Most of the time, my posts are about writing and marketing books. Sometimes I write about my religious beliefs. This post is both of these plus a book review.
Anyone who knows me very well knows I'm a big fan of Ransomed Heart. Their books are healing, touching on the common wounds that we all bear and healing them so we can live a more fulfilling life.
These books bring life. They also tend not to be very religious in nature...especially if you see the term "religious" and think of it as a negative. The latest book from Ransomed Heart hits the shelves today, and promises to disrupt the "religious" of our world. Will this be a good thing? Only time will tell. I've read the book and watched the trailer. I've watched most of the video series.
Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus is a rich opportunity to experience Jesus not as the religious figurehead, but as a man - and God. For anyone who has been turned off by Christianity, this is a true view of who He was and why He came. It answers hard questions, but raises many more -- most notably, what is missing from today's popular Christianity. This book is going to be un-popular in some of the churches of our day.
I've been to Ransomed Heart events and come home...saddened. While there, I am surrounded by people who are in love with Jesus -- not a concept, but an individual. Like wanting you all to meet my best friend, I find these moments hard not to share. Then I come home and struggle, wanting to spend more time with people who have come to know Him. I share Ransomed Heart books by the case, wanting to share this healing with others. I deeply miss the praise and worship sessions at the camps where the room is filled with others passionately in love with Christ.
Beautiful Outlaw is like the Eldridges' other books, but I suspect it will be considered almost sacrilegious by many. It portrays Jesus as He was - and is - playful, disruptive, cunning...John Eldridge's beautiful writing style brings Jesus out of the mist of history and into terms people of today can understand.
During his life, Jesus advised His followers to be cunning, and Ransomed Heart has taken that literally with the marketing campaign for this book.
I was on a forum the other day and heard someone complain that there should be a simple "how-to" for marketing a book and that if everyone followed it, it should work. I laughed. There is no "one-size-fits-all" marketing campaign. You have to design the campaign for each book based upon the ideal readers, your budget, a call to action that is likely to be followed...and many other factors.
Ransomed Heart has the resources to market a book and the experience with doing so. But they also wanted to be true to their beliefs. And so their marketing campaign is clearly designed to be...playful, disruptive, extravagant...and cunning. Brilliant.
Ransomed Heart has an established "tribe" of followers. These are people like me who tend to buy their books by the case. They send us daily encouragement letters, devotionals that often touch just where I'm most needing strength for the day. I seldom recommend sending out daily emails because this encourages people to un-subscribe...and yet this email is always so full of help that I can not imagine un-subscribing. I look for it each day. I enjoy it and often share it. As I often recommend, they started their marketing with their tribe.
They offered a free autographed copy of the book to the first 300 bloggers who would respond and promise to blog or leave a review or in other ways promote the book on or before October 12. They actually sent out 600 copies - and paid the shipping. Over 1000 people responded. Extravagant.
They created a video series of John reading passages of the book and then released these for free. I've been learning lately about the power of keywords and inter-relating multi-media sites with your web presence. Smart - and playful.
But think about it. Today is the official release date, the due date for all of those 600 blogs - and yes, this is one - think about what this will do to the ranking of this book on the book seller sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. These 600 people are posting on Facebook, on Twitter, on Goodreads. Not all in one place. Some are blogging. If 100 people blog and they reach 100 people each (that's pretty conservative in today's social market)...oh yes, they could afford those 600 copies. Cunning.
That marketing plan won't work for everyone. It would be a mistake for a new indie author who is likely to sell 200 books. An expensive mistake. But Ransomed Heart knows their tribe and they know their ideal audience. Do you?
And in the meantime...do you know Jesus? If you don't...read the book.