It’s been about a year since I wrote the first two entries in this blog series. If you recall, I wrote a superhero novel called Vigilante’s Light that was based on my favorite TV show, “Arrow,” while adding in Christian elements. I received a publishing contract from a small press called Ambassador International in 2019, and the rest is history.
Since then, I’ve published a sequel book, Freedom’s Fight, and in October of this year, Heroes’ Might will bring that tally up to three.
The past year and a half have been interesting, to say the least. I’ve seen my books rise and fall in popularity and sales ranks, struggling to cling to life some months and selling well in others.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this process, it’s that I have to trust God with everything surrounding my books. I’m with a small press, which means I do most of my own marketing. But I’m a first-time author without a lot of connections, meaning I don’t have a large following. And since I don’t have a hoard of wealth to speak of, I don’t have the disposable income to throw money at marketing gurus to push my book for me. It’s been a struggle at times.
There has been a definite learning curve to all this. If I’m honest, I can’t say I’ve got the hang of it yet. I’m just shouting at people about my books and hoping for the best (the best being that they buy them and then tell their friends about it, and those friends then buy them, too). It may be a while before I consider myself a truly successful author in terms of sales numbers, but I’m glad just to have gotten this far.
In a way, this marketing war is surprisingly similar to church growth, which I was just talking about with my pastor. He noted that if a visitor comes to a church where they don’t know anyone, the odds of them visiting a second time drop dramatically compared to if they visit a church because a friend invited them or because they already know someone there.
Just like one of my best hopes for selling books is word of mouth, the best way for our churches to grow is for us to invite our friends. Growth doesn’t happen accidentally. God can bring new people to our churches out of the blue, yes, but that would be like someone stumbling accidentally on the Amazon link for my books and deciding to buy them on impulse. Possible? Yes. Is it the main way I’m going to see sales? Absolutely not.
So whether it’s selling books or growing churches, the best thing we can do is reach out to people, trust God to guide us to the right ones, then hope and pray for results. Do I want to see my book market explode? Yes, I do. Do I want to see my church grow? Again, yes.
But for that to happen, I have to put in the work. And so do you. If you’re waiting for your church to grow on its own, it won’t happen. Get out there, find your target audience, and upsell your church like no one’s business. Only then can growth happen.
I’m going to keep trying to grow my market. I’m also going to try to keep growing my church. What are you going to do?