Christian books have long held a strong place in the world of publishing. Brick and mortar Christian bookstores are a staple in cities across the United States and the world. Their place in the booming on-line, eBook and audiobook markets have grown alongside their secular contemporaries.
It’s clear to anyone watching the book market, Christian books make a strong business.
But that is changing… in ways that should be of no surprise to anyone. Decades ago, Christian publishing was big business, but now, that has grown in exponential ways. It’s not just a strong business, it’s a powerful force in both self-publishing and traditional circles.
Looking at a few factors at play in 2020, it is no surprise that Christian book authors are finding unprecedented success.
Christian Books Fit The Times
Someone once said to me, “nothing is ever certain.” Never were truer words ever spoken.
There are times, however, that feel a little less certain than others. Do you know what I’m talking about? Living in the year 2020 definitely feels like one of those eras where our fates are teetering in questionable ways. The message on the precipice seems clear that, while we will very likely survive the current series of ordeals, the world will change as a result.
The world we knew is not the world we will be re-introduced to.
With such changes seemingly on the brink, spiritual and religious writing has become more vital than ever. People want to feel affirmation. They need to feel grounded in their faiths. They need to feel filled with the message.
The Market For Christian Books Is Well Defined
I work with a lot of authors, across a wide range of genres. Here is something that may surprise you. Sometimes the most difficult aspect of publishing, editing, or even writing a book is being able to define the audience. Who is this book for? Who are you trying to reach?
Every author, whoever they are, has to answer those questions.
With Christian books, the market is fairly well-defined. They are message-based publications that center on a spiritual focus.
While this may sound like an oversimplification, it really is not. What it is, I believe, is an expression of how clear and defined the Christian book market can be if an author chooses to position their book properly.
Christian readers know where to look for their material. They know that the books they are seeking, whether that be a memoir, fiction, or non-fiction, are not shelved with others in the general categories. For the purposes of marketing, the “Christian” search term is incredibly valuable.
It makes your book stand out to the readers who are searching for it. But how many readers are there, really?
The Audience Is Growing… And So Are Sales
One of the benefits that come with Amazon’s place atop the market is that we know very well what types of books are selling. This means that savvy authors and marketers can dig down into real data, extrapolating what market niches make the most sense.
A fact for authors, both self-publishing and traditionally published, is that writing to market is a smart idea. Sure, you should write the books that inspire and move you, but if you can target your publishing efforts to books that people are actually buying, you’re a step ahead of the game.
Christian books are among the fastest-growing markets on Amazon, across a wide range of age groups and genres. In both adult and young adult, titles shelved as Christian grew 22.8 percent and 38.5 percent respectively between 2014 and 2018.
These numbers are staggering. The most impressive aspect perhaps is the idea that Christian readers are hungry for spiritually oriented books, both new and old, and they are active in the eBook market as well.
Why Now Is The Right Time
Bringing everything back to baseline, what makes a book a Christian book is its underlying spiritual message. The heartfelt desire to reach people is a core purpose for Christian authors. Whereas before, reaching an audience was a tedious slog, now it seems the doors have opened wide.
You can write, edit, and publish your Christian book and know the readers are out there.
Now is the right time to write and publish a Christian book because the market has never been more receptive. In fact, the convergence of factors at play right now may never be this ideal again.
Uncertain times, such as brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, have made message-based material more popular and important than ever before. The social circumstances have forced readers, who might otherwise travel out to bookstores, on-line in search of eBooks.
An already growing audience is reaching a critical mass. It is time to give them the message they are so desperately seeking.