f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Two Paths to Sales

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Two Paths to Sales

Publishing, even Christian publishing, is a business. It's not just a business but at the end of the day we don't have some benefactor handing out oversized checks just so we can fill the world with books, wonderful books. The things need to find a readership; they need to sell.

And that's not a bad thing. Just as you can question whether a tree falling in an empty forest makes no sound, so too you can question the purpose of a book, boxed and tucked away in a publisher's warehouse, unable to find its way to a shelf. A book, we sappy-hearted believe, is more than an object. It's a message and only in the reading does it achieve its purpose. An unread book is no better than an uncorked bottle of wine or a toy still hermetically sealed in plastic (see Toy Story I and II). Books merely as decoration is as vain and bubble-headed a facade as I can think of...reminiscient of Jay Gatsby's library where all the books are real...but uncut.

So, there is no shame in selling books. The shame always seems to come in what kind of books you sell.

Because there's two different "kinds" of books you can sell. One is acceptable and one is looked at askance. And we'll spend the next couple of days talking about these two types of books and the dangers of lifting one too high on a pedestal or demeaning the other.

The two types we'll talk about?

Books readers know they want.

And books they don't know they want.