By Suzanne D. Williams
I’m going to give you the best key to successful marketing you will ever read. It’s so simple, and yet we as Christian authors fail to use it to our advantage. Because we do have an advantage. We have something that enables us to spread word of our writing, draw in readers, and push our books to great success.
Let me ask you a question. Have you prayed over your book? Now, I’m not talking a “please, God, please” prayer. I’m talking the fervent prayer of a righteous man, a prayer based on faith in God’s ability, willingness, and power to help you. (Jas 5:16) I’m talking a bold in-your-face prayer. (Heb 10:19)
“Wait,” you say, “can I pray that?”
Absolutely, you can. First, God said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Mt 7:7) He told you to ask, and he promised answers in the asking. (v8) However, He was specific about how to ask. He said, “Ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (Jas 1:6)
How do you do that? You find a Scripture and apply it to your situation. God has promised success and prosperity in numerous places in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 promises “good success” to the man who mediates (or spends time in) the Word. In 3 John 1:2, we find God wants us to prosper “above all things.” But I especially like the story of Joshua in Genesis 39:3. The Bible says of Joshua’s success, “And that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.”
That’s pretty amazing!
“But, I’m not Joshua,” you say. No, you’re not. You’re greater even than he was. You’re a child of Almighty God, washed in the blood of the Lamb, who sacrificed Himself to save you.
Salvation is all inclusive. It’s more than just your soul. It’s your job, your finances, your health, your children, even your dog. And also your books. God didn’t do a half work, but completed what He came here to do. In light of that, how can you not claim His promises over your writing? If He gave you the story, if you obeyed Him in writing it, then He will bring it to success.
Yet in all things we do, we often put Him last. We strive on our own, using social media, blog articles, and any other manner of getting the word out there and our books into the hands of the readers, forgetting all the while our greatest weapon is to let God do the promotion. He said we can have “exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Eph 3:20) So we should take Him at His word, stand, and having done all to stand, keep standing. (Eph 6:13-14)
Of course, along the way, there’ll be naysayers, those who don’t appreciate our work, or come against it in some fashion. I’ve seen this quite a bit with one of my stories in particular, and to be truthful, I struggled with that. I kept asking God why. And He showed me that I need to stop worrying about why and instead, once again, turn back to what He said in His Word.
Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 5:44. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Ah, blessing the enemy. I admit, this is the hardest thing to do, but it is also the most important because it has a two-fold effect. First, it removes the pressure from you. The devil can no longer hold whatever the negative situation is over your head as a threat. I mean, why bother you with it when it doesn’t bother you at all? Second, if every time something similar crops up, the person causing the trouble gets blessed instead, that’s not to the devil’s benefit.
“But I lost money.”
“But he hurt my reputation.”
“But my ratings went down.”
But Romans 12:20-21 says, “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Overcome evil with good and sew your prayers, and sometimes your books and your money, into the life of someone who needs it. Give them a blessing and move on. Then raise your hands to heaven, and thank God for your success, and let Him do His part. He is, after all, the best marketer there is.
Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.
I had the great opportunity to read this book this past weekend and all I can say is, Where was this book when I was growing up? Especially now in the summer, parents run out of ideas of things to do with their children while at home and why not do something that not only is fun but that matters. I also can see how this book has the great potential to help teachers develop so many skills for children.
This book encourages children to explore who they are, as well as their dreams. In a society where dreams have been dictated by the media, this gives them an opportunity for the children to create dreams of their own. The great thing about the activities in this book is that they can be generalized for all ages as long as the children can write or draw. Each child will feel important and included in the activities.
I enjoyed the real life stories of children who have participated in this project, especially the story about the kid who wrote about the Mustang car. Sorry my readers, you know I don’t like to give too many spoilers so you will have to get the book to find out.
I really enjoyed this book. I don’t have kids, but I do interact with many and I look forward to introducing them to this concept.
The author of this great book is Joy Dekok. She is the author of 7 published books, a national speaker, author coach, and social media manager for several clients. She and her husband Jon live on 35 acres of field and woods in Minnesota with their dogs Sophie & Tucker. You can find more about Joy’s books on her website www.joydekok.com
By Staci Stallings
Recently I was talking with some writer friends who are working on marketing their books. Now stay with me because this isn’t about writing.
The conversation turned to sales and how many sales people had or didn’t have for that month. I had been having some success in that area and mapped out the trajectory of my sales for the last few months. One writer piped up and said, “I’ll be happy when I sell 100.” Another joined in, “Well, I’ll be happy when I sell enough to get a check.” (Which is about 10.)
Ironically, I had just sold about 10 times that 100, and I could see the fallacy of “I’ll be happy when…” in bright, shining colors before me. Why? Because I had sold all these books, and in reality, life hadn’t changed all that much.
I still had (and have) laundry in the utility room to do and dishes in the sink and the living room needs vacuumed and dusted. I need to get the oil changed in the van and the registration paid at my son’s school. We’ve got to find time to memorize his multiplication tables, and I need to get the bills paid. Oh, and my shower needs cleaned really badly, and I have several posts to put up on the blogs.
I would love to get some time to work on my new story, and I need to write the VBS plays. The garage needs swept, and the clothes need taken to the homeless shelter. I’ve got suitcases from our last visit home to clean out and all of those clothes to run through the washer. Oh, and Sunday School is coming up again, and I need to practice for that. There’s a gift certificate I need to get for a friend who did me a big favor, and trash to take out. At some point I would love to get some exercising in, and the bushes out front really need trimmed before they completely take over.
In short, I’ve sold all these books–more than I could have dreamed or hoped for in December of last year–and life is still life!
It was quite funny the day in February that one of my books was climbing the charts on Amazon, going all the way up to #11 in the Free Store. I was watching the downloads, amazed. At noon I went into the kitchen to eat and found several stacks of dirty dishes waiting for either the dishes-fairy or me to do them. My husband happened to be home for lunch that day, and he said, “So how does it feel to be famous?”
I laughed as I started digging dishes out of the sink and said, “About the same as it felt to be not famous.”
See, I think that’s something we all get wrong in this life. We think that something “out there”–a certain number of sales, getting that diploma, paying off this or buying that–is going to change everything and suddenly then we’ll be happy.
It doesn’t work like that.
In fact, a few years ago I was talking with a friend of mine who at the time was living paycheck-to-paycheck, and I told her that having money in the bank was not going to make her happy if she wasn’t happy now. She scoffed that I just didn’t understand.
Well, guess what? She got a contract, sold some books, got on a little better financial footing, and now has money in the bank. The other day we were talking, and she said, “You know how you told me I could have money in the bank and that wouldn’t solve everything?” ”Yeah.” ”You were right. I have money now, and I still don’t feel good about myself. In fact, everything I’ve prayed for over the last five years, I have now, and it hasn’t changed anything. I’m beginning to think it’s not about that stuff after all.”
What a concept! She’s right… it’s not about all of that stuff. It’s about YOU. It’s about learning that God loves you and accepts you right where you are. In debt, overweight, overworked, sales, no sales, famous or not. When you begin to understand that and ask Him to help you to be happy now, when those other things show up, they are nice gravy to the situation. But it’s about the Giver, not the gift. It’s about the Blesser, not the blessing.
So if you’re stuck in “I’ll be happy when…,” may I suggest you try “God, help me to be happy and joyful right now because You love me just the way I am.” Then put all of those “when” things in His hands and let Him work them out as you willingly follow what He tells you to do.
It will make all the difference in the world!
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a Contemporary Christian author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only…
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There comes a time in the process of publishing a book where the newbie writers need to find someone with credibility to endorse their book. The popular notion is to find a celebrity that would say something about your book and that will draw people to buy it. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m sure that part of it is because when I look at my contact list there are no celebrities listed in there. But more than that I place myself in the buyer’s shoes and I don’t know how much a celebrity endorsement would sway me either way to a purchase.
I found this blog yesterday, and yes I would agree that if Oprah was promoting sack potato dresses they would fly off the shelves, I just don’t see the translation to books. I would probably be more incline to by a celebrity book than a celebrity endorsed book.
I’m a twihard (Twilight series fan) and I’m honestly not into vampires and werewolves, but my friends wouldn’t shut up about the books, so I went bought the first one and got hooked. I admit that I’ve read them all, seen all the movies and I’m secretly in love with Edward, (and hate Bella… Even after her redemption I couldn’t get over her nonsense) On the other hand if I see a book endorsed by Stephanie Meyer it would not move me to buy it just for the fact that she’s endorsing it. The topic of the book needs to capture my interest and the first few pages need to lock my attention in order for me to buy the book.
In my genre, I’ve bought several books from Joyce Meyer, but once again I’m not sure that her endorsement of a new author would automatically make me purchase the book. Yes, it may make me take a look at it, but not necessarily get my debit card out of the wallet.
Now good reviews on a book, and like with Twilight, having friends talk about it will probably get my wallet out of my purse a little quicker.
As always I want to hear your thoughts. My writer readers, how important do you think endorsements are for your books? My reader fans, would a celebrity endorsement influence you in any way towards buying a book?
Looking forward to your comments