If you could change . . .
by Nicole Petrino-Salter
I’ve asked several professionals in publishing from authors to editors about “changing” Christian Fiction. If you could change one thing – or a few things – what would it/they be?
It’s not a trick question. It’s not designed to put authors on the spot for publishing repercussions from their publishers – or to entice complaints from readers.
It’s simple, honest. What would you change about Christian Fiction?
Since no doubt some of you will have no complaints or concerns, I will give you mine.
First of all, I would change the focus of genres. Offering three dominant genres (i.e. Amish, historical romance, romance) eliminates a wide audience. If you really want to amplify your reading audience, you will expand the focus to many genres even if it means eliminating some of the production of the predominant genres. Even if it means you only do one novel a year in a rogue genre such as sci-fi or fantasy.
Secondly, be more flexible and less sanitized. This does not mean adding a bunch of cuss words and explicit sex scenes to the repertoire. It means, while keeping the same menu for those readers who gasp or complain at the use of “hell” or “damn” in the conversations of characters, who blanch at slang terms such as “boobs” or “slut”, add those books which present a more authentic picture of the world in general while keeping the faith message clear – even if you have to make a separate imprint to accommodate these books.
Third, I don’t know what department in publishing must be pared down or eliminated to do this, but the fiction marketing and publicity needs to be amped. Just because authors can write a story does not mean they can market what they write. The two parts are not necessarily simpatico. Of all the avenues in publishing, promoting fiction has to be one of the toughest. It needs people with vision to reach specific audiences to suit the particular novels. Generic promotion doesn’t work. In fact, it fails. Those educated in marketing/promotion should be recruited, discovered, hired, and used based on their understanding of novels and novelists.
Fourth, I don’t know who the culprits are in the process but there are more copy-editing mistakes in recent books and ebooks than can sometimes be counted. It’s unprofessional, distracting for readers, embarrassing for authors.
Number five, give the author a break. A bigger piece of the pie. If you do a combo print and e-book, give them more of a cut for the e-book sales. Isn’t that the right thing to do?
Okay. You might agree or disagree. Perhaps you have changes of your own you’d like to see. If so, let’s hear ‘em.
Nicole Petrino-Salter writes love stories with a passion. You can visit her here most days.