I’ve been teaching workshops on marketing for a good number of years now. In all that I teach in this area, there are two underlying principles. The first is that as a freelancer, the stories, articles and books you write are a product that you are selling, and that they are sold like you sell any other product.
Before we go any further, I want to say something to those who view Christian writing as being too commercial—those who see the emphasis at conferences and in books like this as being too obsessed with selling. If you feel that way, then perhaps this is not a topic for you. My main objective is to help those writers who want to see their writing published so their words will influence or help in the lives of others. Although for many of them, ministry is more of an issue than money, the ministry does not happen until they reach the marketplace. For that reason, it is important for us to recognize the need for marketing skills.
One day at the end of a class I taught on marketing, a young women made her way to the front of the room so excited she could hardly contain herself. She explained that she had been trying unsuccessfully to sell her writing for some time, but all of a sudden it was as if a light had been turned on. “I work in marketing for a big corporation—that’s my job—but it wasn’t until today’s class that I finally realized that everything I know about marketing on my job can apply to marketing my writing. Why hasn’t anyone ever told me that before?”
Well, I’ve been trying. And that is what I want you to realize right up front. If you know anything about marketing any product, it will likely apply to selling your writing. If you can grasp that concept, all I have to say here will be more beneficial.
Let me start by recognizing that marketing is nearly every writer’s least favorite job. I rarely run into writers who bubble and gush about marketing being so much fun they can hardly wait to get started. Most of us are creative people and we’d rather spend our time creating—not selling. I can’t promise I will change that for many of you, but I hope I can make it a little easier, more understandable, and less intimidating. When we get to the bottom line, we all want to know which publishers are going to buy what we write. That is not only a beginner’s question, I hear it from more experienced writers as well—those who have not figured out how the marketing process works. By the time you finish this Blog, you should have a clear picture of that process.