Fiction vs. NonFiction Popularity by Kathi Macias

I just returned from a lovely–albeit far too brief–visit to Canada, where I did the 100 Huntley Street program and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a bit of a surprise, though, when I discovered that rather than discussing my newest books–in particular, the fiction series on human trafficking–the host wanted to talk about a nonfiction book I published a few years ago called Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World. I was happy to do so, of course, as I absolutely believe in the book’s message, and it was Easter week, after all, so a “beyond me” focus was certainly appropriate.

However, a few days later I did a book-signing where I featured my newest books–all of which are fiction–but also included some of my nonfiction books from recent years. Once again I was surprised to find that the non-fiction books seemed the most popular. I sold out of those quickly and had to take orders for more.

Now that’s a great problem for an author to have, right? But it puzzled me. The Christian publishing world seems to be so fiction-oriented at the moment, and nearly all the contracts I’m getting are for fiction. But is that really what the reading public wants?

The more I thought about it, the more I thought ‘Christians Read” would be the best place to ask about this. Any of you readers want to chime in? Do you read both fiction and nonfiction, or one or the other exclusively? If so, why? Also, if you do read only one exclusively, what would it take to entice you to become a combination fiction and non-fiction reader? What topics and approach might make a difference? Finally, what is it that you want to gain or take away from your reading that might affect how we authors approach our writing? Do you primarily want to be entertained? If so, am I correct to assume you prefer fiction? Are you looking to be discipled via your reading, using books that are appropriate to individual or group study? Non-fiction might work best in that situation.

Overall, as one who has written both fiction and non-fiction books and who also likes to read both, I would very much like to hear from readers if you have any views on this. Were my two recent experiences just isolated instances, or is nonfiction regaining popularity? Please chime in, readers. We authors are all ears!

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About alandkathi66

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, married to my junior/senior high school sweetheart, Al. I am the author of 40 books, with several more in process. I enjoy speaking and teaching at writers' conferences and women's events, and I am passionate about supporting the persecuted Church and fighting human trafficking. I also serve as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions for Elk Lake Publishing. My most recent releases are The Singing Quilt (March 2014); The 40-Day Devotional Challenge (January 2014); The Doctor's Christmas Quilt (October 2013).
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9 Responses to Fiction vs. NonFiction Popularity by Kathi Macias

  1. MaryAnn says:

    I read mostly fiction. I need quiet to really absorb nonfiction and there isn’t a lot of that in my life. With fiction it doesn’t matter if the noise level in the house is on the distracting side. I do like it when fiction authors make me think, especially when it comes to faith issues, at times.

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  2. Great point, MaryAnn! Thanks for posting.

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  3. Pat Moore says:

    I prefer to read Christian Fiction for relaxing. When I read non-fiction I need to be able to be alone to absorb it, pray about it & cross-reference with the Bible. Especially with a writer I’m not familiar with. I particularly enjoy fiction on the Amish, Suspense, heart-warming-heart tugging books. I want my fiction to show how people rely on God to sustain them thorough the problems in their life. Even the day-to-day problems. I love it when they talk to God like he is their best friend or parent. Isn’t He really just that?

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  4. I do read both, not in equal amounts. I read more fiction than nonfiction, but I would be more interested in a nonfiction book written by an author who’s fiction I enjoy.

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  5. Because I run two face to face book clubs that read fiction I read more fiction but I also read non-fiction. I agree with Eleanor it’s interesting for me to read a non-fiction book by an author I know and have read their fiction. But then again subject matter for me weighs heavier than a book cover and plot of a fiction book. I also like funny mixed in the non-fiction. I sound like I’m making an order at the drive through line at a fast food restaurant. I’ll take that to go please!! Someone gave me a non-fiction book called, “I became a Christian and all I got was a T-Shirt! Now that got my attention. Yes, it’s funny! Grin! You all have a tough job!!

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  6. Pingback: Two Faces of My Reading Life « Christians Read

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