Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Is God into Book Marketing?

I am a person of many theories. I notice a trend and then I try to make sense of it, what it could mean. I guess it is the part of me that is part philosopher. Blend that with my desire for spiritual truth, an awareness of God at work, and you get an interesting dynamic. The Christian  and religious book genre is something I have been tracking over the years. Some books rise to the top and get lots of attention. Is it just beginner's luck, good timing, or something else?

A few years ago I was teaching an adult Sunday school class about ways to go deeper with God. I made a statement then that got a little traction in the group. I mentioned that I have noticed certain books in the "Christian/Religious" genre that have literally flown off the bookstore shelf and into peoples homes around the globe. Some of these have been a phenomenal success (and unexpected) from the marketing analysis point of view. Their amazing success has seemed almost uncanny.

I don't think the book selling success is strictly of the author's doing or writing skill. No, I think not. There is another dynamic at play, at least I think there is. I think it has a lot to do with God. How so? My theory is this: I believe that God uses certain author's books to spread his message around the world. He multiplies the effort. I find it interesting what people are chosen for this way of being used. Their backgrounds vary and their books are widely divergent. But, the message inside their books, have a similarity. Redemption finds its way into their books' pages. Life, truth, and forgiveness are part of the message as well as overcoming and healing. Purpose is given to life, and a pursuit of greater understanding bleeds through the pages. I do not minimize the talents of the writers nor their effort in getting their books to press. Without their commitment to the process, we would be the losers.

~ 3 BOOKS ~
I will name three books that I believe that are this way.  Books written and delivered through the tools of believers in Christ in this present day. The books they have written have impacted lives around the globe. Even some of the people I know.

The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
Amazon link--The Shack 
The Shack  is a fiction book by Paul Young, through the yskills found in a natural born storyteller. The reader is placed in the mind of a man hurt by life and then haunted by the memory of the death of his young daughter. He cannot escape the punishment that comes with the joining of his father's tyrannical behavior with the losing of his innocent sweet child. God is presented in the form of three persons using surprising imagery. The book is both feared and embraced by the faith community. I find it delightful. It is obvious that this book is written to show the way God loves, heals, and revives people in the church whom have been injured in their emotions. The truths have a way of touching the inner person.

                                             Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson

Amazon Link - Prayer of Jabez 
I heard about Prayer of Jabez soon after it was released. Members in my church were talking about it. They were asking each other what to make of it. Did it work? How to apply it to their lives. This book takes a passage in the Bible, nestled in a book in the Old Testament, and explains its application to today. It explains that God wants to bless us and to expand our influence within the sphere of our influence. I remember the day I bought my first copy. I was in Walmart. A young woman took it off the shelf and told her male friend, "If you do what this books says you're supposed to get what you want." Of course, that was an abuse of the concept in the book. One has to be tied closely to the Source, God himself, and yielded to his way of living life. Many pray the prayer Jabez prayed as part of their devotional life.
The Purpose Drive Life by Rick Warren
Amazon link - The Purpose Driven Life 
Rick Warren lays out a forty week process in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, for helping people find out their purpose in life. Then he gives tools for living it out. It is an easy book to read for it is written for the layman who just wants to live a life that has substantive purpose. A plan for sharing this book and its content with others is encouraged through video sessions and lessons that are implemented within homes and churches, with neighbors and friends. My sister's family participated in a neighborhood study. It was a blessing in many ways and brought people together in a non-threatening way to discuss spiritual truths. A friendship developed between the people and a sharing of areas of faith with acceptance a part of this dynamic.

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