Friday, October 15, 2010

The Talking Chicken

OK, where am I going with this title? I'm like the talking chicken. It's all to do with something I don't consider is my greatest strength and that is self-promotion. After having six books published, you'd think I'd be less awkward about getting out there and selling them, but the truth is that my old habits have been very hard to squash. They spring up even now.

One day at High School, some of my friends were going about whispering that I was a show-off. I still get the same sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when I think about it, and remember the decision I made to never, ever put myself in the position of being accused of that again. On top of that, the Bible tells us to wait for others promote us, doesn't it? Jesus Himself told the parable of the banquet guest who was asked to step down from the place of honour. Like many of us, I took it all on board and decided to be a model of humility and modesty. But the extent of this attitude has definitely got in the way of selling my books, which was not what I intended at all. I came across a little story that helped.

A man heard about a rare talking chicken that could speak five languages. He set out on a world-wide search to find it. After an exhausting search, he discovered one in a pet shop at a bazaar and asked the owner to post it to his home address. When he arrived home in two days, he asked his wife if the bird had arrived and she said, "Yes."
"Where is it?"
"In the oven."
"Arrrgh, that was a one-of-a-kind bird that could talk five languages!"
And his wife replied, "Well, why didn't he speak up?"

So I realised that I've been behaving just like this poor bird. When Jesus said to wait for others to promote us, I think his point was that we need to remember that all the good things He's given us come from Him. I'm sure He didn't mean for us to clam up and never mention the skills and talents God has given us, especially when He's given us them to benefit others. I asked myself if I believe my books have the potential to give people a lot of joy and enrich their lives. The answer is yes!

So folks, my books are really enjoyable, intriguing and good and if you haven't read them and enjoy a compelling story, please give them a go. Whew, I can tell you, it was difficult for me to type that sentence. All my instincts cried up against stating it outright like that, but if I can do it on this blog, I'll hopefully begin to learn to do it elsewhere too.

And if anybody reading this is another talking chicken, I hope this will help you too. If you have any similar stories, please let me know :)


  1. Paula, I have struggled with this "shameless self-promotion" thing also ever since I started Footprints. However, like you I reached a place where I believed that God's hand of blessing was on what I was doing, and that HE would like as many people as possible to know about it.

    BTW I love your books :-) bought Picking up the Pieces on Saturday at FaithWriters conference (along with about a dozen others) and am looking forward to reading it!

  2. Love the talking chicken story!
    I had to promote myself through years of street performing and face painting, and I can tell you, it's a time of my life I've happily left behind. I guess I'm really bad at the self promotion since many of my friends and local homeschoolers have no idea about my comics even though I now have over 500 written! I suppose at some point I will have to promote myself, but it would be nice if I could just find a nice agent to do that for me. ;o)

    Peace and Laughter!

  3. When I was starting my typesetting business years ago in California, I was 25 and newly married. I went from print shop to print shop, selling my typesetting skills to basically cranky old men who ran printing presses. I had to convince them I was worthy of their printing business. Being female didn't help. I practiced at home, made up samples and a price list. Taking a deep breath before I opened each door, I had to really believe in myself, otherwise why would they think I was worth it. It was one of the hardest things I had done, up to that point in my life, but it was such great experience. And it paid off - I developed a great customer base and the business was growing when we decided to move to Oregon. It does feel like you're showing off but when it comes to business, you have to be confident in your product ... and convey that confidence to the potential buyer. Oh, gee, I'm lecturing - sorry! Anyway, keep believing in yourself and your stories. Others will pick up on your enthusiasm. And pray (obviously!)

    Have a good week - Kate