Howard Publishing, a West Monroe, La.—based CBA house, is gearing up for the biggest marketing campaign in its 35-year-history: a $300,000 prerelease promotional effort for Healing Choices, an August title by bestselling author Rick Warren and coauthor John Baker. "We've already been hearing from our major accounts, wanting to know more about the book," said publisher John Howard. "We realize the incredible opportunity we have here."
That opportunity was hardly evident when executive editor Denny Boultinghouse first discussed the book idea with Warren more than three years ago, long before The Purpose-Driven Life (Zondervan) sold even the first of its subsequent 13 million copies.
Until now, Howard has been best known for its Hugs series of gift books, such as Hugs for Mom and Hugs for Friends. "We pitched the idea to Rick," said Boultinghouse about the new book, subtitled Overcoming Life's Hurts, Hangups and Habits. "Every one of us has a hurt, a hangup or a habit that stems from the choices we've made, and we thought a project based on that would make a great book." At the time, Saddleback Community Church, where Warren is pastor and Baker is co-pastor, was offering a series of teachings on eight principles from the Beatitudes that could help people make better choices. The upcoming release features a chapter on each principle that ends with a list of action steps for implementing the principle in wise decision-making.
"Obviously, we're very excited about the prospects for this book," John Howard said, noting that the prerelease marketing budget alone is three times that of the entire budget for any previous title from the publisher. Planned publicity includes ads in national magazines and major newspapers as well as radio promotion. Due out simultaneously is an accompanying journal, and a dedicated Web site is expected to launch in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Warren is expected to continue his publishing relationship with Zondervan, which began in 1995 with the release of The Purpose-Driven Church. The company is talking with Warren about another project, but no details are available yet, according to Scott Bolinder, executive v-p and publisher.