The publishing saga of my book “I’m OK- You’re Not”

The publishing saga of my book “I’m OK- You’re Not” May 21, 2010

Here is the very quick version of the publishing saga of my book, I’m OK-You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop.

1. I have my conversion experience.

2. I get intensely interested in helping my non/anti-Christian friends understand how it is that just because I suddenly became a Christian doesn’t mean I also suddenly became a homophobic, misogynistic, narrow-minded moron.

3. I write my Christian apologetic, Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang: Why I Do the Things I Do, by God (as told to John Shore). (For more on that drama, see this post.)

4. Penguins gets published by Seabury Books.

5. Next wanting to discuss the relationship between Christians and Non-Christians—particularly relative to the idea that in busily endeavoring to fulfill the Great Commission, we Christians almost necessarily break the Great Commandment—I write I’m OK-You’re Not.

6. NavPress buys I’m OK-You’re Not (in 2005).

7. The week before the manuscript for I’m OK is due, almost everyone in both the editorial and marketing departments of NavPress walks off their job. They simple, all at once, walk out.

8. I’m OK gets published by what’s left of NavPress.

9. A three or four-person clique of professional hardcore fundamentalist Christians begins attacking I’m OK.

1o. Someone on the board of directors of The Navigators (which owns NavPress), comes through the offices of NavPress, spots a copy of I’m OK lying on a desk, picks it up, and looks it over.

11. That person is severely displeased to learn that the publishing arm of the traditionally very evangelistic Navigators has published a book all about why Christians should stop evangelizing.

12. NavPress informs me that they’re going to pull all the copies of I’m OK back from book stores, remove all references to the book and me from their website, and literally burn all their remaining copies of I’m OK.

13. NavPress pulls all copies of I’m OK from bookstores, and removes me from their website.

14. I’m OK begins to sell anyway.

15. Foreign rights to I’m OK get sold.

16. Despite publicly disavowing me, NavPress continues to fulfill orders for I’m OK.

17. I purchase from NavPress all right to, and the remaining thousand or so copies left of, I’m OK, the final three boxes of which are right now in my garage.

18. In the past four days (as I write this) I sell, package, and ship to individuals who have ordered them thirty-five signed and inscribed copies of I’m OK – You’re Not.

19. The book sells out, and is no more (save the Kindle version).

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  • 20. Copy # 36 sold; because this gals thinks it sounds great, and she loves bold and snarky (not that this book will be snarky, but if it is, it's an extra bonus, plus I dig snarky-wity – just wanted to say that).

    ps: I promise to not use it as kindling.

  • erika

    will you sign it?

  • John, I think we both agree that you're great!

    However…To be great is to be misunderstood!

    Who needs 'em?

    where's my check book?

  • Fred Hintze

    …where can I get a copy?

  • Diana

    Wow, I must have been both lucky and blessed to have found this book when I did. I found it in the Borders in Mission Valley–just sitting on a shelf in the Christian section minding its own business. Bought it because it looked cool, read it, loved it, reread it often and freely recommend it to anyone I think would be interested.

    Let me take this opportunity to say: please keep writing about Christian issues. Just because some Christians disagree with you and the Christian publishing world doesn't want to publish what you write, doesn't mean that what you say isn't necessary and important. In fact, it's probably because what you say is so true that so many stubborn Christians don't want to hear it.

  • Diana

    Forgot to check "Notify me of follow up comments…" before pressing "Submit Comment." Oops!

  • Rachel

    How can I get a copy?


  • So not surprised to hear this! I too love your snarky-witty-inclusive brand of Christianity and am so glad I've discovered you!

  • Sooooo.. How do I get a copy of this and Penguins?? And if I promise to stop mooning evangelicals, will you autograph them???

    PS – I'm also willing to moon them MORE for autographed copies.. I'm just not sure WWJD? 😉

  • To buy, via PayPal or a credit card, one or more autographed copies of "Penguins" and/or "I'm OK," just hit the orange "Purchase/Donate" button near the top of the column to the right, and follow the prompts. (You'll therein also have a chance to tell me how you'd like the book inscribed, if you do.) If you prefer to pay with cash, check, or a money order, do the math for what you'd like to buy, and then send your money to: John Shore, P.O. Box 235642, Encinitas, CA. 92023-5642. Thanks.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    Dude! Navpress – not cool! At least they sold the remaining copies to you instead of actually burning them! Maybe it wouldn't have gotten published like that but for the mass job walk-off—what was that all about?

  • naomi g tangonan

    i wanted to buy one but there's so much hassle on exchange rate…my money is PhP…

  • Dennis Dawson

    Yeah, well, I suppose I have to buy a copy, but only because it's upsetting to the evangelicals. Maybe I'll write a companion volume, "You're OK, I'm Not: Atheists Have Nothing To Talk About, So Shouldn't We Just Shut Our Pie Holes?"

  • JJ

    Wow, I love how your publisher first (1) wasn’t aware of the degree to which your book conflicted with their core principles (2) wanted not only to discontinue the book, but then to *burn* it (gotta love that!) but (3) seems to have reconciled themselves with the conflict once the book began to sell. I guess money talks everywhere.

  • John, Good story, even in outline form. Reminds me of my experience with Bantam, pulling out of our contract, for The Warrior's Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing the Planet when I called circumcision a form of child sexual abuse.

  • Shaw

    Sounds like your religion has been hi-jacked by extremists, if you ask me.

    Once again– have you read the end of faith?

  • Dianne

    Happy I was able to get it on Amazon after hearing that you were close with one of my favorite (non-fiction) writers, Richard Lederer.

    From experience (someone else’s) I can tell you that Amazon will happily put an end to it if someone is targetting you with negative reviews for their own purposes, especially in an attempt to censure you or ruin your book sales. (censurship is probably at the top of their list, being the mega-booksellers that they are).

    Honestly, the title is just so dang cute and clever, I just had to get it before I even knew what was inside.

    I’ve not been disappointed.

  • So if you'd found a great publisher, do you think you'd still be uninterested in writing more faith-oriented books?

    If the muse is still there for more in the vein of I'm OK, there are more publishing options out there in the 21st Century world. You've already done some impressive things through ebooks, both free and paid, I believe.

    It'd be a shame for a bunch of insecure money-hungry tools to ruin a perfectly good artist. Probably the first time something like that has ever happened, right?

  • Hey, Red. Gosh (per your last wry observation), I wish this debacle with NavPress was the only time something like that ever happened with me. But, hardly. The story of "Penguins" is just as … insane. More so, in some big ways.

    As I think you know, I've had two books just stolen from me.

    Anyway, it's kind of you to recall my feelings that I'm not going to do any more "faith-oriented" books. That's changed a bit. A door of opportunity has recently opened before me I'd be fourteen kinds of moron not to walk through. But it's to do EXACTLY what I most want to—and, after all, I'm pretty wholly really only concerned with one thing.

  • This NavPress story is hysterical… unless you're John Shore, I suppose. I must have ended up with a copy of the book they grudgingly sold. haha. Now I just need to forge your signature…

  • And only one thing truly matters.

  • If only more than 44 people would read this!

  • Was that one heretical, too? (Said with tongue firmly in cheek…)

  • Christine McQueen via Facebook

    Just ordered it – looking forward to reading it. 🙂

  • Diana Avery via Facebook

    It’s still my favorite of all your books–maybe because it’s the first one I read.

  • Christine McQueen via Facebook

    Just ordered a second one – to be sent to my son in Florida. I had mentioned it to him during a phone conversation this afternoon and he mentioned an interest in it, so I decided to get it for him. 🙂