Saturday, June 2, 2012

Jesus Needs Help

Author: David Germain
Genre: Satire
How long it's been on sale: Paperback - November 12, 2010  Kindle - August 16, 2011
Current price: $1.99

Marketing: I have a Facebook Fan Page.  I have some youtube reviews here, here, here, here, and here.  I have a positive review and a negative review online.  There's a strict fundamentalist pastor that really REALLY hates it.  I had a spot at the Montreal Comic Con in 2011.  I sold 7 copies there.  I also had a spot at the Halifax Comic Con.  There I sold 10 copies.  I was interviewed on a local radio station about it.  I attended a Liberal Party rally and gave Michael Ignatiev a copy of my book in front of TV cameras and other media.  I made it look like Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church strongly objected to my book.  I also made it seem like Bill O' Reilly and Dennis Miller were talking about my book on Fox News.  I then made it seem like terrorist Anwar Awlaki put a Jihad out on me and my book just before he was killed.  And, most recently, I made it seem like Rush Limbaugh accepted my book as a sponsor for his show but then reject it soon afterwards over paranoid reasons.  Those are the really big ones.

Total sold so far: Paperback - 4  Kindle - 99

Link to book on Amazon: Jesus Needs Help

Product Description:

Jesus Christ runs afoul of some very ornery characters. Sadly for Him and for us, these characters are all too abundant in our society.

First 300 Words: (Note from the author: Keep in mind that this is a comic book.  The words are only half the story.  And really, in order to truly assess the book properly, you really need to read the whole thing.)

When Jesus had come down from the hill with the apostles, he stood on a level place with a large number of his disciples.  A large crowd of people was there from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal cities of Tyre and Sidon; they had come to hear him and be healed of their diseases.  Those who were troubled by evil spirits also came and were healed.  All the people tried to touch him, for power was going out from him and healing them all.

Jesus looked at his disciples and said...

Jesus: Ahem!  Blessed are the...

Victorian Monkey: HOLD IT!  Before any speech goes public we have to look at it.  We don't want to usurp any traditional values now, do we?

Jesus: Madam, that was never my intention.

Psychologist Monkey: AHA!  I found something already.  "Blessed are those who mourn?!"  Are you advocating massive clinical depression?

Jesus: What?!  I'm trying to give comfort to anyone who may be saddened by the death of a loved one.

Psychologist Monkey: Well, I think blessing them is too dangerous.  I'm taking it out.

Mother Monkey: Yes, take it out before my children hear it.  I don't want them getting any bad influences.

Jesus: Um... madam... where are your kids?

Mother Monkey: Hmmm!  They were right here a minute ago.


Jesus: Found 'em!

(her children are whipping Jesus' foot and throwing rocks at it too)

Jesus: Cut that out!

Kids: HSSSSSSSSSSS!!!  Yipe!  Yipe!  Yipe!  Yipe!  Yipe!

Feminist Monkey: Hold it, mister!  How about this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the KINGDOM of Heaven??!!"  King-Dumb??!!  So this paradise all us decent people are destined for is under some phallocentric tyrant?

Jesus: Absolutely not.

Feminist Monkey:  Then why doesn't it say that?

Jesus: Okay, here.  "...for theirs is the Kingdom AND QUEENDOM of Heaven."  Happy?

Feminist Monkey: That's better.

American Monkey: What the... ?  I can't find God Bless America in here.

Jesus: That's because I didn't put it in.

American Monkey: What did you say, Commie?

Comments: Keep in mind while reading this assessment that I write and study genre fiction, so I might not be the best person to judge a satire comic novel like this one. But I'll plug ahead anyway.

When I first looked at this book cover I tried to figure out if this book was written for Christians, or for those who are not Christian. (Maybe poking fun at Jesus or Christian beliefs.) I couldn't tell right away, so I studied the cover. The cartoon way that Jesus is portrayed made me think of a children's book, and yet the picture and title gave me the clue that this wasn't some "Read Bible Stories to Your Kids" book. I threw out the kids book idea, however I can see where some people might think it is for kids if they don't look too close.

I don't know too many Christians who believe that Jesus needs help, at least not in the way portrayed on the book cover, so this suggests the book isn't for Christians. And yet, it isn't very clear that this book is making fun of Christianity either, so I feel like the message of the cover is in conflict with itself. I would try to make the cover more clear as to who the target audience is.

Graphically, the cover isn't bad, I might just suggest getting rid of the hard shadow under the title. And I would change the font used on the Author's name, and get rid of the "By." We know the author's name means that is who wrote it.

The description is short and doesn't tell us that this is a graphic novel, something that is highly important. I would expand the description, and be more clear about what you're getting with this book. Readers need to know this is a satire, and that it is political in nature.

I don't see anything wrong with the text itself, as far as grammar issues. I do, however, believe there are going to be people who will be offended by the things in this book, for various reasons. I'm sure there is a market for a graphic satire about Jesus and censorship, however we are talking about a very niche market. You will need to find your audience. It won't be easy, but I do believe there are people out there who would buy this book.

After reading what the author sent me as for how he has marketed the book, I'm thinking there is a bit of a misconception what marketing is. Book reviews are not marketing. Giving a book to someone on camera is not marketing. (It might get you publicity, but this usually doesn't lead to sales.) Making funny videos and posting them on YouTube and your blog might be fun, but it's not marketing either. I suggest reading up a bit on Marketing. Right now I think the biggest problem is identifying who your customer is. Tweaking the cover and description will help.

I suggest revising the cover and description, and then trying to find those who would be interested in this type of book. What do you guys think?


  1. This is a really, really hard one.

    I think the main issue is that it's not clear who the audience is for this book. If you're poking fun at religion, is it done gently for the in-crowd who are believers, or is it done with visciousness for those who don't believe? This is a fundamental issue that you need to address.

    Your blurb gives no clues. It's way too short. It doesn't tell us what sort of humour we are getting.

    Also--and I may be wrong in this--as soon as you put "Jesus" or "Christianity" in the title, you're in effect preaching to the choir. Because the vast majority of people who are not believers or who don't like reading Christian fiction will have switched off. So if the book then proceeds to make fun of Christianity in a satirical way, it has not only missed its audience, but also pissed off the readers who do pick it up.

    I think this is the major issue. Caveat: I'm not a Christian.

    I am also a bit wary of statements like this: And really, in order to truly assess the book properly, you really need to read the whole thing.

    I do not get the mindset of authors who feel ill-treated when some reviewer does does not finish reading their book. The reviewer is not beholden to the author to finish reading the book. The onus is on the author to make it interesting from page 1.

  2. I won't comment on the cover or the Christianity issue. That's already been covered.

    I downloaded the sample and the problems here are obvious. First, because this is a graphic heavy book, 10% of the book is only one page. Secondly, the graphics are in B&W and I expected them to be in color. I sent the sample to my iphone so I could see the color graphics and I was doomed to disappointment. I think other readers might feel the same.

  3. Patty, I insist on people reading the entire book because inside are a few surprises that I feel work best when they are discovered by the reader rather than the author revealing everything. I hate trailers for comedic movies that showcase their best jokes and then when people see the movie in the theatre the jokes don't get as big a laugh as they should. In that vein, I want people to feel the full effect of my book.
    I guess I should confess something here. I was trying to be subversive with the front cover. I made it vaguely pro-Christian or anti-Christian on purpose. I thought it would peak people's curiosity. Instead it filled them with anxiety mixed with confusion. I definitely won't take that approach with my next book.

  4. Most Christians I know don't laugh at their religion and non-Christians don't generally want to read about Christianity in any form, so I agree it's hard to see who the book's audience would be. In fact, I can see where some are going to be offended.

    Monty Python managed it with "Holy Grail", but Religious Humour is generally a thin line to tread. I think your blurb needs to be a lot more specific so that people know exactly what they are getting.

    I think you're brave to attempt something like this!

  5. Cover: I wouldn't use comic sans because of its reputation for appearing unprofessional. The title text doesn't appear to be aligned in any particular manner--it doesn't seem to go diagonally, either (compare left and right edges.) The cartoon is fine, but ambiguous. My first thought is: Is it a kids book calling for Christian children to 'help' Jesus spread the Gospel, or is it poking fun at the religion? On a topic such as this, it helps to be as direct as possible. If you toy with the audience on where you stand on the topic, it will likely make your work look ingenuine and not earnest.

    Blurb: It's too short and, again, too vague. It doesn't tell me what the Story of the book is. Does the book have a story or a series of puns? What is the theme, or conflict, or stakes? Readers need to know what the Jesus in your book encounters, etc.

    Excerpt: I don't see any problems here. But looking at the first pages, I do agree the images need to be in color.

    Marketing: I agree with Victorine. Plus, back to my earlier point, I don't see how pretending well-known people have heard of your book, let alone objected to it, doesn't come off as gimmicky and ingenuine. You may have written a wonderful book with interesting things to say, but unless you let it stand on its own merits, that will be overshadowed by smoke and mirrors.

    I would probably lower the price and fix the blurb. Find your audience, similar authors, people who might be interested in what you have to say, and market the book to them, tell them what it's about. And if this is a potential series of comics, I'd promote that, as well.

  6. Margaret & Fairchild, if you'd like, here's an older comic I did with these characters in full colour. Only instead of going after Jesus they go after Tom & Jerry. I hope that helps.

  7. My friend said just the other day. "You can't judge a book by it's cover, but you can get a pretty d*mn good idea."

    I hadn't considered this but we often do judge books by their covers and the cover is how we can get the crucial details of whether we want to even look inside or just disregard it as something we're not interested in. With that being said when I look at this cover I really can't tell what this book is going to be about. I can tell first hand that it's most likely going to be filled with humor, which from the responses here and what's being said is correct. But as a christian myself I'm not entirely sure if this humor is going to respect both sides of the argument or just poke fun at christianity and why one would be silly to believe in it's values.

    Admittedly I have not "looked inside" this book and I did so on purpose so that I could view this as a potential customer browsing Amazon. I will add a suggestion that maybe a subtitle would help further expand on the message you want to convey. For example: Jesus Needs Help: A Look at the Myths of Christianity. Something to that effect. (Again I have not looked inside and do not know the content matter.)

    Most of what I said has already been addressed here I just thought I'd add my 2 cents. Best of luck!


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