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New Year's Resolutions: Where Are They Now?

It's not just you. A week ago, media chatter included references to "Fat Wednesday" (April 2)—when nutritionists say folks often bottom out midpoint between New Year's shape-up pledges and trying to buff up for summer.

What does that mean for sales of two major Christian diet books, both January releases? How have Perfect Weight America (Strang/Siloam), by Jordan Rubin with Bernard Bulwer, and Your Whole Life (Paraclete Press ), by Carol Showalter with Maggie Davis, done with those resolved to change their habits this year? Both publishers say they are pleased so far, but it's time to ramp up promotions again.

Jennifer Lynch, Paraclete marketing manager, said Your Whole Life, with a primary audience of women ages 35-65, is "definitely meeting projections" for sales. "The pattern is that there is a big sales focus in January," she said. "But, interestingly, March is also a big month." March is National Nutrition Month, and Lynch said churches are talking a lot about wellness.

Paraclete has directly targeted congregations and the headquarters for a variety of denominations, including Methodist, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian, Nazarene and Baptist. So far, 86 churches have registered Your Whole Life support groups. "Some groups started during Lent," Lynch said. "Other groups wanted to start right after Easter."

The book includes a 12-week devotional, and Paraclete will release an additional devotional for summer. Another important selling time will be September, when churches initiate new programs. Paraclete also aimed promotions at trade bookstores, Christian independents and chains, and dieticians and nutritionists. "We have great momentum going and we're really pleased with the results," Lynch said.

Of Perfect Weight America,, Strang Book Group executive v-p Tessie DeVore said, "It's not been a runaway bestseller, but it has done well." She said sales are reviving for bikini season. "January is so bombarded with diet books that the competition becomes fierce. But those who are able to hang on until April benefit, because sales pick up again."

Rubin (The Maker's Diet), the health-and-wellness Garden of Life company magnate, is on an 11-month, 200-city tour aboard a bus emblazoned "Perfect Weight America." Garden of Life spokesperson Susan Fonger said his budget for promoting the book is "well over $1 million," and as of April 3 he had covered more than 15,000 miles and addressed some 9,500 people. She described Perfect Weight America's market as "first and foremost Christians," but also other readers. The tour audiences have been composed equally of men and women. Said DeVore, "One thing that has changed with health books is the demographic. The vast majority of these books are being sold through clubs like Sam's and Costco. And at those clubs, the average consumer is not necessarily a woman."