Bestselling author and pastor Francis Chan is the most prominent writer adding two cinders to the debate over hell ignited by Rob Bell’s arguably universalist Love Wins (HarperOne, Mar.). Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity and the Things We Make Up (David C. Cook, July) will launch with a first printing of 250,000, a six-figure marketing budget, and a simultaneous audio release from Oasis Audio. Chan is founding pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., and his Crazy Love has sold more than 1.6 million copies. A YouTube promotional video featuring Chan has been viewed more than 179,000 times.
Don Pape, publisher of trade books at Cook, which also published Crazy Love, told RBL that Chan came to the house with the idea. “He approached us and said, ‘I need to do this,’ ” Pape said. “He’s writing it being obedient to God and [as] a necessary message to the Church.” Marketing includes on-line and print advertising, social media, and a national religious and general market publicity campaign. Oasis is producing the simultaneous-release audio for Cook and promoted the title at the recently concluded BookExpo America.
Chan is the biggest name on a short but growing list of books on the culturally hot topic of the afterlife. God Wins: Heaven, Hell, and Why the Good News Is Better than Love Wins by Mark Galli (Tyndale, July) will debut at the International Christian Retail Show in July in Atlanta. Galli is senior managing editor of the evangelical magazine Christianity Today. Hell Is Real (But I Hate to Admit It) by Brian Jones (David C. Cook, Aug.) is also due, along with Is Hell for Real? Or Does Everyone Go to Heaven? (Zondervan, July), a short compilation of essays from contributors including Timothy Keller, R. Albert Mohler Jr., and other prominent evangelicals.