Avily brought The Great Christian Spec-Fic Debate to NAF yesterday, and as I started to compose my response, I realized it was a whole other post.
The Christian submarket only came about because general market romance novels got so explicit Christian women wouldn’t read them anymore. So publishers created this segment with clean romance novels for them.
Then writers in other genres said, if there can be Christian romance novels, there can be Christian suspense novels and Christian mystery novels. But Christian speculative fiction just doesn’t fit in that mold. Most Christian readers are satisfied to read GRR Martin and Brandon Sanderson.
We’re all trying to get a grip on this thing, and we’re not there yet.
Pardon me while I go all Venn on you:
Like Avily, I agree with those who say the wedge in the middle is too small to sustain viable businesses. The problem of course, is that our efforts to market to the Christian bubble have fallen flat, because there are just so many people on that side who are put off by some of the concepts and themes we deal with.
Marketing to the other side of the bubble will be just as hard, because on that side, there’s a whole subset who are offended by Christian values and theology. They’re the ones who leave one-star reviews on Christian books because there’s “too much moralizing.”
We need to stop trying to convince the CBA/ACFW (which are closely allied) to solve this problem for us. They have amply demonstrated themselves unable and unwilling to do so. They’ve made that choice for business reasons. Who can argue?
We need to work both sides of the equation, finding Christians who are open to SF and SF readers who are open to Christian concepts. But that’s a daunting task. The only way we can do it is together.