This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Blurring the Lines Between CBA and ABA Markets

While the CBA Market (Christian Book Association) continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the lines between what is considered Christian and secular (ABA Market) is blurry and confusing to some consumers. According to Christianretailing.com, Christian Publishing is a substantial portion of the $4.2 billion-a-year of the Christian products industry. As a result, many of the ABA publishers are buying and merging with traditional Christian publishers and/or starting their own Chrisitian publishing divisions to cash in on as much of that money as possible.

For several years, Harlequin has been publishing Christian books under the imprint of Steeple Hill. Warner Books started out with their imprint as Warner Faith and recently converted to a new line called Hachette Book Group USA. Penguin Putnam created Penquin Praise, and most recently Multnomah, a traditional Christian publisher, was purchased by Random House.

A concern I have heard from some Christian writers in my writing groups, as well as book reviewers, is that more authors who traditionally write secular books have turned to writing what they "claim" to be Christian books with no real Christian values based on bibilical principles. Just because a writer happens to mention God a few times in the story doesn't mean it is a Christian novel, nor should it be marketed as such. When this happens people do not get an honest idea of what Christian fiction should be. True Christians reject it and those who don't know any better, embrace it with the wrong perception of God's Word.

To make matters worse, there are some authors who started out writing secular romance books and later converted to Christian fiction. Therefore, some of these writers may have both kinds of books out on the shelves and it confuses readers who may just be learning about them. Two writers that come to mind are Robin Lee Hatcher and Francine Rivers. These Christian women are writing wonderful Christian fiction, but a new reader who happens to pick up one of their old secular books may refuse to read any of their new works because that reader may not know about their conversion.

With so much hype out there on the shelves in promotion and marketing, how do we writers go about educating our readers so they do not waste money on books they didn't intend to buy? Or prevent a reader from avoiding Christian fiction because they might have gotten the wrong impression with their first introduction to the CBA Market? I believe we have to educate them on how to buy books. Readers need to know which publishers are traditional Christian publishers and which ABA imprints to buy.

Readers can check out several Christian fiction writers by visiting www.acrw.net, American Christian Fiction Writers. CBA publishers and ABA imprints are also listed at http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/markets.htm, a webpage from the Faith, Hope & Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. Read Christian book reviews and check out the CBA online website at http://www.cbamarketplace.org/home.html, where you can find the top bestsellers in the CBA Market.

According to several publishing statistics, Christian fiction is not only growing, but a market that is here to stay. Christians want to read fiction without compromising their faith.

Visit my website at www.authorjenniferhudsontaylor.com.

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