Yes, it’s that time again. I have a book coming out. Books, in fact. Which is great. But also awkward, from a social media point of view, because it’s such a difficult line to walk — how, and how much, to promote your own work.
On the one hand, you have to do it. No writer can exist in the social media world today without talking about his or her own work: helping to promote it to readers is part of your job.
On the other hand, nobody wants to be Todd Manley-Krauss. And every writer is secretly afraid that they are — afraid of being the one whose self-promotion is so shameless that people start unfriending you. If you don’t think it’s a difficult balance to strike, then you’ve probably never tried to promote your own work, in any field (or else you actually are Todd Manley-Krauss).
So here’s the deal: I’ll be talking about this stuff here on the blog a little bit over the next few weeks — here on the blog, and on Facebook (amidst my vacation photos), and on Twitter. I have a new book coming out next week. And an old book of mine has just been re-released in a new format. And as a writer, it’s my job to make sure that if you are interested in either of those, you know that they’re out there and where to get them. And if you’re not, to avoid boring you so much that you stop hanging out with me in cyberspace.
Today I want to talk to you about Kingdom of the Heart, because with all the promotion I’m going to be doing for A Sudden Sun over the next few weeks, Kingdom might get a little lost in the shuffle. So here’s the story:
Back about 1989 or 1990, I wrote what was, for many years, my favourite thing I’d ever written. This was before I started writing historical fiction about Bible characters; this was almost the opposite. I tried (not the only writer to do so by a long shot) to imagine Jesus coming as an everyday person in today’s world, doing and saying the things he said and did the first time, but in a modern North American context. I loved that book, and it was published in 1991 under the title The Man from Lancer Avenue. Some people read it and also loved it (presumably others read it and didn’t like it, but I didn’t hear from them) and in due course, a few years later, it went out of print. End of story.
Awhile back I was contacted by Pacific Press Publishing Association about re-issuing The Man from Lancer Avenue as an e-book. I thought that this would be a great way to make an out-of-print novel available to new readers in the digital age — in fact, I did it myself by self-publishing The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson as an e-book re-release — so I was eager to do the same for Lancer Avenue. The idea grew with time, and it ended up involving somewhat of a rewrite — I wanted to bring the story and characters into the twenty-first century. Also, Pacific Press asked me to create a condensed version of the book for a print release. This is the book that’s currently available under the new title Kingdom of the Heart — the e-book of the whole story will be out in a few months.
The complete book tells the story from the point of several characters who more-or-less correspond to modern-day versions of Jesus’ disciples. The condensed print version focuses on just two of those characters — Marie Castillo, a contemporary Mary Magdalene, and Pete Johnson, my updated apostle Peter. Marie and Pete, along with their families and friends, both meet up with an unconventional street preacher named Chris Davidson who allegedly has the power to heal the sick, and who invites ordinary people to leave their jobs, homes and families behind to follow him.
Kingdom of the Heart is a short book, novella-length, and it’s available for only $2.99 (US) at this link. I also have some copies to give away, and I’ll gladly send them to the first five people who post here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me why you’d like to have this book.
If you’d like to read the whole story, look for the e-book, which will be out later this year. I’ll let you know … and I’ll try not to be too annoying in the process!