Did Crisis of Conscience find a market or did it lumber along until the copies ran out?

by TerryWalstrom 25 Replies latest jw friends

  • TerryWalstrom

    I would think C of C was the grand-daddy of all the Ex-JW books.
    Is there any way to know for sure how many copies sold? Over what span of time before the 1st edition ended? Why did it peter out of print if it was a perennial seller?

    Today, every Tom, Dick, and Jasper has self-published the bleeding wound, 1st person singular, true confessional version of their own fall from grace. It's as common as Zika virus.

    I doubt there really is much of a paying market.
    Books on cults such as SCIENTOLOGY (cue horror music) do find much publicity and hit the best-seller lists due to the amount of celebrity attached.

    Ex-Dub books and tell-all tomes have no hook for the general public, from what I see.
    So, who has any raw data they'd wish to share on this general topic?

    I've self-published two books and never actually sold as many as 50 copies total.
    I'm no Ray Franz but I suspect this boutique marketplace is a tough nut to crack for anybody without a really amusing, unusual or scandalous manner of writing.

    What say ye?

  • JRK

    Maybe you can write the overly verbose sequel?


  • blondie

    There have been several threads on this that the current copyright holder has been cleaning it up legally and for digital printing.

    Check this website:


  • TerryWalstrom

    Maybe you can write the overly verbose sequel?


    Naw, nobody wants to read my crap, much less pay for it.
  • Giordano
    Crisis of Conscience is a biographical book by Raymond Franz, a former member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, written in 1983, three years after his expulsion from the Jehovah's Witnesses religion. The book is a major study and exposé of the internal workings of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society during the 1960s and 1970s.[1][2] The book was updated and revised four times, with the final revisions made in 2004.[3] It was translated into Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish.


    It seems like the interest has actually increased as it is mentioned quite a lot on ex JW websites as eye opening and revealing re the GB.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    Terry suggested, "I would think C of C was the grand-daddy of all the Ex-JW books."

    I can't agree with you on that. Both CoC and "A People for His Name" ( which I had the pleasure of resurrecting, with the help of a large quantity of tana-leaf tea) were originally published by "vanity" publishing houses, which means that no one in the commercial book business felt that either title had much likelihood of being profitable.

    So what does a "vanity" publisher do?

    He says, "Yeah, Sonny, we can print yer book. We'll give you "X"-thousand copies and deliver them to you for only "20X"-thousand dollars, paid up front, in full."

    (I'm speculating here; I do not have the details of either Ray Franz' or Tony Wills' (aka "Tim White") ACTUAL contracts, but I will bet you dollars to donuts that the contracts were in essence just as I have represented them, and I would win that bet.)

    So what happens next is that a few weeks later a truck shows up at the author's house, and the author takes delivery of all "X"-thousand copies of his new book. It is left to the author to become a coleporteur of his book.

    Tim White's book was published in 1967 (24 BIE - Before the Internet Era) and the distribution mechanism were archaic. Priority Mail wasn't even available then! Tim placed fewer than 200 copies of his book, became overcome with depression, took the remaining inventory to a local dump and set them on fire.

    Ray Franz published "CoC" in 1983 (8 BIE) and Ray was the beneficiary of more advantageous circumstances than Tim White had. Ray had contacts in the XJW community who helped spread the word about his book. In contrast, Tim was a loner.

    ...but I digress...

    Of all the XJW books published since, say, 1950, only "Visions of Glory: A History and a Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses" by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1978) was a commercial success. And it remains an excellent book to this day, in spite of being written by a woman (and thus subject to subliminal dismissal by most JWs).

    At the very least, "Visions of Glory" deserves to be honored as the grand-mother of XJW books!

  • Hecce

    I found A People for His Name available at several places for $23.98 and on iTunes for download at $9.99. The iTunes is more within my budget.

    Nathan Natas

    Thanks for mentioning the book.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    You are welcome, Hecce.

    The more expensive version is a large-format hard copy, and the less-expensive is a digital copy.

    If you might be interested in Barbara Harrison's "Visions of Glory," you can read it for FREE here: http://www.freeminds.org/women/barbara.htm

    I regret not including that link in my previous write-up.

    Randy Watters of FREEMINDS.com offers the book for FREE on his website (it was transcribed for him by former JWD member "Dungbeetle" and myself). Randy developed a close friendly relationship with Barbara before she died and she gave Randy EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS to share her book on the FREEMINDS site.

    I am pleased that I also got the courage to call Barbara and thank her for her work just a couple of weeks before she died. We spoke only briefly; she was kind and polite.

    By the way, when Randy posts here, it is under the avatar "dogpatch."

  • slimboyfat

    It was an is a very popular book and I imagine somewhat profitable. I would guess the total printing was in the tens of thousands at least. I bought a few hundred and I didn't get the impression it was a big order for him.

    Shame I never thought to ask. If Ray Franz would have said.

  • Nathan Natas
    Nathan Natas

    My apologies; the link that I *thought* went to the full, on-line transcription of "Visions of Glory" does not go there at all, it goes nowhere.

    This is a pity. I can only hope that someday someone makes Barbara's great book available again.

Share this