Thursday, February 19, 2015

Not-Your-Typical-Marketing-Plan

My whole "author"  life, I've been plagued by something.

The FEAR of marketing.

I was taught all my life that JESUS needs to be the center, NOT ME.

That selfishness was BAD, selfLESSness was good.

That letting your good works be done in private means you get your crowns in heaven instead of on earth, and I don't know about y'all, but heaven's crowns sound MUCH better that the cheap imitations we have here.

But then God called me to be an author.

No longer was I to sit behind the scenes. No longer was I to just support other people's callings, but I had my OWN calling, and that involved pesky little things like my name on a cover, my picture on the back of a book, and having to put this very personal thing that is a book that I'd written out and ask/hope/plan on how to get people to purchase it.

And I get it. I've been in the business world long enough to know that marketing is important.

Does a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it actually make noise if there are no ears to hear?

And does publishing a book even matter if no one actually reads it?

Some people are called to write, and that is all. If that is your calling, FABULOUS, because God's callings are so very important. HE wants glory from that writing, regardless of how he chooses to use it.

But some people are called to publish, and that's where, at the moment, I live. God has called me to make my ministry also my career. And that, my friends, is where my problem starts.

How do I market my book according to traditional business principles and stay selfless? How do I put the focus on GOD when my name is blaring on the cover instead of his? How do I not come across as some greedy person who is using God's name to make money?

Because none of those things I want.

What I WANT is to use my gift for God's glory. What I WANT is for God to give me stories to write, and to be obedient and write them so they can be used to further his kingdom.

That is my heart.

A few weekends ago, I went to a women's conference at a local church in our area. It was an IF:LOCAL group, where we broadcasted a live feed from the IF:Gathering in Austin, Texas.

To say it was impacting and life changing is a massive understatement.

I honestly had zero expectations when I went into it, just knowing that Spiritually I'd been a bit "meh" lately and even in my writing, everything was feeling forced and NOT blessed by God.

I could write for hours on all the things rolling around in my head, but one phrase that really struck me I knew immediately I needed to share with all my writing friends.

I don't even remember whose section it is to give it correct attribution (but you can download the whole conference for $35 at www.ifgathering.com if you'd like, which I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend...) but this is what she said.

"Be more concerned with GOD'S MARK than man's marketing."

WOW.

Here me: I'm not saying marketing isn't important or necessary. I don't think the speaker was saying this either. (She's an author herself, I believe!)


But in that moment, it hit me.

I've been trying to market my books given the world's view of marketing.

I write for Jesus. I publish for Jesus. But I've always viewed marketing as something carnal, for myself, and thus, I use man's measuring stick and man's advice on how to approach it.

What would happen if our FOCUS was on seeking GOD'S face in both our writing AND our marketing? What would happen if our books were laid before God and given HIS mark of approval before we ever put them on the market before God?

The mark of God is worth far more than any endorsement by man. 

I'm not preaching a new marketing scheme, y'all. Don't go away from this blog post trying to strategize how to achieve God's mark so you can sell more books. If you do, then you're missing the whole point.

My prayer is that you go away from this blog post seeing the importance of seeking God in everything, your writing and marketing included.

Because none of this should be about us.

Not one thing.

It should all be completely about Jesus and bringing him glory. It's the difference between buying in to Jesus and being SOLD OUT for Jesus.

I don't know about you guys, but I'd love for my shelves to be bear and people ask, "Hey, where are all your books?" And my answer can happily be, "Oh, sorry. I'm sold out for Jesus!"

Discussion: Have you struggled with the idea of marketing because it felt selfish?  What do you think about the concept of seeking God's mark vs. man's marketing?

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Krista is a follower of Jesus, a wife, a mother, and author of Sandwich, With a Side of Romanceand A Side of Faith. She blogs about finding JOY in the journey of LIFE at http://www.kristaphillips.com. She is represented by Sarah Freese of Wordserve Literary.

9 comments:

Joan said...

I needed to read this. Yesterday, a few of us in an online writer's group shared about how we'd grown weary of certain aspects of marketing. I sensed God speaking to my heart to do things "His way."

One of my favorite verses is Matthew 6:33. If we seek Him first, He'll take care of the rest.

Blessings,
Joan

Paula Mowery said...

Just yesterday I was discussing this very topic with one of the authors I edit for. Seems there's always that struggle with Christian authors as to whether we are "tooting our own horns" or truly getting the word out about the message God has given us to share. I encouraged my author to connect with other Christian writers and readers who would share about her work. I am finding that to be one solution to this marketing dilemma. I share about other writers' books and they share about mine. It is one way to get our work "out there." And, it's nice to feel part of a team with the same goal in mind - sharing Christ in our own gifted ways. Thanks for sharing this today.

Krista Phillips said...

Joan, exactly! GOD'S way is always the best. It doesn't mean we don't market and don't put ourselves out there, it means we seek God in it first and don't fret about it when he calls us out on the marketing waters!

Krista Phillips said...

Paula, VERY good observation. Having community with other believers is OH so important.

My only caution is this.

I think sometimes there is risk of entering into those communities and "using" our Christian friends for marketing, a sort of "Hey, I wanna be your friend.... and by the way, I wrote this book, will you tell everyone about it??"

I've found that the relationships I make that I have no expectations about are the ones that tend to market for me the most.

Again, it's about what we are seeking.

This blog is a good example. The alleycats and I absolutely want to build out platform and use the blog as a marketing tool. However, that is a fun bi-product of something that is so much bigger than that.

The community we have with each other is something I wouldn't trade for the biggest marketing campaign in the world. The community we have with our readers and the JOY we get sharing what God is teaching us about life and writing is something, again, I wouldn't stop doing even if not one person was going to read or share about my books.

At the end of the day, I want God to say, "Wow, you showed people ME, Krista. Well done." Not, "Wow, you sure sold a lot of books."

For me, it took a pretty big shift in my heart to understand the difference

Cristine Eastin said...

Write on, Krista! I love this wisdom.

I just published my novel this week, and I thought maybe I'd look different—you know, phosphorescent or covered in pixie dust, or something. But, no. I have an overwhelming sense of doing this for God: next step, next step.

"Marketing" is an odious word to me for a number of reasons. I prefer "Promotion." Promoting what God put in my head and then in my hands. And relying on Him to help me when I wander off track.

It's totally about Him. When I was setting up the formatting I used other's books as templates. I first tried the headers with my name on the right-facing page. Too much hit-the-reader-in-the-face with my name (at least for me), so I switched it to the left-facing page.

Remembering who I'm promoting!

Thanks,
Cris

Robin Mason said...

thank you. thank you. thank you. the notion of His >mark< upon me, upon my writing - and marketing efforts - strikes a chord deep within and paint a different picture. truly, you confirm what I already felt. again, I say thank you, Krista!

Krista Phillips said...

Cristine-- YES!!! We're promoting JESUS!!!

Yeah, pixie dust was missing for me too, more just like an overwhelming urge to sleep for months to catch up!

Krista Phillips said...

Robin, I'm so glad! It made a huge impact on me as well... it is always what I sought but put it into much better words that I'd been able to form!

kaybee said...

A day late, Krista, but thanks. This is something I struggle with, especially in the social media arena. In which I often feel like a gladiator facing a lion, but whatever.
K. Bailey