Monday, August 29, 2011

HARDEST THING A WRITER HAS TO LEARN by Christine Lindsay

Writers have no problem making the huge sacrifices for a writing career or ministry. With barely a shudder we fork out hard-earned dollars to pay for that writing course, books on how to write, the conferences that are so necessary.

We scrape the barrel to pay for a website, book trailers, and we burn the midnight oil to actually write. I’m not the only writer who gave up a good position to pursue this tug—no yank—on my heart to write. We try hard to keep up the faith when we suffer rejections, and manage to persevere.

And we do it cheerfully because we feel called to tell others about Christ through the medium of story-telling.

But I discovered there is something even harder for a writer. Something that goes against the grain with the way God wired our literary and contemplative minds. It’s something we don’t discover . . . until we’re published.

MARKETING.

I’ll say it right here . . . Yuck, yuck, yuck, I hate it. Oh Lord, I hate it. That’s a prayer, not a cuss. See . . . it’s italicized.

It used to be that if a writer was published by a bigger and more established publisher, he or she could rest on their laurels, trust in that marketing team to get their book visible to the buying public. But we all know the publishing world is changing—even authors with larger houses have to do so much more marketing than they used to.

In many ways their marketing isn’t much different than what a self published author has to do. The whole Ebook versus paper has re-drawn the lines on the playing field.

My publisher, WhiteFire, decided to release my book, Shadowed in Silk, in 2 stages. First as an E-book in May, and the printed book coming out on Sept. 1 as a printed version. I am now counting the days.

This gave me an insight into the woes of authors whose books are released strictly as E-Books. Because how does one make their tiny Ebook visible in what looks like a sea of Ebooks all shimmering on-line like a school of shrimp?

Again, I had to do the same as my contemporaries with the bigger houses. I began to contact the friends I’d made through blogs, I planted tiny seeds. I bought advertising...

So you’re saying, “Ah . . . so marketing is the hardest thing a writer has to learn.”

Nope, it isn’t.

The hardest thing a writer has to learn is to recognise, to accept, even embrace the yucky-ness of marketing. It feels pushy to be asking people to blog about your book. It feels horrible to ask people to write a review. But this going against the grain is to be a good steward of the gift God gave you.

The only way to get comfortable with that is to focus on relationships. Always put people first. Though the task is important to God, ultimately He will want to see us treating each other with love. And that will count more in eternity than the number of books we sell.

I hope you'll join in my happiness as I celebrate the release of my debut novel Shadowed in Silk as it comes out in paper format this September 1.

And Please drop by my website www.christinelindsay.com

15 comments:

  1. Hi Christine,
    Thanks for your post. I agree with you the marketing is not at all what we think about when we write our books, lets pray God will help us impact the market for Him.
    Jennifer Ann

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, yes, yes, yes! I hate that yucky business. It makes me feel really uncomfortable, but I love your reminder that doing it is part of being a good steward. And congratulations on your novel's debut, Christine. It's a beautiful cover.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So true! It's not that I mind doing it, it's figuring out the best WAYS to do it that's difficult for me. And finding TIME to do it. Another big issue for me. Before I was contracted, it was all about building platform. Now that I'm contracted, I'm moving into a different realm of marketing.

    Wouldn't it be nice if all writers had to do was...write?

    Hey, it can't hurt to dream. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Embracing marketing is painful but necessary. Really appreciate your post, Christine. I've come to realize I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL Christine! You took the words right out of my mouth. :) I am learning to embrace the yuckyness of the marketing. (Shudder!) Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a gorgeous cover! Congratulations, Christine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well said, Christine. I soooo relate. And huge congratulations on your paperback release!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Self marketing is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. Could it be true that if you were a mediochre writer, but a brilliant marketer you'd be more successful? Eeuuhh! Forgive me for putting my thoughts down like that. Just as well we know our times (and maybe our books)are in the Lord's hands!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is an honest, truthful post and I know strikes a cord with every published author I've met. When I was published by two overseas companies, I was not expected to do marketing as now and only did the minimum of interviews in the local media for the first books. Since being published by a much smaller, Australian publisher and the intrusion of the internet into our lives, this has changed drastically. While I do enjoy speaking engagements and opportunities to share the journey God and His faithulness has taken me, I do get very concerned over the way marketing and promotion takes my time from my writing. How to get the right balance is very difficult. How to be aware always of God's leading is very difficult at times. However, many, many times I have been awed by the way God has organised my diary. There have been some marketing/promotion plans that did not eventuate and others of seeming insignificance He has used to glorify Himself. And that is the constant tension we Christian writers have. In all our promotion efforts, we need to acknowledge what HE is doing, who HE wants to read our efforts, who HE wants to bless, to challenge. My responsibility is to ever place my whole life under His control and that includes sales numbers and thus our finance and time responsibilities.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Christine, congrats on your print book release this week! Being pre-published, I look at marketing from a different perspective. I really enjoy writing book reviews and doing author interviews to promote books. I've been fortunate to read review copies of some excellent books and I've felt blessed by having the opportunity to help authors promote their books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats on the print release of your book, Christine! And yes, I agree that marketing is a tough, tough job that most of us would love to forgo just to write more. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Stewardship? I hadn't thought of it that way--just how uncomfortable it is to push myself. I want sales to just "happen." Surely when people read my book and and like it, they will tell someone else. Not. It takes time and creativity tooting my own horn. But as you say, without it, I am wasting God's gifts.

    ReplyDelete
  13. So nice to know I'm not the only one who feels this yuckiness over marketing. God is the only one who can give us the strenth to do this part of the writing which none of seem to care for.

    Interesting thought, Rita, that a mediocre writer could be great at marketing, and beat out in sales a fantastic book that deserves to be read----like all of our books. LOL :o)

    Hugs and blessings to all.

    And one thing I have learned lately, is to fight back the evil one and not allow him to steal the joy that God has given us with our gift to write for HIM.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Some great thoughts there thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete