Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Taking the Homework Seriously

This past week I’ve been taking an online course through American Christian Fiction Writers. It’s a marketing course for people with at least one book in, or about to be in print. The assignments have been hard to keep up with, but very good. A lot of what we’re doing is looking at what others have done – the famous and not so famous who have gone before us. Clicking into all these websites has been interesting – just looking at the sites for tone/colour/take-away value has been an eye-opener.

Cyndy Saltzmann, who teaches the course keeps a steady refrain in front of us – “It’s not about you!” She keeps telling us to always keep our reader in mind – what colour should your website be? What colour will your reader like? What media are best suited? What media does your reader follow?

It makes sense and it makes me laugh (and groan!) to realize how often we all continually go back to what we like/want/need. I guess writers are a lot like most people – self-centred – and it’s not easy to break the pattern.

It reminds me of Jesus’ command to “love one another,” and “prefer one another in love.” He scolded his friends for coming to the communion table and gorging themselves while others went hungry. He pointed out the weak and helpless time and again, lifting them up, giving them places of honour and respect. He was always other-focused and directed his disciples to strive to be that way.

I realized today that all of what I’ve been learning about marketing is really the same thing. It’s not just about selling books. It’s about preferring others in love – finding ways to offer them what they need, what God will use in their lives to help, to heal, perhaps even to save them.
So I’m taking the “homework” seriously. I owe it to my readers.

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