Christian Living Remains a Strong Category for Publishers

Christian living books (Wikimedia Commons)
Christian living books (Wikimedia Commons)

Books on Christian living form the core of many Christian publishers’ programs, with titles across a broad spectrum of topics that are meant to help believers deepen their faith and reflect it to others, not just in church but also in daily life.

“These titles are a solid meat-and-potatoes menu; they are timeless in many ways,” says Jonathan Merck, v-p and publisher of Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. He estimates that half of its nonfiction list is books in the Christian living category, noting that “topics such as faith and following God will still be needed 10 years from now.”

“These are the books that backlist well,” says Andrea Doering, executive editor for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. “We are looking to build a list that a decade from now will still be in print.”

Justin Taylor, executive v-p of book publishing at Crossway, calls Christian living books “a crucial part of our mission.” He adds, “It’s not the only genre we publish, but it is the heart of what we do and who we are.” These books “correct us, challenge us, convict us, and strengthen us,” he says.

Though Christian living books have historically been bought and read primarily by women, today these publishers strive to appeal to a broader spectrum of readers. “Our audience has always been largely women buying for their families and husbands, but we’re also looking toward millennials,” says Kathleen Kerr, acquisitions editor at Harvest House. “We’re focusing on needs of the millennials and how to help them see the Gospel in their lives.” Kerr says roughly 22% of Harvest House’s list falls in the Christian living category.

Seeking Peace

Many Christians turn to books as they seek peace and contentment in their lives, and authors are there to help, with titles such as Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World(Bethany House, Oct.). Author Shelly Miller is leader of the online community Sabbath Society; her book offers simple and practical ways to rest and refresh mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Another book on creating a personal Sabbath is Getaway with God: The Everywoman’s Guide to Personal Retreat (Kregel, Nov.) by Letitia Suk, who provides budget-friendly guidance and tools for planning time away from the daily grind.

Next year brings more such advice, with Never Enough Time: A Practical and Spiritual Guide(Rowman & Littlefield, June 2017). Author Donna Schaper, senior minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City, has pragmatic and hard-won insights for dealing with “time famines.” In Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age by Erik Raymond (Crossway, Mar. 2017), readers can discover that the key to contentment and encouragement is trusting in God rather than being oppressed by circumstances.

The old saw has it that chasing happiness is a sure way not to find it, and in The Sacrament of Happy: Surprised by the Secret of Genuine Joy (B&H, June 2017) Bible teacher Lisa Harper reminds Christians that happiness is God-given. This knowledge frees readers to feel and express genuine joy, she writes, regardless of what is happening in the world or in their own lives.

Life’s detours and roadblocks can be good things that often feel like bad things, writes pastor and author Tony Evans, who puts a new spin on taking the side roads in Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Our Destiny (B&H, Jan. 2017). And in I Didn’t Sign Up for This: Finding Hope When Everything Goes Wrong (Revell, June 2017) John Westfall shows readers how to survive the storms of life with courage, faith, and surprising joy.

In Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World (Tyndale, Feb. 2017), Senate chaplain Barry Black outlines seven principles Jesus taught the disciples before sending them into a dangerous world to spread his message. The book contains insights to help readers live bravely in perilous times.

Also from Tyndale is No Easy Jesus: How the Toughest Choices Lead to the Greatest Life by Jason Mitchell (Mar. 2017), which promises to hold the key to moving forward for those who are bored, disillusioned, and beaten down by faith-as-usual. The book is a call to choose Jesus every day.

Anyone can face deep loneliness in our so-called connected culture, a yearning addressed in Finding God in My Loneliness by Lydia Brownback (Crossway, Feb. 2017), who offers women encouragement from a biblical perspective. You Can Do This: Seizing the Confidence God Offersby Tricia Lott Williford (NavPress, June 2017) intends to help women believe in themselves and gain confidence.

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SOURCE: Publishers Weekly
Ann Byle