Recently World Magazine had a piece on Unreal Sales for Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage to the effect that the Mars Hill Church bought Driscoll’s book a place on the NYT best seller list through a marketing company with a deliberate intent to by-pass the NYT’s own safe guards against authors or publishers artificially inflating the sales figures for their book. This might even violate IRS rules and regulations about non-for-profits committing inurement. CT also has a piece on this where they link to Mars Hill Church’s official response to the issue.
To be honest, I’ve had enough of mega-church leaders pumping out books that they did not actually write, or else deceiving the masses that their books are more successful than what they actually are. Let me say that this is not just Driscoll, others do it too. Its a well known fact that John Macarthur’s books are not written by John Macarthur, but by Philip R. Johnson at GCC.
I don’t see anything wrong with having research assistants or with making a concerted effort at marketing a book, that’s fine. I have students proof read my own stuff, I ask friends and colleagues for feedback, and get advice from editors. I also work hard at promoting my work on the blog, you.tube, social media, and the like because I hope what I have to say will influence and help others. However, there should be limits.
If you’re name is on the cover, then it means you wrote it, not your staff, secretary, assistants, lieutenants, executive officer, or minions. If you had help in putting the book together, then at least acknowledge the hard working men and women who worked so hard to make you look good.
If you’re book gets on a best seller list, its because people other than you, your church, and your lackey’s actually went out a purchased a copy for themselves.
Christian leaders with big followings need to demonstrate integrity, honesty, refuse to engage in deception in order to promote themselves.
I know not everyone likes John Piper, but at least he actually takes time out to write his own books, even going on sabbatical to places like Cambridge, UK. Read his piece on Redeeming Time by Writing Truth.