Its Not About Me
Publishers Weekly says "there aren't many authors bigger than Lucado," and with more than 50 books in print, a decade on the national bestsellers lists and numerous awards to his credit, Max Lucado is indeed a publishing phenomenon. But the headline of this same Publishers Weekly article (9.8.03) reads "Nice Guys Finish First." So which is Lucado, a publishing phenomenon or a really nice guy? Those in the publishing industry know the two phrases rarely describe a single author.
In just under two decades of writing, Max Lucado has accomplished more than most writers hope for in a lifetime. Most of his books have appeared on one or more bestseller lists including those published by The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Aside from hardcover books, Lucado's writings have also been published as children's books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, music CDs, mass paperback booklets, apparel, giftware, bookmarks, calendars, study Bibles, workbooks, curricula and plush products. In spring 2003, Hallmark/Dayspring Cards launched a new gift card line featuring excerpts from Lucado's writings-and has already sold more than one million cards.
All this success has drawn more than a little attention to a previously low-profile Texas author and minister. Lucado has been featured in a wide range of media, including USA Today, "Larry King Live" and "NBC Nightly News." He has spoken at the National Prayer Breakfast before the President of the United States. He has traveled with internationally-renowned musicians as special speaker on their music tours, such as the highly-successful "Come Together & Worship Tour" (sponsored by Chevrolet) with Grammy-Award winning artists Michael W. Smith and Third Day.
Journey to the Top
Lucado was born in 1955 in San Angelo, Texas, and raised in Andrews, Texas, the youngest of four children. His father was an Exxon oil field mechanic who, Lucado remembers, always smelled of grease cleaner. "It makes it easy for me to see a God who is loving and kind-because my dad was," he says. His mother was a nurse who grew up working in the cotton fields.
Lucado went through a period of rebellion, against his parents' values and their God, during his teens and into college. But it wasn't long before he found himself drawn back to his roots, back to God. He married, spent time serving as a missionary in Brazil, and returned to the states where he began working as a church minister and writing on the side.
Fourteen rejection letters were sent in response to Lucado's initial query letters and first book manuscript. But when Tyndale House Publishers sent reply number fifteen, it came with a "yes." That first book has now sold nearly 500,000 copies.
Secret to Success
Perhaps the title of Lucado's newest book sheds light on his life and success: It's Not About Me-Rescue from the Life We Thought Would Make Us Happy (Integrity Publishers). This new book releases March 2004, but the title seems to summarize the almost two decades of Lucado's writing career. He writes: "When heaven's stagehands direct the spotlight toward the star of the show, I need no sunglasses. No light falls on me." Instead, Lucado explains, all glory goes to God. This author believes we can only be rescued from ourselves, from our own self-centeredness, by focusing on the One to whom credit is due.
From all accounts, Max Lucado is not a man consumed by sales, awards and achievements. He often turns down media interviews since they impede on family and ministry commitments. He spends the bulk of his week serving as senior minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. And he is truly surprised by his own success-more impressed by his one-in-a-million wife and three amazing daughters than by his successful writing career. Perhaps nice guys do finish first after all.