Sarah Young, the author of 2004’s Jesus Calling (Thomas Nelson) which has sold over 17 million copies across all formats to date, is offering readers another 365-day devotional in Jesus Always (Thomas Nelson, Oct.). As Thomas Nelson’s biggest book of the year, the title has an initial print run of one million copies—the largest in history for the HarperCollins Christian Gift division. While sales of Jesus Always are expected to match the success of Jesus Calling, Young remains outside of the public eye.
“It has not been too hard—I lived halfway around the world until recently, and I’ve battled chronic health issues for years,” said Young, who with her husband Stephen recently moved to the Nashville area from Western Australia.
One thing that has changed for Young since the release of Jesus Calling is the publishing process. The first book came out of years of prayer journaling, and she struggled to find a publisher. This time, HarperCollins helped choose joy as the theme and offered a contract before a word was written. For Young, the genesis of the books may have been different, but the writing was the same.
“I always begin with a time of prayer and a desire to connect with Jesus,” said Young. “I write in the morning, the time of day when I’m most alert, and I always work in solitude.”
She has also written Jesus Today: Experience Hope Through His Presence (2012), Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life (2007) and Jesus Lives: Seeing His Love in Your Life (2009), among others. “My books tend to speak to different people in different ways,” said Young. “My other books have been well received, but people have been clamoring for another 365-day devotional. Finally I can offer them that.”
HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s publicity campaign “will be immense and cover all forms of media ranging from print advertising to podcasts to television to social media,” said Laura Minchew, senior v-p & publisher of gift books, children’s books and new media at Thomas Nelson. Efforts will focus on both Christian and secular media.
“We plan a full family of products for Jesus Always, including a large deluxe edition with bigger type and Scripture written out, other formats of the devotional, a devotional journal, and books for children,” said Minchew.
Meanwhile, sales for Jesus Calling continue to skyrocket. Minchew cited a five percent sales growth between 2015-16, and a “slight shift in Jesus Calling sales surrounding the release of Jesus Always,” she said. The first devotional is currently #2 on PW’s Religion Nonfiction Bestsellers list.