trunkortreatsignAlright I will confess it. This is the hardest thing for me. The creating is easy or at least fun. Seeing the project come together, enjoying the final product, all of that is a blast, at least if I turn off the inner critic, but that’s a different story for a different day. The hard part is getting the word out. I love the art I create, for the most part. I love to put it out for the world to see. I know it can’t bless anyone sitting in my home or worse yet, in my mind, Even in this though, there’s a problem… it might be out there, but does anyone know? How do I get the word out?

I pastor a great church full of loving, generous people doing great stuff. That being said, we’re fairly small. I know a lot of people could be blessed by this loving tribe of believers, but how do we get the word out. I’ve written and or illustrated 18 books but my sales are abysmal. I didn’t create these books out of vanity, or even for the money, I created them because I believe they would help people. How do I get the word out?

For a while I just felt like the farmer in Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. That doesn’t work mot of the time. I felt a little guilty about self promotion after all they call it shameless self-promotion for a reason, right? I used to worry about charging for my speaking ministry too, fearing that someone might look at me and say I’m only in it for the money. All these things are wrong, but let’s hit that last one first. We don’t say that in it for the money thing about any other professions but the arts and ministry and I somehow managed to pick (or get called to) both. If you’re reading this, you’re likely in the same boat. So let’s just make it clear, no one, at least no one with any understanding of either field, gets into it for the money and the people who are likely to make that accusation, make it for largely one reason, they are trying to hold on to all of their money. Ignore them (unless you’re convicted that they’re right), and move on to the people who will value what you do. The second aspect of all this also goes back to the idea of value. Do you value what you do? Do you think that what you do will bless someone else? If not go back the drawing board, but my guess is your work already will and it is okay to benefit from your work. The Bible say both “the workman is worthy of his hire” and “don’t muzzle the ox.” It’s okay to get paid.

The other part of this valuing your work is the hardest part of the equation. How do you let other people know you’ve created it? How do you get the word out? Well I will tell you that I’ve had only limited success in this area, but there are a couple things you can do. The first one is obvious. Tell them. Tell people about what you do verbally and on things like social media. Gain a presence, set up a page on the channels that make the most sense for what you do. Blog about your work, share about your work as it’s in process. Try to make it less about “shameless” self promotion and more about helping people. I will often blog excerpts from my books even as they’re being written. Think about it, books are about sharing information. Giving a little helpful information away will be a great benefit for the reader and it will make them want more. Also speak about what you do. One of the places where I do sell a decent amount of books is at my speaking engagements. They’ve already heard something of my world view, and by getting my book they can get more. This really helps my speaking income as well.

In the case of my church, nothing beats word of mouth, but there are other things we can do. Of course a great website is helpful, but also do not neglect the local media, and of course, put signs out by the road for your events if possible. I made these really simple ones for our trunk or treat coming up. They are effective because people drive past our place every day by the hundreds. They don’t have to be expensive, just give people what they need to know.
The truth is what you do has value. If it didn’t you wouldn’t be doing it. If you don’t tell the world about what you’re doing, you are depriving them of a blessing and aren’t we really doing what we do to bless people?

Get the word out.


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