This is a guest post by Cherie Burbach. Cherie is an author, blogger, poet, crocheter and geek.
You can find her at www.cherieburbach.com
Christian writers: Do you have a hard time with promotion? I hear this a lot from my fellow Christian writers: "How do you promote your work when you're not really supposed to brag about yourself?"
Bragging is not something a Christian is supposed to do right? But then how do you find readers? As Christians, we must constantly reflect about how we promote our work.
Promoting Books is a Must Today
There are simply too many authors and too many books out there today to skip promotion. It's a necessity if you want to reach the right readers. It isn't about getting someone to buy your book over someone else's, rather, it's about finding that special person who will get something out of your book, whether it's enjoyment, a lesson, or a call to faith.
And that's the reason we write, isn't it? Because we have some amazing stories about the wonderful things that God does and we want to share them with people. More importantly, we want to help the right people find them. Promotion helps do that.
Self Reflect Through Prayer
One thing I do to help make sure I'm "in check" with my faith when it comes to promotion is pray about it. I ask for guidance and then I confidently go out in the world. I try and listen to what God is telling me about my life and my writing, and I follow that advice. If I have a bad feeling about a certain marketing method I hold off and pray about it some more. If it doesn't seem like something I "should" do, I skip it. There are so many ways to network and promote your work today, so if one doesn't seem like it falls within your Christian sensibilities, pray about other opportunities.
Let God Do His Thing
Did you ever write something you thought was completely small and random, and yet someone told you it touched them? Inspired them? Those are my happiest times as a writer because I know this is all God's doing. He inspires our words and then uses them to reach out to someone else. I give all that glory to God, because I certainly know it isn't me!
Several years ago I wrote an essay for NPR, that I submitted and never heard a word about. I assumed it was another rejection, and completely forgot about it until six months later when a lady from NPR told me my essay was the second most popular out of tens of thousands of entries. In the essay (http://thisibelieve.org/essay/12446/), I shared details of my childhood growing up with verbal abuse and an alcoholic parent. I remember writing that essay very quickly and not giving it much editing or thought. Imagine my surprise to hear that it was so popular!
Now, five years later, it's still one of the top five essays on their site, and I have people who email me, telling me they can relate to it. Each time I hear from someone, I am struck by God's amazing ability to connect with us all. When we realize how much we need God in our life, it will help you feel more confident about being a writer, and all the things that go along with writing professionally, including promotion.
Writers Generally Don't Like the Spotlight
Writers, in general, don't seem to like to promote. We're content to hide behind the computer screen and not have to make calls or reach out. But the reality of being a writer today is that marketing is part of our job. It doesn't mean you need to shout about your accomplishments when you enter a room, but you will need to connect with others and do your best to find readers.
If you're like me, you're a dork and feel funny about the whole promotion thing. But lean on God during these times. He will help guide you to the right situations. Sometimes, getting out of your comfort zone is exactly what God hopes you will do.
Cherie Burbach writes about friendship, dating, family, and relationships at About.com (NY Times) and Life Goes Strong (NBC/Universal). She has penned eleven books and ebooks, including Internet Dating Is Not Like Ordering a Pizza and 21 Ways to Promote Your Book on Twitter, and has published over 500 articles on the subjects of health, sports, and lifestyle. For more info, visit her website, http://www.cherieburbach.com