hands Off

When I couldn’t find on my website where to change my buy button to link to another online bookstore, I felt the book release was under the enemy’s attack. I sensed God had a different plan called: Wait. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:7)

So, what am I doing during such disappointments?

1. I hold on to these truths:

  • God knows these obstacles. John 16:30 and John 21:17
  • God can do all things. (Matthew 19:26)
  • Nothing is too hard for God. (Genesis 18:14)
  • God is on my side. (Jeremiah 29:11; Romans 8:31)
  • God doesn’t mock me. (1 Corinthians 15:58; Zephaniah 2:10)
  • God works for my good. (Romans 8:28)
  • God has the problem covered. I did my part.

2. I do these activities:

  • Wait.
  • Trust God. When the enemy suggests: “You’re losing sales.” or “God doesn’t care about Calculated Risk”, I say: “I will not receive that!” The thoughts leave me.
  • Turn Calculated Risk over to God. I’ve had to repeat this after turning away the enemy’s suggestions.
  • Thank God for each improvement.
  • Focus on book promotion and writing activities.
  • Look for the lessons God is working from this experience.

I won’t know my sales until I receive my publisher’s report. But the numbers shouldn’t matter. After all, I’ve turned Calculated Risk over to God, and He and I are working on a new book.

How have you, or could you, handle such discouragements?
About the Author
Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Now retired actuaries, Zoe and her husband evaluated the financial risks for insurance companies. Nick, in Zoe’s debut novel, Calculated Risk, is an actuary. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops at JoyWriters on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John.
Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk

Calculated Riskby Zoe M. McCarthy
What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books


  1. Zoe, first let me say I loved seeing you in costume at the ACFW Genre dinner.

    Wow, that would be hard. I'd probably be trying to "fix" it on my own and we all know what a mess that can make. I admire you for trusting God to work it out.

    Thanks for the reminder He is on our side.

  2. Hi, Zoe! Thank you for this post. I am going to highlight these verses. They are gold. I would be trying to fix all that I could. If it's not in God's time, it would be a huge mess. Can't wait to see your next book!

  3. Hi Terri, I'm glad you liked my heroine-yellow-stickies-covered costume. I wear it to all my author events.

    It is hard to keep my hands off, especially when others suggest you should do this or that. But I think God is teaching me to trust him and that he'll let me know if I need to do something.

  4. Hey Sally, as I said to Terri, at first I wanted to "fix" and "save" my sales. I'm glad now I heard that tap on my shoulder to turn it over to God. Sometimes I have to turn it over again. And again.

  5. It is nice to step back from the muddle and say "God is not out to trick me. God is on my side.God has a purpose in what He allows." Yeah God. Amen.

    1. Yes, Marcia, hurray, God. Even when I don't see improvement, I can praise Him for the good he's going to do for someone in my trial. And if I do that, it helps me to be alert to see that good.

  6. Hi Zoe. Thanks for the reminders. I don't know if it's that "gift" of choice we have or what, but my first instinct is to "do something." Often the doing means praying. Scripture pulls me back to perspective and at some point I realize the spiritual warfare going on. Always. The enemy never gives up.

    1. Hi LoRee. You're right about Scripture. That's why I think it's so important to start my day in Scripture. God gets my perspective on the right path to approach my day.

  7. Hi Zoe, the book sounds amazing..congratulations on your debut. Whew, so much going on there. I am so glad you posted this, and revealed to us all those pertinent scripture texts. I need to read and study them all every day. I felt absolutely called to write inspirational romance, yet the struggles and failures have truly crushed my spirit. Sometimes I laugh and say, God, it's not like I was writing porn and needed to get smacked down! I was writing for You. Oh well, all in His time. Although I admit, I'd kinda like more speed LOL. Thanks for setting me straight today. God bless!!!

    1. Tanya, you made me laugh, too. And that's good. I think when we step back and look at our reactions from a humorous perspective, it puts us on Reset.

  8. Hey Zoe! Love how you rebuke the enemy with Truth! Thanks for sharing your struggle and welcome to Seriously Write!

    1. Thanks for the welcome, Dora. So honored to be a contributor.

  9. For one who plans and prepares and does her homework, that must have been super frustrating, Zoe. I am amazed at the way you can see that relationship with God is more important that what we produce for him.

    1. Yes, Jane, I was frustrated. It truly helped my frustration to give it to God, even if I had to hand it over a few times.

  10. Zoe, thanks so much for your post! It was what I needed today. I would have been going CRAZY in your situation! I'm kind of a control freak, but God has been working with me on that. However, I still sometimes start to feel anxious when things don't go according to my plan - like when a day blocked out to write gets hijacked by other people's needs. I have to remind myself that I can only do what I can do - ultimately, everything is in God's hands!

    1. God has been working on me too, Dawn. I so want to learn His lesson of trusting Him.

  11. Hi Zoe! I'm so sorry you've had all those issues, but I love your attitude!

    1. Thanks, Sandra. I'm enjoying getting on to the next book.


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