Success comes to those who work hard enough to achieve, despite frustrations on many fronts. It is this assurance that pushes one to more fully realize their capacities. Highlighting this reality is Byron Williamson, whose work has been affirmed by well-known authors and book industry leaders.
Williamson attended Abilene Christian University, completing the M.S in Ministry and Church History. He studied under notable professors with doctorates from Harvard, Duke, University of Chicago, USC, and St. Andrews in Scotland.
His career began in 1983 with the founding of the first iteration of Worthy Publishing, where he published music artists Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith. He then conceived the 12+ million-copy bestselling International Children’s Bible (ICB), promoted by Dr. James Dobson, and the companion version for adults, the New Century Version (NCV), promoted by Billy Graham on national television.
Noting such entrepreneurial success, Worthy was acquired in 1988 by Word Publishing, a subsidiary of CapCities/ABC (now a division of the Walt Disney Company). Byron was named Group Publisher of Word working with Billy Graham and signing such authors as Max Lucado, Dr. James Dobson, Charles Colson, Charles Swindoll, Nolan Ryan, and other New York Times bestsellers.
Word was acquired by Thomas Nelson Publishers in late 1992, and shortly thereafter Nelson was listed on the New York Stock ExchangewithWilliamson being named President of Thomas Nelson and Word Publishing. He signed such New York Times bestsellers as John Maxwell, Frank Peretti, and John Eldredge. Byron then conceived and launched what became the industry-leading children’s imprint, Tommy Nelson, as well as J Countryman gift books.
After resigning his role at Thomas Nelson, Williamson founded Integrity Publishers in 2001, publishing Sarah Young’s now35 million-copy bestselling brand, Jesus Calling, as well as Beth Moore’s Get Out of That Pit, Emerson Eggerichs’ Love and Respect, Henry Cloud and John Townsend’s God Will Make a Way, and Max Lucado’s It’s Not About Me. Integrity was acquired by Thomas Nelson in fiscal 2007.
In 2011 Byron re-launched Worthy Publishing, signing the Jeremiah Study Bible, as well as such bestselling authors John Hagee, Jerry Jenkins, Katherine Schwarzenegger,Mike Huckabee, Stephen Mansfield, and Franklin Graham. In 2017 he published books from a new imprint with the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. Worthy was acquired by Hachette USA in 2018.
Over three decades Williamson contributed significantly to Christian publishing. The ECPA Chair’s Award was presented to Byron Williamson for lifetime achievements in Christian publishing, where he has produced a legacy of thousands of books, representing hundreds of millions of copies sold around the world in more than 50 languages. The award was presented by chairman Jeff Crosby during ECPA’s Annual Awards Celebration on May 6, 2021, with ECPA president Stan Jantz making the announcement. ECPA is the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, which includes imprints under HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Tyndale House, and Simon & Schuster.