When we were raising support for moving to France, we got some training to help us through the process. We learned that folks with less money tend to give more, and folks with lots of money tend to give nothing at all. We learned to rest in God’s sovereignty and trust Him to bring the increase. All good lessons.
But one training aspect of support raising has stuck with me. We learned the analogy of the rock driveway. Perhaps you’ve heard it too? It goes something like this:
Imagine yourself at the bottom of a hill, near a mailbox and the entrance to a driveway that snakes up a hill, reaching a home resting on its top. The driveway isn’t paved. Instead it’s a deep layer of crushed rocks. If you measured it, it would reach several blocks long. Now, pretend five of the rocks from the driveway have a red X on their backside. Just five. No more. Your job (as you raise support) is simply to turn over each rock until you find all five.
This is either an encouraging analogy or entirely depressing.
I see it as both.
And as I stretch the analogy to marketing, it makes so much sense.
As a new author, I never realized how much marketing and promotion I would have to do for each book. For those of you starting out, hear me: don’t underestimate how much time marketing takes. Finding out how much time that took surprised me, and continues to surprise me after 40+ books in. But I have learned to absorb that responsibility, often trying several things to see what would stick. I’m turning over rocks, looking for that magical red X. Some things have worked. Many others haven’t. And in the midst of it all, I’m remembering our lessons from France.
- God works behind the scenes when we feel tired (or even when we don’t).
- In marketing, it’s not the famous people who help you the most; it’s the stuff of earth folks who resonate with your message who share it one on one that makes the most impact. (Yes, the power of word of mouth still stands, even in this social media saturated culture).
- Ultimately God brings the exposure, the increase in sales (if He wills it).
- Our job is to simply turn over rocks, to be faithful in small things.
- It’s important not to let the un-marked rocks discourage us or stop us. Ours is a forward-momentum task, learning from what didn’t work and pressing on toward the next opportunity.
- There is no surefire formula to launch a book. And if by chance there were one (short of being a rich person and buying your own books), it would change in an instant.
Q4u: How about you? How are you turning over your rocks today? (And which ones had red X-es?) What have you learned in the process?