If you look at any list of best-selling books expecting every one of them to be a literary masterpiece, you are probably setting yourself up for disappointment.
“Are you kidding me? A book about famous racehorses of the 20th century is a bestseller? People bought that instead of my 1,200-page book on linguistic anomalies in Hebrew and Greek biblical texts? For Pete’s sake, half of the horse book is pictures! What’s happening to this world?”
All those years studying literature, memorizing every writing style manual, and attending dozens of writers conferences are wasted.
And that class in college where the professor read the entire text of both Iliad and the Odyssey in their original Greek? Memories flood back and smack you like a wet towel after gym class. (OK, maybe that’s a guy thing; sorry to you women readers.)
In the Christian publishing market, some really fine books, worth paying for and reading, do not exactly shake the tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust with their esoteric and theological depth.
But they are helpful, inspiring, and part of the tapestry of publishing.
Books on prayers of the Bible, great Christian leaders, the words of Jesus, the names of Jesus, prayers for parents, Christian parent book of baby names, Advent preparation, Easter activities, etc., are all ingredients of Christian publishing, giving it some breadth and depth.
If you want to dive right into a scriptural basis for all this, read 1 Corinthians 12 about the body and its many parts. Applying this principle to book publishing is quite appropriate, in my opinion.
Every part is important.
Not every author writes every kind of book, and neither does every publisher publish all subjects. But when you combine the work of all Christian authors, there’s a complete “body” of books for every season, need, and person.
Granted, some books need to be big, important messages, written by highly qualified authors. But often, books that are read and reread can have relatively straightforward content:
The Best Sermons Ever Preached
The Best Quotes from Famous People
The Most Courageous Missionaries Ever
Prayers for Every Occasion
Backstories of Hymns
The key principle in all types of publishing is to look at the world from the perspective of the potential reader. Writers should ask themselves, “What would a reader want to read?” Or even more important, “What would a reader spend money on to read?”
You might seek to write a book giving the historical background of a certain theological concept, but readers might rather want to be reminded God still loves them or to have hope and be strong and courageous.
There is a place for books that focus on the head more than the heart. Finding a creative way to do both is what makes Christian books interesting.
Simply looking at books from the perspective of the reader might change your mind what you end up writing. When a writer and reader are in perfect harmony, good things can happen.