Are you a writing a book geared toward Christian audiences, and wondering about the keys to success in the Christian market? Are you looking for a Christian book publisher? How does this book publishing process differ for Christian books instead of general literature? Are there companies and agents who focus on Christian books? Maybe you’re wondering what defines Christian literature, and whether you should focus on the Christian market, or a broader audience?
Christian Book Publisher Focus
Christian literature refers to writing that focuses on Christian themes or Christian scripture itself, and deals with content with a Christian worldview. It can include a wide range of writing , with subgenres such as devotional, non-fiction, children’s, poetry, suspense, romance, or sci-fi literature. The term encompasses a broad range of subject matter.
Christian Book Publisher Market
The Christian market is a 1.2 billion-dollar market, making up ten percent of the US publishing market. The Christian book market includes Evangelical, Catholic, and many other Christian markets. In fact, Christians read more books and spend more money on books than the average reader. These books are often bought from Christian stores. One example of widespread, broad-based success in the genre is Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series, with post-apocalyptic themes, a heavy dose of violence, and an element of influence from the horror genre. The series has sold over 63 million books.
The market is large and broad enough that some companies focus specifically on Christian literature. While the general book market has the American Booksellers Association, the Christian market has the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Christianbook.com serves as a kind of Amazon.com for the Christian book market.
All three of these organizations maintain their own bestseller lists for Christian books. Large bookseller chains such as Mardel, Family Christian, and Lifeway cater specifically to the Christian book market. Many agents represent (sometimes exclusively) authors of Christian literature.
Creating a Successful Christian Book
To write, produce, and market a successful Christian book, you will want a well-defined audience. Will your book be specifically aimed at a group of Christians, such as Evangelicals, or will it appeal to a broader audience, such as the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis?
For Christian writers, the road to success is not altogether different than for general authors. Consider taking a writing course. Look for a writing mentor, perhaps at a conference for Christian writers.
These events will provide a valuable networking opportunity in general. And don’t forget to read other successful literature in your genre. At the very least, be sure to keep up with the bestsellers of the Christian literature world – books like The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, or The Shack by William Paul Young.
Of course, faith and inner drive are also important to successfully publish a Christian book. As you begin this path, it will be important to remember the old adage, “faith without works is dead.” Hard work, and attention paid to the important steps for publishing any book, are still essential to the process.
Christian Readers Want Quality
Research your market, produce a quality manuscript. Find a good editor to complete your final draft. Assemble a top-notch team for elements such as design, layout, illustration, and marketing. Get your book professionally reviewed. Make sure to use a cover design a cover that will attract readers, an important step that is often overlooked. Find the right distribution methods for your book, which for Christian writers, may involve focusing on outlets geared specifically toward the Christian market.
In some cases, Christian writers and Christian book publisher may define success somewhat differently than general authors. Successful Christian books may not make their way onto traditional bestseller lists, but could appear on bestseller lists for the Christian marketplace, such as the CBA and ECPA lists. Some Christian authors may even focus more on reaching the right audience and helping people than on making as many sales as possible. These authors should still focus on the same fundamentals of publishing a book, however. Good design and marketing are the keys to getting your book into the hands of people who will appreciate it.
Advertising and Marketing
For advertising, look into magazines and other media with a Christian audience, such as Christianity Today. Try to find other outlets specific to Christian literature or other media. Promote your Facebook page to members of other Christian groups on Facebook – the social media site’s own built-in promotion services will offer you this option. Finally, Christian camps or retreats may provide another option for promoting your book to the right people.
Fundamentally, publishing and promoting a Christian book is not altogether different than the process for other literature. It is a matter of producing quality work, getting expert help when it comes to elements like editing, design, and layout, and finally, using promotion and marketing to put your book in front of the right people. This is true for any literature, and if anything, the Christian literature community offers more ways to easily reach that market for authors providing Christian books. And with such a large, vibrant market, there are certainly plenty of readers looking to read your work!