How to Start a Writing Career as a Christian Author
I believed I was called to write a book. One. Simple. Little. Christian Book. Who knew multifarious rules anticipated my discovery? Myriad steps lay ahead to move forward. Now I want to share how to start a writing career as a Christian author.
Correct font and font size, margin requirements, punctuation rules (which had morphed since I’d last written anything important) awaited my attention. Redline, rewrites, rewrites and rewrites hovered in the wings.
Where to Begin Your Writing Career as a Christian Author
How about a writers conference? I guarantee your first writing conference is guaranteed to spin your head: dos and don’ts, show don’t tell, audience acquisition, and platforms. Blog, website, Twitter, oh my!
After the conference, returning home requires not only unpacking your luggage, but off-loading brain strain. Can you say overwhelming? Comprehension sets in. Your platform is a flatform. Flat, as in horizontal. As in level to the ground. As in zero, nada, zilch. You know, those people you need to reach, the audience you must impact, the hundreds who will buy your book are not even a blip on your radar. They don’t know you have a book they must read! They don’t even realize you are a writer.
You’ve never penned a blog, put a face on Facebook, or tweeted on Twitter. Yikes. You quietly sit at your computer, isolated from the public. Can you say introvert? Marketing our work feels unChristlike. It feels prideful and quite nauseating.
Welcome to the Flatform Platform Club
Welcome to the flatform platform club. Moses and Peter surely started the club. Moses’ fisticuffs attempt to free his Hebrew brothers near the palace failed. He had no audience. He now pastured a flock in the Midian wilderness. He was called to free God’s people in Egypt. That would require speaking before Pharaoh. Moses didn’t want to speak. He didn’t feel eloquent. He didn’t want a platform, even if God provided it. He argued with God about putting him before an audience. He was perfectly happy in the wilderness.
Flatform Platform Moses was fixin’ to become a household name. Our messages may not be to deliver Israelites, but if God gave us a message to share, we have to develop a platform. Thank goodness God is in the business of equipping. I metamorphosed from a computer illiterate to building my own website, publishing a blog and a newsletter. I began inflating my flatform one step at a time, riding it across the parted Red Sea with God’s rod in my hand. His guiding, miracle-working rod.
Peter liked to talk. In fact he wasn’t afraid to blurt out what, in all likelihood, others in the audience wanted to say but were afraid to voice. God knew Peter’s flatform would become a platform for the kingdom. Peter didn’t resist speaking as Moses did, but he needed God’s guidance just the same. God is the platform builder. Jesus touched Peter with forgiveness for denying Him three times and told him to feed his sheep. God empowered Peter with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. God empowers each of us with the Holy Spirit if we are willing to ask. The Holy Spirit guided Peter’s powerful influence over the audience of his time. God’s breath ballooned Peter’s flatform to a progressing platform that still speaks to millions all over the world.
Building an Audience as a Christian Author
Is my audience or my email list where I want it?
Is my audience or my email list where I want it? No. Unflattening a platform takes time. Word of mouth, promoting books, and seeking audiences is a process. Airing up a flatform necessitates the breath of God—following His lead. He is the door opener. I must listen so closely the wind of his voice directs my next step. Moses listened to God’s instructions, then he took the next step. Peter took the power God filled him with and began to speak the truth of the Gospel boldly. God expects no less from us. If the Lord gave a message to articulate, he will equip.
Maybe the Lord is calling you to take a class or attend another conference. Now that you are getting a feel for the all-encompassing operation writing includes you can pinpoint in what areas you need the most help. With massive amounts to learn and our desire to produce our best work for the kingdom, we can’t be isolated. I attended several writer events and recently joined CIPA (Christian Indie Publishers Association) to help me with promotion of my Christian books. CIPA offers immense amounts of guidance and training, various eBlasts, and gives discounts for everything you would ever need to successfully launch your book. Take a look into entering your precious work in some contests. Contact local bookstores and offer a free book signing. God’s provisions can come from a variety of sources.
Don’t Limit Your Possibilities
Don’t limit your possibilities. Learn by investigating what other successful authors do or think outside the box. If you write for children, consider speaking at MOPS groups, attending fairs with your books on display, or reading your book at the nearest library or bookstore.
Do you prefer the boat or the airplane?
The old joke of the guy who needed a rescue from a flood comes to mind. He turned down the boat and said God would rescue him. He turned down the helicopter and said God would rescue him. He finally ended up in heaven and asked God, “Why didn’t you rescue me?” God replied, “I sent a boat and helicopter.” Building a platform from scratch is no easy task. Draw from the resources you feel God is putting in front of you. As you learn, you will be able to give a hand up to the next out of breath, confused, overwhelmed newbie.nInhale a giant lungful of God’s provision and watch your flatform stretch and widen into the platform God has for you.
If you have not done so already, begin building a website. I have had great success with Wix.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
About the Author
Michele McCarthy is the author of three award-winning books, Shattered, Stirred and Shaken and two children’s books Daddy and Me and Aunt Ida Clare. Michele is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) associate member and a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. You can find her at MicheleMcCarthyBooks.com.