fiction is a growing business. Heres some proof:
Impressive sales figures
In Publishers Weekly, 06/19/00, an article titled Fiction: the Hottest
Story in Religion states: The USA Today Top 150 Best
Sellers special section distributed at the BEA convention mirrored
the latest market share figures announced that Friday by BISG, with 20
of the top titles (15%) dealing with religion or spirituality. Confirming
the industry trend of healthy growth for religious fiction, nine of these
were novels, including two by Vikings Jan Karon and five from Tyndale
Houses white-hot Left Behind series.
A Common Life" hit store shelves with a bang, debuting
at number one on PWs hardcover fiction bestseller list proving,
in case there are still any doubting Thomases, that fiction with
strong Christian themes can hold its own with King and Grisham
Carlson, Karons editor at Viking): What people feel so
passionately about is the sense of relationships in the book people
helping each other, caring about one another.
(from PW Religion Bookline, May 8, 2001, from Publishers Weekly, regarding
Jan Karons A Common Life)
I see a real growth in fiction with Christian
themes, says Renee Sedliar of HarperSanFrancisco.
There is a really sophisticated market for spirituality,
as evidenced by Kathleen Norris and Annie Dillard and Anne Lamott,
noted HSF executive editor John Louden in Publishers Weekly, 11/8/99.
New publishing imprints, such as
the Walk Worthy Press, which is a partnership with agent Denise Stinson
and Warner Books.
Stinson started the press because of her own faith, but also because she
couldnt find Christian stuff that I enjoyed reading.
While the sensibility is Christian, the novels embrace the full range
of contemporary concerns, with characters leading recognizably modern
lives marked by betrayal, tragedy, heartbreak, and joy.
A discussion of Christian writing
in Poets & Writers
Foremost is a cultural change the Boomers, whove
been generating business like no other single generation in the past,
are aging. As they do, they appear to be moving in directions they believe
will bring them toward peace, harmony, and goodwill
many, like Kathleen
Norris herself, identify what they are up to as a kind of pilgrimage
our time, the new, postmodern climate appears to have relaxed the anti-religious
sentiment often associated with the modern age
In their member magazines,
major book clubs offer subscribers inspirational and spiritual selections
just a page-turn away from racier fare . Today there appears to be room
for everyone, including Christians.
Poets & Writers, January/February 1998: Singing & Preaching: Christians
in Writing by James Calvin Schaap
Publishing success by so many literary Christians
David James Duncan, Annie Dillard, Clyde Edgerton,
Fannie Flagg, Ernest Gaines, Kaye Gibbons, Ron Hansen, Lynne Hinton, Michelle
Huneven, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Jan Karon, Anne Lamott, Billie Letts, Kathleen
Norris, Reynolds Price, Lee Smith, Vinita Hampton Wright, and others.
Read about the current state of Christian fiction in an update here