Christian Retailing

WaterBrook picks up self-published best-seller Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 31 May 2012 12:00 AM America/New_York

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group has acquired publishing rights to To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary C. Neal, a book that has become a national word-of-mouth phenomenon since it was self-published in November 2011.

Last week, imprint WaterBrook Press released the e-book and this week the softcover edition with a first printing of 200,000 copies—based on initial orders from booksellers for more than 185,000 copies. The book is a first-hand account of the orthopedic spinal surgeon's accidental death by drowning in South America, visit to heaven and return to life.

Consumer demand for the book was spurred by strong national media interest in Dr. Neal's story. In recent weeks, she has appeared on FOX News Channel's Fox and Friends and America Live with Megyn Kelly. She has also shared her story during a two-hour interview on the nationally syndicated radio show "Coast to Coast AM," and was a subject in Jay Leno's monologue on The Tonight Show, when he made a reference to Neal's book and the possibility of life after death for NBC.

Michael Palgon, executive vice president and deputy publisher at Crown Publishing Group—of which WaterBrook Multnomah is part—said: "We are thrilled to partner with Dr. Neal to bring the story of her extraordinary journey to readers who want to know more about her personal experience of heaven, her encounters with angels and her miraculous return to life."

For more on the growth of this market, look for our self-publishing feature in the forthcoming July issue of Christian Retailing.