Authors: Seeking Approval

Depending on my current situation or environment, I might see something entirely different than another time when I read a passage of Scripture. The Bible is a like a diamond, with light of different colors shining through various facets depending on how you turn it and look through.

I am turning one Scriptural “diamond” today to see something in a little different light.

When Jesus walked to the Jordan River to begin his earthly ministry, John the Baptist immediately recognized him for who he really was, the Messiah. After Jesus was baptized, a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

The greatest endorsement and recommendation ever. Take that, LinkedIn.

The scripture does not say otherwise, so I assume it was an audible voice heard by everyone who was there.

Notice how Jesus didn’t come up from the water and say, “I am the Son of God and my Father is well pleased with me.”  Certainly Jesus had the authority to say that and it would have been entirely accurate, but God chose to break into real life and audibly express his approval and pleasure with his son for all to hear. Talk about a memorable moment.

At various times, we all come across a company or person that endorse themselves.

“Our products and service are unmatched.”

“Our food is like home cooking.”

“My book is the best ever.”

Even outside endorsements that are too easy can be less-than-effective.

“The products and service are unmatched.” (TV commercial with note mentioning endorser as “Actor portrayal”)

“The food is exquisite. I come here every day.” (TV commercial of customer obviously reading from cue cards. Who uses words like “exquisite” anyway?)

“This is the best book ever.” (from your aunt Judy)

Every author needs endorsements of their work from someone who is trusted, credentialed…and objective.

Some have tried to game the system on Amazon and other online retailers by providing friends and colleagues with endorsements they can post online so it gives the appearance of wide approval of their work. The various online retailers are pretty savvy about catching uses of similar phrases from endorsers and so now that type of activity has been greatly curtailed, but it still happens.

I know this entire issue is a major problem for the introverted author who “just wants to write a book,” but good, solid endorsements are important to agents, publishers and readers.

I recently declined a proposal from an author asking me to be their agent because they had no author platform and no endorsements. The author replied, “I am seeking the approval of God, not man.”

How do you respond to that?

Sure, I could have responded with some stupid comment like, “Even Jesus needed an outside endorsement.” But I didn’t. Because I didn’t reply.  There are times when being speechless is best, since my words would not have calmed hurt feelings.

So, knowing that endorsements are an important part of publishing, if you were me, how would you have responded to the hurt, prospective author?



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