The Christian book publishing market is strong, but as many parts of the world become more secular, there’s growing interest in books about leaving a faith.
In this PickFu poll, one author tested how such a book would fare with a non-religious audience and got surprising results.
The author asked a group of 50 people who identify as either non-religious or “other” which book they’d buy. Here are the two titles:
- Option A: When God Closes One Door, Get Another God: Further Reflections on God and Religion From a Former Minister
- Option B: Goodbye God: It’s Not Me, It’s You: Further Reflections on God and Religion From a Former Minister
Can you guess which one won?
And the winner is…Option B, Goodbye God: It’s Not Me, It’s You: Further Reflections on God and Religion From a Former Minister, with a score of 66 to Option A’s 34.
Let’s find out why Option B won.
Respondents who voted for Option B liked that the title begins with a short, compelling phrase. It’s clear the author has left their religion entirely.
Option A, on the other, is murkier. While the title starts out with a commonly heard phrase among Christians, “When God closes one door,” some respondents took issue with the phrase “get another God.” It suggests that the author has simply swapped one religion for another. This doesn’t make for nearly as juicy a story as a minister who ditched God completely, respondents said.
- The younger the respondent, the more likely they were to vote for Option B
- Those with a high school degree overwhelmingly preferred Option B (87.5%) over Option A (12.5%); among those with an associate’s degree or higher, Option B was still the favorite but by a smaller margin of around 60% to Option A’s 40%
- Hispanic and white respondents favored Option B; Black and Asian respondents were split nearly evenly between the two
- The highest-earning respondents ($101k+) favored Option A (66.7%) over Option B (33.3%)
What they said
“Both titles are provocative, but I would be more interested in the wholesale rejection of religion than in someone trading one set of beliefs for another.”
“[Option B] is a more straight to the point title. It’s important because when quickly browsing through books, I want to have an idea of what the book is about from a quick glance at a title.”
“Both are funny takes on common saying but [Option] A implies the person has changed religion and it’s unclear if that’s really what happened. [Option] B implies the person is done with religion. [Option] B is succinct. [Option] A would be better if it was something like, When God Closes One Door, Leave By The Other Door.“
“[Option A] seems way more intriguing than [Option B]. It makes me wonder what other religion they’d rather be a part of.”
The two titles attract two different audiences within the non-religious sector.
Option A works for an audience that wants to know about a minister who left their religion for a different set of beliefs. Option B speaks to those who would rather read a story about a minister who gave up religion for good.
The author may not have realized that the two titles cater to different audiences until they ran this poll. Now that they have the results, they might ask themselves which book they wrote and for whom, and choose a title accordingly.
If you need help with your book title, check out our guide to writing a book title that will sell.
Want to dive deeper?
Results by commonly used words:
Results by race/ethnicity:
Results by income: