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Why Marketing Should Not Be A Dirty Word For Christian Writers

Brian Allain Connect with God Leave a Comment

In my work with Christian writers, I often encounter early-stage writers who struggle with the amount of marketing necessary to build their platform. In this article I discuss some ideas I share with them to help deal with that concern.

In an earlier article I talked about why the ever-imposing platform is such an important asset for any writer to have. In order to have an impact, people need to know who you are and how you can help them. One example of this is the priority publishing houses put on the existence of a platform before awarding a book contract. In order to justify their investment in an author, they must see evidence that people are willing and eager to listen to what the author has to say.

But many Christians are loathe to “promote themselves” and many writers do not have business and marketing backgrounds, so the tools and technologies used in those industries are not familiar or welcomed. The former is the real issue; any of the tools can be learned and appreciated if one is motivated.

The first thing I ask someone worried about self-promotion to think about is why they are writing in the first place. Isn’t it in order to benefit someone?  Maybe it helps the reader get through some tough times. Or perhaps it educates or entertains. Regardless of which, the primary purpose of a text is to serve your readers.

But how in the world can you serve them if they have no idea who you are and what you have to offer? The whole purpose of marketing is to communicate benefits to an audience that cares.  So it isn’t self-promotion; it is helping people learn how your work can serve them. It’s not about you!  It’s about how you can help people.

These last few points apply to any business, but let’s take it one step further. What about those of us who are Christians? Don’t we believe that God is working through us? If so, then this is holy and sacred work, and who are we to stand in the way of God working through us? God gives us the tools to think and communicate. Just because the latest tools to communicate look much different than standing up in a pulpit, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t utilize them to their fullest, to benefit the Kingdom of God. 

If you are interested in exploring all of this further, I teach a seminar called “The Business of Being a Spiritual Writer”. One of these seminars will take place on April 29 at Colonial Church in Edina, MN. This is a post-conference seminar, following the Writing for Your Life conference on April 27-28 at the same location. Look for additional seminars in other parts of the country.


About the Author

Brian Allain

Brian Allain leads Writing for Your Life, a resource center for spiritual writers, and provides marketing services for authors and companies through Who Are You Trying To Serve? His work includes the Publishing in Color conference series, which is intended to increase the number of books published by spiritual writers of color, who have been under-represented in terms of the number of books published. Brian also leads the team that produces Compassionate Christianity. Previously Brian served as Founding Director of the Frederick Buechner Center where he led the launch of Mr. Buechner’s online presence and established several new programs and strategic partnerships. Brian has developed and led spiritual writers conferences at Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, Belmont University, New Brunswick Seminary, and several churches. He led the self-publishing effort for the book Buechner 101: An Introduction to Frederick Buechner. All of this is a second career, coming after successful business and technology leadership in high-tech. Brian has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was designated a Palmer Scholar, their highest academic award.

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