When I published my first book someone asked me why I would want to write Christian fiction? In fact his exact words were: "You are such a good writer, why do you want to limit yourself writing Christian fiction when you could probably have a great career writing other kinds of books?"
I know what he was trying to say was that if I just wrote what the "world" wanted I would probably have a larger audience of readers. You know, he does have a point...
Writing from a Christian worldview, will limit my reading audience somewhat. Christian readers will naturally embrace the message but many others will not even pick up the book if it says "Christian" anywhere on the cover or in the storyline.
Several years ago, I participated in a book giveaway so that I could get a few book reviews on Amazon. It was a good marketing strategy and I had numerous people post reviews. Unfortunately, although I was completely up front with telling potential reviewers that my books were written from a Christian world-view a young lady whom I later discovered was an atheist, requested my books and she proceeded to write a scathing review slamming every aspect of the book just because it was Christian! Although I was at first unhappy and distressed by the negative review, I have since learned to accept it and rejoice in the fact that she read my book cover to cover and the Gospel message was shared with that person. Who knows? Maybe a seed was planted!
As much as my reading audience may be limited according to some, Christian Fiction is becoming more and more popular with a world-wide reading audience (especially in the young adult genre that I write in). Tired of the occult and paranormal fare that has dominated the market for years parents and teens alike are now looking for wholesome messages and family-friendly books. They are looking for well-written literature that is not filled with expletives and graphic sexual content. They are looking for books that give them hope.
"Sales of religious paperback books represent a significant market share in today’s publishing arena. The new gospel on book sales has spiritual and religious titles crossing over into mainstream bookstores and taking upwards of 7 percent of all book sales. The Purpose Driven Life, for instance, has sold over 22 million copies." http://www.christiancommunitynetworking.com/apps/blog/show/8056956-books-news-and-publishing-industry-statistics
Do I sometimes feel like a little fish swimming in a great big sea if I compare my books with the blockbuster secular books of today? Absolutely. As a Christian I know that the "world" has a dominating influence right now and people will wallow freely in their own sin. Books written that glorify sin will be popular...for now...
I still need to stay true to what I believe in and the message I want my readers to grasp hold of...the Hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.
Lynn Dove calls herself a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). She is the author of award winning books: The Wounded Trilogy. Her blog, Journey Thoughts won a Canadian Christian Writing Award - 2011. She has also had essays published in LifeWay magazines: "HomeLife" and "Parenting Teens", "Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul - Parenthood" (March 2013). Readers may connect with Lynn on Facebook, Twitter and on her blog: Journey Thoughts
Your post really struck a cord with me, Lynn. While I have never had a scathing review because of the Christian content in my books, I have had some lower reviews and comments that say this type of thing. (Too much Christian content...) It is a dilemma, since we don;t necessarily want to limit ourselves to preaching to the choir, but we don;t want to hoodwink anyone into reading our books by making them think they aren;t Christian....ReplyDelete
I really like what you said about hoping a seed was planted. In the end, it is the eternal value of what we do and not the reviews we get, that matters.
Excellent thoughts, Lynn, and excellent attitude on your writing and publishing experiences. Some of the information you gave in this blog and in the website listed really do give hope to writers. We can learn from others, but there is more than one way to get published and get our stories out there. Thanks.ReplyDelete
I also stopped by your blog, Journey Thoughts. I hope you get back on your healed feet soon. Your story sounds like something I might do.
Excellent point of view, a very interesting post. I wish you success and God's blessings in your writing!ReplyDelete
P.S. One more comment, I have posted a lot of book reviews on several book websites. In one I was reviewing a Christian book on the subject of evangelism, and used the term "the lost" to describe someone who didn't have faith in God. The website received a complaint and never published my review. Since then I have been very careful to not have an "us vs. them" perspective, but to be sensitive to the reader's perspective. I agree that a seed was planted, and congratulate you on writing such a clear Christian message that it stood out from a worldly view!ReplyDelete