Wild and Free, the first book by Christian bloggers Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, debuted at #5 on PW’s Religion Nonfiction bestsellers list for May. The coauthors, who attract 100K unique monthly visitors combined to their respective blogs, are both mothers of four, entrepreneurs, and co-founders of the Influence Network, an online community for Christian women that offers online classes, conferences, book clubs, and more.
Zondervan relied on the power of online platforms to support the book, working closely with Connolly and Morgan to promote free downloads on all pre-orders, and the co-authors embarked on a four-city book tour in early May. Further, a 400-member launch team received advance copies of the book and spread the word to their social media followers before posting reviews at the launch. Following the book’s success, Connolly and Morgan each have a trade book deal in development with Zondervan.
Australian author Christine Caine came in at #3 on the Religion Nonfiction list with her guide to letting go of emotional baggage in Unashamed, the second in a trio of books on shame coming from religion publishers this summer. There was a significant pre-order push and Caine appeared on major Christian television networks including Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer to support the book. Further, the author is currently on the Live Unashamed Tour, an eight-city book tour with Christian singer Kari Jobe. Zondervan expects the book, which just released outside of North America, to sell strongly in international markets including the U.K., Australia/ New Zealand, South Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Amid the season of commencement speeches, books for graduates flew off the shelves in May. Jesus Calling for Graduates, the 2016 offshoot of Sarah Young’s perennial bestseller, Jesus Calling, took #8 on our Religion Nonfiction list, while black and pink editions of God’s Promises to Graduates by Jack Countryman came in at #9 and #10, respectively.
Jan Karon took #1 on the Religion Fiction list with the newly released paperback edition of 2015’s Come Rain or Come Shine, the 11th book in her popular Mitford series about Father Timothy Kavanagh. Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, the 12th book in the series, landed at #6. Book sales were driven by a marketing campaign for Come Rain via Karon’s Facebook page, which has over 27,000 followers, as well as ads on USA Today and Parables.