CSFF Blog Tour—Edenstar, Day 3

Be sure to click on over to Speculative Faith and read guest blogger Karen Hancock‘s post today.
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In case you didn’t catch it, Bill Bader, co-creator of the CSFF Blog Tour September focus, Edenstar Books and Games, participated in an interview posted on Monday at Speculative Faith.

One of the questions centered on what Bill sees for the future of Christian science fiction and fantasy:

RLM: What do you hope or believe is possible for Christian SFF and where do you see the genre now?

BB: I hope it can continue to grow as more Christian publishers take the risks of producing something that believers might find controversial. Sci fi has always been relegated to a small niche, and CSFF is a niche within a niche. But it can express truth in ways that mainstream Christian fiction can’t. That’s one of its greatest strengths, IMHO.

Much CSFF is published by smaller houses and never reaches bookstores. Fortunately, the Internet (which sci fi never predicted) has allowed us to learn of, list, and read some amazingly good books we never would have heard of otherwise. The numbers of reviews displayed for these books show that others are finding them as well. So there’s hope for growth and influence.

Bill’s remarks made me think more about this “small press approach” which Jeff Gerke also talked about. Jeff, of course, even hopes to establish a small press, print-on-demand, if I understood him correctly.

So my question: is that the way CSFF should go? Should we accept this characterization as a smaller niche within a small niche and look no higher than small slices of the publishing pie?

And then there was Narnia. And Lord of the Rings. And Harry Potter, to burst the idea that secular fantasy is a small niche.

Granted, not every SFF book hits those astronomical proportions, but I guess what I’m wondering is, If we never look to the possibility of writing for the populace at large, will we ever sell widely?

Not that we control sales, any more than we control which author gets published and when. But it seems to me, without shooting for the stars, we’ll never make it to the moon. (That’s the best I could do for a science metaphor! :-P)

If you haven’t already spent time at Edenstar, set aside some time today—or this weekend—and peruse to your heart’s content. Also check out what the other tourers are saying about this great CSFF resource:

Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Bryan Davis
Beth Goddard
Leathel Grody
Karen Hancock
Elliot Hanowski
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Joleen Howell (New Participant)
Jason Joyner
Tina Kulesa
Christian Fiction Bloggers or Writer’s Cafe.org (replacement links for Kevin Lucia because of site maintenance)
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Cheryl Russel
Mirtika Schultz
Stuart Stockton
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith

Published in: on September 20, 2006 at 5:00 am  Comments (4)  

4 Comments

  1. Go for it Becky! Although I am more a historical novelist and poet, I do have a completed fantasy novel. I need to spend some time on rewrites and editing, still I do have an interest in the field, so go for it!

    As far as the small press approach. My first novel was done by a small independent press, and the problem with that is they simply cannot push their way into the retail bookstores, thus the exposure is very limited. In my case it sold well in my county, but otherwise has had no takers. So is it alas or at least I’m published? All depends on the time of day.

    blessings,

    Marvin

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  2. Marvin, thanks so much for your comments. You, of all people, have a true perspective on this from the writer’s angle. I like that “all depends on the time of day” conclusion.

    Undoubtedly, for some writers, just getting published is what they look for. For someone like you with a built-in local audience, enabling you to sell into the thousands, it undoubtedly was more than a break-even proposition. BUT, what if people all across the country could read the book? Is it worth it to wait, put in the work it takes that is not strictly writing related?

    I’m sure each writer must answer that question for himself, but I guess I’d hate to see small press be the future of CSFF. That seems to me as if we are then saying our niche is quite a comfortable place to be and we are content.

    Me? I want to kick down some doors. But maybe I’m naive.

    Becky

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  3. Becky,

    Is it worth it to wait? Undoubtedly. But if I had it to do again I would probably do the same for the following reasons: First,I am so impatient, I wanted to get my book published. I wanted to get it out there. It was just consuming me. Second, I have felt that my audience was to be more local. This is harder to explain, but I just felt that God intended me to sell my book to people who knew me. (On the other hand if my book suddenly took off I would immediately revise this statement.) Third, it is published.

    On the other hand would I recommend my path? No. If you have the time and the energy to put into the building the publisher rapport that is going to get you so much farther. And now that I have published one book I no longer feel this compelling need to have my book “published.”

    Did I make any sense?

    blessings,

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  4. Absolutely, Marvin. You knew you had an audience and a product. Who doesn’t want to bring the two together?

    I THINK I have an audience and I have a product, and I very much want to bring the two together. But in my circumstances, I suspect self-publishing or POD would erode the base I need to create the audience I believe I can generate. Thus, I can wait or I can be satisfied with a smallish niche.

    I guess my question is about the genre of CSFF. What if all CSFF writers opted for the latter? Would that help to grow the audience? Generate more demand? I don’t think so.

    On the other hand, if a CSFF writer had circumstances like yours, I can see him or her wanting to go the route you took.

    Becky

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