After working for months to generate excitement about the book, the buzz is now beginning to freak me out. Just a bit. Expectations are so high across the board, it’s slightly terrifying. What will the other monkeys say when they discover it’s nothing but word scrambles and sudoku?
I give a portion of my book profits to various good and noble causes. For Calling Bernadette’s Bluff it was the National Center for Science Education and Doctors Without Borders. I’ve decided a portion of PBB profits will go to the most amazing organization I’ve ever been involved with: Nonviolent Peaceforce, an NGO that trains unarmed civilian peacekeeping teams and sends them to conflict zones around the world — currently Sri Lanka and Mindanao (Philippines), soon Colombia and Uganda. They work with local groups to build and sustain nonviolent strategies for conflict resolution. I’m their US communications coordinator at the moment, just an interim position, and I don’t want to tell them until I leave in May, so please don’t put it on the Internet or anything…
Just heard from the book’s publicist at Amacom that they’re having a very tough time getting parenting magazines to review the book. One editor after another claims s/he’s really really interested in the idea him or herself, but too concerned that a review would anger Christian subscribers into cancelling their subscriptions.
I couldn’t help thinking of a time, not too long ago, when periodicals would reject stories by or about African Americans for fear of angering white readers. I can just hear the editors at the time saying, “I think it’s a fine idea myself, but…” Saying such a thing today would be considered outrageous, but it’s still fine and dandy to accept or even promote bigotry against nonbelievers.
One invited contributor — thankfully only one — declined the offer to participate for the same reason. She is an agnostic, but also a prominent author of books for children, and said she simply couldn’t risk the potential backlash from religious parents. “I don’t need the controversy,” she said. He or she.
Now: It seems important to note that they’d surely be hearing from only a small minority of their religious readers. Most religious folks are just as sane and tolerant as you and I. I say this with confidence, having known countless Christians who are among the finest people I am likely to meet. And I use just one of them to shame myself whenever I pull out the broad brush. But that’s fodder for another post.