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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Inspiring Publishing Story Behind The Shack

Paul Young and me.
This past weekend, William Paul Young came to speak at a conference hosted by our church, along with theologian C. Baxter Kruger, a fellow Mississippian. Paul, as he likes to be called, is the author of The Shack, and he shared how this book came about in one of the most inspiring publishing stories I've ever heard.

I have to share it with you.

In 2004, Paul was really struggling with financial instability. He'd lost everything--his house, his vehicles--thanks to the economic downturn for telecom companies. His wife Kim and their children moved to a small town in Oregon where he began to work three jobs to make ends meet.

Kim had asked him years ago to "write down how he thinks in once place." Paul had dabbling with writing off an on, usually poetry and short stories that he shared with friends and family.

So that year, given that they had little money for any other type of gift, Paul pushed to finish The Shack while he was commuting via train to one of this three jobs. He intended to give his children the book for Christmas as gifts.

Thanks to an anonymous donation under his door of $100, Paul was able to purchase 15 copies of his book at the local Office Depot. He wrapped them up for his children and few other friends and family members.

15 copies.

Printed at Office Depot.

They got handed out to friends of friends of friends...and it just took off. Literally. Paul never intended to publish this book when he wrote it. He ended up querying various agents and publishers, but since none of them would take it on, he just published it himself.

Now over 18 million copies. 41 languages.

But the first 15 copies did all he ever hoped this book to do.

Let's Analyze

You can read more about his story in his own words here, but I've given you the basics. Don't you find that amazing? No one expected Twilight or Fifty Shades of Grey to be the breakout novels they were, but those authors wrote with the intention of publication. Paul didn't.

Is that inspiring or what?