Why Did We Publish Lynne Spears’ Book?

Last week we published Through the Storm by Lynne Spears, mother of Britney and Jamie Lynn. The book appeared in the Amazon top 100 bestsellers for most of last week.

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As part of the launch, Lynne appeared on The Today Show, Entertainment Tonight, The Rachael Ray Show, ShowBiz Tonight, and Inside Edition.People magazine also did an eight-page feature. This week, Lynne will be on Larry King (September 23), Fox & Friends (September 24), and the Fox News Channel (September 24).

Note: If you are a blogger and want a copy of this book to review, please send an email to Lindsey Nobles, our Director of Corporate Communications. She will send you a free copy of the book in exchange for your promise to blog about it. We don’t care if your review is positive, negative, or somewhere in between, so long as you write at least a 200-word review of the book. Then we expect you to post it on your own blog and on the Amazon detail page for the book by October 15. This offer is limited to the first 200 bloggers who respond.

When we announced our decision to publish a book by Lynne, scores of people emailed me about it. Honestly, I could not believe the number of angry and judgmental messages I received—all for a book that had not yet been written, let alone published! And, frankly (I am sad to admit), most of them came from Christians.

I think much of this was the result of the false reports circulating in the media that the book was going to be a parenting book. As if. Just to set the record straight, this book was always intended to be a memoir. Nothing more. Nothing less.

So why in the world would Thomas Nelson publish this book, especially in light of our content standards? Four reasons:

  1. It’s a fascinating story. Gail and I started reading the manuscript on vacation. I read it out loud, and after several chapters, asked Gail if she wanted to stop and have lunch. She said, “No, let’s just read one more chapter.” An hour and a half later, we were still reading.

    The book has it all: ordinary people, celebrities, a small town, big cities, villains, and victims. While the story seems incredible—bigger than life—it also makes you realize that the story line is not that different from anyone else’s.

    Evidently, those who have read the book agree. While this may change, currently, seven reader reviews are posted on Amazon. Six of these are five-star reviews; one is a four-star review. (And, in case, you are skeptical, no, these are from bona fide readers, not Thomas Nelson surrogates.)

  2. It’s a warning to parents. Children today are often shuttled from one after-school activity to another. When they show promise or talent, their schedule often becomes more intense. Sometimes, before the parents can blink, their child is on a journey that no one is prepared for. Few can handle fame and all that it brings.

    Sometimes the journey ends well. (Think of Michael Phelps or Tiger Woods.) Sometimes, it ends not-so-well. Regardless, as Lynne herself says, she wishes that she would have listened more to her own intuition rather than abdicating to the so-called professionals.

  3. It’s a reminder that all of us make mistakes. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work. And in our media-saturated world, the voice of parents often becomes just one voice among many.

    How many of us were trained to be parents? Mostly, we learn on-the-job. And, inevitably, we make mistakes. We just pray to God that they aren’t fatal. I have always taken comfort in James Dobson’s words, “The average child can survive the average number of mistakes made by the average parent.”

    Because I have made more than my fair share of mistakes (just ask my daughters), it is tough to be too hard on other parents. Lynne is no different. She would be the first to admit she made numerous mistakes. And yet her character reflects the grace and kindness that only comes from someone who has personally experienced failure and pain.

  4. It is a book about faith. Lynne is a Christian. She is not afraid to admit it. She doesn’t wear her faith on her sleeve, but it permeates her life. Despite the caricature created by the tabloid media, she walks her talk. She is not perfect, but she is consistent. And humble.

    When Gail and I had dinner with her, I asked, “With all that you have gone through, was there ever a time that you gave up on God?” She paused and then said, “No, I don’t think I ever gave up on God. But I gave up on myself.”

    She continued, “Ten years ago, I thought I was a pretty good parent. After Jamie Lynn told me she was pregnant, I thought I must be the worst parent on the planet. So I didn’t give up on God, but I started to give up on myself. But that’s when I felt that God was saying to me, ‘I am sufficient, even when you feel you aren’t.”

So, yes, I am proud that we published this book. It is the story of someone probably not so very different from you—or me. It is a reminder that we are all part of a larger story, one that is still in the process of being written.

I am confident that you will find Lynne’s story inspiring, as I did. You owe it to yourself to suspend judgment and read it for yourself. I guarantee you this: it is very different than everything you have heard.

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  • http://www.rmabry.com/ Richard Mabry

    Michael,
    Received the book a few days ago and just finished reading it. My review on Amazon is up, my blog review goes up tomorrow.
    It’s not a book I would have bought for myself, but I can definitely see that it would be good for a certain readership. I guess you could say I have mixed feelings about it. Then again, that could be said about a lot of books, many of them commercial successes.
    Thanks for making it available for review.

  • http://www.rmabry.com Richard Mabry

    Michael,
    Received the book a few days ago and just finished reading it. My review on Amazon is up, my blog review goes up tomorrow.
    It’s not a book I would have bought for myself, but I can definitely see that it would be good for a certain readership. I guess you could say I have mixed feelings about it. Then again, that could be said about a lot of books, many of them commercial successes.
    Thanks for making it available for review.

  • http://www.kristiejackson.blogspot.com/ Kristie Jackson

    This is a quick and entertaining read. Lynne does not come across as a spiritual giant, by any means, but you can definitely see that her faith sustained her through it all. I do hope and pray that her children can take her example and carry it further. I've prayed for Britney in the past, that she would come to know Christ and use her talent and beauty for God's glory.

  • http://www.kristiejackson.blogspot.com Kristie Jackson

    This is a quick and entertaining read. Lynne does not come across as a spiritual giant, by any means, but you can definitely see that her faith sustained her through it all. I do hope and pray that her children can take her example and carry it further. I’ve prayed for Britney in the past, that she would come to know Christ and use her talent and beauty for God’s glory.

  • http://human3rror.com/ John

    Thanks so much for the op! I've posted my thoughts:
    http://human3rror.com/2008/10/16/i-like-britney-s

  • http://human3rror.com John

    Thanks so much for the op! I’ve posted my thoughts:

    http://human3rror.com/2008/10/16/i-like-britney-spears-mom/

  • http://www.kellykirbyfisher.blogspot.com/ Kelly

    Michael,

    I have just finished reading "Through the Storm" (got a late start on reviewing this book). I am working on my review this weekend – but, just had to tell you that this is probably the greatest book you could have published.

    I have to admit – that I would have NEVER even considered reading this book – let alone purchasing a book like this one – but, it has to be one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

    As the parent of a 17 year old son (who will be leaving for college in about 18 months) – this book had me on my face before God – praying that my son would continue to walk with Him in a deeper way – especially when he leaves home. And, praying that my husabnd and I have instilled in our son the knowledge that God loves him unconditionally – will never abandon him and will always meet him at his greatest point of need.

    Blessings!

  • http://www.kellykirbyfisher.blogspot.com Kelly

    Michael,

    I have just finished reading “Through the Storm” (got a late start on reviewing this book). I am working on my review this weekend – but, just had to tell you that this is probably the greatest book you could have published.

    I have to admit – that I would have NEVER even considered reading this book – let alone purchasing a book like this one – but, it has to be one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

    As the parent of a 17 year old son (who will be leaving for college in about 18 months) – this book had me on my face before God – praying that my son would continue to walk with Him in a deeper way – especially when he leaves home. And, praying that my husabnd and I have instilled in our son the knowledge that God loves him unconditionally – will never abandon him and will always meet him at his greatest point of need.

    Blessings!

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael S. Hyatt

    Kelly,

    Thanks for your encouragement. This makes publishing the book worth it!

    Mike

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael S. Hyatt

    Kelly,

    Thanks for your encouragement. This makes publishing the book worth it!

    Mike

  • http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com/ Deena @ My Bookshelf

    I must admit, I wondered when I first heard the news. But I know the reputation of Thomas Nelson, so I eagerly watched for the book to release.

    I'm SO GLAD I did, and so glad you stepped out in faith and honored God with this book.

  • http://deenasbooks.blogspot.com Deena @ My Bookshelf

    I must admit, I wondered when I first heard the news. But I know the reputation of Thomas Nelson, so I eagerly watched for the book to release.

    I’m SO GLAD I did, and so glad you stepped out in faith and honored God with this book.

  • SouthWind54

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  • SouthWind54

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  • http://www.facebook.com/tellmisty Misty Williams

    Your Tiger Woods reference here has come full circle … might make for interesting follow-up fodder. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tellmisty Misty Williams

    Your Tiger Woods reference here has come full circle … might make for interesting follow-up fodder. :)

  • chris

    "Sometimes the journey ends well. (Think of Michael Phelps or Tiger Woods.) "
    Yes, you actually wrote that. :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yep, guilty as charged.

  • chris

    "Sometimes the journey ends well. (Think of Michael Phelps or Tiger Woods.) "
    Yes, you actually wrote that. :)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yep, guilty as charged.

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  • Krissi

    Wow, I’m behind. Since I just came across your blog (& am now hooked), I am reading all of the posts of interest. This particular post just goes to show how judgemental we can be as Christians. If I hadn’t read this (which brings tears to my eyes, I am a mother of three daughters), I know I would not have thought highly of Mrs. Spears. God, forgive me & bless this woman as she walks out her life with you.

  • Anonymous

    I just came across this post. What is ironic is that the two examples of men who have “done well” have both recently have made a public mistake (Tiger & Michael Phelps).  Thank you for your post.  I think it must be near to impossible for young people to be famous and stay true to their faith.