Jon Anderson found The Color of Compromise at just the right moment. As the executive director of Collaboration Project, a ministry that connects local churches for the well-being of their city, he was searching for something to help pastors in Madison, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2020.

“We had just had one of the largest marches in state history for racial justice,” Anderson said, “and I was hearing from church leaders: ‘What do we do now?’ ”

Jemar Tisby’s history of racism in the American church, published by Zondervan, came as the perfect answer. Anderson organized a group of 27 ministers from 19 congregations to read the book and discuss ways to channel “the pent-up energy around racial justice into our congregations and our community in tangible ways.”

Sales numbers show that the Madison church leaders weren’t the only ones turning to Tisby in 2020. The first-time author’s year-old book landed on The New York Times Best Seller list that June and cracked the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s 100,000-sales mark in October.

That’s an incredible feat—even more remarkable considering that Tisby is only the fifth Black author to make it onto the evangelical bestseller list and his is the only book about racism to ever win the 100,000-sales award.

Publishers including Zondervan, Baker, Moody, Multnomah, Thomas Nelson, Whitaker, WaterBrook, B&H, The Good Book Company, and InterVarsity Press have a long list of authors of color that they have published over the past two decades. They have also produced a long list of books on racial justice. But none of them became bestsellers until Tisby in 2020.

According to industry insiders, ...

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