How Jesus Became God is released tomorrow. So I’m pumped. This is the most exciting time for an author of a trade book (written for a general audience). It’s always great, of course, beginning the research on a new project; and it’s always fantastic, if nerve wracking, to begin the writing; of course it’s always a huge relief to finish the book and send it off to the publisher. But the most exciting time is when the book is just about to be released.

Outside of my small little world of trade book authors, the whole process is not well known. At least, it was not known to me, even as a widely published scholar, before I went into this world. In fact, it took a couple of trade books before I started understanding this world. One thing that I completely misunderstood, as a scholar just starting to write books for a general audience, was what it was that created sales.

At first I thought that if you wrote a good book, it would sell a lot. Oh boy is that ever wrong! There are tons and tons of really good books that don’t sell much at all. All of my books have sold reasonably well. But arguably my best trade book (my wife Sarah thinks it is absolutely my best trade book) is Lost Christianities, and it has not sold nearly as well as some of the others. The fact that it’s a good book is not what makes a book sell.


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