038 – What Queen Esther Can Teach Authors About Platform Building

Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show.

You can listen to this episode here.


Note: This outline was used to record the episode. Its included here to help search engines categorize the audio.

Esther’s Story:

  • Esther Had a Tough Marketing Position
    • Not in favor with the King. He hadn’t asked for her in 30 days. 
    • Had a big ask. His law could not be overturned.
    • Even approaching the king was dangerous. 
  • What does she do? 
    • She doesn’t ask right away, even when the king offers half his kingdom.
    • She offers value and invites the King to a banquet in his honor.
  • At the banquet, does she ask her big ask? No! She invites him to a second banquet.
  • It is not until the second banquet that she makes her big ask.

Ok… So why does this story matter to authors?

Many authors are like Queen Esther. They are not in favor with readers. They have a big ask to make when they ask strangers to buy their book.

Take Away #1: Timing Changes Everything

There is an old saying that you must strike while the iron is hot. As a blacksmith, success in shaping metal is more about timing than it is about effort. If you let the iron cool, it doesn’t matter how hard you hit it. 

If Haman had asked a day earlier to have Mordecai executed, he would likely have been told yes. But as it was, he was a day late and that timing changed everything. Why? Because the king couldn’t sleep and so he re-heard the story of Mordecai saving his life.

Haman tried to divine the best time for his pogrom by casting lots (which were called Purim). Esther made her own good timing. 

Good timing can be manufactured. This is why Esther invited the king to a banquet instead of making her real request right away. At that banquet, she invited the king to another banquet. It was only after the king asked her what she wanted a third time that she answered him. 

Which leads us into our second take away. 

Take Away #2: Throw a Banquet First

To think like Esther, you must change your marketing mindset. This is not about you! Throw a banquet for your readers before you ask them to buy your book. Commit to seeing marketing as an act of service rather than an act of self-promotion. 

So how do you throw a banquet for your readers? Well, you could throw them a literal banquet at your launch party. But in all seriousness, how do you do it?

Jesus told us that if we want to have followers, we must be a servant (Mathew 20:26).  The first thing I recommend is to put a sticky note on your computer that says “How can I bless my followers today?”

The second thing you should do is to ask them! How can you serve your followers if you don’t know who they are?

Third, write a book for your audience rather than trying to find an audience for your book. 

How can you bless your blog followers?

  • Review & recommend similar books. Be like Santa in Miracle on 34th Street. 
  • Answer questions.

How can you bless your email subscribers?

  • Give away free short stories.
  • Offer discounts.
  • Review & recommend similar books.

How can you bless your social media followers?

  • Make them laugh.
  • Pray for them.
  • Powerful encouragement is often personal encouragement. 
  • Review similar books. 
  • Help them.

Putting it Into Practice

So I would like to put this into practice and ask you how I can better serve you with this podcast. 

  • Which episodes have you enjoyed? Which not so much? 
  • What would you like me to talk more about? 
  • Where are you on your publishing journey? Published? Just getting started?
  • Where are you headed? Are you planning to walk the traditional route or the indie route? 

Final Thought: Be creative. Every book has a hook for a unique banquet.

Sponsor: Christian Writers Institute

The Art of Persuasion by Thomas Umstattd Jr.

Persuasion is one of the most important things we do as Christians. As authors, persuasion is not only part of the selling process, it is also at the heart of good writing.

Yet, persuasion is hard to do well and easy to botch. In this video course, Thomas Umstattd Jr. breaks down how to help your readers to truly change their minds for good. This is one of Thomas’ most popular and enduring talks.

Use coupon code “podcast” to save 10% at checkout. Or use the link in the show notes to activate it automatically.

The post 038 – What Queen Esther Can Teach Authors About Platform Building appeared first on Christian Publishing Show.

22 Responses to 038 – What Queen Esther Can Teach Authors About Platform Building

  1. Avatar
    Terri Robinson August 20, 2019 at 5:08 am #

    Very powerful article!

  2. Avatar
    Linsey August 20, 2019 at 5:11 am #

    I LOVED this post and your comment about thinking how we can serve our followers. Thank you for this. The Esther story was an awesome illustration of timing and putting thought into he we can bless our followers.

  3. Avatar
    Seralynn Lewis August 20, 2019 at 5:24 am #

    Timely post. Esther is my all-time favorite old testament book. The correlation between Queen Esther and today’s platform building is brilliant. I’ve saved this blog post to use while building my platform. Thank you, Steve.

  4. Avatar
    Sharon Cowen August 20, 2019 at 6:21 am #

    Please hear an echo to Terri, Linsey, and Seralynn. I wrote the sticky note. Thank you for conveying your deep understanding.

  5. Avatar
    Shay August 20, 2019 at 6:29 am #

    This is exactly the kind of thing I’m filing away to remind myself of often. Thank you!
    I also wanted to say, I love that you do a mix, having a solo show and also doing it with other people. The dynamic changes between the two, and I like that.
    To answer your other question, I haven’t been published yet, and I’m planning to go traditional.
    Looking forward to future posts!

  6. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser August 20, 2019 at 6:44 am #

    The only platform that I’ve got
    is the one I daily live,
    and while it seems like not a lot,
    it’s the best that I can give.
    Because it has a narrow scope
    I must try to say it well,
    and in the telling offer hope
    for the souls who go through hell.
    I am not defined by cancer,
    but through it God’s refined my heart
    with golden sutures as His answer
    where it was shattered, torn apart.
    It’s not a platform, where I stand;
    it’s in His mighty, loving Hand.

  7. Avatar
    Allyson Lewis August 20, 2019 at 8:02 am #

    I enjoyed your marketing like Esther – great analogy!

    I’m planning on seeking traditional publishing for my YA fiction novel which i’m currently deep editing the first draft.

  8. Avatar
    Judi August 20, 2019 at 9:12 am #

    I loved this post, Thomas! It offered such a good reminder that we are servants. As a non-fiction writer, marketing strategy is more than that simply promotion. It’s ministry strategy where I must pursue the best ways to reach my audience and get into their hands and hearts the encouragement, inspiration and biblical tools they need to help them through their struggles.

  9. Avatar
    claire o'sullivan August 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm #

    Excellent! I never thought of Esther as a marketer… but you’re right!

    Me? Not yet published (see what I did there? Not YET… ) but going the traditional route. My inner self says if an agent/publisher doesn’t think the MS will fly (not out the window), then pushing my own agenda is wrong and I can always put the MS aside for another day to read.

    Between a rock and a hard place or a stone and my stubborn noggin, I sway between preaching to the choir or reaching those who hate church. My MC hates God, so… there is that. I would love to market to both.

    Last, I have read a lot of very dry Christian romances that end up in the DNR pile because they are dry, preaching to the choir, the Christians are perfect, and who can relate to that? Not me. There is no such thing (well in my MC’s case) of an instant change. So, while I do want to reach those who love romance, I want it to be memorable and a fun read.

  10. Avatar
    Armene Humber August 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm #

    What a brilliant marketer she was! I love how she built suspense and expectation. But what I love most is that she first asked for prayer, then secluded herself and prayed. THEN she implemented her strategy. We can’t shortcut God! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in false urgency that we forget it’s his anointing on HIS message THROUGH us that counts!

  11. Avatar
    Shirlee Abbott August 20, 2019 at 4:05 pm #

    This was a great lesson, Thomas. I find the wide swath of topics helpful. I always learn something new.

    I have a blog, I write Bible studies and devotionals, and I have a book in progress. I used to be definite about a traditional publisher, but the more I learn, the more I think self-publishing could work for me. That thought process is typical for me, because I’m usually behind the curve on God’s plan. I start walking the path; He reveals the plan as I go. So keep the information coming, Thomas, God’s using you to move me (and others, no doubt) forward.

  12. Avatar
    Regina Merrick August 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm #

    Thomas, this was a great podcast. I have a sticky note on my monitor, asking “How can I bless my followers?”!! I’m traditionally published with a small press (Mantle Rock Publishing), and am in the process of writing a novel with a group of writers who are Indie publishing – Mosaic. This will be my first foray into this world, but we’re a group working together, so I guess it’s almost like a hybrid experience. I love all your podcasts, because they always seem to come at a time when I need them. This summer I’ve listened to nearly all the archived podcasts of this AND your Novel Marketing show while painting porch furniture, LOL! I’m a fan! Thanks so much for all you to to “promote Christ’s Kingdom!”

    • Avatar
      Thomas Umstattd August 22, 2019 at 7:51 am #

      Wow! That’s a lot of podcasts! I hope they have been helpful 🙂

  13. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver August 22, 2019 at 6:33 am #

    Thonmas, this was one of your best yet. I love the notes that you included. I find it hard to listen to podcasts because of hearing loss, so the notes help tremendously. Any chance you could include them in other posts?

  14. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver August 22, 2019 at 6:34 am #

    Oops! I didn’t proofread closely enough. Sorry I misspelled your name, Thomas!

  15. Avatar
    David C. Friend August 26, 2019 at 8:56 am #

    I enjoy your podcasts. They have most helpful.
    With Veterans Day coming up in November, do you plan to address the Veterans and or their family?
    I submitted My recent book to Steve Laube earlier this year and he was very kind but said this is not what he was looking for.
    My book title is Vietnam Before-During-After A young man’s journey. It was published by Trilogy Publishing. I would love to be a guest near Veterans Day if possible. We could discuss the issues facing Vets in America.

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