It’s been said before that the quickest way to become a millionaire is to start a cult. However, there’s something to be said for joining a pre-established religion, at least in terms of moneymaking. The modern Bible earns around $6 billion in global sales, has been translated into 438 languages and has spawned a $4.63 billion industry involving Christian books, movies, and merchandise.
In the midst of that Christian industry is the genre of inspirational fiction, which got its start in 1678, when John Bunyan wrote the influential “Pilgrim’s Progress.” Nearly 200 years later, in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe challenged the institution of American slavery with her book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” However, it wasn’t until 1880 that an overtly Christian novel hit the bestseller market: It was then that Lew Wallace published “Ben-Hur,” a future Oscar-winning film. In 1897, Charles Sheldon solidified the precursors to inspirational fiction with his novel “In His Steps.”
By following in the steps of those books, icons of inspirational novels – C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, and Janette Oke – were able to sell millions of their own novels.
C.S. Lewis’s contribution to the inspirational canon included “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which sold 85 million copies. His seven-part series, “The Chronicles of Narnia,” has sold 120 million books to date.
Billy Graham penned 31 books and sold 12 million of them. He has preached the Gospel to 215 million people around the world, appeared on television to spread the word of God, and acted as a spiritual counselor to every American president since Dwight Eisenhower.
Janette Oke’s contribution to the world of inspirational literature includes 70 books that have sold 22 million copies. Her most famous work is “Love Comes Softly,” which established the groundwork for a book series as well as a television movie series. Oke has managed to influence a large amount of her fellow Christian writers, including Beverly Lewis.
Beverly Lewis has written more than 100 books for kids, young adults, and adults, selling more than 1 million copies to date. Not only that, but she’s famous for creating a new genre, Amish romance fiction. Her best-known works include “The Shunning” and “The Redemption of Sarah Cain.”
Source: Christian Degrees