Marketing Miscellany

What great comments to yesterday’s post. Special thanks to the authors who stopped by: Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, and Wayne Thomas Batson. It’s always good to hear from those in the thick of publishing. I’m especially encouraged by the comments about supporting one another.

I might also mention that all three of these authors are either members of or have expressed interest in the CSFF Blog Tour, so their support is not limited to just a handful of close comrades.

I’m also grateful to Mirtika Schultz for the reminder about her October post at Speculative Faith discussing the issue of CSFF readers and writers bonding together to create a more powerful voice. She made some wonderful suggestions in that article.

In her comments here, Mir also asked,

Are they [the successful series I mention in the my posts] all geared to youth or young adults?

Is there any truly successful adult SF novel or series in the CBA?

I think these questions are significant. First, yes, the successful series I referred to are geared primarily to young adults.

The next question is harder to answer: are there successful adult CSFF books? Before you can ask that, you need to ask, Are there adult CSFF books?

Honestly, I tried to think of titles other than the ones by authors I mentioned yesterday. There are some science fiction authors, some romance authors who wrote fantasy romance. But epic fantasy? None I know of. (One author I know of started such and did not continue. His choice, not the publishers.) Urban fantasy? No.

Robin Parrish’s Dominion Trilogy, which might be characterized as magic realism but is marketed in another category, is one to keep an eye on, but right now the first book would not qualify as “successful” a la TitleZ‘s interpretation of the numbers (though in all likelihood, if it does do well as a series, it will not affect the perception of adult fantasy).

I have to say, the track record for the sales of adult CSFF is not impressive. Still, it is noteworthy that Karen Hancock, after finishing the Guardian-King series for Bethany House Publishing, is working on her next book, somewhat more like Arena (science fantasy), I understand, than straight fantasy. Also, her numbers recorded by TitleZ are a tick above the “not bad” category cutoff, so I wouldn’t write her work off as “unsuccessful.” How can you when she has won four Christy’s with four novels?

Here’s where I’m going with this:

    1) There are few adult fantasy titles published by Christian houses.
    2) Older teens who grew up reading Harry Potter are now in their twenties.
    3) The “typical” CBA reader is aging.
    4) It makes marketing sense to reach out to twenty-something adults to establish new readers.
    5) A good number of those twenty-something adults are fantasy fans.

In this situation, I think NavPress is the visionary publishing house by signing Sharon Hinck. From what I’ve seen, Restorer, with a planned release date next spring, is an adult fantasy. It sure has a great cover, it has the ability to draw readers from Sharon’s mom-lit following as well as from fantasy lovers, and, if the writing is close to the quality of her Becky Miller books, … well, those are the earmarkings of success, I would think. (All from the human perspective, don’t forget. Even today, I do not know what God’s plans are. 😉 )

As with YA fantasy, one or two successful adult series will begin to change the perception about CSFF.

While I understand the economic reasons for all this, I still wish Christian publishers were bold, visionary, willing to step out in faith in the effort to lead the culture rather than to sanitize it. So when I get my publishing house … 😀

For now, I will continue to pray, continue to buy, continue to tell others, and I know many of you are doing the same.

– – –

So Merry-Christmasing is in order. I’m planning on being away from the computer Monday, and I’m guessing most of you will be as well. May God go before you, especially as you travel, and may your thoughts never be far from the Savior who gives us life. May you each enjoy Him and rejoice anew as you celebrate His miraculous insertion into the world.

A very merry Christmas to each of you.

Published in: on December 22, 2006 at 2:08 pm  Comments (6)  
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