The internet has been abuzz recently with the recent closing of Harvest House’s fiction division.
Publishers and agents everywhere are grasping to understand the economic impact of the change. Christian fiction authors are left to ponder what place they can hold in an ever-diminishing CBA fiction market.
But as disheartening as the news is for fiction authors in the CBA, there’s a small light at the end of the tunnel. Publishers are still publishing Christian fiction—this isn’t the Apocalypse.
If you are a Christian fiction writer, here are 5 ways you can “roll with the punches”, and adjust to the recent changes in the CBA.
In all truth, the Christian market hasn’t gone away. Nielsen BookScan revealed that the Christian Fiction market decreased 15% from 2013-2014. What is left, is a narrow highly-competitive market.
Today’s Christian author can’t rest on his or her laurels. The state of the market is such that good writers may become passed over for better or great writers. Authors who are constantly improving their craft are going to have a higher amount of success than those who don’t.
Some ideas to improve: Invest in a writing course, got to writing conferences, challenge yourself to find a writing mentor who will push you onward in your ability.
Take time away from your writing to focus on creating your own unique market for your books. Build your platform utilizing a website, blog, or social media. Expand your reach and grow your prospective audience while you gain influence with readers in your target audience.
The truth is… When a publisher compares two books that are equal in every way, the one that belongs to the author with the biggest platform, is the one that’s going to get a contract.
Two great books on building platform: Edie Melson’s Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers and Michael Hyatt’s Platform: Get Noticed In A Noisy World.
Get out and meet your readers. Visit book groups, speak at schools, keynote at conferences, teach at homeschool co-ops, or visit churches.
Be active and expand your ministry beyond the page. Get out and meet and/or create an audience and platform for your work. These experiences can open up new ideas for future books. It could also turn into a lucrative opportunity to provide for yourself while you see what happens with the CBA fiction market.
Some of the best non-fiction books, I have ever read, were written by authors who used an amazing mastery of story in their writing.
One specific example that comes to mind, is Love Does by Bob Smiley. Story after riveting story, his real-life stories pulled me in—deeper and deeper. I couldn’t put the book down—and it was non-fiction.
Maybe try your hand at writing a non-fiction book. Harness the storyteller in you and write a powerful and engaging non-fiction manuscript.
Have you ever heard the old saying, “those that can’t write…edit”? We’ll you might be able to write, but maybe God is offering you an opportunity to refocus on who you are as a writer.
If you have a love for all things grammar, words, syntax, plot, etc., then maybe you can spend time helping other writers improve their work. If you are a good enough editor, you may also be able to a steady stream of income from editing.
Whatever you do in this fiction downturn, just remember, “In everything there is a season.” God has a plan and he hasn’t forgotten you, or your writing. Keep you chin up, and keep at it!
Cyle Young is a Hartline Agent who is thankful God blessed him with the uniqueness of being an ADD-riddled…SQUIRREL!…binge writer. Not much unlike the classic video game Frogger, Cyle darts back and forth between various writing genres. He crafts princess children’s stories, how-to advice for parents, epic fantasy tales, and easy readers.