Days! What's the World Coming To?
romance! That's what the world--the romance reading world
anyway--is coming to! The readership is increasing, the market
is growing, and business is booming.
don't rush home and brush off your rejected general market
novel and expect it to work. The inspirational romance, more
than any other sub genre, must be the book of your heart.
Christian novels, most of which are distributed through the
Christian Booksellers Association(CBA) instead of the ABA,
are not regular romance with a few prayers thrown in. As Tyndale
Publishers likes to say, "these novels require three
threads, carefully interwoven--plot, romance, and the spiritual
journey." The faith arc must be an integral part of the
story just as the plot and romance are.
with the general market, strict adherence to guidelines and
reading an individual publisher's books is essential to understanding
that company's unique slant in style, tone, and subject matter.
The Christian market knows the expectations of its primarily
conservative readership and responds to that. For this reason,
guidelines at a CBA house involve some things that may not
be found in the ABA. For instance, some Christian houses,
such as Tyndale, require a statement of faith from their published
no-nos for most Christian novels include:
of any kind. In addition, euphemisms such as heck, good grief,
or even my goodness may be unacceptable to some houses. In
fact, the phrase used in the title of this article would not
be permitted by Barbour.
scenes and graphic violence. This is not to say that the subject
matter cannot be gritty and true to life. It can be. But such
topics must be handled within the context of the Christian
growth theme. I've read books whose topics included suicide,
murder, adultery, eating disorders, child out-of-wedlock and
even prostitution. It was the sensitive handling and adherence
to the Christian theme that made the books work in the CBA.
Divorce. Most houses will not accept a divorced hero
or heroine unless it involves a couple who has divorced one
another and reunites during the course of the story.
Dancing, except in historicals. Love Inspired, distributed
by both ABA and CBA, is a little more lenient about this,
but the straight CBA houses are not.
the past year several publishers of inspirational romance
have increased their numbers or opened new lines. Harlequin's
Steeple Hill imprint, Love Inspired has seen continued growth
since its debut only a few years ago. Steeple Hill is now
acquiring for a new mainstream inspirational romance line
and has increased the Love Inspired books from two to three
per month. Tyndale once only considered established authors,
except for their novellas. Now they are open to submissions
from all. Though Barbour has closed novella submissions except
to its established authors, they are always open to writers
for the Heartsong line, a category type romance that is marketed
through a mail order book club. This year Barbour is looking
at more mainstream women's fiction and even cozy mysteries
with a romance thread. Other Christian houses that buy some
romance include Multnomah, Revel, Harvest House, and Zondervan
to name a few. At this time these houses, for the most part,
continue to be open only to agented or established authors.
the most exciting thing about the CBA is the broad expanse
of sub-genre offered. Everything from novellas and category
to mainstream women's fiction is now available in the Christian
market. Romantic suspense, family sagas, historicals, romantic
comedy all have a home in the CBA. And in the Christian market
there is no prejudice against certain types of occupations,
and a beta hero is just as welcome as an alpha. An artist,
a musician, an athlete, or a mailman all have just as much
appeal to the Christian reader as a cop or a billionare.
it comes to the Christian Romance market, the sky--or perhaps
I should say the Heavens--is the limit.
reprinting or distributing these articles, please email
Linda for her permission.
In all ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your
Site updated July 2010