Christian writers need to tap into their creativity just as much as any other writers. It is especially necessary when you are a freelancer, when your gigs are not a steady of stream of syndicated newspaper columns or a growing base of endearing readers due to all of the advertising and marketing dollars that go into your books from the big-time publishing houses. You need to have some creative ways to develop both content and commerce.
- Publications: You may never get a major book deal with a large publishing house. Don’t throw away all of those prayer journals and scribbled notes for that Christian memoir yet. Publish it yourself or go to a small press. If you have tried a small press already, try an even smaller press like a small Christian college. You may need to work it through their journal or magazine-like publication first as a beta test prior to publishing, but it is a far cry from those outright rejections from the big boys on Madison Avenue. Self-published books are in a whole different arena nowadays, but you have to do your homework. They won’t simply jump off the shelves (or, out of the warehouse). The smaller you go with publishing the more how-to knowledge you are going to need to get you through to making it. Look at www.lulu.com or www.blurb.com to publish yourself. Check out www.pw.org for some small press and online havens for Christian writers.
- Products: I am a big believer in making more out of my sermons than simply a preached message. I look and see if they could be used as blog posts, Bible lessons, MS PowerPoint slideshows, program curriculum or e-books and articles. If they can pass the so-called “t-shirt test,” can they be placed on a t-shirt or bumper sticker, even a button, and sold? Develop products that can be sold as fund-raisers for your church or small group. Perhaps, if you are sincere, honest and earnest, the church or the small group may be willing to partner with you or support you by purchasing some of your products and books just above costs and reselling them as a fund-raiser for a special event or certain cause. You have to make your products something that people would buy with their hard-earned money. With more and more people using laptops or iPads than desktop PC’s, you may do better making some cool, graphically-appealing iPad and laptop cases and covers, even sleeves, rather than mousepads. Use a site like www.cafepress.com or www.zazzle.com, even www.spreadshirt.com.
- Presentations: Convert your short stories into videos with Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on Mac. Use your scripts to make mini commercial spots that offer a sneak peak of your play in production for mobile devices or on www.youtube.com or www.youversion.com , even see if you can uplaod it on www.godtube.com. See about your slideshow being used as a presentation on your faith journey of recovery that highlights portions of your book detailing and chronicling your experience of leaving drugs behind for a new life Christ. Share this with rescue missions, shelters and recovery centers. Many of these programs pay their presenters. Sign your book after the presentation. In lieu of payment, or in addition to payment if at all possible, sell your books to the program with a volume discount. Upload your presentations on your own site, your blog or www.slideshare.net or www.box.net, even www.christianarchives.com.
- Postings: Let it flow out of you and online. Post to a blog consistently. Look at www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com. Some people like www.tumblr.com, too. Your blog can be read by subscribers and you can add an RSS feed to your site, too. Technology is so cool. Twitter is a form of “micro-blogging.” I say combine your Twitter and Facebook accounts to a degree and hit up your fans and followers through Tweetdeck. It simplifies the whole thing and it’s splendid. You can even add your Google Buzz and LinkedIn accounts, too. Post links to your press releases about your new book in print, upcoming author events such as poetry readings or signings, and the storefront that carries your e-book or your podcasts.
As a believer, you want to keep the faith. Your writing is similar to your walk. You have to pray for some breakthroughs to keep you from some serious breakdowns. Trust the Lord with all year heart, but be active with your faith. Writing is a broad field. Be sure to exhaust your resources and networks getting your writing career off the ground, up and running. Keeping praying and stay active.
This post originally appeared on RedRoom on Rev Bruce’s Page