I’m excited for the arrival of September. It will bring with it slightly cooler temperatures in Charleston, less crowded days on the beach, Clemson football game weekends with my boyfriend, and the debut of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Ever since the final episode of The Colbert Report, I’ve been eagerly anticipating the host’s return to television. (And this very insightful interview in GQ only made me a bigger fan.) In preparation for his new show, Colbert has been doing a Late Show podcast, and I found the latest episode more interesting and relatable than any other so far. By the end I was thinking, Stephen Colbert is just like me!
In the brief podcast, Colbert and some of his crew discussed the publicity tour they had been doing for the new show. Visiting CBS affiliates all over the country, many in small towns off the beaten path, he did dozens of interviews, answering the same questions over and over again. He also had anecdotes about recording short ads for all the local TV stations. It made for entertaining stories, but he was honest enough to say that the tour was repetitive and exhausting, too. He mentioned the necessary work of “selling the product” and it hit me – Stephen Colbert has to do the same thing I do!
See, I have a product, too, and I’ve never much liked having to be a salesperson. Earlier this year, my dream of being an author came true, and my first book was published by Harrelson Press. All those years I dreamed of being a real author, I always envisioned the hard work being over once the book was printed. Then, I imagined, I could just sit back and enjoy the life of an author. Ha! Much to my surprise, publication was only the beginning of the hard work.
Just like Stephen Colbert, I need to promote my product. Thankfully, this is a product I very much believe in, a book into which I poured my heart and soul for five years. The discussions I get to have with readers about the questions it raises — around issues of faith and doubt, identity and calling, loneliness and community, self-worth and self-discovery — are simply wonderful. The hundreds (I think we’re in the hundreds now) of people who have read it have had very positive things to say about it (some of which you can read on Amazon here). But getting the book into the hands of readers is not easy.
I don’t have the name recognition and built-in national platform that Stephen Colbert does (shocking, I know). What I have is you, dear blog readers, and the people I’ve met at conferences from South Carolina to Texas where I’ve gone to do book events. Traveling to those events can take a toll on my time and finances, but like I said, I believe in this product, and I’ll do all I can to get it to the readers I believe will love it. It’s the kind of book I wish I’d read at several points in my life.
So I’m asking for your help. If you’ve read the book, write a review on Amazon or Goodreads, and tell your friends about it on social media. If you’re part of a book club, recommend Being Called Chaplain as an upcoming selection for the group. You’ll find discussion questions here, and you can contact me if you’d like to have a Q&A session with the author, either in person or via Skype. If you have a blog or a podcast, maybe you could invite me to be a guest writer or speaker. If you’re a seminary student or professor, a CPE student or supervisor, a chaplain or other minister, this book is an excellent discussion starter, and I’d be more than happy to come speak to your group as well. I’m slightly less funny than Stephen Colbert, but I can promise based on recent experiences that the conversation will be insightful and entertaining. I hope we can talk soon.