The odds are that you’ve not previously heard of Judith O’Grady. She’s a pagan author, of the book God Speaking, published by Moon Books. (pre order info here – http://www.amazon.com/Pagan-Portals-God-Speaking-Judith-OGrady/dp/1780992815) I think it’s a very important book, which is why I’m going to be putting in some effort trying to make sure it gets into people’s hands. The trouble is, Judith isn’t famous already. She doesn’t have a TV program, or a movie deal. Most people have never heard of her. This means that most physical book stores will not automatically put her books on the shelves, and most people will never even encounter her book, and this sucks. So let’s not have it be like that.
God Speaking tackles head on that problem about mental health versus religious experience. We live in a society where to hear voices, is to be crazy. Most Pagans sidle carefully around the subject, wanting to claim personal experience but at the same time not wanting to sound deranged. This book explores the issues in a witty and compelling way. Judith O’Grady is a person with a lot of valuable insight to share, and a really accessible writing style. She deserves and audience.
I think a lot of people outside the book industry imagine that what happens when you are published, is that the world magically beats a path to your door, you become wealthy and it’s all good. What really happens is this. Something like 250,000 books are published every year. Many barely sell at all. Something like half the books printed end up in landfill. Most authors, you have never heard of. Most books, you have never heard of. Most will never get into bookshops, or libraries. JK Rowling, Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey represent wild anomalies, not the normal authoring life. Which is a pity really, because there’s a lot of good stuff out there deserving of far better sales than it gets.
Most publishers simply don’t have the huge international marketing budgets needed to compete with film, TV, computer games, internet, phone aps and all the other things you may spend your disposable income on. Moon Book certainly cannot buy Judith the visibility she deserves. These days even the big houses fail to manage that. Books depend on word of mouth. That means you.
I want there to be good books. I am very bored of lightweight, predictable, derivative writing, and that’s what dominates the mainstream. I am desperate for substantial, engaging, well written and original material, fiction and non fiction alike. Therefore, if I find something good I am going to shout about it. The thing is, if no one buys an author’s books, they get depressed and demoralised. They maybe can’t justify the time and energy it takes to make another one. They maybe don’t see any point. I’ve been dangerously close to that myself, and this is part of my solution to that problem. If we could establish that there is a market for good, ground-breaking, original, surprising stuff maybe the mainstream publishers and bookstores would not focus so much on the celebrity crap, the obvious rip-offs and all the rest. I want nothing short of a revolution in the industry.
So here’s what we need to do, in this case and in others. We need reviews of Judith O’Grady’s work in as many places as possible. If you have a review site, can review for a publication or have a blog with a LOT of followers, see if you can get a review copy from the publisher. I think people who read this book will be convinced of its merits. I’m doing this purely because I read the book and was really inspired by it. Or, if you can take a blog post or an article, or something of that ilk and put it online and tell people about it, step up. If you leave a comment here I can get your email address from it and pass it to Judith. She’s not really an internet person, but she has a lot of ideas and opinions and will happily write you some content. Also, if you blog her stuff, tell me and I will tout the hell out of that post as well.
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I know a book that deserves this support’ then get the word out. If you think I can help, tell me. Review on goodreads and amazon. Mention it on facebook. For one, authors do notice this stuff and it really seriously can mean the difference between feeling there is a point to what you do and keeping going, or feeling all is hopeless futility and quitting. One good word. One person who understood and was inspired. That’s honestly how marginal the creative life can be. So if you value something, talk about it.