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
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.
Nicole Petrino-Salter