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217. How Did Publishers Steward the Blockbuster Left Behind Series? | with Dan Balow

Twenty years ago, one end-times fiction series thrilled millions of souls, and Tyndale House marketing chief Dan Balow helped make it happen.
Fantastical Truth on Jun 18, 2024 · Series: · No comments

The year is 1995. A new creative power has arisen, partnering a Christian marriage/prophecy teacher with a “journeyman” author of fiction and sports biographies. Together they forged a Christian thriller juggernaut that later hit The New York Times bestseller list and started global conversations about the world’s ending. How did the Left Behind series become such a blockbuster?

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Mission update

Concession stand

  • This is part 2 of our Left Behind Legacy series, celebrating this franchise
  • For those hoping to debate end times, Zack and Stephen beat you to it.
  • We like Christian fiction. We think it’s great stuff. So was the LB series.
  • Our other podcast episodes can defend the idea, the label, the genre.

Dan Balow, profileIntroducing guest Dan Balow

Dan Balow started in the Christian publishing business in 1983—marketing, sales, audiobooks, digital publishing, acquisitions, and beyond. He worked at Tyndale House Publishers from the early ’90s to the mid-2000s with hundreds of authors and thousands of books. He’s been an agent and publisher, board member of the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association and chair of the Global Publishers Alliance, and original member of the advisory board of the Christy Awards. He and his wife Carol live in Wheaton Illinois; they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.

1. Pre: From book fan to head of Tyndale marketing

Left Behind (2020 rerelease) by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins2. Mid: From bestselling book to blockbuster series

3. Post: From the end times to new book beginnings

Com station

  • What was your first Christian fandom, Left Behind or otherwise?

Luke listened to the Left Behind Legacy series debut, ep. 216:

I believe the great tribulation and the millennium are both expressions of God’s mercy. In the first case, He uses suffering as a megaphone to call humanity to repent. Then, Her graciously gives us a thousand years of peace, that nonetheless ends in rebellion. From a ‘story’ perspective, the point is to prove His Long-suffering and Justice in punishing sin.

Next on Fantastical Truth

When the Tribulation arrives, you will need a Tribulation Force. So it was with the Left Behind series, when blockbuster success for grown-up readers led Tyndale House in want of a spinoff series. Thus was born Left Behind: The Kids, all forty of them, overseen by series main author Jerry Jenkins but most written by our next special guest: author and speaker Chris Fabry.

Fantastical Truth
Fantastical Truth

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