Odds of being published

This is my tongue-in-cheek view of the big Christian publishing houses. I keep it pinned on my wall to remind me exactly why it is I’ve received so many rejection letters over the years. It may not be completely accurate but it’s accurate enough and, besides, it’s just a bit of fun 🙂

My dream is that one day this graph will be turned on its head and the bookshop shelves will be filled with the kinds of stories you and I enjoy so much.

Click on the picture to enlarge:

About P.A.Baines

P.A.Baines writes computer programs for a living but would much rather be writing Christian speculative fiction, which he does whenever he gets the opportunity. Educated in Africa, he is studying towards a degree in Creative Writing through Buckinghamshire New University in England. He enjoys asking "what if?" but is tired of how speculative fiction deals with religion in general and the God of the Bible in particular. His stories are for Christians who enjoy science fiction but who normally avoid the genre because of its tendency towards an atheistic world-view. His aim is to write entertaining and thought-provoking stories that stretch the imagination, but which keep God in His rightful place as Lord over all creation. P.A.Baines is British but currently lives in a small corner of the Netherlands with his wife and two children and various wildlife. He spends what little spare time he has keeping fit, watching films, and playing computer games with his children. He does most of his reading via audio books, which he listens to while commuting to and from work on his trusty bicycle. He speaks reasonable Dutch and is in the process of learning French.

22 comments on “Odds of being published

  1. Nice.

    Here a while back, some blogger wrote about how a Tribulation apocalyptic, amish vampire story would be the perfect Christian book. I hear he got offered a contract to write it. Anyone got the link to that blog post?

    • It was posted on the Anomaly by our very own David. Log in to the Marcher Lord Select board and look for a thread titled “The Ultimate Christian Novel” posted on Nov 24, 2009.

  2. Haha…you made me laugh. I think I will have to download this and print it out. 😀

  3. I fall somewhere between hell freezing over and No.

    • Unfortunately, writing for this genre means we’ve made the bottom left hand corner of the graph our home. Sadly, most publishers regard it as a bad neighborhood and wouldn’t dream of going there except during broad daylight, and even then only in bullet-proof cars and with an armed escort 🙂

      If only we could persuade them to take a chance and get out of their cars and get to know the place a little bit better…

  4. With the Vampire trend actually sort of dying out in the mainstream market after it peaked, and with a handful of “Christian” vampire stories in print, I had to really laugh at that “Vampire, Send it in!” poke you made. It would be just fitting for the Christian market to want to grab as many “Christian vampire” stories as they could once the mainstream audience has been fed up with them. Of course, it also figures that one of my stories I’m working on has to do with that very subject. 😉

    • I’m not very good at predicting trends but considering the impact and sheer saturation of books like Twilight, it wouldn’t suprize me if some of that overflowed into the Christian market. You should get your novel finished. You might be on the cusp of something 😉

  5. Please add allegories to your graph–on or close to the hell freezing over threshold! I have a few friends who can’t get them published anywhere.

    What are your thoughts on the market for Christian horror/suspense in the wake of The Shack?

    • Hi Krysti,

      I’ll certainly add that to my graph. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Unfortunately I haven’t read “The Shack” and I don’t know the exact details but I believe it was self-published. I suppose the author tried the usual channels and received the usual response of “interesting but no thanks”. I imagine seeing the word “horror” would send most Christian publishers reaching for their pile of blank rejection slips, just as “speculative” would.

      The Shack sold extremely well, which has to have been noticed by the big companies. Even if they aren’t doing anything about it, they are probably keeping an eye on things. It’s hard enough for a first-time author to get published in the “normal” genres, so how much harder must it be for those of us writing in the “weird” (I prefer “interesting”) genres? I once considered having a go at romance just to get my foot in the door, but that was like asking a cat to go deep-sea diving. I suppose all we can do is write what we love and hope that we see more successes like “The Shack” to persuade the big companies that there is an audience for the interesting stuff.

      • The Shack is a self-publishing anomaly. It started out as “self-publish”, but did so well an actually publisher picked it up. Don’t know the company though.

    • Wikipedia gives some details. The publisher is Windblown Media. I checked their website and, wouldn’t you know it, they’re not taking unsolicited manuscripts at the moment.

  6. Such a true observation. Nice chart! My books are right in the hell freezes/you must be kidding range (for spaceship content.)

    • Is there any way you could replace the spaceship with an Amish town? Throw in some bonnets and a vampire or two and you’ll be in the “send it in” category 😉 .

      • What about the Amish town is really in this larger terrarium space ship and the vampires an alien race?

      • And how about if the terranium space ship was built by an ancient advanced Amish community seeking to escape persecution? And the vampire alien race was formed by early vampires exiled from Earth because they were considered too girly by the rest of the vampires because they sparkled…

        There’s probably a novel in there somewhere.

  7. I’m old school — vampires are meant to be hunted down, not be the stars of romance novels! (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone? Did I mention that I despised Angel?) Nope, my guys would have to be intergalactic vampire hunters – almost as cool as bounty hunters. Though they could be bounty hunters who only hunted vampires… sweet!

    • all for old school – I say pass out the stakes and necklaces of garlic. Sorry, but I’d rather love a guy who isn’t sure if he might kill me any minute. Call me odd, but that just doesn’t strike me as very romantic. I’ve read Dracula. I’m all for putting them out of their misery. Angel and the blonde spiky haired guy too.

  8. Of course, I should clarify – my books DID get published. Without vampires and the Amish but with spaceships 🙂 But for most publishing houses I would fall into that low end category of NEVER!

  9. Two or three years ago I banished elves from my world(neighbor hated me for that). Wonder if that ups my chances… Maybe I can have one of my cultures think bonnets fashionable… no spaceships or robots so I’m good there. However most of my characters are relatively flawed. I do have one nearing immortal perfection… but unfortunately, he’s my villain.
    …what if I made his eyes gold and made his hair stand up on end…? I’d add sparkles, but that would probably be too obvious…

    • You could make them all wear bonnets but that would hide the hair. And you should think up something other than sparkles. In my zombie spoof the hero is so shiny you can see your own reflection in his face, but that’s because he has had comprehensive plastic surgery. How about rainbows? Fill your novel with perfect, bonnet-wearing Amish vampires who emit rainbows, and you can’t fail!

  10. You’ve made me choke but I don’t know quite whether I’m choking on my laughter or if I’m choking ’cause I’m about to sick! Can we please move on now from the Amish bonnet-wearing vampires? PLEASE???

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