The Veneer of Media

Thought I'd resurrect a few articles that Q Ideas ran upon the release of my book Veneer: Living Deeply In A Surface SocietyThis week we'll hear from literary agent Christopher Ferebee on "The Veneer of Media. Enjoy! 


The world I work in is a double-edged sword. One edge of the publishing industry is the romanticized notion of what the life of an author is like. The second is nowhere near as romantic as one hoped it would be. 

There are introverted folks who never fit in, but publishing gives them a voice. Once successful, however, they’re no longer allowed to be the introvert because the world loves its celebrities. There are behind the scenes kind of folks who have great ideas, but mourn that those ideas aren’t voiced in public, so they publish in hopes of starting an important conversation. Of course, once that idea takes hold they can no longer be behind the scenes because every idea needs a public figure to champion it.

Then there’s another group that's driven to get their message to the masses and have no problem being a public figure. This group wants notoriety and often has the resources to achieve it. Their starting place is, “How do I reach the New York Times Bestseller's List?” An entire industry has emerged to help this group.

Unfortunately, this group often finds that after they’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to reach the bestseller list, it didn’t really deliver. They thought it would bring them a certain level of success or validation in their field. They thought it would mean every book thereafter would be a bestseller. It didn’t. The second edge of any double-edged sword delivers painful cuts.

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Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.