When Randy Singer released the re-telling of his novel False Witness (Tyndale House Publishers) this year, many wondered why he wrote a revised version of his previous book rather than start over with a new story. This new version has many substantial changes, most designed to bring the story more in line with the original vision he had for the book. One set of changes was to highlight the challenges of the church in India.
“I did this for two reasons. First, I believe that most Western Christians are unaware of the persecution of the church and the miraculous things happening there. And second, I believe that India is at the center of the greatest human rights struggle of our generation,” says Singer.
During his first trip to India a few years ago, he saw firsthand the systemic oppression of the Dalits (formerly known as the untouchables) through the Hindu caste system. Singer was astonished by the fact that the world’s largest democracy was also a breeding ground for the world’s largest human-trafficking operations, that it would allow the exploitation of 15 million children in bonded labor, that it would tolerate temple prostitution and other forms of sexual slavery and that it would foster economic and social systems that oppress nearly 25 percent of its people. But over the past decade, a bond has been formed between Christians and the Dalits which has led to the Dalits asking the church to help educate their children. Hundreds of schools have sprung up, providing thousands of Dalit children with an English-based education (critical to landing good jobs) and newfound self-respect.
Singer has committed to do his part because he believes that “no child should be untouchable.” He is donating every penny from the sale of False Witness to the Dalit Freedom Network. By purchasing False Witness, retailers and consumers will be able to help sponsor a child at one of the Christian schools in India, including the costs of meals and health care. To sponsor a child for a full year, you can do so for less than a dollar per day through the Dalit Freedom Network child sponsorship program (www.dalitnetwork.org).
In addition to the traditional marketing and publicity efforts to promote False Witness, Singer had another idea to get the word out to readers directly. Prior to the release of the book, he went to Tyndale’s marketing team with the idea of talking directly with book clubs.
“We thought False Witness was perfect for discussion in book groups because of the ministry aspect of the book plus the topics Randy addresses—the witness protection program, what lengths one will go to in order to save a spouse, etc.,” says Cheryl Kerwin, senior marketing manager for Tyndale House Publishers. “It was Randy’s desire to speak directly to book groups via SKYPE or by phone. We felt the easiest way to do this was to create a contest for book groups.”
From the entries received, 10 of the largest groups were selected to receive a virtual visit from the author at one of their upcoming book club meetings. Runners-up received prize packs that included copies of False Witness and several of Singer’s previous releases and links to online videos that can be used in their own book club groups. “Tyndale is very happy with the results and hopes these groups become Randy Singer fans for life,” says Kerwin.
The winning book clubs represent groups from across the country, some of which are associated with churches and book stores. Among the winners talking with Singer his summer and fall are:
- Women of Faith Book Club, San Marcos, CA
- OFA Summer Book Club, Owasso, OK
- Denver SC Book Club, Anderson, SC
- CCM Women’s Book Club, West Melbourne, FL
- Christian Readers Circle, Johnson City, NY
- FBC Book Club, Roanoke, VA
- KRHS Book Club, Andover, NJ
www.randysinger.net ~ www.dalitnetwork.org