Donald James Parker

Donald James Parker is a rebel with a cause and is the author of nine novels, seven of which he considers culture-flash fiction. His goal is to promote God's kingdom and tear down strongholds of the enemy while he provides entertainment. He writes for The Christian Pulse, Examiner.Com, and The ebooks of all his novels are available for free download from his website at All of Don's books promote sexual purity, but two are especially focused on that topic - Love Waits and Homeless Like Me. The novels that attack the theory of human evolution include More Than Dust in the Wind, All the Voices of the Wind, and All the Fury of the Wind. Reforming the Potter's Clay is an attack on the occult. All the Stillness of the Wind is a spiritual odyssey which spotlights cheap grace and lukewarm living.

Come on, Baby, Do the Promotion (and the Locomotion)

Now that you’ve finished authoring the great American novel, what are you going to do next? Going to Disneyland on your royalties? Sorry to pop your bubble, but your profits probably won’t even pay for the ticket to get into see Mickey and friends. The reality is that your book is likely to cost you money. Believe it or not, the world is not chomping at the bit, waiting for your book to hit Amazon so they can get their copy. Don’t believe me? Check out these stats about book publishing and reading found on, the Web site of self-publishing guru Dan Poynter.

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest      of their lives
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after          college
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last     five years
57 percent of new books are not read to completion
70 percent of books published do not earn back their advances
70 percent of the books published do not make a profit
A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies
A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies

Of readers:

53 percent read fiction
43 percent read nonfiction
The favorite fiction category is mystery and suspense, at 19 percent 55 percent of fiction is bought by women, 45 percent by men

In the U.S. in 2005, 172,000 books were published. The total for the world was over a million. Those numbers have mushroomed since then because of the explosion of self-publishers. I saw one figure of over 400,000 for 2008. The competition is way beyond fierce. The jungle perhaps pales in comparison with the book marketplace. And you as a naïve, probably uneducated in the nuances of marketing, and extremely exuberant new author are set to launch your little rowboat into an ocean full of riptides, sharks, and icebergs, oh my. Alfred E. Neuman would grin and say “What, me worry?” It’s important that self-publishers have realistic expectations. If not, you could find your heart and spirit crushed and perhaps your checking account depleted because you sent good money after bad.

Maybe you have written your life story and expect to earn enough to retire. In my limited experience as a publisher, I’ve been privy to a few memoir manuscripts. Most dealt with their own lives and included problems they dealt with. Unless there is some resolution in the book that gives me encouragement to think I can be an overcomer, I really don’t want to wallow in someone’s self pity. It reminds me of the “I was so poor” jokes. You know the ones like “When I was a kid we had to sleep five kids to a bed.” Another kid says, “You had a bed?” Unless you’ve become a celebrity of sorts or at least are very successful in some field of endeavor, nobody really wants to know how poor you were or how difficult your life was. They want something that will enhance their lives. Make sure your book provides that.

I just received a manuscript from a mother abused by her husband and then by the government. This kind of thing needs exposure to the world. It’s not just about her story but rather the plight of battered women everywhere. Though she will probably not make a lot of money on this project (which she has pledged to orphanages), if one young girl can avoid a nightmare of such an existence by reading this book, the author has succeeded in her goal.

Writing your memoirs may be therapeutic for you. I recommend you use this therapy in conjunction with prayer to make it more effective. In any case, since you have written a book; how might you make at least a small splash in the publishing pool?

First, I would counsel you not to spend money that you can’t afford to part with on advertising. Be aware that with the explosion in the number of self-publishing companies there will be a corresponding explosion of businesses that cater to those who want to sell those books. Many of these firms are in startup mode and are not in a position to be of much help. And even established firms may not be able to return enough money on your investment to pay the costs. Don’t be talked into a second mortgage on your house by a snake oil salesman who promises they can get your book on the bestseller list. To paraphrase the Good Book, many are written but few are chosen.

There are inexpensive ways of getting the word out about your book. Be aware that many others are doing the same things, which somewhat waters down the effect. This is a link to a Web site hosted by an author who has graciously provided an astounding amount of information on free or cheap marketing:

If you visit the Web site, you’ll find ways, such as these, to promote and market your book. #1 Press Releases
#2 Radio/TV shows
#3 Local newspapers
#4 Social networks
#5 Post videos on and
#6 Take a volunteer or low-paying writing gig at an online site
#7 Reviews
#8 Book Trailers
#9 Personal Blogs
#10 Book Tours
#11 Self-pub co-ops
#12 Your Web site—a requirement for any self-pubbed author
#13 Newsletters
#14 Bookclubs
#15 Giveaways
#16 Speaking engagements

By now you realize that promoting a book is a daunting task. The good news for us as Christians is that we are not alone. God has a stake in our lives. If He has given you a word for the nations, that word will not return void. Divine appointments will arrive to help you weather the promotional storm. I caution you, though, that it will happen in His timing and not yours. You must submit and commit your writing to Him, just as you did your life, and don’t worry about success. If you have carried out His will, it does not matter how many books you sell. Would you rather receive the reward of profits or a prophet’s reward? Be mindful that promoting and marketing takes a great deal of time and could suck you into a time consumption that cripples other ministry you might be involved in. Seek the Lord’s will in all of your endeavors in this arena.

Love Waits