Tuesday, August 5, 2008

So can you afford not to promote your book if God told you to write it?

“I want to be on the New York Times best-seller list. I know everyone is going to want my book. It’s anointed.” I hear stuff like this from new authors all the time. Strangely, those who have been in the game for a while don’t say such statements. They’ve learned. Even the authors who have a track record with three or four books published (not just printed), don’t expect to be the next “Oprah book club darling.” Everyone who is anyone wants their book on Oprah. I just smile when I hear the comment and pray, “Lord, help me.”

I specialize in the Christian market because I believe in the message of the Gospel. That’s my mission – to market the message of the gospel to as many people as possible. So I run across tons of Christian authors. I encourage many to write their books. I even mentor some through the self-publishing process. Yet, I always tell to write what God tells them – not what’s popular.

This is where it gets sticky. Even though God may give you a word to write and the book is published, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be the next T.D. Jakes or Joyce Meyer. The book may be anointed but it still has to be sold through the world system – which is business. I try to tell authors “do not despise small beginnings.” Every business has cycles. Start up is phase 1 – and the most expensive.

Books are business. People pay money for books and when money is exchanged, there are expectations. People buy what they are motivated to buy – not necessarily what is “best” for them but what they desire. Advertising, marketing, publicity create desire.

Now, if an author were to print books and give them away – that’s another thing. No marketing is needed. But most want to make some sales. And it seems like some new authors even dream of being “rich and famous” and having people hunt them down for an autograph.

I don’t get it. What’s the heart motive? That’s why I don’t promote people – I promote the message of Jesus through their books. If it’s all about the fame, prestige and money, there are easier ways to become a millionaire. If your heart is not right or your ego is out of line, the book will flop. Guaranteed. God resists the proud.

Once the book is published a lot of authors believe it will sell by itself. Many Christians sway the other way and are too humble to tell anyone about their book. They believe if they put it up on Amazon or tell a few of their “yes buddies” it will take off. NOT! Just like any product that is sold for cold cash, it must be marketed and promoted in order to sell. It takes money to make money.

What part of that don’t Christian authors get? If they “get it,” why don’t they want to invest in the process to getting the book out there? Or why don’t they have a realistic marketing plan that will move books on a consistent basis? Why do they think others should “sow” to help them make books sales?

Why is it, “My book will help people” translates into “I don’t have the money to pay to promote it?” If God gives the vision, He will make provision to pay the professionals to make the book look excellent and be marketed professionally.

It’s really a disservice to the name of Jesus when I see authors who are in the book business and have not done their “homework.” They make a mockery out of the gospel by not doing things in an excellent manner. If the book that God told them to write is so important, then why don’t they do all that is humanly possible to make it appealing so people can buy it?

We are not to hide our light under a bushel and Christians will never sell the millions of books on Amazon – without some kind of marketing plan and PR strategy. God always had a plan – and Christians need one too – and to work it! By: Pam Perry, www.MinistryMarketingSolutions.com 2006©

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