Today I spent time reading blog posts about writing and marketing books. It is quite a change from my normal web-browsing through Christian sites. One particular post shook me up a bit. It is a post by author Kristen Lamb titled “The Single Best Way for Writers to become a Brand.” While every book on marketing I have read has stressed the importance of websites, blogs, and social media for today’s writers, Kristen puts the emphasis on the name used by the author on facebook, twitter, and their blogs. She makes a very good point that when using the web to make people aware of your book, it is important that they also know your name if you want them to buy your book
This was a bit eye opening for me and resulted in me renaming my blog from “View from the Bridge” to “Wendy McCaig” and embedding “View from the Bridge” in my header - a task that I am amazed I figured out how to do this all by myself! I also paid my daughter to set me up a Twitter page which is still totally lame and added my facebook page to my website – another technological miracle for me.
However, these insights were not the part of the blog that shook me up. It was when Kristen claimed, “Being published is not the real end goal. Being published is only the means to your real end goal—SELLING BOOKS.” I had to really stop and think about this a bit. Did I really write the book with the goal of selling books? I know that sounds nuts, but the way Kristen worded this statement made me feel uncomfortable, as though it all comes down to sales. In a way, she is of course correct. It would be insane to go through the incredibly long and difficult process of writing, editing, finding a publisher that will sign you, getting your book to print, and then simply dropping the process.
However, I really did not think much about “what comes next” until this week. This week, my book goes to press and the hard work of writing is behind me, at least on this project. Everyone who has ever published a book is telling me that it is time to start the real work…the work of selling the book.
The whole idea of marketing and sales is truly a distasteful subject for me; I have never been much of a sales person. This post is my attempt to psych myself up for the long road ahead. My goal is not financial, so selling books because of some hope of financial gain is in no way a motivator for me. So why did I write this book? I wrote it because I think people will truly be inspired by it. I wrote it because, despite my rather jaded view about the state of the church in America, I have faith that God is doing something amazing in some unexpected places and through some unexpected people. I wrote it because I think the work God is doing outside the church can revive the church as we know it. I wrote it because I don’t think I am all that special; I think there are lots of people out there who want to live lives that more fully reflect Christ life. I wrote it because I want my children to see Christ among the least and discover the mysterious ways in which God uses the foolish things to shame the wise. I wrote it because I felt God leading me to write it.
Did I set out to write a best-seller? No. Do I hope people will read it and find in the pages a vision of hope for the future and insights for the present? Yes. So, I think I would like to tweak Kristen’s statement “Being published is not the real end goal. Selling books is not the real end goal. Being published and selling books are only the means to my real end goal – changing lives and hopefully transforming the church.” I know that sounds arrogant but it is a far more inspiring reason to undertake the task of marketing and selling my book.
I think I am ready now. Thanks Kristen for your advice and for helping me wrestle with this next phase in my journey. I got word from the publisher that the book should be available on their website by the end of the week for those who want to get an advance copy before it hits Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pray for me as I make this shift and that many people will purchase the book and share it with friends. I will keep you posted as I launch out on this journey.