Teresa Mkhitaryan did something remarkable a couple of days ago. She shared my Facebook page with an Armenian online community, and included a note that said “Big request to support Wendy Elliott, Canadian writer. She wants to write a book about American Missionaries who saved Armenian orphans during the genocide.” She explained that “it’s very important that it is a foreigner who is writing about genocide and more,” and that everyone should “support this noble cause of the Canadian writer” (at least, according to Google Translate that’s what she said). Click. Send. And just like that, within a day and a half, 82 people “liked” and/or followed my page. It was a lesson for me on the power of asking for help, explaining the importance of support, and giving clear directions on what to do. It was also a lesson on the power of social media and networking. Teresa and I don’t know each other, but we have a mutual friend in Kamo Mailyan. It was another example of the kindness of strangers, which always makes my heart sing. I want to thank Teresa, all the people who Liked or Followed my page, and everyone who has shared my posts. But I also want to tell you why your support is so important.
Grit and Grace in a World Gone Mad will NOT be published without lots of support
Once upon a time, an interesting story, well written, would be published. It might take time and a lot of rejections to find a willing publisher, but eventually it would happen. Not so today. The publishing industry has changed drastically in the last five year. Now it takes a “strong author’s platform” before a publisher or literary agent will even consider looking at a book proposal. That’s because they want some sort of guarantee that the book will sell.
An author’s platform consists of an indefinable combination of:
- expertise in the subject matter
- ability to write well
- previously published books and articles
- a large audience due to speaking engagements
- a large social media following
I can demonstrate the first four items, but I’m new to the last two. I’m currently working on creating a presentation, and writing more articles, and I only started writing the blog 10 weeks ago. So, according to this formula, I have a lot of work to do—before I even start to write the book!
I am committed to seeing the book published because:
- Kamo and I made a promise to the relative of Susan Wealthy Orvis who gave us access to her papers
- Scholars need to be aware of the existence of the Susan Wealthy Orvis archives, which have been locked away in a trunk for almost a hundred years
- according to Kamo, there are many facts I’m including in the book, discovered through my research, that are unknown to most Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Turks
- most Americans and Canadians don’t know anything about the genocides that occurred in the Ottoman Empire, nor the enormous humanitarian effort that our two nations participated in
- missionaries and relief workers from several other countries, such as the British Empire and Scandinavia, also made a significant contribution
- I can’t let 2 years of research go to waste
- it’s important to some people that I, a “foreigner”, write the book. If you’ll pardon the pun, this is a foreign idea to me—I don’t quite understand it—but I will accept it on faith
- it’s just a darn good story, filled with thrilling adventure, a bit of romance, quirky and strong characters, orphans, clear but complex villains, imperialism, bloody conflict, questionable decisions, soulful reflections, goodness and evil, innocence, and the indomitable human spirit
- while it’s never going to be a best-seller, it would be nice to see Grit and Grace in a World Gone Mad on a few library shelves
Lesson Learned, so…
Big request! To publish the book I need a strong author’s platform. You can help me accomplish that by asking as many people as possible to “like” or “follow” my Facebook page or sign up on my mailing list. If you share my page or post, please add a request as Teresa did—it works wonders!