Mackel Tour; Fantasy and a Christian Worldview, Part 12

First, check out other bloggers highlighting Kathryn Mackel this week. Ones I know include the following:
Jason Joyner – Spoiled for the Ordinary
TL Hines’ blog
Cheryl Russel – Unseen Worlds

Since I don’t have an interview with Kathryn Mackel to post, I decided to check out pre-blog tour interviews already posted online. I found a pretty comprehensive one at Infuze Magazine that covers a number of her books, including The Hidden.

Gina Holms did a nice interview last October on her blog Novel Journey. I like that one in particular because it highlights Outriders, the first in Mackel’s science fiction/fantasy series, The Birthright Project.

Ah, fantasy. Just the subject I was wanting to get to.

It dawned on me that one problem with Christian fantasy is the target audience. You see, those in the know say that most book-buyers are women, so the majority of books that make it into print are targeted to women readers. On CBA shelves, you see many more romance, chick lit, and women’s contemporary books than you do anything else.

So is this another chicken-or-the-egg conundrum? I mean would we really expect a large number of men to be buying romance, chick lit, or women’s contemporary for their own reading enjoyment? 🙂 So maybe the reason men don’t buy a lot of Christian fiction is because there isn’t a lot of Christian fiction out there for them to buy.

But marketing people want to provide product for their current customers, and there are only so many publishing dollars to be had. It would involve some risk-taking to really attempt to capture the men’s market.

I say, Why not take the risk? Aren’t the guys worth it? And here’s where fantasy comes into play. Fantasy aims at a cross-section of society and has at least as many men as women who read it.

Think about this: Are the Harry Potter readers only girls? Hardly. How about the Narnia readers? Nope, that’s a cross section, too. Dragons in Our Midst? A healthy number of both boys and girls.

So why am I mentioning series initially targeting young people? Because they grow up. What are the fans of Harry Potter, Narnia, Dragons in Our Midst going to read as adults?

And don’t be shocked by this—they already are becoming adults. The first Harry Potter book came out, what, eight years ago? So those thirteen-year-old fans of the first book are now adults—never mind the older teens who devoured every word.

So what are those boys-turned-men reading now?

No wonder fantasy movies are so popular.

Would that Christian book shelves had more fantasy as an alternative.

Published in: on May 30, 2006 at 5:00 am  Comments (7)  

7 Comments

  1. They’re not reading, they’re playing video & computer games. No lack of fantasy or sci-fi there. 😉 *snicker*

    And a range of everything from brainless action to very deep plots.

    *this short response brought to you by an addled brain. Addle your brain today and get a free sample of mind blank!

    huh? what?

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  2. Hey, Stuart, good to hear your typing again! 😉 I’ve missed your comments.

    Yes, I forgot about video and computer games. They, too, would fill the SFF book void.

    Ever since I did that post about the top money earning movies, I’ve been paying closer attention to how many movies have fantasy elements. It really is stunning. Coupled with what you just reminded us of, it builds a strong argument that what people want MOST is fantasy.

    Becky

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  3. Hi again Becky,

    I have been thinking about Stuart said–for a couple of weeks. You said what I’ve been thinking.

    So, there’s a new topic. Should Christian Fantasy Writers be pursuing the computer game industry w/their stories? How would they pursue it?

    What are we missing, as writers? Tapes/cds for the car? I-Pod? Are we hanging our hopes on selling books when we should be looking everywhere?

    Chris

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  4. I’d love to take a crack at stories for video & computer games. Not sure where to start with that though, and the Christian side of gaming is still in its very early stages trying to find firm ground and good games.

    I am watching the new Left Behind game though, really be interesting to see how that comes out and if it can help bring more money and interest in games from a Christian worldview.

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  5. There’s a Narnia game, too. That’s the extent of my knowledge of Christian gaming. I was sort of thinking that a book needed to come first, but I suppose that’s not true of secular gaming.

    But I’m with you, Chris and Stuart. Since it’s part of our culture—part of telling our stories—then I think it should have a Christian presence.

    Becky

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  6. So is this another chicken-or-the-egg conundrum? I mean would we really expect a large number of men to be buying romance, chick lit, or women’s contemporary for their own reading enjoyment?

    C-That all depends on the cover, don’t you think? As a reader of secular fantasy (although the only thing I’m reading regularly is this blog LOLOL), the covers of those books are always bigger than life, with a medieval forest filled with monsters, or a red flamed room with a beautiful busty priestess and monster (hmmmmm).

    The cover artwork is many things, but it is not softfocus and pastel colored.

    So that’s another problem, cover art. Comments, Becky?

    I’ve seen some Christian books that look intriguing but the art work is so amateurish that I wouldn’t go near it. I’m sorry I’m that way, but…

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  7. Interesting perspective, Chris. I do think cover art announces to the potential buyer what kind of book lies within. Chick lit is as easy to spot without picking up the book as a fantasy or sci fi is, that’s for sure.

    But let’s just say a romance didn’t “look” like a romance with a hunk and his beloved in a clench, how long before a guy realized what he was holding? I’d say about half way through the back cover copy, if that long.

    In other words, books intended for women will announce themselves sooner than later, and guys, I don’t think, will tolerate that.

    A principle that some of us English teachers operated by was, Girls will read books about a male protag, but boys won’t read one about a girl. Right or wrong, I don’t know. And of course that is a generalization.

    As far as art work on Christian books, there is some that is bad but more and more that is every bit as good as secular. You should roam throughBethany House (since you aren’t reading anything else anyway 😉 ) and tell me what you think.

    Becky

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