I love to write. Seriously, I LOVE to write. I discovered this passion in high school when I was writing term papers. I didn't love studying or taking tests, but if you gave me a paper to research and write, I was in heaven. And that was back in the day when we didn't have Evernote or Google. It was old school with index cards, the dewey decimal system and research on microfiche. Brutal by today's standards, but I loved it.
In my early adult career, my writing outlet came mostly through memos, letters, drafting policies or presentations to propose new ideas. I had never really thought of becoming an author until 2002 when Tony Morgan and I were co-teaching a workshop in California. We called it 99 Simply Strategic Ideas for church leaders. That's right--we went through 99 ideas in 75 minutes. Just like Jimmy Johns ... it was freaky fast! (Apologies to my international readers for this only-in-America analogy).
In the audience at that workshop was an acquisition editor from Group Publishing--and within a few months we had written our first book. Soon after that we wrote one more, and then another. The writing came fast and easy. And it filled my tank.
A few years later I set off to write on my own--tapping a passion I long carried about helping the church leverage pop culture. I shopped Pop Goes the Church to several publishers and finally settled on a small, upstart publisher from Indianapolis. I was really happy with the end product, but unfortunately the publisher folded about a year after my book was complete (don't ask me to pick your lottery numbers or winning stocks). Even with the disappointment, it was still a great and fulfilling experience.
In 2012, I decided to go the self-published route (and use the tremendous tools available from Amazon through CreateSpace) to publish Vision: Lost & Found. This book was both easy to write and hard to write. Easy--because it was in my heart and soul. It is a story that I lived, so it was easy to get out. Hard--because it was vulnerable. I shared hurt feelings, crushed dreams and messed up relationships more openly than I had done before. But it was a great experience, and more than 6,000 leaders have received copies and gained help since it launched a year ago--bringing the total of my published books to around 75,000. That number is hard for me to fathom--being able to resource tens of thousands of leaders by doing something God has shaped me to do. I am humbled.
Last summer I began working on my 6th book. Though I have written all my books for leaders, none of my books focused on how to be a better leader. That is what the next book is all about. I'm hesitant to tell you the title (because it is sure to change), but this is a book for anyone who wants to make a difference in his or her organization. I'm tackling four different aspects of leadership: 1) Be a leader worth following; 2) Find the right people; 3) Build a healthy culture; and 4) Lead confidently through a crisis.
I did a bit of research and linked up with an agent (thanks Blythe!) who put my proposal in front of nine publishers. I'm proud to announce that my next book will be published with Thomas Nelson--under the umbrella of Harper Collins Christian Publishing (the top Christian publisher in the world). I'm excited to be working with such a fine and well-established organization, and am looking forward to learning much from the process. Look for this book to be released in July 2014.
Oh, and here is a secret--I'm working right now on book #7. Shhhh...don't tell anyone!