Is Christian Fiction Dying?

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Last year, a couple Christian publishers stopped publishing fiction.  Some publishers are nervous about it and in a wait-and-see mode. Others are excited about growth potential.  The answer to the title question is no, but it is certainly interesting to explore the reason behind such widely diverse opinions on the subject.

NOTE #1: For full disclosure, I am a member of the advisory board for the Christy Awards, had a substantial period of my time in publishing during growth years of Christian fiction and our literary agency is committed to Christian fiction and its authors (as well as non-fiction projects).  Therefore I have an interest in seeing Christian fiction grow both personally and professionally.

NOTE #2:  I am limiting my comments to traditional publishing only, not self-published novels.  

Here is why I think Christian Fiction is causing some publisher-confusion right now:

  1. Fiction is the segment of book publishing most affected by the sales of eBooks. In some cases, 50% of sales can be digital.  Because eBooks are cheaper than printed editions, overall revenues will decrease or remain flat, all the while readership increases. A new model emerges, but it takes a while to adjust from a financial standpoint. (The audio book industry experienced this a few years ago…in a relatively short timeframe, it changed from being a premium priced CD and cassette-based market to a much cheaper digital download product.  Industry revenues actually dropped significantly from one year to the next, even as listening surged)
  2. Relatively small number of titles published – even in good years, the total output of new Christian fictions titles by the main ECPA Christian publishers are not more than 250-300 annually.  (Not counting the various Harlequin Love Inspired and Heartsong lines which publish over 200 per year.)
  3. Limited number of genres published – for reasons that may or may not be obvious, Christian publishers cannot publish in as many genres as a general market publisher.  For instance, erotica will never be a category in Christian publishing, while it is a major category in the general market.

Combine these three things happening at once and maybe we can understand why it is rather confusing time in the Christian fiction category. What can be done about it?

  1. Christian publishers could take a long-term strategic approach to publishing fiction that involves a steady 5-10% annual increase in fiction title output for the next five years. For some publishers this amounts to adding just 1-2 titles per year.
  2. Each publisher could add a new genre in the next two years so they are publishing in more categories.
  3. Limit free and cheap eBooks. The short-term benefit of free and cheap could undermine the category in the long term.
  4. Educate the sellers of Christian fiction to effectively do their work.  Authors can help here.  Don’t assume publishers know everything.
  5. Work to develop new marketing and sales channels.  Author/Publisher partnerships can address this.  Don’t assume publishers have connections everywhere.  They know large channels, authors might know niche channels. So talk!

The Christy’s gave awards in eight Christian fiction categories (nine including First Novel) last year.  As I see the number and type of titles submitted, there is a lot of room for specific category growth. 

Keep in mind, that if readers don’t find what they need in the Christian market, they will look elsewhere and personally, I’d rather they find a lot of great reads among titles from Christian publishers.

51 Responses to Is Christian Fiction Dying?

  1. Jackie Layton January 28, 2014 at 4:18 am #

    Good morning Dan,

    Are YA novels included in the 250-300? Does it include Amish?

    Thanks for this useful information. I’m going to read it again when the caffeine kicks in. I’m still trying to wrap my head around 250-300.

    Have a great day!

    • Dan Balow January 28, 2014 at 6:10 am #

      Yes, the 250-300 includes YA and Amish. When you consider the total number of new titles from Christian publishers is about 10,000 of all types, you can see that Christian fiction could grow quite a bit. In the general publishing market, fiction has approached 50% of all book sales. The Christian market has varied between 10-15% of sales being fiction. You may need to get a larger cup of coffee this morning…..

      • Jackie Layton January 28, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

        Those numbers are daunting. Thanks for answering my question.

      • Iola February 1, 2014 at 1:47 am #

        I read and review around 150 Christian novels a year (mostly from the main publishers, but some small press and indie novels – I’ve got one from Heather Day Gilbert [who has commented below] on my TBR list).

        Do you mean I’m reading over 50% of the total single-title CBA output?

        Wow.

      • Heather Day Gilbert February 1, 2014 at 9:49 am #

        Thanks for the shout-out, Iola. I can’t wait to get your thoughts on God’s Daughter.

  2. Ron Estrada January 28, 2014 at 5:21 am #

    I agree with your marketing assessment, Dan. It seems the publishers are still targeting the traditional demographics. I’ve yet to see (or maybe just not noticed) advertising among the outdoor crowd, gun owners, conservative groups (especially tea party groups), etc., all of which are predominantly Christian. We need to look at the activities that interest us outside the church. I promise that we are not the only Christians at the gun club.

    • Heather Day Gilbert January 28, 2014 at 9:22 am #

      Ron, I actually had a trad. CBA pub say my storyline was “too folksy and conservative” because the family has what I would call Tea Party ideas and owns a LOT of guns (just like the people I’m surrounded with in West Virginia). I feel it does readers a disservice when they don’t see characters that reflect THEIR values. It might be small-town values, but there are a LOT of small towns in the USA and a lot of gun owners. I’m self-pubbing that book soon and from the response I’ve gotten on the blurb (and my “Glock-wielding” MC), I anticipate a good readership.

      Dan, you’re so right, though. There are a limited number of spots (esp for debut novelists who write outside the box). I truly hope Christian fiction continues, and continues to expand and open arms to new genres and character types. But in the meantime, there is the option of going indie and gaining a readership, if you know the readers are there. I would love to see the Christys opening up to indie authors (who publish only their own novels). As it is, you have to essentially be a small publisher (publishing other people’s books) to enter.

  3. Heather Frey Blanton January 28, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Dan, do you think the traditional publishers should make an attempt at “recruiting” successful self-published authors? I know the money wouldn’t be as good for someone like me who has done very well taking that route, but it’s not about the money. It’s about getting the stories out there. I would think that if we could all work together, there’s real potential for dominating the fiction market, not just Christian fiction. Am I too optimistic?

    • Dan Balow January 28, 2014 at 6:23 am #

      The publishers pay close attention to sales information they can access through Nielsen Bookscan and are on the lookout for breakout books that are self-published. The Bookscan data includes sales at Amazon, so if a title starts to get significant traction, they know it. What is “significant traction”? Probably at least 100 copies per week sold over several months and growing.

      • Emily Rachelle January 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

        Just out of curiosity, do publishers use any sources other than Bookscan? I know Bookscan only tracks print sales, not ebook. I know ebook sales numbers would have to be much higher to equate to the same level of traction, though, too. Do any publishers ever watch ebook sales specifically?

      • Heather Day Gilbert January 28, 2014 at 9:26 am #

        Dan, just wondering–do trad. pubbed CBA authors typically sell about 100 books per week? Most authors don’t share that info, but is that a typical sales figure? I notice that many indie EBOOKS have better rankings that trad. pubbed CBA books. I’m just trying to figure out if publishers are still weighing too heavily on the print book side of things? Do you ever see that shifting?

      • Dan Balow January 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        Actually, 100 copies a week for a self-pub author translates to potentially 2-5 times that number for a traditional publisher. One hundred copies per week is only about 5,000 per year, but when that is basically from Amazon, publisher would view that as potentially 10-20k copies sold in all channels. (Amazon is about 1/7th of the physical book market)

        Mostly publishers want to see a book that is “sticking”, something that obviously has some viral aspect to it.

        eBook data is not readily available to publishers…for titles not their own.

      • Heather Day Gilbert January 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

        Thanks for the clarification, Dan. I had to re-read what you said a few times (numbers not being my strong suit!) but that makes sense.

  4. Jeanne Takenaka January 28, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    Dan, your approach makes a lot of sense. It also sounds like, as much as possible, there needs to be good dialogue between authors and their publishing houses. I know, in most cases, there is some, but should there be more?

    How do you recommend authors gear up for the possibilities you’ve outlined?

    • Dan Balow January 28, 2014 at 7:00 am #

      For the most part, publishers are in the driver’s seat on this issue, but if you are a published author, offer to have a discussion with the publisher on it. Someone needs to take the first step, so authors should take it. If you are not published yet, learn about marketing and what it takes to get new readers.

      • Jeanne Takenaka January 28, 2014 at 7:27 am #

        I’m unpublished, so it sounds like my next step is to learn more about marketing. Thanks, Dan!

  5. Thomas Allbaugh January 28, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Thanks for this informative post, Dan. I am again left wishing that your voice could be heard throughout the larger CBA, because 250 to 300 titles in an industry that publishes tens of thousands of titles every year does not seem at all healthy, especially when you consider that the majority of those 300 titles is in romance/Amish fiction. I understand that publishers respond to markets–I get all of that. I wish there could be some real committed attempts–over the long term, as they say in the stock market–to expand Christian fiction markets. But I will admit that when I talk to Christian friends and people in my church about fiction, I do get the distinct impression that they don’t really even like it very much. They certainly don’t understand how it could serve a godly purpose, and they don’t always get why I keep writing fiction. It would seem that the main audience for greater representation of Christian fiction in more markets will be found among the folks I’ve met at the Calvin College Festival of Faith and Writing–but most of them are used to being ignored by the CBA. I wonder: Does it seem that Christian publishers are simply not going to succeed at expanding Christian fiction genres?

    • Dan Balow January 28, 2014 at 7:41 am #

      What will eventually expand the Christian fiction market will be much more of the “art” than the “business”. Great writing and great story will make for expanding markets. But it is also a “chicken-egg” issue…there needs to be more opportunity for great stories! More books is not always the solution to expanding a certain type of book market, but in this case, I believe it is.

      • Evangeline Denmark January 28, 2014 at 8:56 am #

        I read the first line of the above comment again and again, and now I want to shout it from the rooftops.

        What will eventually expand the Christian fiction market will be much more of the “art” than the “business”.

        Yes, a hundred times, yes!

  6. Naomi Musch January 28, 2014 at 7:53 am #

    As to #3 under What Can Be Done About It, I couldn’t agree more. There are too many free ebooks. From my POV as a reader, why should I pay for a good read, when I can download for free at least 3 or 4 interesting books in any given week? My Kindle overfloweth. Even as much as I’d like to support some fellow authors by buying their books, it’s harder to do when the gleam of free is a constant all around me and I can hardly keep up with the reading I already have. From my POV as a writer with a traditional small publisher that hasn’t decided to try the give-away route, my struggle to swim to the surface of the pond and be seen is vastly more difficult. I’m working hard on creative marketing to make my voice heard, but the sea of Free speaks a whole lot louder at times.

    • Jackie Layton January 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      Hi Naomi,

      You mentioned that your Kindle is full of free reads. How many of these freebies have you read?

      I’d rather spend my time and money reading a well-written paid for novel than a freebie that’s not great.

      That’s just my two cents. Don’t give up on your small traditional publisher.

  7. Ann Shorey January 28, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    I totally agree on all points, Dan, especially #3. When my publisher offers books for free, or very cheap, over time readers will just wait for the “sales” rather than buying the book when it comes out. Freebies and sales don’t help an author’s royalties, either. Thanks for the post.

  8. Emily Rachelle January 28, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    As a YA reader, I think that’s one genre in particular that desperately needs expanding in the Christian market. I can think of dozens of romance or Amish or mystery writers in the Christian market, but for YA? Only a handful of names come to mind.

    • Evangeline Denmark January 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      I know where you’re coming from, Emily. I urge you to check out Zondervan’s new YA line Blink. http://blinkyabooks.com/
      You can follow them on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BlinkYABooks

      Blink is publishing some out-of-the-box fiction that I believe will push boundaries and appeal to the wide audience of YA readers. I feel blessed to be a part of the Blink community though my book won’t be out till 2016. I feel like I’ve found the place where my voice belongs, and I’m excited to engage with YA readers.

      • Emily Rachelle January 30, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

        I love Blink! I know one of the authors (Jill Williamson) online through my writers’ group, and I’ve done reviews for the street team. In fact, I should be getting their new book Firstborn in the mail for a review any day now. :)

  9. J.D. Maloy January 28, 2014 at 11:08 am #

    Emily, I ditto you and just gave you an air high five. YA in the Christian market needs a boost. Bad. And Dan’s comment about great writing and great story is the way to do that. Do you write Christian YA too?

    Evangeline I am shouting it from the rooftops with you, girl. Yes, art! Let’s dig deep and write great stories that the reader is asking for. It’s hard work, but we’re passionate and willing, right? Let’s get back to the basic and put the story first :)

  10. J.D. Maloy January 28, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Emily, I briefly checked out you blog and, girl, wow. The future generations of girls (and boys) needs your passion for the written word. You have God given talent and I encourage you to hang in there, stay the course, and be bold in the path He’s taking you down. Way to go for all you do!

  11. Rachel Smith January 28, 2014 at 11:29 am #

    I’m a thirty-something reader (and writer) and I’ve given up on Christian fiction. I can’t find what I want because CBA publishers say I don’t exist, and that romance readers don’t give a fig about his POV. No one would touch my inspy historical romance, so I shelved it and left CBA behind.

    I’m reading 100% secular romance now, all over the place. And having the time of my life. What I want exists in spades in the secular market. One of the fastest growing segments of ABA romance is M/M. Written by women and READ by women. It’s overtaking erotica in sales numbers. Anyone with eyes can see CBA editors are wrong about romance readers not caring about his POV.

    In writing I no longer feel constrained by what I consider artificial parameters that force me to shove my characters into a box they don’t belong in. I’m free to explore class divisions in whatever way I choose, and nobody tells me “you can’t do that.”

    I want real characters with real flaws, where everything is NOT tied up in a neat bow at the end of the book. People don’t always “repent”. I want realism in my fiction. And CBA won’t publish it.

  12. Linda Rodante January 28, 2014 at 11:33 am #

    I agree with so much that has been said. As an avid reader, and unpublished fiction author, there is so much I would like to see in Christian fiction books. I work at a Christian college and have lots of Christian friends and the concensus is that they would like to read new authors (they’ve read most of what’s out there that they like and want more to read by authors they know and don’t know)on real subjects. Subjects that touch on life issues that they all face. They have to go to the secular market to try and find “clean” books that also touch their hearts on the things that matter to them. Publishing needs to take a jump of faith but into real world problems (I’m not talking graphic stuff-these things can be written without graphic descriptions)and publishing more books for a market that is ready for them.

    • Heather Day Gilbert January 28, 2014 at 11:50 am #

      I wish there were a *like* button here, Linda. I feel like you have to search for books with married main characters, which doesn’t make sense, because many CBA readers ARE married (if not the majority). We are dealing with MARRIED/parenting issues many times–things we want to see reflected in fiction. I think many Christian authors are going ABA, like Rachel Smith (above) or indie/hybrid, like I have, to get those perspectives and messages out. Sometimes I feel CBA pubs aren’t listening to their readers. As an indie, I can ASK my readers what works for them and what doesn’t, and it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.

  13. Chris Staron January 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    We really need diversity in our titles and publishers willing to take risks on new material. If we are going to have a shot at younger markets especially we are going to need to start getting books that address real issues. I mean, real issues to people who don’t live on the prairie in the 1800s.

    • Rachel Smith January 29, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Yes, Chris! I am the younger market, the one CBA has to hook to stay alive. And what is CBA doing? Driving us away by the hundreds. The bi-yearly CBD fiction catalog used to be something I looked forward to. Now I don’t even notice when it comes.

      I am the future of both CBA readership and CBA published authors, and CBA has lost me. By the time they catch up to where I want to be I’ll have a thriving career in ABA and no interest in coming back. If CBA can’t handle a historical with a historically accurate interracial romance, no way are they going to accept an inter-species one set on a different planet.

      • Steve Laube January 29, 2014 at 10:13 am #

        Rachel,

        You made me laugh with the comment “If CBA can’t handle a historical with a historically accurate interracial romance, no way are they going to accept an inter-species one set on a different planet.”

        Which is why Marcher Lord Press is in existence. To provide a place for the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres to flourish.

        Obviously an inter-species romance in space isn’t going to work for a publisher that doesn’t publish science fiction in the first place.

        But at the same time Marcher Lord Press isn’t going to publish something just because it is “weird” (although that has happened), it has to be well written and be a compelling story too.

      • Emily Rachelle January 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

        Now I really want to read this inter-species romance book.

      • Iola February 1, 2014 at 1:55 am #

        But I doubt Marcher Lord Press is going to publish M/M. Even if it is set on another planet.

      • Steve Laube February 1, 2014 at 9:35 am #

        Iola is correct. Marcher Lord Press would never be interested in M/M (male on male) love stories.

        But that wasn’t the question.

      • Rachel Smith February 3, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

        Emily, I’m hopeful. It’s on submission right now. I have excerpts on my blog, which is linked to my name above. They’re tagged My Name Is A’yen.

        I thought about trying to write this particular series for Marcher Lord. But it required too much rewriting of my hero’s backstory. I couldn’t do it without losing the essence of who he is. So I went straight secular on it, and don’t have to worry about anybody being offended by my hero’s backstory.

        See, my hero in this is bi. And he’s not ashamed of it. It’s a point of conflict and tension in the plot as a whole as the series progresses. He’s the alien and the rest of his race does not approve of his choices.

        It would have had to be under the Hinterlands imprint, and with the turn the story has taken now I doubt even Hinterlands would be okay with. But the secular market is totally okay with it.

      • Iola February 3, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

        Rachel’s previous comment said:

        “What I want exists in spades in the secular market. One of the fastest growing segments of ABA romance is M/M. Written by women and READ by women … Anyone with eyes can see CBA editors are wrong about romance readers not caring about his POV.”

        She appears to be suggesting the CBA market publish M/M. If so, I suspect she doesn’t (didn’t) know what it is. My view is that CBA readers may well want more male POV. But we want to read it in the context of a biblical M/F relationship, not any of the other combinations that exist in the erotica market.

      • Emily Rachelle February 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

        Okay, I didn’t know until these comments what M/M was, either. To be bluntly honest, I’d never read that. And while inter-species outer space romance sounds awesome, I’d never read a book with a bi main character, either.

      • Rachel Smith February 4, 2014 at 10:13 am #

        Iola, I’m not implying at all that CBA should publish M/M. And I know full well what it is. In fact, I know people who write it. I’ve done research on it and written on my blog about it three months ago. I have one on my Nook from an author I trust and I plan to read it once I finish my current book. For readers like me, who prefer his POV, there’s an inherent fascination in how things like this are set up. Will I ever read other stories like this? No. This one is the exception, because I’ve already met the characters and I care very much about them.

        CBA has no business publishing it. But CBA also has no business burying its head in the sand and sticking to genre conventions that are outdated and that the majority of readers around my age don’t want. I’m 31, I’m the future of CBA. And I’ve lost all interest in it, as a reader and a writer. I’m not alone either. As I said in my first comment on this post we’re leaving by the hundreds and thousands and have no interest in coming back.

        What I’m saying is the CBA attitude about romance needing to be largely from her perspective is flat-out wrong, according to the market. CBA is five to ten years behind the curve on romance trends, and I’m tired of waiting for them to catch up. Why should I torture myself reading and writing stuff that I’m bored with, when I can cross over and find exactly what I want? And write exactly what I want without having to worry about someone telling me “you can’t do that.” I have been told that, by multiple agents and an editor. I’m done dealing with it and being told what comes naturally to me is unsellable. I know for a fact it’s not.

        Is Christian fiction dying? Right now, no. But in five years it could be a different story.

        The reaction I’m seeing here to the story burning inside me is precisely why I’ve crossed over. Too many Christians want nothing to do with a hurting world, and it saddens me. My bi hero and the sacrificial love he experienced with a man is something I can use to show Christ’s light and the depth of His love for us. It’s unconventional, yes, but I know it will reach someone who would otherwise never understand it.

        If I have to choose between saccharine characters living in black and white, and realism in shades of gray in my fiction, I choose realism and shades of gray.

  14. Heather Frey Blanton January 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Heather and Rachel, I think one reason my book did so well in 2012/13 was because my characters are flawed, the setting was realistic, and the storyline gritty. In other words, real life. If I have one more person tell me Christian fiction is cheesy, I’ll scream. Yes, a lot of it is that and there is a place for that. There is also a place for realism, though, and I think publishers should be more open to it. It can be done tastefully. Redeeming Love is a fantastic example!

    • Heather Day Gilbert January 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm #

      Please hit me upside the head if I ever start writing cheesy fiction…for me that would look like formulaic fiction. I like books that surprise me–those are the ones I remember. And the books that have characters I relate to on some emotional level, like Maggie in The Mill on the Floss. I understand there’s a place for escapist fiction, but I think CBA readers are CLAMORING for more realism. I agree, it can (and should) be done tastefully. Good points, Heather.

  15. Karen Collier January 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

    Lots of great points in this post and in the comments. Regarding #5, I’ve often wondered why I don’t hear more advertising for Christian fiction on Christian radio stations. I listen to two local stations and can’t remember ever hearing a Christian novel mentioned in either the form of paid advertising / sponsorship or an author interview on either of them. This surprises me, because I’d think there’d be a lot of overlap between the people listening to Christian radio and the people who would be interested in reading Christian fiction. Am I missing something?

  16. J.D. Maloy January 29, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    This post and all the comments kept gnawing at me. We, us writer’s here, cannot let Christian fiction die! As annoyed as you are about what Christian fiction is out there, you can do something about it. Yes, publisher and distributors have a say in what they’ll represent, but we have a responsibility in being the vessel of the stories God gives us to share. It’s crucial to take our *job* seriously and work hard so the reader gets a great story. Turning the tide begins with us, and I am up for the challenge and don’t deter easily.

  17. Cam Schmitt January 30, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    The problem with an increase in title output is the shrinking retail space for the category. Publishers should put out more books into a more competitive space for success? Bookstores have been disappearing and the ones that remain have condensed their fiction sections in order to load in product with better margins. Wal-Mart…shrunk their books sections. What about online retailers? Well, they have their own agendas (Amazon is now publishing to the religious market/and cherry-pick what they want to promote) and discoverability is a nut everyone is trying to crack but with no clear code. Selling direct to consumer is the answer but a hot, political mess.
    Also, I hear a lot of “CBA publishers don’t allow this, won’t support that” in the comments when CBA publishers have tried and will take a stab at just about anything. Look into the backlists of these houses and you will find all kinds of novels – really great novels, some that aren’t – that didn’t succeed because no one bought them. All kinds of genres. YA. Sci-fi. People toting or owning guns. Comedy. Coming of Age. Mystery. Romances with Male POVs. Acclaimed literary work. On and on. Novels with all kinds of heavy, real-life issues. All of these books can be found, published by Christian publishers, if you are looking for them. Dan could probably give loads of examples from his years of industry experience. But the buying audience hasn’t shown up for these books, and publishers, even with a desire to do something new and exciting, has to follow what readers are clamoring for, because it is what booksellers want.
    Where I agree with Dan above is the need to create new pathways for readers to find all the really amazing books they are missing. NovelCrossing.com and Family Fiction are two that are trying to make that happen.

    • Heather Day Gilbert January 31, 2014 at 5:17 am #

      Cam, I agree that you can find more variety if you look BACK. But the thing is, readers want more variety now than ever (and you can see from the comments, they are CLAMORING for it). I agree that Novel Crossing and Family Fiction are trying to get the word out–however, most larger review sites accept primarily (if not exclusively) traditionally published books. So if you’re looking for your fave indie author there, often they won’t be listed. But I am truly thrilled when review sites are open to self-published fiction, and I believe it will start happening as people listen to readers.

      The thing is that readers CAN now determine what they want, via Amazon. Amazon can stock books in those niche markets so readers can find them, and it doesn’t take up shelf space. I’m just saying there’s a bit of a publishing revolution going on, and authors CAN get those out-of-the-box books out, one way or another. The CBA is just playing less of a role in the process now.

    • Iola February 1, 2014 at 2:05 am #

      Dee Henderson’s last book (Unspoken) was a romance with entirely male POV. The heroine didn’t get a single POV scene. It worked for that plot, but it wouldn’t (IMO) work for everything.

      Circle of Spies by Roseanna M White is also heavy on the male POV (it doesn’t release until 1 April, but I read the ARC – yay). Excellent. If you like Civil War era fiction, go preorder it. (And I’m not just saying that because Steve’s her agent. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages).

      • Steve Laube February 1, 2014 at 9:37 am #

        Iola,
        To clarify. Roseanna White is represented by Karen Ball, not by me. However that does put her under the auspices of The Steve Laube Agency.

        So glad you are a fan of Roseanna. She is a marvelous talent. Look for more from her in the coming years.

        Steve

      • Rachel Smith February 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

        Roseanna is brilliant with the male POV. I’m good friends with her. But one series out of dozens does not meet my need for romance heavy on his POV. Dee Henderson can do it because she’s Dee Henderson? But could I do it? Not a chance.

        I want skewed him ALL THE TIME. Books like Roseanna’s and Dee’s latest stick out because they are so rare. I was told by a published Genesis judge two years ago that readers have told her they don’t care about his POV. That’s not okay with me, because his *is* the one I care about. I’m not your typical woman, and have always had a head full of male characters. Always.

        I can’t write with the focus on her. Doing so strangles me and it reads forced and flat. But when I put the focus on him, and tell the story the way it wants to be told, it’s magic.

  18. Connie Terpack February 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    When I saw the title of your blog, I had a moment of panic. Cindy, my editor and friend, repeatedly encouraged me to write in the Christian genre, insisting there was a huge market. I just finished editing my book to suit the Christian genre. Was I going to have to redo it all over again? After I read through your article I realized I no longer needed to worry that I was writing for a dead market.
    However, I do have concerns that mine will not be want the publishers want. I wrote about real life–things that I’ve experienced or know of through friends. My books are not the sappy, “Oh, will I find true love?”, or “Give me this job, Lord. I love it.” While those are valid points to talk to God about, I opted for the hard issues. My first Christian novel opens with a rape and murder. The husband is a successful orthopedic surgeon and not particularly close to God. He doesn’t find him until he moves, even then life is not easy for him. It does have a happy ending.
    Honestly, I have not been praying about this book as much as I should have. I guess I need to get busy with that.

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