July was great for me - my best month so far in self-publishing and I only had one new book published in that month. August, I had two new books published but overall monthly sales were down 6% compared to July's totals.
And for September, it's the first time in months that I'm in the red as far as daily target sales are concerned. (Note: My daily target sales are based on my cost of living per month / 30 days.) This is terrifying for me as a full-time author. However, I've decided not to focus on the negative. It's something I recently "re-learned" when I was listening to a pastor preach. His sermon was titled "The Blessings of Testings" and it was based on 1 Kings 17: 7-16.
Go on. Read the passages.
There will be times when you feel you've hit rock bottom, and in times like this, it will feel like God is demanding more from you. These tests, however, should be seen as blessings - make that literally blessings in disguise.
Tests from God are also meant to teach you five important lessons:
Tests from God are meant to make you spiritually fit. For me, the summer slump is meant to remind me that I am where I am now not because I'm a good writer. It's because it's through God's grace that I've had the chance to share my stories with people all over the world. For that I should be thankful.
Tests from God are meant to be an exercise on obedience. I remember the pastor using this as an example - you open your fridge and see only water inside (this is common here in PH. We store water in jugs / pitchers inside the fridge. We DO NOT drink from the tap because that's unsafe and unhealthy). When people see just water inside the fridge, they'd usually go "Damn, just water. No food." And I remember feeling exactly like this with the fridge in my room because there were times when I didn't have enough money to buy all the fruits I wanted to eat. :D
The pastor then asked, Can't we look at this situation in another way? Can't we think "Yay, there's still water, we won't be thirsty." Or be thankful that you have a fridge in the first place. When I reflect on this, I realize that I shouldn't complain or worry about my sales. I should be thankful I can even sell one copy a day.
Tests from God are meant to remind you that His promises are SURE. The pastor says that God made at least 3,000 promises in the Bible! Imagine all of that coming true for us! And it will! Because He's God. So, this made me think that things always happen for a reason and this summer slump has taught me a lot of things about myself and as a self-publisher.
Blessings are the result of obedience. We just have to hang on and keep - and spread - the faith.
In times of testing, come to God. And that's why I just keep praying while working. It just makes me feel a lot better that way.