Celebrating David Gushee selling more than 20,000 copies of ‘Changing Our Mind’

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WHOOPEE! Truth be told, this is NOT a photo of David and Jeanie Gushee celebrating the 20,000-mark in sales of his book Changing Our Mind. No one took a photo when they got the news recently. This is a photo from Dr. Gushee’s Facebook page of their excitement while on a vacation amusement park ride—but we have to believe their smiles were this big when they heard about the sales figures. After all, Dr. Gushee wrote about it with great enthusiasm on Facebook that day. Readers responded with equally high spirits.

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Here is Dr. Gushee’s announcement on social media.

We are celebrating the ongoing success of Changing Our Mind along with thousands of Dr. David Gushee’s readers who have found the book helpful in strengthening the love in their diverse families, congregations and communities.

In short, helping diverse families to love each other is how Dr. Gushee has always described his goal in this book—which he also says is the most important book in his long career as a writer and educator.

Now, we’ve reached the milestone of 20,000 copies sold—across all editions. And new editions—a series of translations—are coming soon.

How Unusual Is It to Sell 20,000 Copies?

Here are just a few more of the congratulatory comments from readers. Want to see more praise? His book currently has 75 reviews on Amazon with an average star rating of 4.7 out of 5. Just click on this image to go see them at Amazon’s book page.

Among best-selling authors like Michael Connelly and Big Five publishers—you know the names that routinely top the weekly lists of best-selling books—comparisons are often in the hundreds of thousands of copies. However, the truth is that the majority of books published in the U.S.—including traditionally and self-published books—will never sell more than a few hundred copies. 

That’s one reason reports on sales are closely guarded secrets at most publishing houses. The complex methodology behind The New York Times‘ weekly best-seller lists also is a closely guarded secret. We do know the Times staff draws from a huge array of data every week and then carefully weighs all that information before finalizing its lists. Here’s a rare glimpse into the inner workings of those 11 Times lists, posted by the Times staff a couple of years ago. 

Even books that are celebrated internationally may never sell more than a few thousand copies. For example: A reporter set out to investigate sales figures for books on short lists for the UK’s prestigious Man Booker prize as well as the even more famous American National Book Award. Research revealed that most titles on those short lists had sales well under 20,000 copies; some had sold just a few thousand copies; and a couple were hard to find in print, at all.

In short, among all publishers big and small, selling more than 20,000 copies with a reliable, ongoing monthly flow of sales is a big deal!

We’re all celebrating along with Dr. Gushee and his wife Jeanie—and, oh yes, those thousands of families with thankful stories to tell about this book’s impact in their lives.

Why Numbers Aren’t the Whole Story

We are also celebrating because sales of Changing Our Mind remain steady each month—and several translations of his book will be launched in 2021. So, it’s clear that Dr. Gushee surely will continue to inspire and influence readers until his book reaches 30,000 copies sold—and eventually even more!

And that’s a very important reminder when we talk about book sales. Sheer numbers of copies sold is an absolutely vital metric in publishing—but it’s not the only reason to publish a book.

Since our founding in 2007, our motto has been: “Good media builds healthy communities.” From the day we first launched Dr. Gushee’s book, he has shared that goal with our team.

Consider just another example: A few years ago, our publishing house received part of a national demonstration grant to highlight innovative programs promoting early childhood learning in at-risk communities. In partnership with United Way for Southeastern Michigan and six nonprofit educational groups, we produced six books highlighting the groups’ best ideas.

Then, the grant funded a “white paper”—detailed research into the impact of those books nationwide. 

Those books did not provide major fund-raising revenue for those groups from royalties on book sales. That was never the point. In fact, those books were priced “at cost” to make them easily available. Rather, these books provided hundreds of examples of “scaling and replication,” as the white paper referred to the valuable impact of these books. Among the examples: The books increased awareness of these nonprofit groups, highlighted their staff members (some of whom were recruited for national roles in the fields of early education and literacy)—and the books raised awareness of the vital need to promote literacy. 

Those books successfully did their job—without ever racking up significant numbers in sales.

Globally Scaling the Impact of Dr. Gushee’s Book

The whole point of Changing Our Mind is to help Christian readers change their minds by following Dr. Gushee’s own journey from his original, traditional evangelical opposition to diversity in gender and sexual orientation—to his arrival at a much different Christian ethic of acceptance and inclusion.

Reaching the 20,000-copy mark is evidence of the thousands of families touched in a positive way.

Now, translation teams are working on carrying this book to Asia, Africa and into the former Soviet Socialist bloc. Want to know about our progress on translation? Sign up for free update emails from Front Edge Publishing to get all the news about this important global project. There’s a sign-up option on our front page and at the end of our blog area.

 

About David Crumm

David Crumm is founding Editor of Front Edge Publishing. Nationally, he is known as a veteran journalist—a top writer and editor—with experience both in the U.S. and overseas. He is based in Canton, Michigan, where he also serves as Editor of Read the Spirit online magazine. His columns on trends in media appear twice a month on our Front Edge Publishing website.