It’s a mystery to many authors why Christian memoirs have such a difficult time finding their way in the book publishing market. In fact, this agency specifically states on our website “Guidelines” page that we aren’t looking for personal stories.
If you want to share your Christian faith with another person, you tell them your story. But the very thing which is an effective tool for personal evangelism (your testimony) is not something book publishers are looking for in a book.
I’ve often told new authors to self-publish their memoir so they have it to sell at their speaking engagements. Then let us discuss writing something else for a publisher to consider.
Why are memoirs with a Christian theme difficult to get published?
Memoirs have two characteristics publishers consider negative:
- They represent relatively short-term publishing. When most publishers would prefer books which sell for years, memoirs have built-in obsolescence which almost require they go away after about six months on the market. Very few sell longer than this. Once the story is known, it is done.
- They are highly regional in appeal. Very few memoirs appeal to readers outside of the town where the author grew up, the town where they achieved their fame and the town where they currently live. Even bestselling memoirs are highly regional in sales pattern. In other words, few people care to read it who didn’t already know about the author.
The above are significant drawbacks. They make for frustrated publishers who would always prefer to publish books with staying power and broad interest.
But I believe the issue with memoirs by Christians goes even deeper.
I certainly do not wish to devalue or consider any testimony unworthy of being told. I am not saying your story is not special in God’s eyes.
The very reason Christian themed memoirs don’t sell particularly well could be because God is incredibly merciful, gracious and loving.
While angels rejoice when one person comes to Christ, could it be God is so prolific in his transforming work, great stories are not as rare as one might think?
- Hundreds of millions (billions?) of people have been saved by the Grace of God. Many from horrific lives. Countless millions have dramatic stories to tell those around them, drawing countless more millions to Christ.
- Millions of people have journeyed through the valley of the shadow of death with Christ at their side, learned of his care and faithfulness, and healed.
- Millions upon millions of people have lived a form of hell in this life and by God’s mercy and grace now have a peace and joy which is beyond whatever they could have ever imagined or thought.
- Millions have locked arms with their Creator God and with God’s strength empowering them, beaten back the demon of addiction.
- Millions of broken relationships have been restored.
- Millions of babies have died and their broken, discouraged parents found their only solace from the Holy Spirit who indwells them day-by-day.
- Millions and millions of people have failed at things but with God’s counsel instead learned what true success looks like.
Maybe the reason Christian-themed memoirs don’t sell particularly well is because dramatic stories of God doing miraculous and wonderful things are neither uncommon or isolated.
I’ll bet you thought I was going to give a marketing or business explanation.
I thought so too until this post took an unexpected turn.