I recently discovered a new term. It is a form of psychological treatment that encourages reading to promote healing for individuals. It is called bibliotherapy.
Most Christians already know that reading the Bible and having a relationship with Jesus promotes spiritual and emotional healing. We also know that truth is truth. Therefore, reading good literature that speaks truth and understanding can also promote healing.
In other words, reading books can help you cope with grief, improve your relationships, eat healthier, exercise better, and improve your ability to relate to others. These can come about from information in nonfiction books or from relating to stories and characters in fiction books.
Additionally, studies have shown that reading puts our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation—bringing with it the same health benefits of deep relaxation. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.
In bibliotherapy, a trained individual listens to a person’s issues and then gives him a list of recommended books to read—mostly fiction books. The books on the list are aimed at helping the individual with his problems.Psychotherapists also recommend books to their clients, but generally these are nonfiction books. The difference between psychotherapy and bibliotherapy is that the bibliotherapist generally does not engage in “talk therapy” beyond an initial assessment. Instead, the therapy is based on providing the client a recommended reading list and the client reading the books.
As an author, you can use this concept of bibliotherapy in your promotion efforts. What problems does your book address? Does your hero or heroine struggle with an emotional or life issue that people can relate to? What personal struggle might your book help someone overcome?
Once you answer these questions, let your readers know what problems your book can help them overcome. If nothing else, use the idea that reading regularly helps one sleep better and have lower stress levels. Remember, good marketing is all about letting your potential readers know how your book meets a need they have.