I’m not big into self promotion. I’m not big into selling folks stuff they do not need or want. I am, however, a proponent of spreading the word for works I respect. Yes, I’ll buzz about friends’ book and that sort of thing, but I feel a little unclean when I do it unless I also really like the work itself.
Thus, I come to this post with some hesitancy. You see, my wife has ghost written a memoir about an African man who returned to his country to build a school for AIDS orphans in his home district. It’s a wonderful story and I greatly admire what Sue did with it. Still, she is my wife and I don’t fully trust my judgment where her work is concerned. Yes, our agent liked the project enough to donate her portion of the advance to the school, and, yes, the editor at Viking-Penguin raved about the manuscript even as she worked with Sue to shift some chapters around. And, yes, the book got advance blurbs from a diverse group of readers, including President Carter and Lynn Vincent (Sarah Palin’s ghost writer) along with 20 or so others.
Yet, I find myself stuttering when I suggest acquaintances ought to read it. Why do I feel guilty for touting the book to others? Objectively, I have no doubt this book deserves praise. Subjectively? It’s my wife’s work and I don’t want to come across as one of those pompous self-interested promoters; I don’t want to sell people stuff they don’t want. But if I don’t promote it, am I being fair to Sue? I would surely promote it if she were merely a writer friend. And I do love the book.
Today, when I noticed the book breaking Amazon’s top 1000 list (in all books, not just nonfiction), I seized the moment and broadcast the brag widely. Not only did the book make the top 1000 for two days running, it did so a full week before its hardcover release date. These sales are pre-orders. Isn’t that exceptional? Isn’t Sue wonderful for having written the story so effectively?
Yes. Which is why I invite you to judge for yourself. The book is called “The Price of Stones: Building a School for My Village” and it shows up in bookstores on June 10. If you appreciate nonfiction or good causes or uplifting stories or solid prose that puts you in a place not your own, read the book. Discuss it. If you love it, spread the word.
I’m very proud of what Sue has accomplished (the PhD was a good start, mind you; she was the first in her family to even attend college). It’s time I shouted her praise to anyone who will hear it.