Sarah Bolme is the Director of Christian Indie Publishing Association . Through this organization Sarah provides assistance to small publishers and independently published authors marketing books to the Christian marketplace. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.
God in the Midst of Marketing
I used to think that Marketing was a dirty word. The word dredged up images of dishonest car salesmen in my mind. A good friend of mine majored in marketing in college. I could not understand why anyone would actually want to make a career out of marketing.
If someone had told me that I would one day teach people marketing principles and practices, I would have laughed. Yet, today, I am engaged in the practice of educating and encouraging authors and publishers in marketing their Christian books. God truly has a sense of humor.
I stumbled into marketing. At least from a human perspective that is the way it seems. In reality, God led me into marketing beginning with a call to publish a set of board books about Jesus for infants and toddlers. From there he continued my path into marketing and eventually to helping others market their Christian books through co-founding and directing Christian Indie Publishing Association, through authoring a marketing book, and through teaching marketing seminars and providing consulting services.
Over the years, I have met numerous Christian authors who fall into one of two camps:
- They think that marketing is a secular activity, and therefore they should not engage in it. These authors believe that if God has called them to write and publish a book, then he will supernaturally bring people to the book.
- They think that marketing is a prideful activity, and since as Christians we are called to be humble, they should not put themselves forward in such a manner.
In reality, marketing is neither of these things.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines marketing as:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”
A shortened version of this definition that I often use for authors is:
Marketing is any activity that you engage in that draws people’s attention to what you are offering.
Christian authors are not offering themselves to readers. They are offering their writings. Most Christian authors have written something that draws people’s attention to God—who He is and what He offers. In other words, Christian authors are in the business of “making disciples by showing people Jesus and teaching them to observe what Jesus has commanded.”
Marketing in Action
Christian books meet spiritual needs. Good marketing illuminates a need a person has and then shows them how what is being offered meets that need. Jesus, himself, understood this practice. Matthew 11:28-29, records Jesus as saying,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (CSV).
Here Jesus identifies the need: feeling weary and burdened. Then he offers a solution: his yoke that brings rest to your soul.
God uses people. He uses authors to write words that exhort and encourage others into deeper relationship with Himself. He also uses marketing practices to lead people to Christian books that meet their need for spiritual discipleship and a growing knowledge of God.
Other ways to engage online:
Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.