I’m finding myself saying “goodbye” a lot lately, and frankly it’s not a word that excites me! In fact, it outright drains me to say it, much like Fonzie couldn’t say the phrase, “I was wrong.” Goodbye just doesn’t roll off my lips well. Probably because of that biblical principle: out of the mouth come the things of the heart. My heart doesn’t adjust well to letting something or someone go, so that discomfort is reflected in my goodbyes.
My series of farewells this year includes: seeing several close friends move away, putting our Libby cat to sleep, having my beloved assistant resign to be a stay-at-home mom, and just this week, saying goodbye to the congregation where my husband pastored, so that we can move into the new chapter God has for us.
And now I add to the list my time as a guest-blogger with Novel Journey coming to an end. The moderators of the site graciously invited me to write tips about literary promotion as a six-month guest blogger. I can’t believe this is my last column.
What wise words would I leave for you? Just like Randy Pausch left The Last Lecture, I want my last words to count. I think the most important of all lessons when it comes to publicity is knowing how to promote the message God has given you without promoting yourself.
It goes against the grain of Christ-followers who have freshly learned to live sacrificial lives through the face of humility to promote ourselves. It’s almost as if we just figured out how to deny self and now we are asked to promote self. It just doesn’t add up.
May I introduce a new perspective—one that will help you as you tiptoe through the promotional landmines? Anything that God leads you to do, you are called to do with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You are to do heartily (with GUSTO), as if working for the Lord and not to please others (Colossians 3:23).
God works alongside of us as we write. Our words aren’t inspired the way the Bible was inspired; but as we allow God to guide our pens (or our keyboards), we produce God-led text. Do you think He wants us to sit on that text and not get the word out about it? No way. Not any more than He wants us to put the kibosh on the gospel message. Words have the power to change people. Words have the potential of empowering and equipping and educating and entertaining. Others won’t know about our articles and books if we don’t promote those projects, and they won’t know about our ability to deliver the spoken word at events if we don’t get the word out about them.
When thinking of what our approach should be to promoting the work we are called to do, I’m reminded of the children’s song lyrics that say: “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…hide it under a bushel, NO! I’m gonna let it shine.”
To Practically Promote Your Message, Make Sure You:
- Provide “value-added” material for the audience. What’s in it for them? Every piece of promotional literature should give readers something extra.
- Elevate good words you read by others—even if they are your competitors. Not flattery, but true praise.
- Only say in print what you would dare say in person. If you wouldn’t stand around at a party bragging about your latest project ad nauseum, then avoid doing so in an e-blast.
- Relay how jazzed you are with the blessings of this project—giving God the glory for the open doors.
- Have pure motives. When the heart is right, the words can’t go wrong.
- Ask for God to lead the way and for Him to put His hand of blessing on it according to His good purposes—not according to YOUR agenda.
- Look for opportunities to spread the word about the project rather than waiting for them to happen to you.
Let someone else promote YOU. You simply promote the message and the GOD of the message. That’s the balance.
Kathy has moved to a new town where she doesn’t know a single soul. Her husband Russ is joining her firm fulltime, and they are setting up new services to offer clients. They’ll no longer be drawing a church paycheck or live in a church parsonage. In other words, there are no sure things—they’ve moved deeper into faith territory. As they pioneer this new adventure, Kathy would love to hear from you—especially if something she’s written here at Novel Journey over the past six months spoke to you personally. You may contact her at: WillisWay@aol.com.