Monday, October 27, 2014

The Way Up is Down!

I'm going to get a little personal in this post today. I hope you don't mind. One of the biggest things I struggle with as an author is marketing. Not only am I not very good at it, but honestly,  as a Christian, I question how much self-promotion I should do. Yes, I have strong spiritual messages in my books (messages I believe God has given me) and yes I want as many people as possible to read them, but more often than not, my "marketing" efforts have seemed more like me promoting me. Like me uplifting myself. "Hey, look at me, buy my book, leave a review and tell me how wonderful I am!!" 

Even for the most grounded of people (which I'm not), It's easy to get caught up in all of it and lose sight of why you're writing. Is it to glorify myself or God? Of course it's to glorify God, but sometimes in all the hollering and cheering, too much of my "self" gets in there too. So, I've been battling with this whole marketing thing for awhile. As a Christian business owner, yes, I believe God wants us to market our products just as any business should do. Yet, I believe it's different for us also. There's a fine line between marketing and self-promotion. What makes it even harder is that we authors are not just promoting a product but we are promoting ourselves too. How easy it is for us to get caught up in it and think more highly of ourselves than we should!  Even though it's God who has gifted us to write in the first place and given us the opportunity.

Okay, so where am I going with this? Well, I've been struggling with this for awhile. Am I doing enough marketing? What else should I do? Am I doing it for the right reasons? Am I promoting myself of God?  

Then the sermon our pastor gave yesterday spoke directly to me. You see we live in a culture, in a world system that tells you that if you want to get ahead, if you want power, if you want money, you have to work hard, promote yourself, and claw your way to the top. Right?  

But this is not God's culture. When Jesus came on the scene, he turned the world upside down.  The world says the way up is up. Jesus says the way up is down.

 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life John 12:24-25

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 18:14

but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave Matt 20:26

God says that you have to humble yourself if you want to be exalted.  If you want to be honored, you must be a servant.  How different that is from what everyone around us says? 

Being a Christian author or a Mom or a businessman or bus driver or politician or doctor or secretary is not about promoting yourself. It's about promoting God.  Jesus came to earth to do one thing. Glorify His Father in heaven, and He did that by taking off His Godly robe and humbling Himself as a servant and finally dying a gruesome humiliating death.  Now, He sits victorious at the right hand of God. 

Yes, we have to work and make money. Yes, I need to sell books, but we all need to check our hearts and make sure that everything we do is for the One purpose, the single goal of glorifying God. Not making money, not gaining that promotion or raise, not getting accolades from everyone around those. Those may happen. Wonderful if they do. But that cannot be our main goal. We are to glorify God in all we do, and that means humbling ourselves and being a servant to all, putting others ahead of ourselves. 

What does this look like for you? That's something you need to get with God about. For me, it means that I'm checking my attitude daily to make sure that glorifying God is my goal. Next, though I will continue to market my books, I'm only going to do the things God leads me to do. Instead, I want to be a servant to my readers. I want to be an author who lifts them up and seeks their ultimate good above my own. Whether that expresses itself in a kind note, praying for them, or writing a story that God knows will bless many, I don't know... but I'm praying for a heart change. I'm tired of trying to promote myself.  I'm going to lift up Jesus and then let Him draw those He chooses toward my books. 



  1. Oh, MaryLu!! This post brought tears to my eyes - I love your writing and you, as the beautiful, sweet humble lady you are, however - this is the thing I love most about you: your love for God and not being afraid to take a stand for Him!! "Instead, I want to be a servant to my readers" - over whelms me and give me warm fuzzies, (LOL)!!

    Thank you for this post!! Hope your Monday is joyful and full of peace!! You are a blessing to your readers - this post is one example - praying tenfold blessings for you!!

    Love you dearly, my "sister"!!

    Shared post!!

  2. And THIS is why I consider you my friend....and favorite author. Very heartfelt and honest. Hugs and God bless.

  3. Wow! I love this MaryLu!

  4. STANDING OVATION!!!!!! PREACH IT, ML, because you know I'm cheering you on. Thanks for the beautiful reminder that the way up is definitely down!!

    Hugs and more hugs,

  5. What a great reminder, MaryLu! Loved this post.Thank you for sharing. :)

  6. This really sums up what God just worked on my heart about concerning my blog! So glad that you shared it and let God use you! It really is all about Him and I never want to put myself on a pedestal about what I've done with this or that! Thanks again!

  7. Oh MaryLu, you speak my heart AGAIN!!! This is such a struggle and I always ask my family and friends to pray about this for me, because I tend to sway to the extremes on this issue myself. I think about the parable of the talents and don’t want to hide that which God has gifted. However, I KNOW Satan will do what he can to tempt me to use it in ungodly ways. How many times have we seen ministries destroyed by ego? It’s why we must always be routed in prayer and study, while having author friends and family to share this concern with as accountability partners. I will pray for you on this and would ask for prayer from anyone reading for myself as well.
    On the other hand, MaryLu, let me tell you about how your ministry has touched me. Yes, I love your books. But it’s not just your gift for story and character that does it. It’s your heart for your ministry that inspires me as an author. You were one of the first authors I had ever interviewed. I’ve interviewed many since and still find you one of the most generous interviewees I’ve ever come across. You always give me everything I need, on time, and make sure all your readers know about it. Yes, I check the stats! AND you put your heart into the unique interviews. Not just of YOU, but of your characters. I always send links of those interviews to other authors as examples of what a character interview looks like. Why does this inspire me? Because I want to be generous, like you. Thank you for being an awesome example!!!
    Now that I’ve buttered you up … I hope if you choose to scale back your marketing efforts, you will consider continuing to escort your characters to my blog for an interview now and then. I truly understand if you do not. Just know, you guys are always welcome!!!

  8. Thank you all so much for your encouraging and kind words!! Connie you made me blush. I will definitely be praying for you and all my writer friends, and I SO appreciate your prayers. It's a tough business. The enemy is out to get anyone who truly wants to glorify God. My characters LOVE being interviewed on your blog.!! I hope to be invited back many times. :-)

  9. Tues 28th,
    "Hello, MaryLu .... and everyone".
    Just getting on to this site today, as yesterday I was working at the Fonthill Municipal Elections, as 'Information Clerk/Greeter' .... for twelve hours. Finished my errands today, and now have a bit of time.
    Thanks so much for your encouraging and inspiring message on -- "The way up is down".
    As you aptly pointed out -- the way of 'the world' doesn't line up with 'The Word'. So much greed and obsession with power, money, fame, etc. And as it turns out ... most that have that kind of worldly success, often cannot handle it !
    Humility, not promoting ourselves, not seeking glory ... wow, a lesson to us all -- because 'at times' ... it is easy to become entangled in all the vanity.
    Thanks so much for your openess and accountability. May we all seek God's face every day, and take a reality-check to keep us grounded.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

    1. Sounds like a worthwhile cause, working for your elections, Brenda! Hugs!