The Lamppost Café
Updated: Apr 25
by Justin Wiggins
Please welcome Justin to the Writers Journey Blog this week with his delightful and wonderful take on marketing your work!
The Lamppost Café
In Belfast Northern, Ireland there is a charming place inspired by C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia called The Lamppost Café. When I visited the glorious place back in September of 2021, I had a delightful time there enjoying a good, caffeinated beverage, fine Irish hospitality by the people working there, a Guinness chocolate cake, good laughs, and rich conversation with my American friend Craig Setzer and Irish friend Judith Millar; and looking around at all of the admirable artwork inspired by Lewis’s timeless Narnia mythology.
One of the reasons why the café is so popular is because it has great food, beverages, and has a Narnia theme in promoting its business- Narnia has been around for many years and is something many people around the world are familiar with. This marketing approach by the owners of the café was a very good idea with promoting their business since Lewis was born in Belfast Northern Ireland, and the landscape there inspired all the geography of Narnia, as did my epic adventure in Scotland, England, and Ireland inspired my most recent book Tír na nÓg, published by Steve Cawte of Impspired.
The Lamppost Café is continuing to do well, which is amazing in the context of the wretched coronavirus pandemic that has been happening the past few years- things aren’t as awful as they were, and our human tribe is still thriving and making good progress in combating the virus. Marketing, done with a sense of humility, creative thinking, and in community, is very risky and challenging, but is, in my experience, a very good way of sustaining a business, promoting your own art, your friend’s art, and cultivating community.
When I found my voice as a writer years ago, I knew that it would not be likely that I would make my daily bread off of currency from my books unless I wrote something that made it on the New York Times Bestseller list and that I would need to have a normal day job, just like many of the writers I admire did. Although monetary gain was never the goal, it has still been nice to receive royalties from books I have written, thanks to some amazing publishers in the U.K.- Grant Hudson of Clarendon House Publications and Steve Cawte of Impspired. It is the same feeling of joy a musician gets when they get a record deal, or when someone pays a decent amount to a visual artist for a painting they have spent much time and effort on. I have immensely enjoyed the success my books Surprised by Agape, Surprised By Myth I co-wrote with Grant Hudson, Marty & Irene, and Tír na nÓg have had.
People define success in very different ways, but what I mean by success, is that people have found my books funny, encouraging, inspiring, honest, and moving.
In that context, I feel as if I am doing what I was created to do by pursuing my vocation as a writer, glorifying Christ, and contributing something meaningful to the world that conveys beauty, goodness, joy, and hope, as many of my favorite artists do. I used to think that it was wishful thinking that I would ever have any work published- when I first started to seriously write I didn’t know any publishers, I had no professional connections, and when growing up, I was quite confused, frightened, lonely, and had some intense worldview and identity conflicts to work through. The music of Jon Foreman, and the writings of C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Neil Gaiman, J. R. R. Tolkien, John Keats, Madeleine L’Engle, and others, changed all of that for me.
How have I had success with my writings? One reason is that, although I was quite shy about promoting my own books, to begin with, I knew that it would have to be done, so I did just that, through social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, through my church community, college, work, and through word-of-mouth at pubs, coffee shops, and other places. I soon found that people actually cared to read something honest and hopeful I wrote for any person of whatever worldview, and the profoundly moving responses from people, changed my life, and inspired and encouraged me to continue reading, writing, dreaming, thriving, working hard, live out my faith by grace and love people of all worldviews.
I have always enjoyed promoting my friends’ books, music, businesses, podcasts, and art. It gets any egocentric nonsense out of the way and reminds one that it is all about community, and human connection.
Through promoting different people’s work, I have made some amazing rich friendships, cultivated an amazing artistic community around the world for whom I am thankful, and found inspiration to collaborate with people on creative projects, get out of my comfort zone, heal, thrive, and strive for my writing to be the best that it can be.
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Bio: Justin Wiggins is a local writer that works and lives in the primitive, majestic, beautiful mountains of North Carolina. He graduated with his Bachelor's in English from Montreat College with a focus on C.S. Lewis studies in May of 2018. His first book, Surprised by Agape. published by Grant Hudson of Clarendon House Publications. He has also had poems, and other short pieces published by Grant Hudson and Clarendon House Publications, the C.S. Lewis Sehnshuct Journal, and by Sweetycat Press. Now, Tír na nÓg, published by Steve Cawte of Impspired. Justin has a great zeal for life, work, community, rich conversation, traveling, writing, literature, art, pubs, bookstores and coffee shops.