Do you ever get tired of authors trying to promote their books on social media or blogs? If your answer is yes, I want to share something that might shock you.
I totally get that opinion – even though I am an author myself.
Probably like you, I’m guilty of scrolling right past social media posts from authors who are sharing something about a book they have written or encouraging the purchase of their book. Not necessarily because I’m not interested in the subject matter or don’t admire that person but simply because life is busy and I think I don’t have time to read anything new. Or maybe the promotion seems like too much. Or maybe I’m tired of seeing it because I’ve already seen something about that book posted time and time again. Or maybe simply due to the fact that I’m too distracted to really pay attention to what it’s about.
As an author, it probably seems a little strange that I’m posting about this. Seriously, I have no idea why God laid it on my heart today to write about this touchy subject. Which is only touchy because as consumers, we often think people are trying to push their own agendas when it involves their own work so it’s often perceived as a turn off – which is why I try not to post about my books too much, or too little. Yet honestly it’s a hard line to draw for any author.
But maybe today I can give you a new perspective about why authors promote their books, and it’s not for the reasons you might think.
The reality is that when a publishing house invest in an author and takes a chance on publishing their message, they expect the author to take on the responsibility of making sure the book sells well. The publisher can put it into print, but it is the author’s job to promote the book in their sphere of influence and reach audiences the publisher may not be able to reach through their normal outlets. In addition to their desire to spread the gospel, the publisher expects the author to help in promotion because they want to avoid financial loss and see a good return on their investment.
That is the nature of any business.
But for Christian non-fiction authors like myself, the reason for promoting our words is not to merely please the publisher or meet a contract obligation, although we certainly strive to do that! The driving motivation is not to sell as many books as possible, increase Amazon rankings, achieve some level of fame or make a lot of money. In fact, the large majority of authors are not going to hit the New York Times best seller lists, get famous or strike it rich – no matter how much marketing they do.
So with all that said, why even spend all those years, tears and energy working to get publishing contracts? Why even bother writing books at all? Why do authors still promote and market their books and each other’s books so much? The answer is really very simple because it all boils down to One thing.
… because we as authors believe these aren’t just words, but God’s words which He divinely placed into our hearts.
… because we know we could have never written these words in our own ability thus they serve as evidence God truly can use an unworthy vessel to glorify Him and turn what the devil meant for evil into something good.
… because our words are often not ones we wanted to write. Words describing raw hurts, suffering, emotional wounds and scars we’d honestly have preferred to keep private. Words of which were often typed through tears of pain and heartache, and/or joy, all dripping as a sacrifice to the One who helped us overcome.
… because of a passionate inner desire to share the triumph not just the pain and to give other people hope and inspiration to keep pushing through and holding on tight to God.
… because we know we aren’t just sharing our story, but God’s story in our life.
… because we aren’t trying to hit record sales numbers, but record numbers of hearts that can possibly be changed by knowing they are not alone in their struggles and that God is there for them too.
… because we know we aren’t trying to further our agenda or promote ourselves, but instead promote an amazing, sovereign, holy God. Our passion for Him trumps our insecurities about people thinking our agenda is self-focused.
I truly believe with all my heart these are the core beliefs and desires of every Christian non-fiction (or Christian fiction) author, whether male or female, young or old, famous or yet unknown.
That is the nature of faith.
You see, when we witness God doing something amazing in our heart and life …. when we see how His Word and His love have changed us and altered who we are for the good …. when we recognize and fully believe we could have never survived a painful tragedy without His strength holding us up …. we write words.
When we realize it was only because of His Presence and power within us that we were able to get out of bed and face another day on those many mornings when all we wanted to do was stay in the dark all alone with our sorrow and fear ….
When we can smile at the hard things we’ve come through or the painful circumstances we’re currently facing, all because we see the evidence of God’s supernatural and divine intervention in ways we could have never imagined ….
When we suddenly realize our hearts are at peace and we are laughing and enjoying the life God has given us, despite the fact that our circumstances are painful and hard and our hearts are still broken …
When we realize we’ve learned to trust God with our whole heart, even when the reality of our problems and needs seem insurmountable …
When God infuses into our spirit a compelling desire to help others heal in the way He is helping us heal through His saving grace and love …
That is when we write. That is why we write. That is why we promote the messages God called us to write.
These are the real reasons Christian authors want to promote the words God has given them. Simply because God is good. All the time. And it is a privilege and a blessing to tell people.
My story isn’t over yet and there are still many words to be written. No matter what the devil throws in my path or how many times He tries to bring me down, I will continue to write words and share of God’s faithfulness, even when it’s hard. I will continue to try to spread the words God has given me from the experiences He has woven into my life, even if only one person reads them.
One never knows how their words might impact the hearts of others, but that’s ok. An author’s job is to write words and it is God’s job is to reach and change hearts and lives through those words.
So next time you see a Christian author promoting their book, will you keep these thoughts in mind? Rather than thinking “well, here they are promoting themselves again and pushing their book”, think instead “well, here they are promoting God again and spreading the word about His goodness. To Him be the glory.”
In fact, maybe you might even allow yourself to think, “hey, maybe these are words God wants me to read sharing a message I desperately need to hear. Maybe these are life changing words for me.”
God inspired words – no matter how powerful or eloquent they are – can’t change hearts until they are actually read. You never know what words God might want to use to change your life.
The end. But only for now.