Sarah Young, the author of 2004’s bestselling devotional Jesus Calling, topped PW’s Religion Nonfiction list for October with her follow-up devotional, Jesus Always. The book broke records for the HarperCollins Christian Gift division with an initial print run of one million copies, and marketing and publicity plans for it included print advertising in both Christian and secular media outlets, podcasts, and on social media. Jesus Always has also increased sales for Jesus Calling, which came in at #5 on PW’s bestsellers list and has, according to Thomas Nelson, sold 18 million copies worldwide to date.
Is This the End? by Dr. David Jeremiah, a look at predictions the Bible makes about the modern world, debuted at #3 on the Religion Nonfiction list. W Publishing Group teamed up with Jeremiah’s broadcast ministry, Turning Point, to create a 10-week TV special, Is This the End? The content aired on the ministry’s TV partners and was re-purposed for radio, direct mail, magazine, social media, and events along Jeremiah's speaking tour, Stand Up. W also teased content from the book on a Times Square billboard.
Tim Tebow came in at #6 on the Religion Nonfiction list with Shaken, an account of his personal experiences “in the midst of life’s storms,” as the sub-title reads. As a football analyst for ESPN’s SEC Nation and having just signed with the New York Mets this fall, Tebow’s high profile certainly helped the book out of the gate. Further, WaterBrook's marketing plan included hiring a launch team which used social media to share videos of Tebow, teasers of book chapters, and reviews. Sales were also driven by an aggressive pre-order campaign and promotions through WaterBrook/Multnomah and Penguin Random House-owned media, email lists, and social media. The publisher also partnered with the care package company FanJoy to sell boxes including a hardcover copy of Shaken, a t-shirt, leather wrap bracelet, notebook, and more. Lastly, author Clayton Jennings created a Spoken Word video about Shaken that has more than 600K views.
The Broken Way, Ann Voskamp's s follow-up to the bestselling One Thousands Gifts, debuted at #10 in Religion Nonfiction. In addition to a 10-city book tour, marketing and publicity for the book included appearances on secular and mainstream media outlets including The Washington Post. Kathie Lee Gifford also promoted the book on the Today show, while actress Candace Cameron Bure endorsed it with a photo shared on Instagram. During an interview with PW, Voskamp described The Broken Way as a "dare" for readers to have faith in the transformative powers of emotional brokenness. “I want readers to embrace the fact that wholeness and brokenness are not opposites,” she said. The author’s debut, One Thousand Gifts, has sold over 501,000 copies since its 2011 publication, according to Nielsen BookScan.
In Religion Fiction, Karen Kingsbury's A Baxter Family Christmas took the #2 spot in October. Book sales were driven by a 14-city book tour, a national media campaign (Fox News, 700 Club, USA Today), as well as print and online advertising. Actress Roma Downey and Christian singer Natalie Grant also endorsed the book on social media. A Baxter Family Christmas is 24th book in the popular Baxter Family series, which have sold over 7.8 million copies, according to Howard. “People see themselves [in the Baxter family], and see either the family they had or the family they wish they had,” Kingsbury told PW of the books’ success.
Other Christmas-inspired reads took five spots on PW’s Religion Fiction Bestsellers chart, including #3, The Christmas Town—the latest release by bestselling author of The Christmas Shoes Donna VanLiere.