f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Ramifications of a Crowded Field

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Monday, December 15, 2003

The Ramifications of a Crowded Field

From the Christian E-tailing Newletter of Thursday Dec. 11:

Thomas Nelson announced yesterday the launch of its new fiction division, WestBow Press.
CBA fiction is a growth industry at the moment. It’s the most beautiful girl at the ball and everybody wants a spin. Publishers with little history in publishing CBA Fiction have jumped into the ring; established publishers are beefing up their lines; and publishers who dabble in fiction have reaffirmed their commitment. In short, it’s a good time to be a CBA novelist. With so many lists needing filled, this is definitely a seller’s market and if your idea is strong you can probably gain at least a few bids.

In general, I don’t think it’s all that spectacular a sign for Christian Fiction or those who take writing and faith seriously. To make a sports analogy, this is the same as baseball’s expansion to 30 teams a few years ago. At that time there were 28 teams, so while the addition of two teams doesn’t sound like much, this meant adding 50 new players to the major leagues. The problem was that you don’t add 50 new All-Stars, instead, the people who enter are minor leaguers simply in the right place at the right time.

Two years ago I was seeing CBA novels being published that probably never should have seen the light of day. Adding more publishers simply means more substandard stories being pushed in readers’ faces. If too many readers feel that too much of the writing is poor, this “boom” will end quickly.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be writing at the highest quality. Bestselling numbers help, but quality and staying-power are rare qualities that help establish a publisher. The bandwagon is moving and lots of folks are jumping on. Do you want to be part of a trend or do you want to be one of the few who carry faith-filled fiction to places still unimagined?