Christian Book Marketing: Google’s tool is gone, what will I do?
I heard yesterday that Google’s Adwords tool for developing keywords that work is no longer. I went and checked this morning and sure enough it’s gone. That means that I have to rewrite about four pages in the marketing part of the new third edition of Writing In InDesign. So I opened up that section and started reworking it. At the same time, I was involved with a couple of conversations in two of the private FaceBook groups I inhabit. All of a sudden, revelation struck. I had let myself slip into worldly wisdom again. I hate when I do that.
I was missing the core
All of these attempts to use the world’s tools to get us information ignore several central issues:
- We really have no idea who our market is: If you are writing pink, fluffy Christian romances, some categories may be obvious—but, not really.
- Popularity is meaningless: The use of Amazon and Google can give us the popular results. But what does that have to do with our mission?
- Using popular keywords and phrases to trick readers into trying your book is unethical: In many cases, it may actually be sin—bearing false witness.
We always need to go back to the original scripture I quoted at the beginning of the marketing part of the book.
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. II Corinthians 4:1&2 RSV [emphasis added]
The key to the whole thing is getting past your need to be popular. Jesus is not popular—not even in most churches today. The Gospel is especially offensive. By pursuing popularity to gain large sales we can be severely compromising our mission. Large sales are the result of the Lord’s blessing or the temptation of the enemy. They are no indication of our maturity, fruitfulness, or anything else that matters.
My viewpoint is quite different from many Christian authors
I don’t work to glorify the Lord. My works are not a form of praise. My goal is to please the Lord. Am I hearing Him well and following His lead? My goal is to write the book the Lord can use to make my work fruitful [develop my character] and a true rhema to the readers the Lord wants to touch.
My focus is on writing and producing a book which the Lord will find useful to reach the specific people He is targeting.
For example, in my technothriller, the heroine is captured by the enemy. The evil witch [consort of one of the bad guy leaders] is using intensive drug therapy to break down her mind so they can control and use her as a sex toy for their troops. They are using heavy doses of heroine, LSD, and similar nasty drugs.
So, the obvious [?] thing was to get her saved in the midst of an acid trip. Now I know about that because I was a heavy drug user before the Lord called me and saved me. I can describe it accurately. It’s a unique viewpoint I felt the Lord wanted me to use in the book. The salvation scene gives me shivers of joy every time I read it. But the reality is that the characters did this to my heroine and the Lord delivered her. It felt like the anointing as I wrote it, and still does as I read it today.
Is it what the Lord wanted me to write? I believe it is. I pray it is. If it only helps one person, I’ll be happy. I know it healed up some old memories for me personally, and brought me to a new place of understanding. That’s enough for me.
Will it sell? I have no idea. That’s not my concern. Is Jesus pleased with me? That’s important.
- The End of the Google Adwords Keywords Tool (business2community.com)
Interesting and refreshing perspective.
I agree with your take on writing, and you elucidate the idea clearly. You’re probably going against the tide of “religious” thinking, but you are definitely illuminating a truth that needs to be embraced by more “Christian” authors.
In my humble opinion, there is way too much “fluff” in “Christian” fiction today, especially in light of the time we live in. Jesus didn’t come to make friends, or to save us from bad choices, politically incorrect thinking, our birth order, or any other such nonsense.
He came to deliver us from the power of SIn–for eternity.
In the process of interviewing with my secular NY agent he asked me what kind of stories I write. I told him I write stories that ignite imaginations and stir souls, with fascinating but flawed characters, intense action and adventure, and a Christian worldview. Guess that was a good enough answer for him–and he isn’t a Believer. He’s been in the business over 30 years and agents for some top name secular writers, but he also happens to agent for James Scott Bell. He looks for great stories, with excellent writing, and a powerful message. Interestingly, unlike so many others today–including secular readers, editors, agents, and publishers–even though he is not a Believer, he’s not offended by the Christian worldview. He wants something that captures his attention and moves him!
Keep writing and publishing whatever God directs. The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord. The prophet Hosea wrote, “My people perish for lack of knowledge . . .” and in Proverbs, we learn that “without revelation the people perish (cast off restraint).” Lawlessness abounds today, and it’s getting worse, just as Scripture prophesied. We are the generation who will witness the coming of our Lord and, sadly, much of the Western Church is asleep and needs to be awakened. It’s long past time that the arts be fully redeemed for Christ. That means some of us are going to have to push back against “religion” and “religious attitudes” even as Jesus did. We will likely not be popular for doing so, we probably won’t win many awards, and we may not sell a large number of books in Christian or secular circles (we’re not really embraced by either camp), but if one life is transformed, if one lost soul is redeemed and reconciled to God, then we have a reward that will stand the test, not only of time, but of Eternity.
I pray God opens doors for you that no man can close and that He continues to give you Wisdom, the Power of Holy Spirit, and Revelation knowledge through the Blood of Jesus and that the peace of God which passes all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
Michael J. Webb
Your comments are a great encouragement.