When it comes to our book marketing efforts, Jesus offers several practical steps. (Mark 8:1-8)
“He told the crowd to sit down on the ground.” First, sit and rest. Stop rushing about. Stop trying every new marketing program that comes along. Stop opening scam-spam emails that promise instant best-seller success. Stop wasting money on promotional efforts that promise results. How can any group promise results without first knowing you, your book, and its quality? Stop. Rest. You are in the Lord’s house. You are the Lord’s house (1 Corinthians 3:16). Relax and reflect upon him and his words.
“When he had taken the seven loaves, Jesus gave thanks.” Second, give thanks for what you have. This is key. An attitude of gratitude nourishes our soul. An attitude of gratitude nourishes the seeds we’ve sown. Bitterness salts our soul and soil. Be grateful for the books you’ve written. Be grateful for the book you are writing. Be grateful for the author connections you’ve made. Be grateful for the reviews you’ve received, both good and bad. (There is almost always a nugget of truth in every negative review. Let us find those truths and learn from them.) Be grateful for past, present, and future book sales. Be grateful at all times, in all circumstances.
“Jesus broke the seven loaves.” Third, divide what you have. Do not hoard your harvest. We do not gather to store and protect, but to share. We can not give with clinched fists. Ours must be an attitude of open hands that generously give to others. If you have books sitting on a shelf gathering dust, ask who needs to be fed with an inspired word, story, sermon, or lesson. Then give away your book. Trust that the Lord of the harvest will provide more seed. No books gathering dust? Ask who needs to be fed with an inspired word, story, sermon, or lesson. Buy your books. Pay to ship your books. The prisons are filled with individuals who love to receive mail — and sometimes books. If you do not know of someone incarcerated, go to this link and simply search by your last name (as an example). Pick an inmate and ship a book.
“Jesus gave the seven loaves to his disciples to distribute to the people.” Fourth, ask your disciples to distribute your books to new readers. We cannot do all the work. We need help from others. We need our tribe of loyal supporters to join with us in our ministry. And yes, our writing is ministry work. In the same way you might ship books to an inmate, ask your disciples to do the same on your behalf. Ask them to share with others why you write for God’s glory.
“The disciples did so” Finally, follow up. Make sure your tribe of disciples have completed their tasks. Do not simply instruct, but also exhort, encourage, and praise. We lead by coming under and behind others with God’s Spirit of love, joy, and peace. Be a blessing to others and others will be drawn to you.
Be encouraged! Believe! The eyes of the Lord roam about the earth looking to bless and strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)
The Lord remembers us and will bless us. He will bless his people. He will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 115:12-15)