Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guest blog by Joyce's client Suzanne Woods Fisher

Promoting Yourself
By Suzanne Woods Fisher


"Publish His glorious acts throughout all the earth..."(Psalm 96:3, TLB).


When Timothy was a young pastor keeping the church of Ephesus on track, Paul wrote him a letter. Two, in fact. Filled with pastoral advice, there’s a lovely, underlying message that keeps bubbling up to the surface.

Paul’s motive in writing was to encourage Timothy to stay the course, to not let others intimidate him because of his age, to remember the great work God had ahead of him. It seemed as if Timothy was a talented, capable young man who didn’t know that he was very talented or very capable. But Paul certainly did. At one point, he urged Timothy: “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of selfdiscipline...I pray that you...may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).

One of the hardest aspects of being a writer is embracing the need to promote oneself. Self-promoting feels so…so…un-Christ like. Most writers are not flaming extroverts; we’re more the reflective sort who process our thoughts through the written word. We’re the Timothys of the Paul-and-Timothy duo. Hopefully, we have some Pauls in our life who can give us the encouragement we need when we need it.

One friend struggled with the expectation of the publishing house to promote herself after her first book was published. When the publisher recommended that she contact radio stations to try and schedule author interviews for herself, she shuddered. “Linda,” he reasoned, “you wrote a book that is meant to glorify God. How can you do that if you don’t publicize your book?”

The publisher made a good point. I could relate to Linda’s reluctance. When I signed a contract for my first novel, the publisher asked me to set up a website to start developing a reader base months before the book would be published. She also recommended that I start a blog (lingo for web log). I created the website but then I didn’t let anyone know about it for months. I felt too self-conscious. Finally, I took the plunge and sent the url to some friends, I created the website but then I didn’t let anyone know about it for months. I felt too self-conscious. Finally, I took the plunge and sent the url to some friends, who sent it to their friends. Same for the blog. To my surprise, both blog and website were easier to create and more fun than I had expected. The blog, kind of an on-line journal, has been a place to share my faith. I’ve considered it to be a near-daily writing exercise, like piano scales, to sharpen my skills. And a plus: it’s all without the need of an editor’s approval!

If God has called us to this work, and we believe that we are working to glorify Him, we need to put aside our own insecurities and false sense of modesty and do what we can to get our work to the public. That may include hosting your own website, keeping up a blog, asking bookstore managers for book signings, calling radio stations for author interviews.

It might mean being bold enough to ask other authors for endorsements. One editor at a writing conference even suggested offering to prepare an endorsement for an author and to ask permission to ascribe him credit. In other words, to market yourself.

Just remember, the focus isn’t self-glorification. The end result is to glorify the God whom we serve.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to be more like Timothy who, despite age and insecurities, carefully guarded all that had been entrusted to him (1 Timothy 1:19; 6:30). Amen.

Reflection:

Does the idea of promotion make you wince? Do you dread the thought? Why or why not?

How can you pray to be released from wrong thinking about promotion and be renewed by the right thinking about it?

Suzanne is the author of the bestselling novel, The Choice (Revell), and hosts a weekly radio program, “Amish Wisdom,” which can be listened to on-line : www.toginet.com/shows/amishwisdom. You can find Suzanne at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com

Reprinted with permission from Grit from the Oyster: 250 Pearls of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers (Vintage Inspirations)

3 comments:

Jeanette Levellie said...

What a wonderful, timely post! Thank you for your encouragement, Suzanne.

I struggled with this, even though I am a flaming extrovert. I can speak on any subject whether I know something about it or not. Plus, I'm Irish. Ask Terry how well that lends itself to talking yourself up.

However, I couldn't get past the "Shouldn't I be humble? How is promotion and platform building humble?" Then I heard Larry Wilson say at a writers' conference: "It's not yourself you are promoting--it's your message. Do you believe in your message enough to build a platform for it?"

Aha.

writer jim said...

I agree with the post, and Jeanette's comments. I believe the question is: are you really promoting yourself/your book, or is your motive to promote glory and honor to God.

Following is a story I posted elsewhere some months ago. I hope it helps readers better understand that God is wonderfully involved in people's lives today. HE can be similarly involved in HELPING you promote your book IF you are writing for HIS glory.


Billy is my good friend since our youth; several decades. One day he seemed sad, and after a few hours I asked him what was bothering him. He opened up to me, "Jim, I've lived in a trailer in that bad area for over 10 years. Now that I'm married, I desperately want to move into a nice house...for my wife. I've tried everything. I can't buy a house because I have no money and have never even established any credit. Today I finally realized my new wife is stuck in this old trailer. That's why I'm so sad."

I said, "Billy, I've got good news for you. I'm going to pray that GOD will let you buy a nice house...TOMORROW!"

Billy and I were together all day, and I repeatedly prayed out loud, so Billy could hear me. "God, I ask you to let my friend Billy buy his new wife a house TOMMORROW: that's very easy for you to do. But God!!!! I have one request. God, PLEASE, please don't his new house be any closer than 2 miles to my house. I just can't STAND the thought of this guy living any closer to me than that. Please God, don't forget! make it a minimum of 2 miles from me!" Over and over I said the same prayer.

Billy and I both giggled all day about my teasing about the 2 mile request. But Billy knew I was super serious about GOD letting him buy a house tommorrow.

The next morning Billy had to go to town...about 15 miles from his trailer. While driving, he saw a man putting up a FOR SALE sign in a front yard of a nice house. He stopped and walked up. In a minute they made a deal. The man took the $40 dollars from Billy's wallet for a down payment, and self financed it for him for 20 years.
Billy roared up to my house, praising God. I asked him where was his new house? He said, Oh, its down the same road you live on. We got in our cars to show me. We set or speedometers to zero milage. His new house was 2 miles and 25 feet away.

Diana said...

Jen and Jim - both of you delight me so much! And Suzanne- what a great word for us all!
Resurrection hope and blessings to all!