Rick Christian leaves literary agency that transformed Christian publishing

Religion News Service | 3/14/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — As a San Diego high school student in the early 1970s, Rick Christian was frustrated when he heard radio commercials for best-sellers that ended with the words “available wherever books are sold.”

The books he wanted to read — Bibles, concordances and other Christian works — were hard to find in regular bookstores.

Books - Books - Dream - Reality - Founder

“I thought, ‘Someday I would love for Christian books to be available wherever books are sold,’” he said. In 1989, he set out to make that dream a reality as founder of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Alive Literary Agency.

Thirty years and more than a quarter of a billion books later, Christian says his mission was accomplished.

Decades - Christian - Alive - Authors - Publishers

Over the past three decades, according to Christian, Alive worked with authors and publishers to create books that have sold more than 250 million copies, including the apocalyptic Left Behind novel series (70 million copies sold), Eugene Peterson’s Message Bible (20 million), and “Heaven Is for Real,” a book about a boy’s visit to heaven that sold 13 million copies and inspired a Hollywood movie.

Along the way, Alive’s project hit the top spot on The New York Times best-seller list 15 times and transformed the ways Christian books are acquired and created.

Christian - Baton - Owner/agents - Bryan - Norman

Now, 65-year-old Christian is passing the baton to owner/agents Bryan Norman and Lisa Jackson, top editors he recruited from Christian publishers Thomas Nelson and Tyndale House.

Freed from needing to read and analyze dozens of manuscripts a month, he’s enjoying reading C.S. Lewis’ Narnia chronicles for pleasure and is spending more time with his 12 grandkids.

Upstream - Deadlines - Finances - Pressures - Time

“Instead of constantly swimming upstream against deadlines, finances and other pressures, I need some time to sit on the bank and watch the river flow,” he said in a recent interview at his Colorado Springs home.

After graduating from Stanford, Christian worked for small California newspapers, edited magazines (Saturday...
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