You may have noticed that sometimes we poke a little fun at Amish books. (Could that be because Amish books sell like hotcakes, and our books sell like personalized birthday cakes? That is to say, there are lots of people named Elizabeth who would like a cake with that name on it, hundreds of thousands in fact. But the vast majority of the world would pass on it.)
I’ve heard explanations for the popularity of “bonnet” books. One is that people yearn for the simplicity and close relationships of such cloistered societies. Another explanation is that they’re the Christian subgenre equivalent of what we’d called a “locked room” book in mystery novels: Everything happens in a microcosm, or shows that microcosm reacting to the outside world. It’s tidy and neat.
You know what I yearn for that the Amish have? A lack of connectedness to the world. (Now, lest you remark upon the utter hypocrisy of someone posting on the Internet about how great it would be to not to be connected with the world, hear me out.)
I've done the heroic co-pushing with my publishers of my books. In fact, one of my publishers told my agent Janet Grant that I was “a publisher’s dream.” I spent most of a year (and probably most of my writings earnings) helping get the word out about my books when they were released about 18 months ago, by good publishers. As a result, I have thousands of Facebook, Shoutlife, SistahFaith, and Twitter friends. There are reviews of my books, and videos and discussions about them and me all over (the Web of) tarnation.
Recently, I read a long post by a published author who spoke of the “new rules” for authors. Because our economy is hanging publishers upside down and shaking them until their pockets come inside out (my image, not the author’s), he said we must do things differently. He said to disobey the system, shun publicity and crowds, not seek them, write for yourself and not an audience nor a niche, and embrace what the world would call failure.
Yeah, I’m all up for that big bear hug.
I can’t recommend the article because it is profane, anti-religious, and I (and apparently a lot of others, judging from the comments) couldn’t figure out if he was serious.
But it struck a chord. A chord of wanting to be disconnected. Not just so I can be a hermit, but so I can focus on actually writing. To not feel guilty if I don’t follow strangers back on Twitter when they have sought me out. To get up in the morning and not feel neglectful for dragging myself away from scores of emails from more strangers, some of whom who might really need me (and when you write on leaving a cult, a lot of people really believe they need you.)
The Amish call to my soul, I believe, because they are disconnected.
Now, talk me back from a tipping point here. What reasons should I stay connected? I mean, other than answering emails from people in real trouble, and posting and reacting here on Novelmatters, why would I want to continue being “connected”?
Well, another reason is that agents, editors, publicists, and other industry people say we are not attractive to a publisher if we are not connected. To the hilt.
What say ye?