I was excited when my first book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God, was published several years ago. But my delight at the release of this project was tempered by the need to market it through a website, blog posts, newsletters, Facebook author page, Twitter, book signings, and other activities.
A conversation with an acquaintance highlighted the tension inherent in promotional activities. “Why are you doing book signings?” he asked. “If God wants your book to sell, then it will sell. You should trust Him.” His voice was tinged with reproach and his meaning was clear: a mature Christian should trust God rather than fall prey to the sin of self-promotion.
Marketing and promotion. I confess I’m uncomfortable with this part of a writer’s job. I dislike doing it and I hate that others—even family members—might mistake my actions for self-aggrandizement.
After all, I’m a Christian. The Bible tells me to be humble, to put others first, and—in the vernacular—to not toot my own horn. Proverbs 27:2 says to “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”
Still, publishing is a business, and that includes Christian publishing. In these days of staff cuts and diminishing budgets, most authors can no longer expect their publishers to roll out the red carpet to market their books. Even before a book is contracted these days, a traditional publisher wants to know what specific marketing plans you have for the project. If you’re not willing to promote your book, they probably won’t be willing to publish it.
My goal is to glorify God with my life. That includes my writing, which I believe is a gift He has given me. If this is true, then my goal must also be to glorify God in my marketing, just as I sought to glorify Him in writing.
This is not about me. I never want my marketing efforts to be self-aggrandizement. I don’t want to be the one waving her book high in the air, shouting “Look at me! Look at what I’ve done! Buy my book!”
Rather, I want to promote my books because they represent work God has done in and through me. He gave me an ability to use words for His glory. And He opened doors to publication in order to bless others. This is about what God has done. That’s what I want to say. I want to shout, “Look at my Creator! Look at my Redeemer! Look at what He has done! Look what He can do for you!”
The Bible tells us, “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31 NIV).
If, in order to do that, I need to “put myself out there” then that’s what I do. But I do it in the hope that others will be blessed by the work He gave me. And they, in turn, will proclaim what God is doing and has done for His glory.
So, yes, I will continue to tell people about what I’ve published. Not because I want to draw attention to myself, but because I believe what I write will be used by God to touch others for His glory. And if that’s what I truly believe, how can I not tell others? How can you not tell others what God has given you for His glory?
What has God given you to bless others? What are you doing with your gift?
8 thoughts on “It’s Not Self-Promotion”
Very well put, Ava!
MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Award-Winning Author of Fiction
“Heart-Mending Books for the Young and the Young-at-Heart”
Thank you, MaryAnn.
Thank you for this reminder. I, too, struggle with the misconception of marketing as being self-promotion, which goes contrary to everything I’ve learned about Christian humility. Yet, as you’ve said, it must be done if our work is to sell and reach others. You’ve given me a nudge to promote my writing as God’s working through me, not self-promotion.
Thank you Dennis and MaryAnn. Ava’s posts are always uplifting! Carol Baldwin
Thank you, Dennis. Yes, it’s all about God…He gets the glory!
I pray that the words I write will lead readers to a closer relationship with God. 🙂 I pray and ask God to give me the words He wants me to share.
Amen, Melissa! Me too! Carol
Right there with you, Melissa!