The two-edged sword of promotion

On this wonderful Wednesday, I’m wondering about promotion, which is a two-edged sword for the Christian who writes. One side of the blade cuts with the necessity of self-promotion, while the other side slices with the desire for kingdom promotion.

I write to glorify God. When I begin thinking about my name on the cover of a book, I try to resist the siren desire for personal fame and remember that it’s all about glorifying God’s name.

Because that’s my basic philosophy, I’ve resisted securing an agent. There may be a time when I feel called to do that, but for now I attempt to rest in God’s sovereignty.

God is my agent. But the reality is that if the things I believe God calls me to write are to be published, sold, and read by anyone, I must actively market them myself. Too few Christians, especially in Reformed circles, support and promote fellow believers who are authors, poets, and artists—even those whose work they admire.

Few things scream “Self-promotion” as much as book proposals. Essentially, a book proposal requires selling yourself and your book idea. And if that sounds a bit like prostitution, it may because a few vague similarities exist.

Writing involves vulnerability. One peels away layers of protection and exposes private thoughts to the harsh gaze of critics.

I’d hoped to submit three book proposals before the end of October, but that appears increasingly impossible as November 1 looms. I’d appreciate prayer if the Lord brings me to your mind over the next few weeks.

What is your view of book proposals? How do you view the division between self-promotion and kingdom promotion? What kinds of things do you do to promote your work in Christ’s kingdom?

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10 thoughts on “The two-edged sword of promotion

  1. as a fellow author i get frustrated when folks who have bought my book say it is great but that’s where it ends. i too have no agent and chose to do it that way because, well, can’t quite afford it while also continuing my education. So copies were sent and read by those in the reformed circle and though i rec’d personal notes of how good the book was and how important to the condition of the evangelical church, these leaders in the reformed circles don’t promote it but rather promote their own stuff. so i have to just keep posting it on my FB wall and in groups and hope the message that we need a Modern 95 Thesis gets out. I struggle with feeling it will come across prideful and still struggle with feeling inadequate about the job i did on the book. it often feels like i’m between a rock and a hard place.

  2. The Christian who writes experiences continual tension between self-promotion and kingdom promotion.

    (Note: I didn’t say the Christian writer; that’s a whole different topic for another day.)

    Thanks for commenting and subscribing, Nancy! Keep doing God’s will and resting in his grace!

  3. I believe in going where God leads me, and if that includes a future with a book so be it. If not, that’s okay too. I know he will provide, and I can only hope that one day he will want to use me to reach out to others with love and faith.

  4. Book proposals are important and necessary (speaking as one who is an editor for a publishing company and has worked in acquistions). Please tell us publishers clearly and succinctly what your book is about–and definitely tell us what makes it shine and stand out among the rest!

    It’s all in the presentation: book proposals need not be self-glorifying, but they do need to convince us publishers that you have a unique, important, edifying message to communicate. A well-written book proposal that communicates concisely and clearly is a matter of wise stewardship–for the author and the publisher.

  5. Ugh. I have over 1000 unread posts in my google reader. It stopped counting at a 1000 I guess. I’m just now getting caught up. I’ve liked several of your posts but don’t want to take time to comment on all of them.

    On this one, though…I have an agent but I’m still resting in God. Having an agent is no different from using a fork when you eat as opposed to using your fingers. The food is still from God.

    An agent is a tool. And a friend, in the best cases, I think. A partner in ministry.

    I hope one day to have an editor, too. One who will help me make my stories shine. And then I hope to have readers. But all for the glory of God. I don’t want fame and fortune except in so far as they can serve me to further my ministry and further his Kingdom.

    1. I just got back from a retreat at my agent’s farm so I’m feeling a little warm and fuzzy toward agents just now. 🙂 I had a lovely time and we writers did a lot of bonding so we feel like a team on a mission. It was lovely.

  6. Since writing is a very solitary activity, bonding with other writers at retreats is precious. I’m glad you had that opportuity, Sally! It sounds like you have an agent that cares about you as a person, not just as a source of income.

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