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Nothing fascinates me more at the moment than the groundswell of what I call the American essence.
Two events this week encouraged me, in the face of America’s first openly socialist president. As I’ve written in previous posts, this directly impacts the dissemination of information, also known as publishing.
At lunch Monday, I visited with a friend who operates one of the largest conservative Christian websites in the world. We were having the same conversation you were having at lunch Monday.
“Never in my lifetime have I seen such an atmosphere in our country,” I said in a painfully obvious moment.
“Jim,” my friend intoned as he leaned forward, “We haven’t seen an atmosphere like this since 1776.”
My friend is not given to melodrama or hyperbole. He’s what John Wayne used to call a straight shooter. He embodies the independent spirit of Americans who love their country; this is the American essence.
This essence is embodied by people who are common, hard-working and smart. Let me fire a musket ball in the direction of leftists: these people I’m describing are smart and informed.
Which brings me to encounter No. 2.
On Wednesday night and Thursday night, I attended a rural church that was hosting two national speakers. That’s what intrigued me – a church literally in the middle of a pasture snaring two grass-roots guys with large followings. I won’t give any more identifying detail.
I drove up to park outside the church and found that there were only two or three spaces left. I was stunned. Inside, almost 600 people had gathered.
I say this in all seriousness: The closest town has 43 residents, and the county is not large, either. I had traveled some distance to hear these speakers and enjoyed the delicious added bonus of seeing a huge grass-roots crowd.
Now, to my point about writing and publishing.
Entering the crowded foyer, I spotted the product tables of the speakers. It was striking that the books and DVDs were being snatched-up before these two patriots had spoken.
That’s interesting factoid No. 1.
Interesting factoid No. 2 was the reading lists of those attending. Now, I’m talking about farmers, factory workers, blue-collar types.
A middle-aged lady was leaning against a wall. I noticed two books literally under her right arm.
“Have you read those books?” I asked.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “I brought them tonight to give to my friend.”
This got me thinking.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the editorial board of the New York Times are counting on their urban legend about real Americans being true, that is, that we’re not smart and we are pliable.
How ironic. Who is really being stupid here?
I spoke to quite a few folks during the two evenings, and while I can’t say I was surprised at the level of knowledge, it was very heartening. And many of them are readers, buying and sharing books by conservative writers. There is a huge grass-roots movement out there that isn’t going to roll over.
The second evening’s speaker prowled the stage before walking out to the front of the crowd.
“Our national leaders think that you are stupid!” he said.
He spent a few minutes railing about the diabolical plans those leaders have for the United States. Good for him.
His responses to our leaders’ plans were humorous, encouraging and real. He had made it personal.
On Wednesday night, the first speaker held up his latest book. This one was self-published, because he is like many writers today, realizing publishers are literary morticians: killing a project before it is launched, but making it look good in the coffin.
Many publishers today ride the coattails of authors who have built their own large followings. Why publish with them when you can do it yourself? Disseminate your own ideas and reap the benefits, which allow you to continue doing what you do.
“This my latest book,” he said. “It’s been out only several weeks and we’ve sold 75,000 copies.”
This is not a number he had made up; a phony would have said the book had already sold a half million. Yet 75,000 is an amazing number, coveted by any publisher anywhere, and more importantly, the book will have “legs” as they say. Its momentum is continuing to build, and the ideas expressed in it will also reach many more people.
This guy is an entrepreneur and has made himself into an engaging speaker.
But guess what? You can do the same thing, because you still live in America. If you have something to say, are willing to work yourself onto a viable platform (networking, blogging, promoting yourself as a speaker, developing your website), and aren’t shy about self-promotion … you can share your ideas and books with 600 impassioned people in a small town. And you are already ahead of me: that kind of venue will be something you do in your spare time.
National venues will also follow, and the net effect will be that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will have to console themselves with their own splashy book launches in Manhattan. Few mainstream media outlets will spill the beans that books like theirs wind up on remainder tables … within minutes of their release.
Meanwhile, real Americans will travel the country speaking to real Americans, espousing ideas and sharing critical information that will preserve the real America.
No Washington politician is going to railroad them.