Promoting your Book

Last week we established the fact that book writers have to be book promoters or their message goes nowhere. We can do that with a servant’s attitude, but what does that look like?

01 blackboardThis is something that I am facing with a couple of my friends right now.  We’re not perfect people with 100% pure motives, but we are striving to promote a book with a servant’s attitude. That goal determines decisions we intentionally make. I hope this inside view of our book promotion will be helpful to you as we share our hearts, imperfect though they are.

Most of you know about my latest project. Edges of Truth: The Mary Weaver Story is the true story of an innocent Christian woman who was accused of first-degree murder. On January 22, 1993 Mary was providing childcare for a baby when the baby quit breathing. Mary performed CPR and called 9-1-1, but within a day the baby died. The autopsy revealed severe head injuries from seven to ten days before death, but some doctors believed Mary must have inflicted fatal injuries just before the baby quit breathing.  Edges of Truth is the story of Mary and her lawyer and their fight to clear her name.

In 2010 when I heard this story from Steve Brennecke,  Mary’s lawyer, I felt the Lord leading me to help bring this story to print. When Steve contacted Mary about the story, she said she was glad to help under one condition. God had to get the glory. We couldn’t argue with that.

The Writing Process

In Mary’s real story, God worked in amazing ways to bring about a good resolution in his time. We had the task of showing his glory as we retold this story. I interviewed Mary and Steve and read thousands of pages of court transcripts and other documents. I directed the writing process with input from Mary and Steve. Steve wrote most of the scenes that were told from his viewpoint.

As we sought to bring God glory in the writing process, here are questions we had to ask ourselves: Who looks good here—Mary and Steve or God? Are we giving fair treatment to people who oppose us in the story? Are we honest about Mary and Steve’s doubts and failures? Are we truly directing the glory to God?

The Advertising Process

How can we advertise to God’s glory? Well, we trust God will receive glory when people read our story, but more than that, we want to serve the reader.

The Website is our advertising cornerstone. You can go there and buy Edges of Truth and the companion Bible study, I Survived! But we want it to be much more than a selling tool. There readers can read the first chapters of both books for free. Members of the Mary Weaver Support Group can view photos and leave a memory. Readers can find out more about the story, and the story behind the story. They can share the trailer or a photo block. Media can find tools that make their jobs easy.

Facebook and Photo Blocks

While we need to promote our book, I wanted to avoid this sort of campaign: Buy my book! BUY MY BOOK!! This book is the best book every written! It cost a lot of money to write this book and we’re just struggling authors so buy our book so we can make back our money! Buy lots of books! Tell all your friends! If you’re really my friend, you’ll: Buy. My. Book!

Instead I took quotes from the book and the companion Bible study, found photos to go with them, and asked my husband to make photo blocks. You’ll see one at the top of this page. I’m hoping that these quotes will be shared with others and will bring encouragement. And yes, it would be nice, if the quotes piqued the curiosity enough of some readers to make them feel that they would profit from the book enough to buy it. But I hope even readers who don’t buy my book will be encouraged by the quotes.

Newspapers, Radio, Library Talks

Because this is a true story that was well known in Marshalltown, Iowa and the surrounding area, and because Mary had a large and active support group in that area, this book lends itself to promotional activities that would be impossible with a fiction story. We are offering our story to newspapers and radio shows. I am offering to do author talks at local libraries to assist the libraries in serving their patrons. We won’t be able to promote in all the places we’d like to, but we do our side of the equation and ask the Lord to lead us forward and make possible those ways that will honor him. This is not just about a story we wrote. This is a story God wrote in real lives and we are just recording it. Each of these avenues allows us to tell a story, not just sell books.

The Book Launch

Mary, Steve, and I are looking forward to November 22 when we will launch our book at Fischer Community Center. Yes, this is a time for readers to buy our books and get them autographed. But we want this one-time event to be a way to meet our readers, share our story, and recognize members of the Mary Weaver Support Group. It is a time for giving thanks. Supporters kept Mary’s case in the public eye and supported her and her family in many ways. Witnesses and medical experts spoke out in Mary’s defense. God worked in amazing ways. This is where we want to center the attention.

Mary, Steve, and I are excited about our new book. We’ll get a little extra attention for a while. We hope to sell enough books to at least make back our expenses. More than that we want to spread our message to a broad audience. It’s a fun time for us and we rejoice. Very soon we’ll move on and we’ll still be the people we’ve always been. I’ve been there before and I know this is true.

This is my prayer today, and I believe Mary and Steve share in its spirit: “Now may God . . . grant us to be likeminded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that we may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Romans 15:5-6, NKJV, pronouns changed to first person)

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