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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Christian Author and Self-Promotion, Part 1

As you can tell by the title, I plan to tackle a topic sure to raise the blood pressure and perhaps even cause some discussion. The topic of self-promotion is one I've wrestled with for some time, especially as I constantly read posts in writing forums about how we authors must brand, market, build our platforms, etc. It's all self-promotion, isn't it? Or is it?

Is promotion itself wrong? Of course not.

Naturally, as authors, we want customers to buy our books. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily (unless we're nagging everyone within five miles to buy our book). In a sense, we are Christian businessmen and women. We work hard, produce a product, and hope others see its value enough to buy it. The same could be true of a Christian car salesman. We work hard. We support our families. In that sense, no, I don't believe selling a product is wrong, nor do I believe it's wrong to promote a product.

But is that the same thing as self-promotion? I see a subtle but important difference between promoting a product and promoting ourselves.

So what about promoting ourselves? Is that so evil? I think the answer to that question points to the heart of our motives, and we'll explore that in later installments.

So what does the Bible say about this topic? As I see it, some of this issue boils down to whether we seek to please men or please God, and the Bible is certainly not silent on that issue.

A foundational truth, as I see it, is that if we are writers who believe the Bible and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then our writing cannot exist in a compartment that is separate from that. In fact, Scripture is clear that every part of our lives must be dedicated to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). God's glory. Not our glory. I think most believers and Christian authors would agree with me on that point.

So we have established two foundational truths:

First, the writer's life is not beyond biblical scrutiny.
Second, the motive of everything we do should be to glorify God.

So where do we go from here? Until next time . . .


  1. Writers face two problems, I think. One is the "be humble ina ll things" problem -- we shouldn't be promoting ourselves. The second is the vast majority of us would much rather be writing than promoting/marketing.

    What I've tried to focus on with my novel is to promote the story or the book, as opoosed to the author. It's a fine line, easily crossed, but I keep trying to bring to all back to the story.

  2. Thanks, Glynn. It's a tough balance, and I appreciate your perspective. I've been studying various verses about humbling ourselves and letting God lift us up. While we need to be promoting our books in one sense, there's another sense in which we need to let God do some promotion of His own. Definitely something to chew on.