Marketing Ideas From Cheri Cowell
As Christians at this time of year we are particularly aware of the commercialization of the season. We look for ways to put “Christ back in Christmas.” Yet, when the decorations are put away for another year, many of us still struggle with the need to market as a Christian author and our desire to put Christ first with us second. As a new writer at a conference once said to me, “It all seems so self-promotional.” If this is you, here are a few thoughts that might help during this holy season and in the year to come.
1. For two thousand years God worked His marketing plan, which all pointed to one glorious, incredible day–His launch day, if you will–His incarnation. It was His plan from the beginning and He promoted it with prophets who foretold of it, with special events that pointed toward it, and with drama, poems, stories, and even burning bushes. Everything God did as recorded in the Old Testament pointed to that starry night. The Old Testament was God’s marketing plan and if God took all that time to prepare His people for that momentous day, shouldn’t we.
2. Now, before you get all “religious” on me, I’m not saying you and I are God. However, the principle is true and it applies to us. We, humans, need a lot of reminders. We don’t hear the message the first time (or the second or third). We need to hear it over and over again. And some will hear and some won’t. Therefore, as authors, we need to see our promotional efforts as simply follow in God’s footsteps. Humans are made in such a way that we need to hear the good news over and over again, and maybe we’ll eventually hear.
3. The build up is important. God chose a very unconventional promotional tool. He used 400 years of silence to promote His big event. Before that, however, He threw everything at us to get our attention so the silence was actually very effective. So, build up is important. Put some time and energy into your pre-publication efforts. Make sure everyone hears about your message many, many times prior to the big event. Throw everything you have at the effort and then pray that those who have ears will hear.
4. Make it special. God could have come as most expected–in a chariot, from the clouds, with lightening and thunder. But God chose something different, something no one expected. He came as a baby. He was born of a virgin and laid in a cattle trough. Think outside the box for your book launch party. A different venue, a themed event. And make it special.
5. God didn’t stop with the big day. His birth was not the end, nor was Christ’s death the end of God’s promotional efforts. The launch of your book is not the end of your promotional efforts either. If you believed enough in the message to get it to publication, you should believe enough in it to keep sharing the good news. Although we look as though we are promoting ourselves because we have our photos our there and we sign our names to the articles we write, we know that we are simply directional signs, pointing our readers to the real Author. It isn’t self-promotion when our hearts and our message all point to Jesus–the reason and the point of everything God did–from Genesis on. Jesus is the reason we write, the reason we promote, the reason for this season and all others.
Cheri Cowell is the author of several books including Parables and Word Pictures in the AMG Following God Bible study series and Living the Story: Reaching Outside the Church Walls. Her new devotional book, 365 Devotions for Peace, releases in December from Zondervan.