How I envy Julian of Norwich.
Not only did she have an awesome experience of sixteen revelations of Divine Love, but she also took twenty years to reflect on her experience and then wrote a book that remains one of the finest testimonies of mystical experience in the Christian tradition.
Okay, there is the fact that she was deathly ill during her visions, and that she lived in the middle ages, and spent most of her adult life in a solitary cell. There’s a downside to everything.
But one more thing I envy about Julian: she didn’t have to promote her own work. No publishers, editors, or literary agents asking her how many hits her website is generating, or how large her email mailing list is, or how many Twitter followers she has.
Yes, I like getting up in front of a crowd and talking about mysticism and the spiritual life — but that’s mainly because I love talking about these things so much that it emboldens me to deal with the “crowd” bit. All things being equal, I’m a natural introvert and would much rather have intimate conversations with just one or two people at a time, or would just happily while away the hours at my computer, writing and then checking in with folks at Facebook to see what’s up. That’s a true introvert’s dream.
But I’m a writer in the 21st century, and so part of my job is to promote my work. Since I’m not a Big Name writer who can affort to hire my own publicity team, it’s all up to me.
I just wish it weren’t so embarrassing. It feels like calling up people on the phone and saying, “Hi, will you be my friend?”
So, my latest foray into the oh-so-embarrassing world of shameless self-promotion has been setting up an Author Page on Facebook. This is a more “public” alternative to my personal page, which theoretically is for my circle of friends. The Author Page is a more public forum, where I can post news about my work and forthcoming appearances, and (very interesting for me), my readers can ask me questions or even initiate discussions amongst themselves about my work. It’s really a neat concept, and so I’m glad I’ve finally set one up.
I actually have resisted doing so for a while — and that’s for one simple reason: Facebook has it set up so that each Author page describes the people who link to it as “fans.”
I think “readers” would be a more, er, useful term. I feel much more comfortable asking people to be my readers than to be my fans. I can hear my old high school buddies now: “Who does Carl think he is, asking me to ‘become a fan’? Harumph!” As a spiritual writer, I believe people who read my work shouldn’t be fans of me, but of God. I’m just the messenger-boy.
But Facebook has spoken, and so I’m stuck with the format given to me. If you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll “become a fan.” Just don’t blame me for that verbage!
Here’s the link: www.facebook.com/carlmccolman.