These seven steps toward book marketing for the Christian author may seem obvious, but sometimes we need to be intentional in our thinking about what's most important. Please comment. Let me know your thoughts on this topic. Agree or disagree. Add to or subtract from this list.
1. Pray for guidance.
1. Pray for guidance.
Prayer for guidance has to be the first, and single most important marketing "tool" for the Christian author.
Finding a market for our books is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Unless you believe in luck, there's no way to find that needle in today's marketplace without specific guidance. Every step of the journey in the writing of my book, so far, has been taken prayerfully, and I have convincing evidence that my steps have been directed. Why would I now expect to take the marketing steps on my own, without that guidance?
Remember those times you asked the Lord to help you find something you'd lost? Do it again. Ask Him to help you find your audience. The Bible says, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." (Isaiah 30:21). Commit your way to the Lord and then tune your ear to 'the word behind you.'
2. Proceed gently.
Proceed gently, probing patiently for that jewel of a connection that will bring your book to the attention of readers.
Just as the writing of the book was a process--a series of small, seemingly insignificant steps down a long and dusty highway--so will be the marketing. Think of the marketing goal you are pursuing as if it were a rare orchid, or a precious archeological find. You wouldn't go after either of these treasures with a bulldozer.
So, too, in your marketing endeavors, don't rush headlong in every direction. Listen for the quiet Voice and obey, even when it looks like you're going nowhere. Even when you don't see a clear destination. Even when you're tempted to forget that you're following an all-knowing Guide.
3. Value every step.
Not every connection you make, through social media or personal contact, will necessarily lead to a viral presence on the internet, but every connection will be meaningful.
Every person you connect with is an eternal being, of great value to God. Each person is, in fact, more valuable than the piece of writing you are promoting, even when the writing has an eternal purpose.
Never let your goal of promoting your work overshadow your goal of interacting with and loving people to the glory of God. And remember that people can sometimes be angels unawares.
4. Listen to advice from wise persons.
Others who have been on the journey before you are great resources. Collect tips from successful writers and publishers and follow up on the ones that seem most relevant to your situation.
Michael Hyatt and The Passive Voice are two blog sources of marketing/publishing information that I read constantly for help on this journey. Michael Hyatt is helpful because he speaks from great experience as a publisher, but he never lets his experience overshadow the wisdom of the Great Communicator.
The Passive Voice is useful because The Passive Guy collects the best information from a variety of other sources and puts them in a form that is easily accessible. I don't have to surf for the best information, particularly on self-publishing.
Look for your own favorite sources and pay attention to them.
5. Use your own common sense.
God anoints common sense that is attuned to the sound of His voice. Advice from wise persons may not always be wisely applied to your own situation. Sometimes your own instincts are better.
Pay attention to your own inner instincts. If you are following all of the above steps, your common sense will be a reliable source of wisdom, and a gold mine of inspiration for the journey.
6. Trust your Guide.
Anointed common sense may or may not follow logical or worldly-wise road signs. It might lead you on detours that take the long way around. That's okay. In marketing, as in writing, the journey is part of the destination. And you have no way of knowing what time-consuming obstacles those detours might be saving you from.
Trust your Guide to use your instincts to accomplish the right purposes.
7. Journal your journey.
Keep track of the progress you make, the steps you take and the places those steps lead you. Do this for two reasons:
First, so you can look back one day and see how beautifully you have been led.
Second, so your journey can be an encouragement to others who are coming along behind you.
You are in the process of becoming one of those "wise persons" you are now listening to. Record the wisdom, for your sake and for the sake of others. For the sake of God's Kingdom.
So the gist of this advice? Pray. Be patient. Listen to the right voices. Enjoy the journey. You will never pass this way again, and this way is glorious.
Looking for more specific, practical advice? Next post will give 7 Practical Ways to Market Your Self-Published Book.
I'm not promising when that post will go up, but I do promise I will plod doggedly down the road toward that next little writing goal!
May God bless you as you do the same.