I remember one client, Jerry DeWitt, who had been a Pentecostal minister for twenty-eight years. After reading the work of and meeting Richard Dawkins he eventually became an atheist and, as a result, lost everything and was ostracized by his family and friends. He wrote a deeply moving and inspiring book called “Hope After Faith” documenting his experience. As we struggled to come up with ways to get attention for the book – as well as for his important ideas – Jerry threw out the idea of one day hosting a “church service” for atheists. We ultimately encouraged him to host that service in the Deep South during the week of the book’s launch. As it was being coordinated, I happened to have lunch with a friend in New Orleans who occasionally freelanced for the New York Times. I mentioned what was happening. The next day he emailed me: Please, could he attend and would we mind if he wrote about it for the Times? CNN made the same request.
That’s what happens when preparation meets relationships meets opportunity. Asking a reporter in New York City simply to write about some book that was coming out (or the rising trend of atheism) would likely not have worked. But when something as provocative and unusual as hosting an atheist church service in the Bible Belt? The most important outlets in the world ask if they can write about you. They ask your permission.
– Ryan Holiday, “The Perennial Seller”