Marking the first time self-published authors made PW’s Religion Bestsellers list, the husband and wife duo Aaron and Jennifer Smith took #4 and #9 respectively in Nonfiction with their books 31 Prayers for My Wife and 31 Prayers for My Husband. Encouraging readers to “intentionally pray and petition” for their spouses, the prayer books have sold 50,000-60,000 copies since publication in 2014 and 2015, respectively, according to Aaron. Around the same time that they launched their ministries five years ago (Unveiledwife.com and husbandrevolution.com), the Smiths began building up their audience through social media. Today, Jennifer’s Facebook page has nearly one million followers, averaging 8,000-10,000 new followers each week, while Aaron’s has about 180,000. Book sales are driven by Facebook ads, giveaways, word of mouth, and Amazon—especially through site’s rankings and its “people have also bought” feature. “We [also ]give away a lot of free content,” to promote the brand, said Aaron. “We aren’t just selling books.”
Also on the Religion Nonfiction list is Broadstreet Publishing’s Be Still and Know: 365 Daily Devotions, which came in at #2 after the publisher gave exclusive selling rights to Family Christian Stores. The chain bookstore bought every copy of the devotional, and it will not be sold elsewhere until September 1.
Doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend are on PW’s Nonfiction list for the third consecutive month, this time at #7, with their 1992 book Boundaries. HarperCollins Christian Publishing aggressively promotes the Boundaries brand through the launch of BoundariesBooks.com, social media pages on Facebook and Twitter, as well as in email marketing, including a dedicated “Boundaries” e-newsletter that goes out weekly.
Joyce Meyers—a perennial bestseller for Hachette’s FaithWords division—charted at #10 with her June release, Worry-Free Living: Trading Anxiety for Peace. Rolf Zettersten, senior v-p at Hachette, cited word-of-mouth as well as Meyer’s fan base as driving forces for the sales.
Wanda Brunstetter maintained her #1 perch on the Religion Fiction Bestsellers list from last month, this time with The Divided Family, the fifth title in her Amish Millionaire series. Amy Cliptston made her debut at #4 with The Courtship Basket, an Amish romance. According to Zondervan’s senior marketing director Paul Fisher, Clipston’s sales are being driven by her engagement on social media, including Facebook chat parties and giveaways, as well as support from her team of followers known as the Bakery Bunch. The team promotes Clipston’s books within Amish readership circles through their individual social media accounts.
This article has been updated to reflect Aaron and Jennifer Smith's correct ministries. A previous version of this article stated their ministry was called Nurturing Marriage.