Should I Feel Sheepish for Writing a Jeremy Lin eBook?
I wrote an eBook about Jeremy Lin, which was published by Bethany House Nonfiction.
Remember Jeremy Lin? He used to play professional basketball for the New York Knicks (and is technically still under contract). You can buy the book here, though I fear not very many people have.
It hasn’t sold well for a number of reasons, including the following:
1. Before the ink was even dry on the book contract, Lin blew out his knee and was on the shelf for the rest of the season.
2. Truth be told, he wasn’t playing all that well even before the knee. Teams had figured him out, and his body was beginning to wear down.
3. He played sensational basketball for three weeks and then we all jumped on the bandwagon. This is the part that I feel sheepish about. Though I’m glad we didn’t jump on the bandwagon to the tune of a 275-page hardcover book (which at least two other publishers did, and which at least two other publishers will probably be losing their respective and proverbial shirts on unless Lin performs a Lazarus-esque resurrection and begins to hang 30 on people in the playoffs.)
Note: Lazarus was a Bible character, not a power forward who used to go by the name “Ron Artest.”
This all begs the important question: Should we (“we,” in this case, being Christian Publishing…myself included) feel embarrassed about our three-week fling with Jeremy Lin?
On one level, the answer has to be “yes, we should.” We should have waited longer than three weeks to see if he could play in the NBA, and to see if his story was viable. We should have waited longer before falling all over ourselves to make a hero out of this kid who, in his defense, did absolutely nothing wrong in all of this. He lived a dream, proclaimed the gospel when he could, and was manifestly “himself” through all of it.
Was it wrong to unapologetically try to make a buck off Jeremy Lin? I’m not sure. Because make no mistake about it, while Christian publishers are in the (sort of) ministry business, they’re also in the business of making a buck. It’s what keeps people (like me) employed. It keeps food on our tables. It keeps parents paying the Christian School tuitions or shelling out for the homeschool resources that keep other people employed. Making bank makes the Christian business world go ‘round. It also isn’t news that popular books don’t sell by accident.
The other answer, perhaps more complicated, is that even though it was Jeremy Lin, and even though his story was bigger than big for a minute, the amount of “buck” that authors and publishers are going to make off him looks like it’s going to be relatively small. The only real financial winners here seem to be the guys who got big advances to fast-track the 275-pagers that may be destined to sit in warehouses.
But on the other hand, his story was unique. It was fresh. He was the rare thoughtful, intelligent athlete, and that made him interesting. It was also a story that was chock full of gospel truth and reflection, which not only makes it interesting, but makes it worthwhile reading even if he is no longer lighting up Madison Square Garden. The book has gospel, scripture, and truth on its pages, even if the public has moved on from the subject of the book. That’s why good publishers (and authors) jumped at it.
Perhaps the bigger question is, “Are we comfortable with God deciding (at this point) to NOT make Jeremy Lin into the next Tim Tebow or even the next Kurt Warner? Are we comfortable with a God who allows Lin to be a sixth man or even go back to the D-League, after we have so enthusiastically thrown our support behind him?”
Granted, I don’t think that will happen necessarily. I think he’ll level off and become a productive (if not sensational) NBA player, but maybe it’s an opportunity for all of us to put our sovereignty money where our mouths are.
That said, I’m still hoping for a Lin resurrection, and for a Knick playoff run of epic proportions…if only because it will help sales (It’s only $4.61 on Kindle…cheaper than a grande mocha at Starbucks)…and because it would still be great to see a nice guy (Lin, not me…obviously) finish first.