O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Books I Have Written, Plus Commentary

I can’t believe I’ve never posted about this before. I’m a writer, for Grisham’s sake. I write books! Shouldn’t there be a blog post where I give an overview of all those books?

Yes, there should. Preferably in the form of a list.

Should it be post #271 in the history of this blog? Apparently so. Silly, silly stupid Jason.

Books I Have Written (In Order of Appearance)

1. Cheap Ways to… (2003) This was my first real book. Not long after I began writing for Relevant Magazine (still in its 850 Words-only and dot-com phase), Editor Cara asked me to consider joining a few other writers to co-author a fun little book on how to do things cheaply. As I recall, we each were asked to come up with ideas of things to do. Then we compiled our ideas, separated them into categories, and chose from that list. Each author wrote about 7 chapters or so. The co-authors were Josh Hatcher (with whom I’ve pretty much lost touch except for Facebook), Katie Meier (who became and remains a good friend during the process), and Margaret Feinberg (yes, that Margaret Feinberg).

2. Things You Should Know by Now (2003): My first book with just my name on it! In the process of writing Cheap Ways to…, Relevant asked me if I had any other book ideas. Yes! I said. Then they asked me what those ideas might be. Fifteen minutes later, I’d come up with a list of five or so. They liked this one: an advice manual for people in their twenties. About all kinds of random stuff. This was not long after Alexandra Robbins’ and Abby Wilner’s Quarterlife Crisis came out, and at the time there wasn’t much in bookstores talking about that transition period between college and adulthood. TYSKBN did. It had chapters about not getting into credit card debt, using proper grammar, making smoothies, and cooking eggs. And lots of other things. Very random. And definitely a first book. Not a career-maker by any means.

3. Spiritual Journeys: How Faith Has Influenced 12 Musical Icons (2003): Another collaborative effort. Along with several other Relevant writers, I was assigned a couple of chapters (plus the Introduction) in this book exploring spirituality as it related to some current music-world heavies, including Bono, T-Bone Burnett, Johnny Cash, and Lauren Hill. My assignment? Moby and Sean Combs. That’s right: Puff Daddy (as he was known back then, prior to the P. Diddy/Diddy phase). Ten years ago, had you asked me if I would ever contribute a book chapter about the religious leanings of a big-time rapper/producer, I would have responded “That’s right I will!” and given you a fist-bump. Because: obviously.

4. A Guy’s Guide to Life: How to Become a Man in 208 Pages or Less (2004): When Katie Meier published A Girl’s Guide to Life in early 2004, I pitched Transit/W Publishing on a companion book directed at teenage guys. On the strength (?) of my experience as an advice-giver for TYSKBN, I got the job, and this book resulted. It was a fun book, because I was able to write very casually (it’s for teens) and very frankly about s-e-x (again, it’s for teens). This book has been my most consistent seller, year-to-year.

5. Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (2005): This is the book where I began to discover my wheelhouse — the place where religion, history, and snark come together for an awkward tango of educational fun. It was actually one of my original five book ideas for Relevant (see #2 above), and we decided to do it while the Left Behind series was still a publishing behemoth. The overall success of the book probably wasn’t due to either the popular subject matter or the writing, but to two other things: 1) Jerry Jenkins, of Left Behind co-authorship, graciously gave me a killer endorsement (“This guy is gonna be SO left behind.”), and 2) Wal-Mart decided to stock it in their stores nationwide. God bless the Wal-Mart book buyer. To date, my biggest seller, and the initial reason I ended up on some TV shows.

6. Pocket Guide to Adulthood (2005): Because Apocalypse was suddenly popular, Relevant wanted to put out another Pocket Guide book as soon as possible, hoping to ride those coattails and have an answer when Wal-Mart said “What other Pocket Guide books do you have?”. So we repackaged TYSKBN and turned it into this book. Over three weeks’ time in the spring of 2005, I condensed several Things chapters, removed a few, and added several more. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled about wrapping this book in the Pocket Guide brand. Even back then I envisioned it becoming a religious/historical series, and I thought this advice-y approach would confuse the brand. Releva
nt and I argued about it, but eventually I gave in. Because it was a chance to find new readers of TYSKBN, and to be honest, a chance to make a little more money. How often do writers like me get a chance for a reboot? Rarely, I guess, but in retrospect, probably not the best decision.

7. The Relevant Nation (2006): Another collaborative effort. This was a compilation of profiles of people under the age of 40 (activists, artists, celebrities) who were doing cool faith-related things. I was one of at least a dozen other contributors, so I rarely count this as “one of my books.” But anyway, it makes the list. I profiled Aaron Walling of Healing Waters International, Scott Hancock of the Glue Network, and someone else I can’t remember. (I don’t have the book with me right now. Sheesh, my memory must be failing.) Special tidbit: I came up with the title for this book.

8. Postmodern Bible Stories (2006): This was a really cool Relevant book of tear-out postcards. Each one was a graphic-design interpretation of a specific Bible story by an up-and-coming artist. I wrote all the text for this book, but my contribution somehow went uncredited in the publication process. I was very disappointed about this, because 1) I worked hard on the text and had to read and summarize a whole lot of Bible stories for it; and 2) It was pretty cool, stylized stuff and I’m proud of it. But I’m trying not to be bitter, because I got paid for it and it was fun. Outside the Relevant staff at the time, I’m pretty sure no one knows my contribution to this book. Until now, I guess.

9. Pocket Guide to the Bible (2006): In my mind, the first real follow-up to Apocalypse and the Pocket Guide brand. I’ve talked a lot about this one so I won’t bore you with much description, except to say this wasn’t my first choice for the 2nd Pocket Guide book in the series I envisioned. I wanted to do Pocket Guide to Sainthood, but Relevant thought that title/subject would be “too Catholic.” I disagreed. Regardless, I now own the rights to PGTTB and am selling it out of my trunk (see sidebar) until it’s republished this summer by Jossey-Bass…along with two more brand-new Pocket Guides, one of which is, yes, “too Catholic.”

Coming in 2009:
Pocket Guide to the Bible (reissue by Jossey-Bass)
Pocket Guide to Sainthood (Jossey-Bass)
Pocket Guide to the Afterlife (Jossey-Bass)
O Me of Little Faith (A book about my personal struggles with doubt and spiritual uncertainty and how they inform — and even strengthen — my faith. To be published this fall by Zondervan.)


And that, friends, is the brief history of my publishing career. It looks like I haven’t been doing much since 2006, book-wise. That’s not exactly true, because I started writing the Sainthood book in 2007. We just wanted to release all the Pocket Guides at once, to kick-start the series.

Which of my books have you read? Will anyone admit to having read all of them? If so, I will give you the entirely lame distinction of being my Biggest Fan Ever and give you a special prize. Unless there are, like, 30 of you. I don’t have that many prizes. But we could start a club.

Comments read comments(18)
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Chuck Harris

posted January 29, 2009 at 10:24 am

Pocket Guide to the Bible.I LOVED IT, but loaned it to someone and forgot who, so now i need to replace it. you rock by the way. your Relevant articles are always some of my favorites.

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posted January 29, 2009 at 10:27 am

I’ve read Pocket Guide to the BiblePocket Guide to AdulthoodThings You Should Know by NowLooking forward to the new pocket guides and your “memoir.”

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posted January 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

Chuck, I think I know where you can get a signed copy of PGttB pretty economically, like $6.99 or some ridiculous price for an autographed copy.

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Jason Boyett

posted January 29, 2009 at 10:31 am

@davidpeck:I’m impressed that you read Adulthood AND Things. They’re really close to the same book. So which one did you prefer?

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Lauren Sawyer

posted January 29, 2009 at 10:42 am

Alrighty. I’ve read Pocket Guide the the Apocalypse, I own Pocket Guide to the Bible and when I was 15 my best friend and I giggled while flipping the pages to A Guy’s Guide to Life at a Christian bookstore. (We almost bought it for my ex-boyfriend, Jason, because we thought it was a sign that your name was Jason too. We thought he needed life guidance.)I have read every article you’ve written for RELEVANT since 2005 and I’m terribly sorry that you didn’t get recognition for the postmodern postcard book. And I read your blog every day and follow your twitter. Now can I win something? Pleease?

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posted January 29, 2009 at 10:48 am

@jasonI read Things w_a_y back when it came out. (I used to volunteer at the Relevant booth at Ichthus which always got me free books.) I’ve got to dig it out and read it again. I read Adulthood in the last few months (got it when Relevant was trying to clear inventory). Of the two, I think I prefer Things. And by the way, watch out for Lauren. Sounds sort of stalkerish. :-) I mean who else would read your blog daily, have read every Relevant article and follow you on Twitter. I mean besides me.

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posted January 29, 2009 at 11:54 am

I read all of them (except for the Guy’s Guide) but I was paid to, so I don’t think that counts.

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posted January 29, 2009 at 12:24 pm

@CaraYou may have been paid to, but you know you loved every minute of it. Miss your voice on the Relecast, BTW.

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posted January 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

I attribute the success of The Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse solely to the skeleton on the cover doing the skankin’ pickle dance.It’s why I bought it, anyway.

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posted January 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I have read “Things,” “Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse,” and “Guys Guide.””Guys Guide” I read before giving it to the mother of one of my students just to make sure it would be appropriate.Gave away “Apocalypse” too. “Things” I still have although I am far past the struggles of the quarterly aged. I guess I keep it in the hopes that I will one day meet the author…oh wait…

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Jason Boyett

posted January 29, 2009 at 1:50 pm

@trace: Believe in yourself, pursue your dreams, live a clean life, and someday we will meet (again). Then we will listen to Kool Moe Dee together.

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Lauren Sawyer

posted January 29, 2009 at 4:25 pm

@davidpeck,I’m not a creeper, sir. I swear. I just appreciate good writing. ;-)

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Harry-Rami Itie

posted January 30, 2009 at 4:25 am

A Guys Guide To Life.It is the core of my being. I would love to read your other books but they are unavailable in Nigeria cuz i have looked everywhere for them. when I find them…imma hola back!

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Travis Thompson

posted January 30, 2009 at 9:02 am

I have Cheap Ways to… and TYSKBN, and Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse (which I was give because I wrote an awesome photo caption). The only one I’ve read in it’s entirety is Apocalypse, and it’s fantastic. I’ve also read every issue of relevant cover to cover, so that makes for a lot of Jason Boyett as well…

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Susanne Barrett

posted January 31, 2009 at 2:23 am

We are indeed using your Pocket GT the Bible for our home school. Yes, I definitely have to edit a thing or two (or three) as I read aloud to the kids, but they like the sense of humor to it and I like how much they are recalling their own Bible knowledge and are filling in some gaps here n there.

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steve hallford

posted December 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm

A leviathan dreamer named O'Kother…. (Dang – sorry; Still campaigning for a higher mark than the ‘Honorable Mention' rank in your last 5-line contest). Anyway, regarding this blog; I get several of your "Pocket Guide To The Bible" at a time & give 'em away to nephews, nieces, neighbors & other young acquaintances who appreciate a smart & sassy look @the Holy Writ. My goal (probably yours too), is to get young people interested in reading the Bible. Your books (especially PGTTB) cleverly manipulate (read that as ‘guide’) young readers to look in the Bible to verify your pert (and sometimes cheeky) comments. As I give my young colleagues your books, they courteously thank me & quietly put it down… wondering how fast they can get back to FaceBooking their 981 friends abt important ‘hot movie reviews’ or ‘awesome pizza exploits’. When they put the book down, I pick it back up, flip to a random page… like p. 44 (ELISHA) and ask them to read it aloud. Their eyes light up as they read the first few lines… then they read; "Elijah: ‘Hey our names are similar. You (Elijah) should be my protégé.’" Then the young people smile broadly as they read about Elijah being "tornadoed to heaven" & Elisha’s blown oppt’y to ask Elijah for limitless wishes (the so called “Genie's trap”). As they read abt the “900 prophets of Baal show(ing) up for a friendly competition”, the book recipients grin & chuckle, and begin to understand the flavor and tone of your book. But the coup de grâce, is when they read abt Elisha’s “shiny dome”, his “minor abuse of prophetic power” & your clever, “Mock the bald and getviolently mauled” saying. Priceless.My young protégés are hooked! To reel 'em in I usually point out the footnote on the "Ark of the Covenant", or the disembodied "Scooby-Do"-like hand in Daniel (Zoiks). Excellent. I am in my fifties, a professional in the Christian book printing industry (we printed your '06 PGTTB for Relevant), and I’m somewhat “old school”. However, I’m not so conservative that I don’t see the impact that your humorous & hip books have on young people. BTW, I also give your books to Christian counselors who are trying to get their clients interested in reading the Bible. They can’t help but look up Absalom’s hair-raising death in 2 Samuel, and the “poor stick-gathering schmo” in Numbers 15.I can’t say enough abt your books, I enjoy them immensely; I share them and quote them often. But like Susanne (above) I edit as necessary for my kids… And only give them to mature young people. 2nd fave is 'Apocalypse'. VERY informative & off-the-wall when appropriate. 3rd place: "Sainthood" (but I love 'em all)! Only a naïve person would say that these tomes don't reach out to the younger generation. Keep up the good work!As your prudent book suggested, I have steered clear of "kissy-faced winkers". Prov. 16:30.Peace to the brothers.steve hallford

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Jason Boyett

posted January 1, 2010 at 9:59 am

Steve:I'm grateful for readers like you, who not only pass along copies of my books but actively market them for me! Thank you so much for the hard work and excellent Elijah/Elisha-based strategy to win hearts and minds.

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posted March 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Jason; I'm just now seeing your comment and I appreciate your 'appreciateddnesss'. Even if I wanted to stop sharing your books, I couldn't… it's just too much fun! Keep writing and blessing those of us (old-timers) who need a spark; and making the young'ns LOL as they inhale the snarky aroma eminating from your tomes. (…and I mean that in a kind way) God bless you and your family.steve hallford

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