by Jordyn Redwood
Over the last six months or so, I’ve been reading a lot about marketing to help support the release of my debut medical thriller, Proof. Strangely, I came across an attitude among certain circles that it is unchristian like behavior to market your novel-essentially claiming that “pushing your product” is prideful and therefore sinful.
This is how I’ve settled the issue.
1. God gave me a message-I need to deliver it.
The disciples were given a BIG message and were instructed to go out and spread the word. Paul was a big marketer of the message. He wrote about it. He did public speaking engagements. He didn’t stay in his town and discuss the message with just his close friends. You will build relationships with people— yes, to sell them a product that will hopefully change their life.
2. You have a debt you need to pay back.
Advance money is paid to you for your work of authoring the book. However, the publisher hopes to earn that money back. Around 7-10% of authors earn back their advance. That’s a lot of money sitting out there the publisher needs to make up the difference for. How would you feel as an author about marketing if your publisher required you to pay back the difference between sales and your advance?
3. What’s your motive?
What’s your ultimate goal? Is it to be famous? To earn enough money to support your family? To get another book contract? To hit the bestseller list? Recently, Michael Hyatt had a big marketing push around the release of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. He asked his Tribes (this Seth Godin book is a must) to purchase copies of his novel during a specific week in hopes of driving it up the bestseller lists. That was his primary goal and he was fairly open about it. Now, he offered value to those who provided proof that they’d bought his book during this specific time period-that he valued at $375.00. Clearly, Michael Hyatt is a highly successful individual. He’s not only marketed himself and his product but provided value to his reader and perhaps his desire to hit the bestseller list is selfish (I don’t know, I’d like to myself!) but it will allow him to publish more books-which is what every writer wants.
4. Should there be a different standard for writer and publisher?
This is perhaps the most perplexing part of the argument for me. A Christian writer shouldn’t market because it’s prideful, demeaning, not God-honoring, and constitutes a lack of faith that God will do it for you.
Then-why so much lamenting among authors about their publisher’s marketing efforts? After all, if they’re a Christian publisher, and this is your argument against participating in the marketing of your novel, shouldn’t your publisher let God do all the work, too?
What are your thoughts on marketing? What are your concerns as a Christian in marketing your novel? What have you seen that has crossed a marketing “line”?
Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. You can connect with Jordyn via her website at www.jordynredwood.net.