Wednesday, June 25, 2008

God Is an African-American Woman Named "Papa"


The New York Times yesterday printed an article about another writer who found success because readers loved the story that sprang from his imagination.

Snippets from the article ...

  • Thousands of readers like Mr. Nowak, a regular churchgoer, have helped propel The Shack, written by William P. Young, a former office manager and hotel night clerk in Gresham, Ore., and privately published by a pair of former pastors near Los Angeles, into a surprise best seller. It is the most compelling recent example of how a word-of-mouth phenomenon can explode into a blockbuster when the momentum hits chain bookstores, and the marketing and distribution power of a major commercial publisher is thrown behind it.
  • In 2005 Mr. Young, now 53, started writing the book to show how he had healed by forging a new relationship with God. He chose to make God an African-American woman, he said, because he wanted to alter religious preconceptions. “It was just a way of saying: ‘You know what? I don’t believe that God is Gandalf with an attitude or Zeus who wants to blast you with any imperfection that you exhibit,’ ” Mr. Young said.
  • He gave 15 copies to his children and a few friends. When the friends wanted to send copies to other friends, Mr. Young wondered if he might have something suited for a wider audience.
  • So Mr. Cummings, Mr. Anderson and Mr. Young invested about $15,000 of their own money to print and distribute the book. All three began sending copies to influential Christian friends, and orders started rolling into Windblown’s Web site.

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