Promoting Your Creative Work

kinnon —  June 30, 2006 — 2 Comments

Wall Street Journal drama critic, Terry Teachout (what a fabulous name, n’est-ce pas?) has a rather whiny an interesting post at his Arts Journal blog, About Last NightOn the Dotted Line. Teachout feigns shock that “The Famous Magazine That Must Remain Nameless” contractually insists that he be involved in “the promotion and marketing” of the piece that they are paying him to write for them. Heavens! (or perhaps) Gadzooks! What effrontery! How gauche! Demanding a writer be involved in the promotion of what he’s written…

…in settings including, but not limited to, articles or books written by or about you or the Work, interviews, editorials, press conferences, press releases, television appearances, Internet Web sites maintained and operated by you, and any other media available for the promotion of the Work to which you have access.

Welcome to a brave new world, Double T, where even esteemed writers are expected to get their hands dirty with marketing their work. (By the way, Teachout signed the contract.)

SkyisfallingAs I type this on my trusty PowerBook, Imbi and I are non-contractually involved in the marketing of what I consider to be a very good book. A book that, because of its relatively small audience – church leaders, needs effective promotion. The book is the creative work of an old friend of mine – one who taught me most of what I know about effective church leadership. The book is The Sky is Falling, Leaders Lost in Transition, written by Dr. Alan J. Roxburgh – or simply Al Roxburgh (pronounced Rox – burrah), as he’s best known.

The book comes highly recommended. Brian McLaren wrote the foreword. David Dunbar (Biblical Theological Seminary), Mark Lau Branson (Fuller) and Alpha US President (and former Vineyard leader) Todd Hunter, heartily endorse the book. The blogosphere has had a number of very good posts about the book – including this from my buddy, Darryl Dash. The book should be flying off the Amazon, Allelon and CBA shelves. It’s not. Yet.

So what would I recommend to build the buzz about the book. Well, if there was a very good marketing budget, I’d probably recommend the possibly annoying but incredibly gifted Mike Drew. Mike has had his hand in creating 20+ best sellers in the non-fiction market. As he puts it, “publishing a book is not promoting a book.” But the market for Al’s book may not warrant that level of expense. So what, then?

First I’d turn the TSiF site into a blog – focused on creating conversation around leadership in transition. Similar to what David Fitch has done with The Great Giveaway blog. (David’s book, The Great Giveaway appeals to a similar market segment.) Right now the TSiF site is a simple static “on-line brochure” that someone might stumble across – with little reason to return to it once you’ve been there. The blog version of the site would link to podcasts from Al – both video and audio. (Note that Imbi & I are producing a short video on the book featuring Al, Brian McLaren, Mark Lau Branson, Pat Keifert, Steve Taylor, Chris Erdmann and others – our non-contractual involvement – I start editing it as soon as I’ve finished writing this verbose post.) If you really must build a marketing website, then you need to at least read these two books by the Brothers Eisenberg, Call to Action and Waiting for Your Cat to Bark.

I’d also get the book in front of the eyeballs of as many interesting bloggers as possible – both those who may love it and those who might disagree. People like Andrew Jones, Jordon Cooper, Scot McKnight, Steve McCoy (who loved Al’s book, The Missional Leader) and Michael Spencer – not to mention a number of the incredible bloggers who populate New Zealand and Australia like Steve Taylor and the good folks @ Signposts, to name but a few. Heck, I’d even send copies to Tim Challies and Pyro Phil Johnson – believing that a little heat never hurt a PyroMarketing campaign.

I’d set up times when Al was available for Skype conversations with any and all of those who’d like to interview him – and make the conversations available as podcasts. I’d also get Al in podcast conversations with people like Ed Stetzer and cross promote Ed’s books with Al’s – including Al’s new book The Missional Leader (co-written with his MLI partner, Fred Romanuk.)

Al would also seem a likely author to write an Out of Ur blog post.

Now some of you may be aghast at creating a marketing campaign for a book aimed @ Christian Leaders. “Why, if God wanted the book to be a success, He’d make sure it was a success?” you stammer with your mouth full of Cheerios®. “Just like he did with Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life book!” Yah, right.

In my humble but accurate opinion (a line stolen shamelessly from Bishop NT Wright), this book should be a success. Its message is both timely and important. The most effective way to promote the book (considering all the facts) is to create a strong WOM campaign. (Gee, maybe Al could hook up with the Mentos and Coke guyswho are apparently upset that their video is on YouTube…but I digress…as usual.)

The video will be our part of that. We’ll put it up on YouTube, feature it on this site – and make the above mentioned bloggers aware of it. It will also be available on the TSiF site and on Allelon’s site. Let’s see what happens with the rest of the marketing of the book.

And obviously, I’d recommend you buy a copy of it.

As an aside, I’ll be putting these marketing techniques to work for my own creative work coming out later this summer, A Networked Conspiracy, published by Wizard Academy Press. It will have its own website and the best WOM campaign I can put together – putting my money where my mouth is.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

2 responses to Promoting Your Creative Work

  1. Don’t need to market to us about this one, there is already a copy of this book in our household. I think Phil is planning to post some reflections on the blog in due course.

  2. Thanks for this stimulating post. I have written for Out of Ur but don’t have a book to promote . . . yet! This will be good info to file away. I think you are right about the mediums to be used. My having heard of The Great Giveaway online makes me more likely to read it . . . there are so many books out there.

    Interestingly, I have even seen best-selling author Andy Stanley enter the blogsphere and comment on posts. This garners him attention and shows bloggers he’s listening which tames the most unfair criticisms I think.

    You should have mentioned as well that you should make sure you have some reviews on in order to be a “significant” book. Thanks for the fun post.


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