Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A tale of two books ...

Exhibit A: The Amazon Sales Rank since July '06 of "Loyal Dissent" (released May '06): by Rev. Charles Curran.

Exhibit B: The Amazon Sales Rank since release of "Standing with Peter" (released November '06) by Dr. William May.

Now of course it is my job as the publisher of "Standing with Peter" to get the 2nd chart similar to the first chart. But we start at a disadvantage. The Rev. Curran, being a prominant Jesuit and a theologian who dissents from several moral teachings of the Church, almost automatically gets reviews from secular as well as more left-leaning Catholic publications. He even gets a few reviews from more orthodox publications (a bad review is better than no review.)

Dr. May's memoirs, on the other hand is not 'interesting' to the secular press. If you rely on sales generated by the Catholic press only, your numbers can look as good as the first chart, but it is an uphill battle. We do hope and expect reviews from the Catholic press. It is early yet.

One thing bigger publishers do that we don't, is that they send out their review copies before the book is officially released (or sometimes before the final edited version is printed.) As a small publisher (like Requiem Press), we don't have such a budget. So our review copies generally go out with the book release. Thus our reviews will straggle in during the first year instead of coinciding with release.

Even so, we need to get those numbers up. So what am I going to do about it? Well we have to get the word out. I am starting .... here. Of course you have all helped with this book before-helping to select and fine-tune the cover. I ask for help again. Spread the word: Read "Standing with Peter" by Dr. William May. - blurb and endorsements below:

In 1968, William May signed a document dissenting from Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae, in which the Pope reaffirmed the Church’s teaching against artificial birth control. In Dr. May’s own words, “Signing this document was on my part a cowardly deed.” But God, in his providence, used this mistake to launch the career of one of the Church’s outstanding moral theologians-who now ‘stands with Peter’ on Humanae vitae. This is his story.

In these reflections, Dr. May takes us from his early years in the seminary, the illness which precluded his ordination, his first career as a book editor, the cataclysmic events of 1968-especially those surrounding Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae, and finally his academic career at Catholic University of America and the John Paul II Institute.

With personal anecdotes, humor and humility, William May shows how God takes care of us and has plan for each of us; how God in his providence can bring good from our mistakes, if we are willing to co-operate with his grace. Dr. May also illuminates the errors of moral relativism and other questionable theological “innovations” so fashionable in recent decades.

Dr. William May for many years has been one of our most important moral theologians. He also is a man who has served the Church and her people long and well. Standing With Peter is a fascinating memoir of a lifetime of scholarship in action–a warmly human account told with Dr. May’s famous gusto, integrity, and passionate commitment to the truth. It’s a joy to read. –RUSSELL SHAW (author, CATHOLIC LAITY IN THE MISSION OF THE CHURCH)

Dr. Bill May, perhaps America’s most outstanding moral theologian of the twentieth century, has written a memoir of his personal and professional life that forms an important part of the developing history of the pre- and post Vatican II era in the Church in the US. For well over 40 years, he has been inside the Beltway at Catholic University and the John Paul II Center at the heart of, and on both sides, of the conflict between loyal Catholics and ‘dissenters’ on magisterial teaching. There is no one better to tell the inside story particularly surrounding the events of that pivotal year 1968 and also of his role and charge of heart and mind.REV C. J. MCCLOSKEY III, Research Fellow, Faith and Reason Institute, Washington D.C.

For the past three decades and more, William E. May has stood among the very best moral theologians in the world–always standing with Peter. He has demonstrated how standing with Peter is a sure guide to straight thinking.PATRICK G.D. RILEY (author, Civilizing Sex: On Chastity and the Common Good)

92 pp. $9.95 US Order here

1 comment:

alicia said...

I've ordered my copy and look forward to reading and reviewing it.
I have long been a fan of Dr. May. As a health care provider in the area of OB, I run smack dab against these moral issues on a daily basis, and I have found the recent works of Dr. May to be invaluable in my daily life - when I have to explain to patients why I have chosen not to prescribe contraception, why I will counsel against many infertility treatments and on the other side, against sterilization, etc.
I am looking forward to reading this book and I want to contrast his story with that of Dr. John Rock, the once-Catholic inventor of the oral contraceptive pill.
Thank you for the work you do.