#1 in Marketing: First Love

photo source: streetJesus.info

To the Chief Musician…
A Song of Love.
My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
~ Psalms 45:1 (NKJV)

Confession #1: Though people have long commended my writing, being published was never a dream.

Confession #2: Though I’ve written professionally since 1981, and for ministry and Sunday school since 1991, writing fiction wasn’t something that crossed my mind.

Confession #3: I know almost zero about marketing.

: : :

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
~ John 1:1-2 (NKJV)

Jesus, the Word of God, enjoys telling stories. I didn’t anticipate that He might infect me with the same pleasure. Not on that autumn day in 1985 when I met the Word of God, and it was love at first sight. Not when I read the Bible cover to cover, over and over. Not during the decades when I found myself studying anything Bible-related, reading little else.

By 2007, the people of the Bible had become so alive to me that I couldn’t stop pondering them. I compared passages of Scriptures to learn more about these saints. I factored in all I’d learned about history, archeology, and ancient culture. Then, imagination began to fill the remaining gaps.

How could I help but write the stories in my head and heart?

I went on to educate myself about publishing, which includes marketing and “platform.” Ack!

“Lord, I don’t want to tell people about me. I want to tell them about You, and Your Word, and Your amazing people. I’m a nobody!”

He gently molded such whining into a prayer:

Lord, please help me develop a platform that gives more prominence to You than to me.

: : :

My heart sank when I signed up to write a post this month. All the Wednesday slots had been taken.

And no WAY I’m gonna take a Tuesday and write about marketing!

Good grief, I have hardly a thousand Twitter followers! I could have more, but I only follow back people I know personally, or people who are still my followers a month after they start following me. I’m interested in real people, not mere numbers generated from auto-follow programs.

Then the Lord reminded me of the marketing strategy He gave me a long time ago:

“It matters less what people think of me than what they think of Jesus Christ because of me.”

And so I’m here, telling you that neither writing nor publishing nor platform is my first love. They’re simply the means to an end with me. My real passion is people, and the Word of God, and Jesus.

As I said, I know almost zero about marketing—almost.

But I do know what’s #1 in marketing: you’ve got to be passionate about whatever you market. Marketing is simply the means of making known our first love.

Q4U: What aspect of marketing to you actually LOVE?

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28 thoughts on “#1 in Marketing: First Love

  1. I love this post Anne. As Christian writer’s this is what we need to remember most, “It matters less what people think of me than what they think of Jesus Christ because of me.”

    Beautiful!

    I always wanted to be a fiction writer, from the time I learned how to read in the first grade. But God started me out with a faith ministry on my blog first. And those comments of people who have been helped by my writing, whose lives have changed, or moved closer to Jesus because of my words, now that is powerful. And that’s what I remind myself is the reason I write.

    • I’m amazed at how many people have wanted to be writers since they were very young, and are still pursuing that dream. But more exciting yet is hearing of lives changed by the power of our written words.

    • PS Melissa: I’ve also learned that although we don’t always receive the comments, or don’t receive them right away, lives are often being changed by our words in ways we don’t know. : )

  2. Great perspective, Anne. You must be doing something right if you’ve got a thousand Twitter followers! I liked what you had to say about being passionate about what you market. As much as I dislike ‘marketing’ I am passionate when I talk to people about what they read, so I’ll remind myself to focus on that! (:

    • Rebecca, passion will drive you farther and longer, and with WAY more power than sheer will ever can. You go!

  3. Refreshing thoughts, Anne! It’s all about making Jesus look good, isn’t it?

    My favorite part of marketing is sharing my faith on Facebook and Twitter where I have a lot of unbelieving friends and followers. When they read my posts and the comments by other Christians, my little “cloud of witnesses,” I know seeds are always planted. I want them to know that God is crazy in love with them, and that he only wants the best for them…

    Because of the nature of my comfort gift book (in that it’s faith-building and evangelistic), I also like using it as a conversation starter when I’m in the marketplace. Somehow it’s a little less threatening to talk to strangers about a quote, verse or poem from my book than it is to pull out my Bible and turn to John 3:16. Grin.

    No matter what we do, when we remember Who we’re doing it for, yes, yes, it can be a whole lot easier; and it can even be a ton of fun!

    • Yes, Cheryl, the entire world is our “cloud of witnesses.” Whatever their drawbacks, I love that Facebook and Twitter expand the size of that company! And it really isn’t hard to “market” Jesus when the message is “crazy in love.” ♥

  4. What aspect of marketing of I actually love?

    This. What we’re doing right now. I love writing about Jesus and reading what other passionate writers say about Him.

    Great post, Anne…as usual… ;^)

  5. Thank you, Anne for tackling this hard subject. We need this perspective when we think about the responsibility of marketing.

    As Christians who write may we never forget who we are writing for. For He does not need us, but He is willing to let us work for Him. And we don’t want to let Him down.

    • Sharon, marketing IS a hard subject. I honestly thought there was nothing I could say about it. But as you say, the Lord really is the One I’m writing for. If He can give us the words to write, we can also trust Him for every step along the way in the marketing. He surprised me when I sensed Him saying, “Yes, you CAN write about marketing.” I’m sure He has plenty of surprises yet to come!

  6. I love posts that make me think, Anne, and I love posts that are based on great spiritual truths. Thank you for both in this post!

    One of the difficulties I had when marketing my first novels, which were written for the secular market, was the feeling after being on the road for days and days that I was totally sick of talking about ME. I was a Christian, leaning on the Lord, but during those times I had the sense of being spiritually foggy. Now I realize – because of posts like yours and conversations with writers who are Christians – that my problem was focus. IT’S NOT ABOUT ME!!

    Thank you, Anne!

    • No, Susan, it never is about us, whatever the task. Thank YOU for the encouraging words. You consistently bring a smile to my face when our paths cross.

  7. I haven’t exactly started marketing, but put up a blog on healing from abuse because the memoir I’m writing deals with abuse and healing. My main purpose is to help people realize that true healing comes from Jesus – so my two blogs (Bible study and the abuse one) put Jesus and the Bible first. I’m not sure I’m comfortable promoting myself, for I would be nothing without Him. When I get my memoir accepted by an agent a year or so down the road, then maybe marketing will change. What I most want is to reach out and help other people.

    • Heather, much of the true healing FROM Jesus comes THROUGH people like you. The healing also comes through the writing, as you no doubt have learned. I ask God to help you see how powerful your blog can be in the lives of the community that gathers there. Whatever the future of your memoir, I ask God to continue using it as a tool of His healing in your life. And I ask Him to use YOU as HIS agent of healing, even as you seek an agent to further such healing. Blessings to you!

  8. “What aspect of marketing to you actually LOVE?” Hmmm … I’ve struggled SO much with that issue! But here are two scriptures that have helped me.

    “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand-shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16 MSG).

    “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness: (Ps. 115:1).

    • Oh my, Karen! I really do need to read my Message Bible cover to cover. Eugene Peterson has a way of compacting a whole sermon into the verses of his paraphrase. I AM BLESSED by what you shared! 😀 Thank you SO MUCH!

    • Karen, I thought you might appreciate hearing that I went ahead and switched to “The Message” for this year’s read thru the Bible schedule. Since I just started in January, I can catch the portions that I already did at the beginning of next year. The passage from Matthew (shared in your comment) served as impetus for the switch. : ) Thanks again!

  9. The thing that I love about marketing is the results! Besides the obvious of sales, it creates connections–friendships that bless me. It takes me to my readers (perhaps on Facebook) where I get a glimpse into their lives and can pray or cheer with them. It binds me to other writers and people in the industry. It enriches me with a wealth of information and a support team. Marketing gets me on my feet and places me in the field. By sowing marketing seeds, I reap relationships. I see God in this, and it strengthens my faith too.

    • Dianne, I couldn’t agree with you more. The connections made and relationships built along the way have been a blessing bigger than the idea of being published. I struggle CONSTANTLY with not being able to thoroughly get to know all the wonderful people I’m meeting through publishing.

      • I feel the same way about those connections, Anne and Dianne. As soon as I was published and had to jump into marketing, my world expanded at least ten-fold with new friends. That was something I had never anticipated when I got serious about getting published. Writers are, after all, solitary creatures most of the time. I had no idea that publication would be God’s route for me to become more immersed in community!

      • Jan, it’s funny, but ALWAYS a blessing, to discover the many goals along the paths upon which our Lord leads.

  10. Beautiful, beautiful post, Anne. Both inspiring and convicting, my friend. Thank you. 🙂

    • Thank you, Dineen. And thank you for all the inspiration and conviction from your blog, however infrequently I comment there. ♥

  11. Like you, Anne, I never expected to write for Jesus in a serious way. But, less than 4 years ago He gave me a story, then a sequel, and another, then another story… I hope the assignments don’t stop! I’ve yet to get a book published (got 5 magazine articles done last year), I began a blog last March as a Divine assignment. It started out as a simple memoir of my life, then evovled into devotional posts. This weekend’s post will complete my handling of the Christmas story one character at a time. I’ll do the Easter story next.
    If you’d asked me what my life verse was before I started writing I would have told you that I have a whole book full of them. Once I started writing I quickly narrowed it down to one: John 3:30 “Jesus must increase, I must decrease.”
    I haven’t tweeted or FB’ed yet, but, I LOVE my blog! I don’t have many steady followers there, but get an occasional surprise web-surfer who leaves a comment. I can’t wait to get to Heaven to see what impact it’s had on others I don’t know about now.

    • Wade, if we are obedient to the “Divine assignments” in life, we can be sure that we are impacting others. I ask God to give you clarity and the ability to craft compelling words as His faithful servant.

  12. What do I love about marketing? Spreading the message of God’s passion for HIs people. I’m with you, Anne — but if I can spread the message that God loves His people and actively pursues them, then I’m up for some marketing.

    • Carrie, we might say that good evangelism will naturally spring from first love, move on to careful and consistent development, and inevitably lead to marketing. 😀

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