Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Outside the Box

by Rebecca Talley

Sometimes, I think we box ourselves in when we determine that what we've written is just for the LDS market. We tend to think that only those who read LDS literature will enjoy our books. Perhaps, it's time to think outside that box.

It's true that sometimes what we write may be harder for others outside the LDS culture to understand, but that doesn't mean they won't enjoy it or learn from it.

One of the best ways to market outside our LDS market is through Goodreads. Goodreads now offers advertisements for a low cost but I've found that giveaways are even better. I've done two giveaways with over 2000 entries between the two. Since I do visit Goodreads, I saw a review pop up. This review was very positive so I thanked the reviewer. Turns out, she'd seen my book advertised for the giveaway and when she didn't win, she decided to buy it herself. She really enjoyed it even though she is baptist.

Several others who have reviewed my book, The Upside of Down, on Goodreads are not LDS but have still enjoyed it. Some have even changed their perspective about Down syndrome after reading my book--yay!! Two of the reviews came from winners of the giveaways. I probably would never have reached those readers if I had not done a giveaway.

I have also handed out bookmarks to people in my "circle" who are not LDS. My son's speech therapist bought my book on Kindle. She's not LDS and didn't understand a few of the references but really liked learning more about the LDS faith. And, she got a message from the book that surprised me. She said that she'd learned she should reach out and serve more. That wasn't an intentional theme, but I'm glad she got that from the book.

We write our books to reach out to others and share something that's important to us. It may be a message or it may be to lift up, entertain, or comfort. Heavenly Father has blessed us with the talent to write and I believe sometimes we shortchange ourselves, and others, by only seeing inside a box. We need to reach outside that box. As we write about LDS characters and the LDS life we can serve to breakdown barriers and educate others outside our faith about what we truly believe.

At a time when inaccurate, disrespectful, crude musicals bent on tearing down our faith flourish on Broadway, it's even more important that we reach beyond our box and share our LDS literature with the world around us.


Jolene Perry said...

Goodreads is so awesome :D

I'd love to see a few more books on the national market that take place within the LDS faith. I've read a ton of books that take place in catholic families or jewish families, and I love what I learn from them.

Stephanie Black said...

Excellent post, Rebecca. I'm guilty of just looking "within the box" with my books, and not reaching beyond the LDS market. I need to rethink that!