Blogger: Mary Keeley
The challenging events in the publishing industry oblige authors and publishers to think differently about how they can reach new readers. Two studies offer insights that may stimulate ideas for books and marketing for those willing to break out of the status quo and appeal to untapped audience groups. Demographics and diversity present opportunity.
A study on the use of Christian media from LifeWay Research, sponsored by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), found that Christian media, including Christian books, are “barely reaching beyond the faithful.” The study included an online survey of 2,252 Americans and a phone survey of 1,009 Americans. Researchers found that “many Americans have little contact with Christian media.”
The study found that about 33 percent of Americans say they “frequently or sometimes read Christian books,” while 65 percent “rarely or never read Christian books.” I suppose that isn’t surprising. Apparently the survey didn’t request reasons these Americans don’t read Christian books, but the finding points to opportunity for authors and publishers who develop creative new ways to reach readers among that two-thirds group. You can read the complete report here.
The question is, who constitutes the two-thirds majority of Americans that don’t read Christian books? Publisher’s Weekly recently posted an online article, “CCBC Stats Show Children’s Books Shifting Toward Diversity,” by Natasha Gilmore. She offers insight into one segment of that population. The article focuses on how the work of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the UW-Madison’s School of Education attracted the attention of general market publishers. As a result diversity is slowly coming to secular children’s books.
A parallel shortage of adult diversity books exists. As books become available for these audiences in the secular market, the need for diversity books with a Christian worldview increases. And that presents an opportunity for CBA authors and publishers: nonfiction books that incorporate needs and interests of people with disabilities, novels with a disabled character, multi-cultural books, and novels in genres such as New Adult and Baby Boomer Lit, which are popular in the general market but have yet to be embraced in CBA.
Writing books for diverse groups has various degrees of challenge, for sure. The prospect may be way out of your comfort zone. Huff Post Books blog posted an article, “America lacks Multicultural Literature,” by novelist and librarian Tejas Desai. It spells out some of the challenges writers need to be aware of before diving into such a project.
The challenge for Christian publishers is learning how to successfully market and distribute product to new demographic and diversity groups. Editors need to learn mores, customs, and speech patterns of various ethnic and racial groups. But challenging circumstances require a can-do approach to recognizing and embracing the opportunity to reach the other 65 percent of Americans, not only to increase sales, but also to spread the Gospel.
How do you feel about writing for diverse groups and demographics? Does this discussion inspire fresh ideas with a powerful hook? What do you find most challenging about writing books within your genre that incorporate diversity?
New demographics and diversity present opportunity for writers and publishers. Click to Tweet
Step out of your comfort zone to discover new book ideas with great hooks. Click to Tweet.