I’ve noticed a trend in marketing specifically with Christian authors, and it’s starting to bother me. I’m not trying to judge and this is not a slam – who knows, maybe one day I’ll succumb to similar tactics due to necessity of the market.
I hope not.
Obviously online marketing works, it’s an industry I work in, and I’m for it. I’m currently marketing to you and you don’t even know it! I mean, have you seen my new headshot profile picture? CLEARLY I want to look professional online and have an audience that likes what I say…I’m actually working on and implementing some creative ways to build my own email list and social media following as well.
However, the pattern I see repeating in this specific circle grates against me- particular for Christian, Bible based material.
I have seen this scenario play out 4 times in the past 3 years, and each of the authors were non-fiction Christian (I have seen in both male and female authors):
📝 1. Author starts with a fairly small project that (somewhat) unexpectedly takes off.
🔥 2. He scrambles to keep up with the popularity and has quickly amassed a strong social media following.
📈 3. He produces great free content online. Incredible blogs, inspiring videos, and free resources that drive home all the points that made me fall in love with him to begin with. He speaks and travels.
📚4. He writes another book, this time with his larger audience and the marketing is stronger. He’s getting better at this. His message is still authentic, raw and true to himself.
📉 5. *the weird part starts* Somewhere here he starts turning everything in to a marketing pitch for his (now) brand. It starts feeling less authentic. You’re no longer connecting with the story as deeply… you’re starting to feel like his customer being upsold to.
🎥 6. He comes out with an e-course video series for several hundred dollars. Or a conference. Or both. Of course, if you enter your email you’ll get a free e-book with a teaser of some of the same content. This will show you how badly you need his course or conference.
👔 7. Now he has begun the shift from authentic raw author to digital marketing, brand, and message expert pitching me on why I need his digital products.
📢NOW LET ME SAY that I understand writing books is not very lucrative for 97% of authors. They truly have to get creative to make money other ways – and monetizing a platform is a great idea.
I just wonder if anyone else feels the way I do – does this strategy dilute the messaging and story, or is it simply a necessary nuisance we’re okay with because we love the original message the author conveys?
❓Have you noticed this trend or am I reading too far in to a few isolated examples?
❓Should I back off and let authors do what they need to do to make a living?
❓Have you grown numb to all e-courses, e-books, and digital downloads because you feel like it’s all just a ploy to get your email?
This rant has been brought to you by some spicy Chinese food, the letter R, and the 🍑 emoji.