All of us in ACFW know the writing of Christian fiction is a ministry. And if we’ve been at it for a few years we know it is not for the faint-hearted.
We know the perseverance, the faith it takes to write that book through draft after draft. Work on those critiques … pay for the professional editing, take the classes …. attend the conferences. Some of us work at a day job to support our call to write. Some of us gave up well-paying positions so we could follow that whisper in our souls to write a story that will help-even just one person-come to know Christ or grow closer to him. We’re willing to pay the price.
Then comes all the hard work of catching the attention of an agent or publishing house. But we’re willing to suffer the rejection. After all, Christ suffered rejection.
It’s a tough calling. But we’re prepared to do the work because we want to be good stewards of the gift God has given us.
Then we get published, and along comes the struggle of marketing which feels so against the grain. We’ve heard about it from other writers who’ve trailed the path before us, but we hope against hope that this ugly head of marketing won’t dishearten us. It feels greedy to want our book to sell. It feels pushy to promote ourselves. It feels selfish. But is it?
With my debut novel coming out this 2011, I’ve struggled with marketing. In my prayers I’ve asked God to be my marketing specialist, basically asking Him to do all those things that I hate-contact bloggers to influence for me. Ask reviewers to read my novel, and gear up my courage to ask those readers that if they like the book, please tell their friends.
This is the place on the journey where we want to hand this aspect of writing over to God. You do this part, Lord, I don’t like networking.
I’m a humble person, or at least I tell myself I am. But all my life I’ve run from anything that smacks of competition.
So is my dislike of marketing a result of my humility . . . or is it apathy?
One day I sat praying for our church in the way our pastor had asked us to. He’d asked that we become more visible in our community so that opportunities would open for us to share the message of Christ. Our pastor wants us as a congregation to get out there in the streets of our town and do whatever we can to let us be seen as a church. Immediately I understood that apathy would be the one thing to stop me from taking part in that ministry.
As I was praying this for my church, I realized that is exactly what I was resisting as a writer.
I’ll write the book, Lord, but You do that nasty marketing bit.
It took a while for my brain to click into this truth. With the right motivation in my heart, marketing is not greed. It is good stewardship. It’s just that part of stewardship we least like.
So this lion of a writer, who is a faint-hearted mouse when it comes to marketing, has learned to screw up her courage. I’ve learned I must be faithful to the work that God has helped me create. I have to finish the task . . . and promote my book even if that requires more sweat and tears, and feels more uncomfortable than anything I’ve ever done before.
Be strong and courageous.