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!