Posted on Mar 7th, 2012
Quick question – is there a Christian market for books? A member of our writing group reacted poorly when I mentioned my WIP may be more appropriate for the Christian market than women’s fiction. A heated “God does not sell” debate ensued, followed by a rousing chorus of “Every Bestseller Needs Sex or Vampires.” (We are an eclectic bunch.) Lots of misconceptions out there – hoping you can help me provide some clarity, at least to our tiny group.
Wondering if God Sells
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God does indeed sell. I don’t blame your group for not knowing the Christian publishing world exists. But really, it’s kind of like assuming that because you know nothing about NASCAR, it must not exist. *facepalm*
Yes, there’s a thriving Christian market. Either that, or my entire life since 2002 has been a dream and I’m about to wake up. Also, most of my Facebook friends, many of my real-life friends, the publishers I sell to, and my entire literary agency are figments of my imagination.
Assuming that’s not the case, here you go…
The Ultimate Guide to Christian Publishing!
- Dozens of publishing companies are dedicated to Christian books. Here’s one list. Here’s a list on Wikipedia.
- There are trade associations. Where the general book market has the ABA and the AAP, the Christian market has the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) and the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association).
- Incidentally, you’ll often hear the entire Christian publishing and bookselling industry referred to as “CBA” for shorthand.
- The world at large has Amazon (which contains thousands of Christian books). But the Christian market also has ChristianBook.com for all your shopping needs.
- There are bestseller lists dedicated to Christian books, including the ECPA, the CBA, and the ChristianBook.com lists.
- You may be familiar with huge writers’ organizations such as RWA, SCBWI, or SFWA. The Christian market has them too: ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and CWG (Christian Writers Guild) along with countless local and regional organizations.
- There are huge Christian bookstore chains, including Mardel, Family Christian, Lifeway, and others.
- The Christian market has lots of agents, too. Here’s Michael Hyatt’s list of literary agents who represent Christian authors. Here’s Author Media’s list of Christian agents on Twitter.
- The Christian Writer’s Market Guide contains over 500 pages of information on the Christian market.
- Random House has Christian imprints that serve the evangelical market: Waterbrook Press and Multnomah Books.
- Harper Collins owns two gigantic Christian publishing companies: Zondervan and Thomas Nelson.
- Simon & Schuster has a Christian imprint that serves the Christian market: Howard Books.
- Hachette also has Christian imprints: FaithWords, CenterStreet, and Jericho Books.
And contrary to myopic-yet-popular opinion, there are millions of readers who don’t need their books full of sex and vampires. The Christian market fills that need, among other things. (I hasten to add that there are also millions of non-Christian readers who don’t need sex or vampires either.)
Check out this USA Today interview with Julie Cantrell, author of Into the Free, a DEBUT novel that is now on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. It’s a Christian book, published by a Christian publisher (not even one of the publishers owned by the Big 6). That same book is in the top 20 on Amazon’s Literature and Fiction bestseller list. No vampires anywhere in sight.
Now, you tell me. Is there a market for Christian books? Have a great day and let me know how it goes when you enlighten your group.
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Are you writing for the Christian market? Why or why not?
Do you have questions about the Christian market?
What resources would you add to this list?
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