Media Correction: PW Says I Went Ape Over the Lynne Spears Tell-All

Usually, Publishers Weekly (or “PW,” as industry insiders call it) gets it right. Through the years, they have been very good to Thomas Nelson and to me. But today, I think they missed the boat. In “The PW Morning Report,” they said:

An ape "going ape!"

Britney’s Mom’s Memoir “Totally Compelling,” Thomas Nelson Editor Tells Gawker

Michael Hyatt of the Christian publisher goes ape over Lynne Spear’s tell-all: “I can’t put it down,” Hyatt gushed, “People are going to be surprised. The media have it so wrong.”

It’s hard to believe such a brief article can have so many errors. But, for the sake of my Thomas Nelson colleagues and my friends in the industry, I want to set the record straight:

  1. I am not the book’s “editor.” I am Thomas Nelson’s CEO. I don’t edit any of our books, though I sometimes offer input.
  2. I didn’t “tell” Gawker anything. As I was reading through the second draft of the manuscript on Tuesday night, I Twittered about it. Gawker reported my “tweets” (or, as they called them, “microblogs”) accurately and word-for-word.
  3. I didn’t “go ape” over the manuscript. It’s true; I did like it. (I wouldn’t have Twittered about it if I didn’t.) I think it is a fascinating and a thoroughly compelling read. People are going to be surprised at what a normal person Lynne is. She’s made plenty of mistakes, and she admits that. But so have all of us who are parents. Perhaps I gushed a bit, but, I don’t think I would describe that as “going ape.”
  4. The book is not a “tell-all.” Nor have we advertised it as such. Don’t get me wrong. It tells plenty. There’s a lot here that the public doesn’t know. But Lynne is discreet. She understands the boundaries of propriety and good taste.

The good news is that the quotes PW attributed to me are 100% accurate.

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  • Colleen Coble

    Mike, you’re a celebrity now with everyone following you on Twitter. Every word you say is watched! Good clarification.

  • Tom

    I remember when you were “gushing” over Twitter . Maybe this is one of those negatives of this new technology.

  • Christy

    I follow you on twitter and felt that you were just letting your followers know that there was more to the story than what the media has put out there.

    It’s amazing what people can do with a few of our words isn’t it.

  • Andy Andrews


    As you know, I have been reading your blog for some time now. I knew that someday your twitter was going to get you in trouble!

    Thanks for your encouragement about blogging. I just started mine last week. Give my best to Gail and the family.

    Andy Andrews

  • Karla Akins

    And to think I was following Mr. Hyatt on Twitter before he was cool…

  • Michael Hyatt

    @Karla: Rest assured, I am still uncool. Just ask my kids!

  • Ted

    A book by Britney Spears’ mother? Mercy! As Nelson seeks to publish fewer, yet better books, please don’t tell me this is the result. Can a Joe Simpson book be far behind?

  • Michael Hyatt

    @Ted: why would you rush to judgment before having read the book. Let’s be honest: all you know is what has been reported by the tabloid press. Maybe—just maybe—there’s another side to the story. Give it a chance. Thanks.

  • Karen Robbins

    As the mother of a prodigal daughter, I agree with you Mike. Don’t rush to judgement until you know “the rest of the story.” Sometimes as a parent you can get everything right and the results are terrific. Sometimes you can get evertything right and it all goes wrong. I hope Lynne’s book can be a light to other parents.

  • John Young

    Mike, having been on your bandwagon for decades and long before Twitters and blogs, I’ve come to respect your insight and judgement.
    Soon we’ll know if this project was worth the time and investment and all our opinions won’t matter. The customer will have spoken. Most suspect the advance publicity will generate big numbers and even those who don’t plan to read this, probably will admit they understand your reasons to make the deal.
    I’m sure you understand some of the cynicism and second guessing. I’m not judging her by simply noting a track record of family drama and a seeming addiction to celebrity. I just hope TNP doesn’t end up being an “enabler” to her but rather an “enlightener” to those who have seen years of excuse making into behavior we don’t grasp.
    I’ll be glad to get past this so us TNP fans can see what we’re accustomed to, whether it’s another Beth Moore or that Marcus Buckingham book you promised.

  • Wendy Kurtz

    I’ve followed your blog for ages and twitter since you first joined. The insight and information you share is always well presented and educational. In fact, the “Thomas Nelson Guide to Writing a Book Proposal” you wrote several years ago is still a must-read I recommend to all my author clients and even prospects.

    “Going ape” is way off the mark regarding your tweets about the Lynn Spears book. In fact, your tweets changed my mind and I will be checking out the book once it’s published.

    By the way, a quick Google search readily identifies you as the CEO of Thomas Nelson. It sounds like someone at PW was either in a hurry or just lazy with fact checking. Both are detrimental approaches in today’s world where even the slightest gaff can be called out and corrected almost immediately. I’m glad you corrected the inaccuracies.

    Now, pass the bananas…please! :)

  • Denise Harlan

    You are right! There are always two sides to every story. Although, few people choose to consider both sides before making judgement. Thanks for reminding us that Lynne Spears is just a mom and is human and like the rest of us. We all know that if our lives were put under a mircroscope, there would be a lot of people passing judgement on us for any tiny mistake or misjudgement. Even the “GOOD” ones could be made to look like “BAD” ones with only a few words from a typewriter or computer, add the internet and it becomes a smear campaign.

  • Carrie Ann

    Thanks for the corrections.

    What’s happened to Thomas Nelson? Is this now a Christian publishing company promoting celebrity? Isn’t this just selling out, Michael? Like the Obama book?–taking advantage of political controversy?

    Sadly, I don’t think Christian publishers are interested in the precious truth of Jesus Christ anymore; it’s all about the bottom line. You might as well be CEO of some secular firm.

    Unless Jamie Spears’ book opens our eyes to her personal relationship with Jesus Christ and how he’s changed her life, I don’t care to read it. Neither do most of my friends. And you’ve mentioned nothing of her faith.

  • Michael S. Hyatt

    @Carrie Ann: You might want to wait to judge me and Thomas Nelson. Things aren’t always what they seem. You might be surprised.