Genre Basics: Religious, Inspirational & Spiritual - article

What is a Religious, Inspirational, or Spiritual Book?

The genre of “religious, inspirational, and spiritual” encompasses a diverse collection of material that includes both fiction and nonfiction books covering a wide range of religions, from Christianity to Buddhism to Wiccan. Books may be associated with one specific religion, or may be more general, but they often focus on an inspirational theme with underlying religious lessons or ethics.

This genre also includes books that cover topics meant to encourage spiritual growth, but are not necessarily tied to one religion. Books that offer techniques for improving physical health, emotional well-being, and personal relationships are popular in this genre, especially when they pull from concepts and practices from all over the world.

Depending on how small a role religion plays in your book, it could fall under another genre. For example, if your book is more about how religion or spirituality played a role in your life, it may fit better under the memoir category. If your book is fiction with some religious undertones, you may want to classify it as a novel, especially if the story in itself plays a bigger role than the religious elements. Just because your main character is a Buddhist doesn’t mean you’re writing a religious or spiritual book.


Types of Religious, Inspirational, and Spiritual Books

1. Religious History or Study

While books like the Bible and the Koran fall under this category, it’s more likely you’ll be writing some type of critique, background, or study of a particular religion. These books normally aim to share some fundamental information about a religious practice, possibly comparing it to other religions, looking into its history, or sharing information with people looking to learn more about a particular faith.

2. Inspirational

Inspirational books often aim to help others improve aspects of their life such as physical or mental health, relationships, or professional growth with spiritual affirmations or religious practices. The focus of these books is to provide helpful tips to inspire change in others, with less of a focus on the author’s personal story.

If your book aims to inspire others or help them improve their life but does not include a strong religious or spiritual component, it likely falls under the self-help genre.

3. Spiritual Growth

Stories of spiritual growth often revolve around the author’s personal journey of discovering their faith and sharing what they’ve learned from the experience.

Unlike inspirational books, stories that fall under “spiritual growth” focus more on the author’s journey toward faith-based growth rather than helping others enact change in their own life. While there may be some components of inspiration, it is not the primary theme of the book.

To learn more about genres, whether you need them, and how to choose the right one, make sure to check out our comprehensive article on The Basics of Genre.

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