Hi-YA! Actor/fighter Chuck Norris has signed a book deal with Illinois-based Christian publisher Tyndale House. According to acquiring editor Jonathan Farrar, Mr. Norris will work with the pastor Todd Dubord—who co-wrote his last book, Black Belt Patriotism—on a collection of 101 autobiographical facts, which will be published in October.
News of the book, which Mr. Farrar predicts will sell 100,000 copies in its first year, comes more than a year after Mr. Norris dropped an infringement lawsuit against the Gotham Books imprint of Penguin, which published a collection of spoofy factoids about “the world’s greatest human” based on a popular Internet meme started by then-undergraduate Ian Spector.
That book, which spent four weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, contained 400 so-called facts, all of them along the lines of “Chuck Norris can divide by zero” and “Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.”
In December 2007 Mr. Norris filed a suit against Gotham, alleging that “some of the ‘facts’ in the book are racist, lewd or portray Mr. Norris as engaged in illegal activities.”
Gotham Books publisher Bill Shinker welcomed the suit at the time, arguing that the book was a plainly marked parody protected by the First Amendment. The lawsuit, Mr. Shinker said, would only help sell more copies of it.
Mr. Farrar said the idea for Mr. Norris to put out his own authorized take on the meme came from Tyndale. A six-figure deal, worth a sum somewhere in between $100,000 and $250,000, was struck this past May.
The book will be funny, according to Mr. Farrar, but it will also be more.
“The facts themselves will be humorous, but he will have basically a 250-word commentary on each fact,” said Mr. Farrar. “He talks about his movie career and different things that have happened to him in his life. He’ll take the humor as a jumping-off point.”
At least one person– that would be Mr. Shinker, the Gotham publisher– finds the idea of the book pretty funny.
“When I heard about it I just laughed,” Mr. Shinker said. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just thought it was a big joke!”
As for the lawsuit against Gotham, Mr. Farrar said we’d have to talk to Mr. Norris’s lawyer.
“I know there was a lawsuit at some point but I don’t know much about that,” Mr. Farrar said. “They have said that when they do signings in October that they won’t sign the other one.”
Tyndale House is best-known for publishing the Left Behind series. Mr. Farrar said Mr. Norris’s book will be the company’s “number one or number two” book for the season.