UP-AND-COMING AUTHORS: Discovering great writers Print
Written by Ann Byle   
Wednesday, 07 January 2015 04:06 PM America/New_York

The future is bright in Christian publishing as new, talented authors are discovered. Each one of the following authors we’ve noted here has at least one book out or soon to be released, reaches out to readers online—through websites, blogs or social media—and points readers to the God they love and serve.

From a Lebanese-American emergency room doctor to the son of a famous theologian, from a woman writing for teen girls to a novelist offering gritty biblical tales for men—all offer readers a new perspective on life and writing.

Robin Barnett, senior publicist for Revell (Baker Publishing Group), sums up what publishers are looking for in an author they see as a rising star.

“We want to get a sense from the author that they have something to say. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, but they should offer a new slant,” Barnett said.

She adds that publishers want authors who are engaged online, pointing to bloggers who already have created an audience who want to hear what they have to say.

“The quality of writing is important too,” Barnett said. “If an author doesn’t have the writing goods to follow up their first book, they won’t have a long career in publishing.”

The standards apply to fiction and nonfiction authors.

“We are looking for authors we can build past one book. This definitely applies to fiction, but also nonfiction,” she said. “If you get a good Christian Living author, you can work with them for years.”

Booksellers look for the same things in authors whose books they stock—longevity, good storytelling, an eagerness to connect with readers. The list below is a forecast for authors whose books Christian retailers should expect to see on store shelves for years to come.


Book(s): Thrive: The Single Life as God Intended; Stripped: When God’s Call Turns from “Yes!” to “Why Me?”

Current publisher: Moody Publishers

Website/blog: livingwithpower.org

Social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Vimeo

Watchable: Lina is a single, Lebanese-American ER pediatric doctor; created Operation: Give Power to the Powerless to help create, translate and distribute Bible study resources to people in the Middle East.

Future: More books in the making, continued speaking in the U.S. and abroad in English and Arabic

Quote: “You might think that saving lives physically is critical work, but it’s nothing compared to saving lives eternally and spiritually with the message of hope. By God’s grace, I can do both, but I can’t do it alone.” —Dr. Lina AbuJamra on her website


Book(s): Divine Applause: Secrets and Rewards of Walking With an Invisible God; Plastic Donuts: Giving That Delights the Heart of the Father

Current publisher: Multnomah Publishers

Website/blog: divineapplause.com; jeffandersonwalking.com, acceptablegift.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Watchable: Founder of Acceptable Gift to help churches and individuals discover and understand giving

Future: The Divine Applause website will focus on the issue of fasting in 2015 with a special Fasting Resources section launching in January.

Quote: “What a bold encouragement! We are often looking for intimacy with our Creator, and in Divine Applause, Jeff Anderson illuminates just how close we really are to Him.” —Tom Ziglar, president/CEO of Ziglar Inc.


Book(s): There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse: And Other Ways Motherhood Changes Us

Current publisher: Discovery House Publishers

Website/blog: jessieclemence.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest

Watchable: Working on a novel; blogs and books that will have you howling.

Future: If I Plug My Ears, God Can’t Tell Me What to Do: & Other Ways We Miss Out on God’s Adventures (Discovery House, 2015)

Quote: “Jessie has a unique voice that was developed as a blog writer and no-nonsense women’s Sunday school teacher. She says it like it is, but always with lots of humor.” —Andrew Rogers, editor, Discovery House


JohnMarkComerBook(s): Loveology: God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female

Current publisher: Zondervan

Website/blog: johnmarkcomer.com

Social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

Watchable: Pastor for teaching and vision at Bridgetown: A Jesus Church in Portland, Oregon; small group studies for Loveology

Future: Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human (fall).

Quote: “More than ever, the church can’t stay silent. The Scriptures have so much to say about marriage and sex. We have to join with the biblical authors and talk about relationships in an honest, open and truthful way.” —Comer


Book(s): “Lion of War” and “Shadow of the Mountain” series

Current publisher: Zondervan, Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group)

Website/blog: cliffgraham.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Watchable: The “Shadow of the Mountain” series is fiction written especially for men and features the story of Caleb and Joshua.

Future: Exodus (Bethany House, May)

Quote: “The man is a powerhouse of activity—he’s working with a studio on a movie of his first novel, he speaks at men’s retreats and music festival around the country, and his team develops products like T-shirts and graphic novels around his content.” —Amy Green, fiction publicist, Bethany House.


Book(s): Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things

Current publisher: Zondervan

Website/blog: everybitterthingissweet.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

Watchable: More than 10,000 unique monthly visitors to her popular blog, Instagram printables, monthly Days of Adoration devotionals.

Future: Speaking at key women’s events, writing, keeping up with five children

Quote: “The first time I read Sara Hagerty’s writing she reminded me of Ann Voskamp. She writes in the same poetic, lyrical and vulnerable way.” —Sandra Vander Zicht, associate publisher, Zondervan.


Book(s): Crushed: Why Guys Don’t Have to Make or Break You

Current publisher: NavPress

Website/blog: lifeloveandgod.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

Watchable: A spiritual “big sis” to teen girls via her online ministry, answering questions, even the squirmy ones, with honesty and a scriptural base

Future: Unashamed: Overcoming the Sins No Girl Wants to Talk About (June).

Quote: “I’m not saying things like rejection, betrayal, divorce or loss don’t hurt. We’ll still feel pain. We’ll still get scared sometimes. But we’ll know that God is bigger than our biggest problems.” —Jessie Minassian on her website

BarnabasPiper-CreditJenniferVanWinkleBARNABAS PIPER

Book(s): The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity

Current publisher: David C Cook

Website: barnabaspiper.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram

Watchable: Regular writer for World Magazine and The Blazing Center website; son of theologian John Piper

Future: Help My Unbelief: Why Doubt Is Not the Enemy of Faith (July)

Quote: “My story is shared by many. Some from tiny rural churches, others from suburban megachurches. Some PKs’ parents were transient, and others served in a single town for decades. Some rebelled against the church, others embraced it and many, like me, have done both. What I found through it all was that a story needed to be told, a challenge laid down, and hope offered.” —Barnabas Piper, from his website

KatherineReay-300KATHERINE REAY

Book(s): Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy & Jane

Current publisher: Thomas Nelson

Website/blog: katherinereay.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter

Watchable: Publishers Weekly starred review for Lizzy & Jane; American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award; the INSPY Award; Christy Award finalist for Dear Mr. Knightley.

Future: More novels coming with Thomas Nelson.

Quote: “Reay treats readers to a banquet of flavors, aroma and texture … and clever references to literature add nuances sure to delight bibliophiles.” —Publishers Weekly starred review


Book(s): Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me About Life, Faith, and Second Chances (May)

Current publisher: Tyndale Momentum (Tyndale House Publishers)

Website/blog: flashthedonkey.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest

Watchable: Blogs at homesanctuary.com, where she writes about making the home a sanctuary and about what she calls “small things.”

Future: Second book coming out with Tyndale Momentum.

Quote: “Every lesson you’ll find tucked in these pages will make you laugh, just as much as they’ll make you learn.” —Priscilla Shirer in the foreword to Flash.


Book(s): Breathing Room: Letting Go So You Can Fully Live (Revell/Baker Publishing Group); Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan, 2009)

Current publisher: Revell (Baker Publishing Group)

Website/blog: leeanatankersley.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Watchable: Tankersley spoke at Allume, a social media conference, and continues to draw fans to her blog.

Future: Brazen (Revell, April 2016).

Quote: “Leeana says out loud the things we all feel, and she says it with grace and eloquence. I’m so thankful for her honesty and her wisdom. Reading these pages is like sitting with a friend, and that’s the best thing I can think of.” —Shauna Niequist, author of Bread & Wine.


Book(s): When It All Falls Apart: Finding Healing, Joy and Victory through the Pain

Current publisher: Charisma House

Website/blog: majesticlifechurch.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Watchable: Pastor of Majestic Life Ministries in Orlando, Florida; host of “Glory of Gospel” radio program (Star 94.5, Orlando)

Future: When It All Comes Together: How God Can Redeem Your Brokenness for His Glory (2015)

Quote: “Be prepared to discover more about yourself as Pastor Riva shares her pains, heartaches and restoration on her path back to ministry and back to who God called her to be.” —Amazon reviewer


Book(s): Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings

Current publisher: Thomas Nelson, Discovery House Publishers

Website/blog: sheridanvoysey.com

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, iTunes

Watchable: Writes monthly for “Our Daily Journey,” a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries; lives in Oxford, England, though he and his wife are from Australia.

Future: Resilient: Your Invitation to a Jesus Shaped Life (Discovery House, fall)

Quote: “[Resurrection Year] calls all true followers of Jesus to empathize and fellowship with those whose dreams are shattered and whose hopes are in limbo. It sounds remarkably like a conversation with Jesus.” —Rev. Dr. John Smith, founder of God’s Squad motorcycle outreach, social commentator.