I couldn’t help but share a few loose ends hanging around my desk this morning:
My listening audience is expanding. I got this from the mother of a fourteen-month old:
Our son loves listening to you read the Jake book. He just sticks his thumb in his mouth and stares out the car window. Too cute. I wish you could see it. He knows a grandpa voice when he hears it!
Drew Marshall, host of The Drew Marshall Show is a talk show host in Canada who is a real outside-the-box thinker. I game him a copy of The Shack a year ago and asked if he’d look at it. He finally got around to it and sent me the following endorsement this week:
“It took me a year to read this book simply because I had never heard of the author. Publishers send me 2-3 books every week wanting to have their authors as guests on my show. I really thought that this book was just another book. Trust me folks – IT’S NOT! Usually, because of my spiritual gift of pessimism, when bandwagons come along I usually just take a step back and let them go right on by. However, when it comes to The Shack, I’m not only on the stupid bandwagon, I keep asking the driver to stop and pick up all of my friends. Sad to admit but I can’t remember the last time a book, let alone a work of fiction, had this much of a healing impact on my life. As Brennan Manning says, “healing our image of God heals our image of ourselves.” Something is going on with The Shack and all I know is that it ain’t because of some multi-million dollar, well oiled publishing campaign.”
Paul, the author of The Shack will be on his show today. You can listen to it on-line or in the archives at their site. Also the Nashville newspaper did an article on Paul and The Shack this week.
And finally, some of you know that I spent two days this week in New York City with Brad as we were being courted by two of the most powerful publishing companies in the world. They would like to help us take The Shack to level of distribution that we could not begin to duplicate here, with a partnership agreement that allows us to control the content as well as share the entire process of how this book finds its way into our culture. Our logo will stay on the book and they also want to work with us to release some of Wayne’s titles at a wider level and to publish other books we feel have an important message to our culture. We were blessed that God would open such doors at the highest level of national dialog with no one wanting to change the message and content of people thinking outside the stale boxes of organized religion.
We sat in conference rooms with the top executives of these organizations as they shared with us how this book had touched their lives and how they wanted to help this find a broader audience than we had found. One executive told me in a personal conversation that if they had released this book a year ago by an unknown author with such a unique story, and would have sold 400,000 books in the first 10 months with all their sales and marketing forces behind it, they would have called it phenomenal. “What you people have done with THE SHACK, without any of that is well beyond phenomena.”
Of course we know that we’ve had an even more potent sales and marketing forces, A God who appears to have breathed on this book and the word of mouth of folks like you who kept passing this book along. Last week we showed up as #47 in USA Today’s Best-Selling book list. This week we jumped up to #33. We have almost 500,000 in print and still have not reached our first-year anniversary.
We have some huge decisions to face in the next few days that will affect not only the future of The Shack, but my books as well and how my time and schedule will be altered by new responsibilities. We need God to give us direction at every turn, take advantage of those doors that are his and to say no to those who are not. While the decision is incredibly important, it is not a choice between good and better. It is a choice between awesome and awesome. This is the opposite of voting in presidential elections where you have to choose the lessor of two evils. We couldn’t go wrong either way here. The level of respect and the open doors they have extended us for other things we want to do is shocking. We’re not blind as to what they want on their side of it, but we’re also amazed at how committed they were to the passion of this book and our other ideas to help people connect with the amazing love of the Father and think beyond the rigid lines of Christianity-as-religion in the 21st Century. Your prayers in all of this would be most appreciated.