written by Karen Whiting
Sometimes we seem to be in a never-ending circle to market so we can write.
We write from a calling and passion and then must market so sales justify getting more contracts to write. If sales are low we try marketing harder and watch what others do to boost their sales.
Oops! Once we watch sales of others we can easily start to be jealous of those numbers. That can get us caught up in the ‘keeping up with the latest and greatest ways to promote’ and move us from passion for writing to stresses of selling.
Let’s talk about balancing marketing without envy and keeping up the passion of writing. Jealousy makes it a vicious circle.
John and Peter sometimes struggled with checking out each other and competing for the attention and favor of Jesus. Paul appeared more focused on his mission. Let’s look at each for insights into our own attitudes and reactions.
John in Mark 10:35-41 John and his brother asked to sit at Christ’s side and Christ rebuked them. He showed a competitive edge there. This vying for favor made the other disciples, including Peter, feel indignant and Jesus calmed them with words about putting service and humility above pride. He stated that He [Jesus] had come to serve and not be served. He worked at redirecting their focus outward.
At the resurrection in the gospel he wrote we see a little more. In John 20:1-8 John calls himself the disciple whom Jesus loved (and Peter was there too). The writers at that time did not normally call themselves by name, but this choice may not have made Peter happy. He describes how he got to the tomb first (he ran faster than Peter) and he saw and believed with no mention of whether Peter believed or not. Peter is not without fault. In John 21:21-22 after the discourse on “Peter, do you love me?” and “Feed my sheep.” Jesus describes Peter’s tough future. Then Peter asks what will happen to John. He wanted to know John's fate and what Jesus planned for him. Jesus responded, “What is that to you? YOU follow ME.” He pleaded with Peter to keep his focus on his task of following Jesus and off his neighbor.
Paul defended his calling as an apostle but considered himself so wretched due to his past persecution of Jesus (he realized from Christ’s own words that when he persecuted Christians he persecuted Jesus in 1Corinthians 15:9) that he kept his focus on following Christ. Paul continued to work as a tentmaker and didn’t expect people to cater to his needs (Acts 18:1,3). He so avoided competition that he declared relief that he baptized so few people (1 Corinthians 1:12-17; 3:3-6) and identified his calling as preaching and not baptizing.
We need to examine our motives for writing. Let’s check out a few:
Is it for money (we do need to eat and have a roof over our heads). If so, we may need other ways to supplement the income besides a particular book or two (articles, speaking, business writing, editing).
Is it for fame (alas only 2% of writers ever get this and even then only within the circles of the readers of that genre).
Is it because I want to help people avoid pain I’ve had? Then focus on reaching that reader and know the measure of success is not in great sales but in the responses of readers you have helped.
Do I simply love to write/tell a story? Then make sure you give yourself writing time and even in marketing use ways that let you tell a story (blogging and even media appearances can be opportunities to share stories).
We need to keep our eyes on what we can do and not the success of others.
Post your mission and what God has called you to do and read that each day.
Keep letters/emails from people who have been touched by your writing and reread those notes.
Remember that we build the audience little by little so don’t despise the small victories.
Do rejoice when others succeed
They are part of our network and we understand their struggles.
Each success is a time to be happy that God’s message has touched someone’s life.
Each success shows us that God opens doors and makes it easier for us to follow.
Market with passion and not envy
Market because you believe in your book
Market because you want to reach people with hope offered in your book
Market to your audience, even if it is a small one
Persist at marketing
Not for fame, power, or money, but because of the great commission, the calling of Christ to touch lives of others
Because anything worth doing is worth doing well
Be fruitful with love, peace, patience, etc and weed out the envy, strife, and bitterness
I pray that the Lord will bless your marketing efforts one-hundedfold!