My book, Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession, was published by WestBow Press a little over one year ago. Although it not a best-seller yet, I think it is well on the way to being a success. I am seeing the impact of this book on the Kingdom of God, which is why I wrote it. My unique approach to the theology of work is changing lives one person at a time only because it is solidly based on biblical principles. Jesus said that His truth sets people free (John 8:32).
While speaking with a WestBow marketing professional a couple of months ago, I was greatly encouraged when she remarked that I was ahead of the pack. She was surprised at the variety of creative approaches I had taken to put my book out there (which is what self-published authors must do). She challenged me to consider some additional options in the near future such as advertising, podcasts, and developing a website. I thought it might be helpful to other authors if I shared some of the things I have been able to do over the past year.
Giving books to strategic leaders
Before my book was published, I had decided to target key individuals. Once it came out, I mailed copies to a few leaders of faith at work organizations, two of which had published articles I had written on their blogs. I also sent it to a several pastors and seminary, Christian college and university professors. Last October, I attended the 2018 Faith@Work Summit in Chicago where I had the chance to follow up with some people I had sent my book to in the spring.
Additionally, I was able to put my book in the hands of other faith at work organization leaders. I also gave copies to three authors that I had quoted in my book. I was ecstatic when I put a signed copy of my book into the hands of Bill Hendricks, one of the co-authors of the book Your Work Matters to God since it radically changed my life 30 years ago.
Soliciting book reviews
A couple of years ago, Bill Pence, who maintains the Coram Deo blog, had begun posting links to several articles I had written that were published on the Institute for Faith, Work & Economics blog. I noticed that he also did book reviews.
Last spring I sent him an email, asking him if he would consider reviewing my book which had just been published. He said he would, so I sent him a copy. In July, he posted an amazing five-star book review on his blog and also on my book listing on the Christian Book Distributors and Barnes and Noble websites.
A few months later, through a contact I made at the 2016 Faith@Work Summit, I was referred to Chris Robertson who was on staff with Made to Flourish and does occasional book reviews for The Green Room blog. I met with him over lunch in Chicago in October, and he gave me a very thorough interview. Shortly afterwards, he posted a very generous and detailed review.
Using social media and blogs
This is the easiest and cheapest way to put your book out there. I mention my book quite often on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I posted a book giveaway at Christmas. When my book was nominated for the 2019 Christian Indie Awards, I asked friends to vote. I posted pictures of my book in various bookstores on Instagram. Over the last year I wrote seventeen articles for my blog; eight of them were posted on four faith at work organizations’ blogs. I shared these links on all my accounts. I also post relevant articles and memes on my Immanuel Labor Facebook page.
By the grace of God, my book was published. By His grace, I have been able to get it in the hands of people who find it to be inspiring and who are sharing its positive message with others. I believe that over time it will continue to reach more people.
Master Sergeant Russell E. Gehrlein (U.S. Army, Retired) is a Christian, husband of 38 years, father of three, grandfather of four, blogger, and author of “Immanuel Labor – God’s Presence in our Profession: A Biblical, Theological, and Practical Approach to the Doctrine of Work”, published by WestBow Press in February 2018. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Colorado State University in 1980 and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 2015. He is also a former junior/senior high school math and science teacher and youth pastor. Russ currently works as a Department of the Army civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.