That Love/Hate Relationship with Marketing

by Joan C Webb on August 1, 2011

tug-of-war-300x199I have a love/hate relationship with MARKETING. A reoccurring tug-of-war in my head and heart. I want others to read the relief-producing messages in my books, move past their status-quo to know God more and live as the person they were designed to be.

But I regularly begrudge the time, energy, and focus it takes to market/promote/publicize. I’d rather be creating, studying scripture, researching, coaching and well, writing.

Yet I’ve promised my publishers, agent and myself that I’ll market so I do—and will continue. It can be fun. But I don’t like that it takes such a huge % of my time. Sometimes it works, books sell and the word gets out. I do love it when people read and partner with God for transformation. Thus the love/hate relationship.

Books stack GET CAUGHT READING MONTH 2011I’m often overwhelmed by all the marketing possibilities, with the myriads of how-to books/workshops/blogs/conferences/advice. None of us can do it all. So here are 10 specific marketing methods that have worked—at times—for me:

  1. Mail gift-copies of the book (with a personal letter) to strategic ministry and business people that you know. (Yes, it costs. Sometimes pub houses will help.)
  2. Create a website and start to blog regularly. Share guest blogging with friends and colleagues. It broadens your base.
  3. Cooperate with your publishers’ team to do interviews (all kinds.) Learn talking points and find a brief story to illustrate each point. Stand up during the interview if possible; increases energy. (Often Amazon sales increased after an interview with larger station.)
  4. Join social networking like Facebook and others. (When a fellow-author told me that I really needed to “do Twitter”, I cringed. But I started with 0 and grew slowly to 1260 followers. Now I’m told I need 10,000. See the push/pull? Still I’ve gained readers, clients and friends.)
  5. Consider doing a Blog Book Tour.* You will enlarge your online base.
  6. Develop a contact list and email regular newsletters (when speaking/teaching, offer a book drawing and ask each person to indicate if they’d like to receive more tips from you.) Constant Contact and Monkey Chimp are two.
  7. Distribute business cards with the name/cover of your latest book.
  8. Get a 2-3 minute video (some call it a book trailer.) Use it to market on You-Tube, your website, for prospective speaking events, etc. (Push/pull: Nice to have, yet it hasn’t produced like I’d hoped. Spent bucks, too.)
  9. Speak/share on your book topics. I beat myself up for “not doing enough marketing” when it dawned on me that speaking, teaching, presenting, and facilitating workshops equals marketing. I love “economy of effort!” You don’t have to speak for mega-audiences. Think outside the box. For example: Offer a 4-6 week lunchtime tele-class based on your book. Free makes it easy.
  10. Do book signings. Warning: huge push/pull here. Book signings are often a disappointment (and humiliation) to authors. Except when the book signing is in the same room where you just finished speaking. This works!

Through the years I’ve continued to have this love/hate relationship with “marketing.I repeatedly looked for something else to call it in order to trick my mind into believing it wasn’t robbing me of the precious time I’d rather be writing and ministering.

THEN last week I read the prayer of Jabez again. “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory.” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) The first time I saw Jabez’ story was when I wrote study notes for 5 O.T. books in the Women of Faith Study Bible. God urged me to pray the prayer, even before Bruce Wilkinson’s book hit the bookshelves. Four weeks later a Christian relief and development organization asked me to travel alone to Kyrgyzstan to work on enlarging their work there. What? Yet since I’d been praying for expansion, I didn’t doubt God’s leading and agreed to go.

Reading the Jabez story again, I had an aha. God saw my marketing resistance/angst. And He gave me a new name for it: EXPANSION. I’m going to change my to-do list categories to expanding instead of marketing. It’s already lessening my inner tug-of-war.

I’m curious: Do you ever experience a similar marketing tug-of-war? What helps you?


{ 1 trackback }

How To Market Your Book | Rachelle Gardner
August 2, 2011 at 1:31 am

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucille Zimmerman August 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Joan, I appreciate what you have learned. You have the most professional looking web site of all the ones I’ve seen!

Joan C. Webb August 3, 2011 at 10:37 am

Hi Lucille,
Thank you. For the affirmation on the learning. And for your comments about my site. Rachel Randloph helped me design and launch it originally. Currently I’m in the process of updating my site/blog. My son is working with me to set up a bookstore. :-)
Have a good “rest of the week.”

Dottie Parish August 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm


Thanks for the marketing tips. It’s up hill but does expand our territory/ministry. I’m self-publishing my book, Changing Churches. Have much to learn from others. Blessings, Dottie

Joan C. Webb August 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hi Dottie, you’re welcome. I look forward to hearing more about your book, Changing Churches. Has it been released yet? What self-publishing resource are you using?
What is your one-sentence “expanding” statement for it? :-)
Blessings to you, too,

David Burrus April 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Anyone that quotes the prayer of Jabez is alright with me. Great tips. Thank you so much.

Joan C. Webb April 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hi David! I visited your website. I like it!
Thanks for your “thanks.” Glad you like the tips. Sounds like you have a good “Jabez” story, too!


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