“I’m a writer, not a marketer or speaker!” Can you identify with these words? And yet the truth of the matter is that, “Writing is a business, whether we want it to be so or not,” wrote Tracy Krauss, our blog moderator. “Writers—even those working with traditional publishers—are now responsible for many ‘para’ writing activities.”
Prompt: Tell us about the joys and challenges of your “para” activities. How have you managed both writing and marketing? How is God opening doors for you? What advice would you give to those struggling with the business end of writing?
A Time to Prepare
At the current time, I don’t have much in the way of “para” activities in my writing business. But while thinking about this month’s topic, I can see how God has been graciously preparing me for these tasks.
Last year I accepted the role of co-editor for our InScribe anthology, 7 Essential Habits of Christian Writers. In the next the months as I worked with our anthology committee, I learned what is involved in the business of publishing a book. Our committee and volunteers, headed by Ruth Snyder and Kimberley Payne, decided on the seven categories and invited InScribe members to choose a front cover and enter a contest to write the back page. We decided on the size of book, font, and other details. the After the submissions were selected, our editing team worked with the authors to hone the articles, and then team members proofread to check for little errors we might have missed. From there our book was formatted for both print and e-book.
Our work was not finished, however. Again proofreaders reviewed the galley proofs. Ruth sent several articles and poems to prominent authors to get their endorsements. We obtained a Canadian ISBN (learning how to do it in the process) and selected a local printer. When the technical side was finished, we began marketing—advertising on InScribe and social media.
Along the way He taught me other principles, some of which I share with you.
God gives us encouragement to begin the tasks. When I was considering whether to become involved with the 7 Essential Habits anthology—I knew it would be a big job—I felt like Gideon; I needed proof. While visiting a church, I opened one of their guest Bibles. Out dropped a business-sized card. “For Mark, our Mark,” it read. A Bible verse followed, written, I presumed, in the trembling handwriting of Mark’s Grandma: “Be strong and very courageous. Don’t be afraid or discouraged by the size of the task, for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (adapted, 1 Chronicles 28:20 NLT). It was as if God was saying—no, shouting—“Yes! Do it.”
God prepares us as we intentionally investigate the business side of writing. “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premises of progress,” wrote Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN. I’ve taken online courses and webinars; I follow writing coaches online and learn so much from InScribers and other writers. All this information is giving me a clearer picture of what I will need up ahead.
At the right time, God will open doors for us if we’ve been walking steadily along the path He has designed for us. I’m reminded of His promise: “I will go before you, and make the crooked places straight (Isaiah 45:2 AKJV).When we pray His promise, we know that we have the requests we have asked of Him.
God will also give us wisdom in balancing time; sometimes marketing and public speaking can overtake the writing process, and so we need God’s discernment as to what speaking engagements to accept and how to manage marketing (and this can include delegating some tasks to those with expertise).
Today, God has gifted us with living in a time when publication and marketing are moving targets, often going “madly off in all directions,” to quote Stephen Leacock. Each of us has our own experiences in some of these directions. Now it’s your turn to tell us your story.
PS I appreciate so much all the various perspectives that you, our InScribe authors, bring to the topics each month. Sharing your stories adds to our wealth of experience and enriches us as writers. God bless you.