Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office: IL
Yesterday we analyzed a fiction title. Today let’s look at a nonfiction phenomenon, a self-help marriage book: The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.
- Since publication in 1995, five million copies have been sold, and it’s been translated into more than 40 languages: worldwide influence.
- It is still on the ECPA bestseller list, currently #11, and it is #9 on the CBA top-50 best-seller list . . . after 15 years! In fact, since I’ve been watching the lists, I can’t remember a time when it hasn’t been there, and it’s usually in the top five or six.
- Currently, 842 customer reviews of the book appear on Amazon, with a 4 ½-star rating.
Many excellent marriage books are written by Christian experts. What makes this one the phenomenon that it is?
Something one of the reviewers on Amazon said led me to…
It is so simple and easy to understand. After I read it, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t realized these concepts before. I wish I could give a copy of this book to every man, woman, and child. What a wonderful world we would have if we all understood the “Five Love Languages” and spoke them to all we meet everyday!!
It’s so simple and easy to understand. Bingo! Picture it: When someone struggles in a marriage relationship, with the emotional pain and stress that creates, the message of the book is that a simple way to communicate love to your spouse in a manner he or she needs to hear it exists. For emotionally-weary couples, the work of repairing and restoring the most important relationship in their lives–after their relationship with Christ–can be simple and easy to understand. The message of the book provides immediate HOPE. (Application: Learn as much as you can about the needs and concerns of the people who are your intended audience and meet those needs.)
Clue #2: It works. The simple solution of understanding your spouse’s love language and “speaking it” works or the book wouldn’t have endured more than a few years. Some new simple-to-understand method would have replaced it. (Imagine the word-of-mouth marketing that continues after 15 years!)
Clue #3: The approachable author. Have you ever heard Gary Chapman talk or listened to his audio books? He is one of a few authors who records his own audio books rather than hiring a voiceover. And there’s a very good reason for this. His relaxed, down-to-earth, soothing manner is calming and reassuring, whether heard audibly or read on the printed page. He is transparent about the struggles he and his wife, Carolyn, had in the early years of their marriage. Not only is he a trained professional and a pastor, but he also speaks with authority, as someone who has been there and understands. (Just what the reader needs.)
It appears the combination of these three factors is a potent blend for a how-to book.
Is there anything observed here that provides helpful insight for your WIP? Have you read a self-help book lately worked for the same reasons? Was the latest self-help book you tried to read a dud? Why didn’t it work?