These past few days have caused me to reflect much on my writing career. I recently wrote a post on my own personal blog called Sick of Me
] on the emotional aspects of marketing. I've had some great responses to it; some private chastisements and plenty of food for thought.
The whole gist of my post was basically one of marketing despair from a Christian perspective. I have been writing professionally for a long time so over the years I have definitely discovered that marketing is not for wimps.
I don't really consider myself a wimp, though (there isn't much that this old gray mare won't tackle) but since my new book was recently (self) published, I've realized that in order to get my books out there, I need to build up some marketing muscle.
I'm by no means - chicken.
I have no problem talking to people and giving them my package and a free book, but I have to admit that I have been struggling with the idea that humility and marketing don't jive for the Christian writer.
Maybe I am out in left field here. Maybe I am just making excuses because marketing is hard work. Maybe I would just as soon have people magically beating down my door begging to buy my book so I can get on with pouring my voice and spirit onto paper.
I think of the definition of marketing: a critical business function involving the process of communicating the value of products or services,to customers for the purpose of selling the product or service.
Then I think of the many scriptures on humility:
He leads the humble in what is right, and
teaches the humble his way.
1 Peter 5:5b
“…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but
to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
1 Kings 21:29
“Have you seen how Ahab has humbled
himself before me? Because he has humbled himself before me, I will not bring
the disaster in his days
And why is this granted to me that the
mother of my Lord should come to me?
2 Chronicles 12:12
And when he humbled himself the wrath of
the LORD turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction.
For when they are humbled you say, ‘It is because
of pride’; but he saves the lowly.
For you save a humble people, but the haughty
eyes you bring down.
Psalms 149: 4
For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he
adorns the humble with salvation.
When pride comes, then comes
disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Then I wonder if it is possible to be doing God's work with humility if I have to get out there and promote myself, my book, my ability to speak, my this...my that.
Of course I know the importance of contacting people and finding creative ways to tell how great my work is. That's where I struggle, though. I know I can write. I know I can sink my teeth into something, have a plan, write something and it can turn out half decent. It's never perfect but I am not afraid to try. I love speaking to audiences and telling them my story in hopes that they can be helped or encouraged or find something to laugh about.
So maybe what I should do is seek out scripture to balance my marketing emotions. Let's give it a try:
God wants me to write my story:
*Oh that my words were written with an iron pen on a granite tablet so my story could be read forever. — Job 19:23–24
I write honestly from my heart, seeking to make the truth known. — Job 33:3
Let my concepts and writings be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. — Psalm 19:14
While waiting for the Lord, write. Be strong and take heart, and keep writing for the Lord. — Psalm 27:14
My heart overflows with a captivating theme, for my voice is the pen of a skillful writer. — Psalm 45:1
God’s word is a lamp that lights my writing journey. — Psalm 119:105
If God is our helper when we write, the stories we build cannot be in vain. — Psalm 127:1
Writers rejoice when they can reach their audience with the right words at the right time. — Proverbs 15:23
Writing sprinkled with humor is wonderful medicine, for pleasant words are like honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. — Proverbs 16:24
Commit your writing to the Lord, and your message will touch people’s hearts. — Proverbs 16:3
Writers would like to chart their entire journey to success, but God wants them to take the next right step. — Proverbs 16:9
Without guidance, writers will fail, so blessed are those who carefully follow publishing guidelines. — Proverbs 30:18
Write your message in an article or a book so it may be an everlasting witness. — Isaiah 30:8
The Lord says, “I know the great things I have in mind for your writing—plans for you to succeed, not fail—so anticipate the future with eager expectation. — Jeremiah 29:11
Publish the pieces you have written, so people can read them. — Ezekiel 37:20
Write for your children so they can tell their children, so your stories may live from generation to generation. — Joel 1:3
The Lord is good, a wonderful retreat when we suffer from writer’s block. He recognizes those who seek him for guidance. — Nahum 1:7
Use plainly spoken words so people can easily read my message and run to tell others. — Habakkuk 2:2
Like city lights on a hill that cannot be hidden, let your writing shine so people may read your words and glorify God in Heaven. — Matthew 5:14, 16
Writers in the Kingdom of Heaven bring forth treasured stories that are familiar yet refreshingly new. — Matthew 13:52
Those who have sacrificed possessions, relationships, and pleasures so they can write stories about Christ working in their lives will receive a much greater benefit, as well as eternal life. — Matthew 19:29
For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so writers who believe in him and share their stories will not die but will lead others to eternal life. — John 3:16
Like a mighty river, words will flow from the mouth of those who believe in Christ. — John 7:38
Rejections, unreturned calls, and ignored book proposals will all work for good for writers who love God and seek to communicate a message that pleases him. — Romans 8:28
Don’t let the world around you dictate how you write, but let God change the way you think. Then your stories will be what he wants—good, well pleasing, and complete. — Romans 12:2
If I write with human excellence and angelic might without truly caring about my audience, my message is little more than a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. — 1 Corinthians 13:1
I can write anything if Christ will give me the ability and stamina. — Philippians 4:13
Don’t let people despise you as a novice, but be a faith example by seeking excellence in your writing. — 1 Timothy 4:12
As I read through these and check out each scripture, it really does become wonderfully, alarmingly reassuring that God has a mighty plan for His children to write stories and get the word out. Maybe having a marketing plan isn't about puffing up self; it's all about focussing on the story that God wants me to tell. Hmmm...I like that.
As far as the emotional part of marketing, I will probably never get my head fully around the
'selling myself' talk, but if I can put it into perspective and focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy because it is done for God's glory, then maybe marketing my story is a really good thing and wimping out is not an option.
*(Special thanks to the North Texas Christian Writers for letting me share some of these scripture ideas.