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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Walking the Dog of Marketing by Marcia Lee Laycock

Walking the Dog

It made my husband and I laugh as we drove by. A young girl was walking a large white dog – or rather, it was walking her. She would take a step and tug on the leash. The dog would follow for one or two paces, then lunge off to the side, jerking his master after him. Another tug, another couple of steps, another lunge and jerk, backwards this time. It was apparent the young girl was not going to get very far and she was going to end up with a rather sore arm by the time the walk was over.

As we chuckled and drove by I thought, Yup, that’s me – trying to walk the dog of marketing, tugging and tugging and tugging but ending up being jerked in every direction but forward.

There are so many voices out there telling us they have the solution – just do this and you’ll sell a million books in no time. You can write a book in 48 hours and make it a bestseller in one weekend. And of course there are many who are willing to share all their secrets to success – those never before shared with anyone – with only you. For a price. Right.

Uhoh. I could get pretty whiney here. In fact, to be honest, the first draft of this post was a little bit whiney. Well, okay, maybe a little more than a little bit. I find it all too easy to focus on the negatives, sometimes, especially when the dogs of marketing have dragged me in several directions at once and I can see very little significant results in book sales.

But then I have to stop and take another look. Yes, I’ve been dragged down many alleys, followed too many detours, and sometimes ended up going in circles, but it has all been a journey of learning. I’ve picked up some valuable insights and tips along the way. And not just about the writing life. I’ve seen God work in amazing ways even when I had my eyes on those misbehaving dogs instead of on the prize He has told me is waiting for me.

The Apostle Paul warned the people of Philippi to “watch out for those dogs, those evildoers …” (Phil. 3:2). These were men whose advice would lead to a bad end, because it would cause them to take their eyes off the prize.

Wait. A prize? For us? Oh yes, and Paul urges us to follow his example as he presses on “to win the prize for which God has called (us) heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).

Yes, there is a prize worth more than any other. It’s not a contract with the number one agent in the CBA or a big publishing house. It’s something far better. It’s an invitation to join our Lord and Saviour at His banquet table. It’s an invitation to fall into the embrace of Jesus Himself and know we are loved beyond measure.

I’m going to try and remember that large white dog. I’m going to try and remember how he jerked his master around so much she didn’t have time to enjoy her journey or focus on what was truly important.

And I’m going to look up and let go of that leash. 


Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan.

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be 
downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now 
available in Journal format on Amazon. 

Marcia's most recent release is A Traveler’s Advisory, Stories of God’s Grace Along the Way.

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur


  1. Thanks for your comment, Debbie. Glad you liked it. M

  2. Oh Marcia, I know whereof you speak! Thanks for the encouraging perspective. Great visual to remember.

  3. I can truly relate. Your perspective is so on point. If it's for God then let Him deal with book sales and contracts. I'm not sweating that dog anymore. Marketing your work is necessary, of course but it will not stress me out anymore. I had to get off that merry-go-round. I write for God and for the joy of storytelling. End of story...


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