f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Bridging the Gap—Solution Three and Four: Become Irresistible or Unignorable

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

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Bridging the Gap—Solution Three and Four: Become Irresistible or Unignorable

I got swamped today and this is even more off the cuff than usual, but there is a possibility in these discussions that perhaps we’re being too passive. The best defense, as it is said, is a good offense. (Or is it, the best offense is a good defense?) Either way, we’re going to be offensive here, perhaps in both meanings of the word.

You do have an option to skirt the edges of the CBA world you know. There are publishers (Paraclete is the best example) that deal with Christian novels with more literary flair. Typically these novels make pretty small splashes in the publishing world (secular or Christian) but if your novel is right, the market will come to it. And if Paraclete all of a sudden publishes a bestseller there is a good chance that the CBA industry will come clamoring—if not for you than at least for similar books. It’s a long shot, sure, but look at Blair Witch and the indie film movement as a whole.

I saw a quote the other day (and I can’t find it now) that said something like, “We can’t wait around for the door to open for Christian artists. We’re looking for Christian artists who knock the door down.” Something of that ilk. There’s lots of merit to the notion—especially on the creative side. As artists, we do need to take primary responsibility for the direction of our fields and forms. Knocking down the door is a little harder. I think, primarily, that it means creating a work that simply can’t be set aside. Make your book so great that our publisher HAS to take this thing to print regardless of the consequences. Again, the onus is on the artist. And really, that’s where most of our influence remains. We will not change buyers’ minds overnight, but we can create a work that finds new buyers.

In the end, this notion (and this blog) returns to the actual work of writing. This is just a lot of palaver if the books don’t come. I need to write better. You need to write better. Your friend does too. So let’s meet and talk about these issues, but then let’s set them aside and go to our notebooks or computers and let’s put the words down that will actually make the difference.