Controversy can help sell books, and both Tim Tebow and Rob Bell know how to stir up controversy.
But when it comes down to sales, Tebow's inspiring memoir, Through My Eyes: A Quarterback's Journey, appears to have more mass appeal than Bell's book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived.
As a result, Through My Eyes was HarperOne's top-selling new release in 2011, Religion News Service reports. Since June, 220,000 copies of Tebow's book have been sold, outselling Bell's book, also published by HarperOne, which went on sale in March.
Some say Tebow doesn't belong in the NFL because of his unorthodox style and inaccurate throwing ability, but he has regularly proved critics wrong with his seemingly miraculous fourth quarter play.
He also recently claimed the number nine spot on The Christian Post's “CP Year in Review: Top 10 News of 2011” for creating such a “buzz” about both faith and football.
Bell, who stepped down as the pastor of his Michigan megachurch this past summer, created controversy when Love Wins sparked a debate in the Christian community over his unorthodox views of hell.
As a result of the book, which also gained considerable attention from secular media sources, Bell landed in the number five spot on the “CP Year in Review” list.
But according to RNS, Tebow's book sales have surged as a result of his recent success on the football field.
When Tebow was named starter for the Broncos in October, for example, sales jumped to about 2,000 books per week. In the week following Denver's victory over the Chicago Bears, a game that capped off a six-game win streak under Tebow's leadership, sales of his book spiked to 25,000.
Currently his book sits in the number eight spot on the New York Times Bestseller List for hardcover nonfiction, a list it has been on for 13 weeks.
"We have to go back to reprint practically every day," Lisa Sharkey, senior vice president of HarperCollins, recently told the New York Post about Through My Eyes.