Five-Star Reviews, Catholic Information Control Failing
Or do you think that was different and the Bear should probably not hold his breath? You be the judge.
You could not pay me money to do this [beg]. But I would do it to help a book that is a missile aimed at every prince of the power of the air, throne, dominion and goofball with a mic in his hand who can't stand sacramental marriage and who laughs at what you and I know to be the reality of unseen warfare.
|Information control is ugly no matter what form it takes.|
Readers Love this Long, Challenging Catholic Page-turner;
All the Amazon reviews are enthusiastic "*****" by folks who have obviously grappled with and mastered the grownup themes of Judging Angels. Add to that nationally-known legal experts who have praised it and you have a better-than-usual release by a first-time novelist. The consensus is that Judging Angels is a genre-bending masterpiece of moral exploration at a challenging time in history; one in which Catholics are feeling unusually on their own.
A Catholic novel that tackles current problems within the culture and the Church and that constantly reinforces the sanctity of marriage. You would think the Catholic Media might be interested in an effective departure from the usual solemn procession of Catholic books.
And you would be right. They are interested. There can be no doubt they are interested in strangling Judging Angels in its crib. They know how hard it is to compete against the usual Catholic formula books and the "Legion" of supernatural teenage romances from which I must somehow distinguish Judging Angels. And they know the only point at which they can stop Judging Angels is when it is a mewling cub it its crib. Let this thing get its four paws under it and they will be looking at a very different beast.
I don't blame them, except for the cowardice and hypocrisy part. If I were them, I would do everything in my power to suppress the Bear. Personally, I would probably at least have the guts to make up some lie like, Sniff, "We are afraid this... prose comic book does not meet the high standards historic in EWTN's programming and personalities." On second thought, maybe that would't be such a good idea.
We do not live in a time when the Church and its organs are likely to get behind a vigorous defense of marriage. Write a book for children about the beauty of same-sex parentage and the Vatican itself will give you a letter to promote your book. Write a book where a man attempts to deal with extraordinary temptation and insists that what he does is more important that how he happens to feel at the moment and the Church will hate you. Expose the real methods of temptation and the Church will do everything possible to keep that information out of your hands.
Kind of weird if you think about, huh?
You don't fit the Mercy narrative. Throw darts at Pope Francis' Insult Board until you have enough papal insults to piece together your own authentic-sounding Vatican review.
It used to be the Church put heretical books on The Index. Now the Church puts orthodox books on the unofficial index. This just tells me how weak they fear their position is, if they are afraid of a trifle like Judging Angels.
On the other hand, right now, none of this helps help Judging Angels. Does anyone imagine it's all about the money? That's not the way things work except for the very, very few lightning strike first-time novels. No, it is about getting pages in front of eyeballs, and thoughts behind those. That is all it has ever been. I hope you knew that all along.
Ah, the days when all an aspiring stage star had to do was sleep with Addison deWitt as in All About Eve. Now they're not satisfied with your body. They want you to give up your soul by helping them deny inconvenient truths of the Faith while the Church struggles to stay relevant in a non-supernaturalist world.
There are some brave souls that get it and who will give us interviews. (Couple coming up soon, so keep an eye on this page.) But the EWTNs of the world - the Catholic big shots who see themselves as the gatekeepers to Catholic Culture and fire brigades for Rome's very own merry incendiary all-male chorus are doing their best to throttle this cute little brown Bear cub with huge, moist eyes. Dinosaurs, meet mammals. We may not look like much now, but we're more adaptive, infinitely more efficient, a lot more entertaining, and - here's the weird part - more faithful to the Catholic Faith.
If I had had my characters finding the answers to their marital problems from a leaf-through of Amorous Laetitia they'd love Judging Angels. Perhaps I might have George and Alice just part ways and form new unions that make everyone happy (or at least some of them rich). Kids? Eh, they get over such things, no?
The experts who "know" it is really this or that issue irrelevant to the book itself don't know what they are talking about. Let's say for the sake of argument Catholic Media thinks my publisher has gone off the deep end against Trump. It is hard to explain the chilly silence from Trump-hating elements of Catholic Media, then. No, this is all about the Bear.
You may wonder why a coalition of Catholic bloggers don't outweigh the EWTNs of the world. God bless us, that's not the way we roll.
Judging Angels would be on oxygen - if they let it have any oxygen. And, like I said, there are brave and independent reviewers who will do the job EWTN is scared to. There is one thing Catholic Media can't control. They can't stop readers who liked Judging Angels from giving it good reviews.
This, friends, is our only avenue of attack. It seems like such a tiny thing. Frankly, I would rather have 25 four- or five- star reviews from readers on Amazon than ten minutes with some yuk-it-up hosts on an EWTN morning show. That's my one chance - good reviews. Get enough of those and maybe Judging Angels can overcome the hostility from Catholic Media and getting hobbled by its wildly inappropriate "Catholic Fantasy" category.
There are ways Judging Angels can survive long enough to crawl out of out of its crib and start to defend itself. It's largely up to you. Let me just say this: It is not easy to flat out beg, even for a Bear. Try it sometime. Now try it after giving people a million reasons to make fun of you ("he thinks he's a Bear; he talks about his own novel; he adds little stories; and tries to be funny") and then put yourself as a public figure out there at even 36.000 views a month.
That is why I am so happy to sacrifice my profit by providing free shipping, a.k.a. my cut. It makes me happier to imagine people enjoying my novel rather than pocketing a few bucks. (I won't gouge you until Volume IV of the Rubricatae Chronicles.)
I want the books in people's hands. Heck, read one, then pass it around and generate a few more reviews. I would rather have reviews than sales. (I am happy to generate sales for my publisher, except we are in slightly different positions here: she having taken all the risk, with me just doing the fun part.)
For four years I have written a nearly daily blog without charging a penny. It has always been about the content: whether desperate Morse-code intercepts, gentle Lenten fables, in-depth analysis, or cutting satire. And I don't think I've gotten bitter, for all of that. I will leave the quality of the Bear's corpus of work for others to judge. And I'm proud of my commentators, some of the best in the business. They have come, and they have gone, and every one that has gone has been missed.
And those, ladies and gentlemen, are my bona fides for putting message above money. I am not laying sole claim to that, either. Most bloggers are similarly generous. And you may see a donate button, but I'll be damned if I ever block your access to the content you came for for as much as a tenth of a second. Yeah, my ads are on the sidebar, but you can look at them or not. And notice how I have mostly finished separating the writing content here (where I might actually sell some books) from the Bear's main page with tens of thousands more views. Please repay the favor once in awhile, if you don't mind, by checking out this blog.
You could not pay me money to do this. But I would do it to help a book that is a missile aimed at every prince of the power of the air, throne, dominion and goofball with a mic in his hand who can't stand sacramental marriage and laughs at what you and I know to be the reality of unseen warfare.
Maybe we won't break the code with this novel. If even we learn something for the next guy, I'll take it.