Last week’s show on Book Journeys featured Mike Parker who talked about his book Shameless Self Promotion (and Networking for Christian Creatives). Mike is an actor and playwright who had been involved heavily in the Christian music industry and he co-wrote the book with his wife, Paula K. Parker and a good friend, Torry Martin. All three of them have had a lot of experience dealing with creative people in the Christian industry, and for this reason they wanted a book which targeted this particular niche market. The book however, discusses principles that apply to anyone, which is all about learning how to promote oneself without shame. While the book’s title may have negative connotations, the idea is actually how to make yourself known without coming off as rude or braggadocious. Parker cites that one of the ways in doing this is by helping others achieve their goals because as you build up others, you also build yourself up and rise along with those you help.
Mike’s love for books and his desire to be an author even as a child was one of his biggest motivations to eventually come up with his own book. After pursuing many other jobs from being a stockbroker and restaurant manager, to doing a stint in the army, it all came back to writing for him. With so many books out on the market these days, Mike finds that the key to a book’s success is discoverability, which they achieved with the book by focusing on a very specific niche market. He advises that authors should target a niche where they are very good at and very connected with, and then expand from there. For those who plan to do co-authoring, he suggests that they should delineate from the beginning whose responsibility each task belongs to in order to avoid stepping on each other’s toes or having surprises along the way. For Mike and his co-authors, after having the opportunity to identify each one’s task, they knew each other well enough so that they were all pretty much on the same page before they started the writing process.
The vision when they wrote the book was to help people who didn’t know how to tell their story. Going through the process of training individual artists on how to relate to the media, Mike and his co-authors figured that there was a big need out there not just for performing artists but anybody who’s going to be in the public eye to have some information they can use on how to publicize themselves. And the way that the book turned out is exactly how they wanted it to be. They had a very good publishing process with Wordcrafts, a small independent publisher whose goal is to be a resource and partner for the author, the idea being that the people who create the work should benefit mostly from the work. The editorial process was very collaborative, with a very strong pro-author leaning. In terms of royalty, it was a 70%-30% split, with the author getting the bigger share. They also use print-on-demand technology which makes inventory more manageable.
His main advice to would-be authors is to just tell the story and get it down on paper, because once it’s written, everything else can be figured out. As he says it, “Tell your story. And if it’s a good story, it will get out there. It will find its own.”
Watch out for Angela’s interview with another exciting author.