In my previous post I began to talk about how I have now changed publishers. This past book Jesus Before the Gospels, was my last with HarperOne, and now I have a two-book contract, for the next two books (obviously), with Simon and Schuster. A couple of readers have inferred that I have left Harper because I did not like the way they had handled my most recent book. That’s not the case at all. I made the decision before they even *started* handling the book.
And let me stress, I have had a wonderful experience with Harper. They really are one of the truly great publishing houses in the world. Absolutely. How could I possibly complain? Since 2005 I have done seven books with them. One of those seven was a a book that none of us — not me, not my editor, not my publicist, not anyone in the Harper hierarchy, not anyone on the planet – thought was going to be a big selling book. This was Did Jesus Exist?
We originally had planned it to be a very simple affair that we would not even publish in paper (i.e., not in hardback, not in paperback), but simply electronically as an e-book. We knew that the market was small. For fairly obvious reasons. There frankly are not very many people in the world who genuinely question whether Jesus existed. Those who do might buy the book. Those who have to argue with such people (it is a small group, but very loud for their size) might buy it. But who else?
So we had planned to publish it simply as an e-book, and at the last minute, as the book turned out to be (somewhat to my surprise) fairly substantial and heavy hitting, we decided to go ahead and make a regular book of it. So we did. I’m glad we did. But we never ever thought it would be a big hit. A big hit with WHOM, exactly???
Of the other six books,
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