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.
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.