f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: All Worked Up

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

All Worked Up

It's always nice to get riled up at the end of the day. Gets the heart going again, I guess.

Anyway, I stumbled across an ad on page 143 of the latest Christian Retailing from WestBow Press that I think could use some comment.

The ad says:

Individually, we've sold millions of books and movie tickets.

Together, imagine what we can do for the right fiction author.

Then there is a picture on an invitation on which it says:

An Invitation to Current Best-selling Fiction Authors Who:
* Have sold more than 100,000 units (total) in the last two years
* Would like a major Hollywood director to review your next story for screenplay consideration
* Are writing mainstream novels from a Christian worldview
* Are interested in a new publishers and agent relationship for your next contract

Go to www.westbowpress.com and click on "Fresh Start" [no button at current on website] to find a submission form as well as to review the terms of this invitation.

There are then three logos:

Yates & Yates LLP - The agency of representation for many of today's most recognized and successful authors
WestBow Press - The new fiction/entertainment division of Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Ralph Winter - Producer of X-Men, X2, and Planet of the Apes

In small print--All inquiries will be treated with complete confidentiality. This offer would apply to future projects after the completion of any existing publishers/agent relationship. Contract will be at the sole discretion of WestBow Press, Yates & Yates, and Ralph Winter--with no additional commitment implied.

I honestly don't know where to begin. I guess it mostly comes down to perception. Working at a rival house, I find this, well, blood-curdlingly tacky. But I'm sure I'm wrong. What say you all? (Or anyone from WestBow?)

How is any of this in the best interest of authors?

Do agents and publishers normally team up? Is this not a conflict of interests from which the author would see no benefit?

Isn't there a difference between a director and a producer in Hollywood?

Can someone tell me the last CBA novel to make it to feature film that didn't star Kirk Cameron?

I suppose I'm simply bitter seeing what amounts to the NYYankees of the Christian publishing world basically dangling dollars in order to (re)launch (yet again) their fiction publishing program. But, hey, the Lakers lost this week showing that not every megolith finds full success and these aren't the stories I'm after anyway.

So at Bethany House, I promise only that your book will be treated first and foremost like a novel--not like a screenplay-in-waiting. And that you will be treated as an artist, not a commodity to be bought. And I promise that we consider the notion of DEVELOPING and KEEPING authors in-house to be incredibly important. Also, I promise that we believe in the promise of NEW authors--not just bestselling authors. That's just our publishing philosophy. If it seems appealing, let's chat. If not, there's lots of other people with whom you can talk.