As I continue on my publishing journey, I like to keep authors informed about what I’ve learned as knowing and understanding the different markets can keep you from wasting precious time and yes, even money.
As one can learn from reading previous post, I’m very interested in getting my work into bookstores where my Christian readers shop. I’m not all that interested in getting into the larger Christian booksellers per se, however as I’ve come to learn they’ve only ever shelved books produced by publishers affiliated with the two gatekeeper organizations they created, CBA and ECPA. At least, that’s the way things have gone here in the U.S.
An interesting trend seems to have developed over the past few years though. When Ingram aquired Spring Arbor, CBA and ECPA’s only distributor at the time, they began to allow non-affiliated Christian books into distribution. The larger Christian Booksellers almost immediately balked at this and even stopped carrying some affiliated books seemingly questioning the very organizations they created.
As a result, the Christian publishing industry, originally defined by CBA and ECPA affiliated product, began to open up. And finally we have readers recognizing that there is more to Christian publishing than books provided by a very large niche market.
Here’s how Hatchette books tries to “unconfuse” things. I’ve added a bit after each FAQ based on what I’ve learned. Again, just my opinion based on my experiences so far.
Hatchette Book Group FAQ to read the FAQ in its entirety.
Christian Division of Hachette Book GroupBack
Why did Hachette Book Group start a Christian publishing program?
Some of the country’s most popular books in recent years have been Christian titles. The Left Behind Series (40 million copies sold) and The Prayer of Jabez (10 million copies sold) have dominated secular bestseller lists. Christian authors like Jan Karon, Jerry Jenkins, John C. Maxwell, T. D. Jakes, and Bruce Wilkinson have huge followings. Their books are carried by mainstream retailers as well as Christian bookstores. As a result, several New York houses have entered this market.
Sue’s input: Just keep in mind when the term Christian title is used here it refers to titles put out for the specific Christian market CBA and ECPA serve only. All the books mentioned were not written for the general market. And yes, they were carried by mainstream retailers but are usually mixed in with the general market books and sometimes in the Christian section the larger bookstores now provide. Niche market books mixed in with general market books. Very confusing.
Why does Hachette Book Group have a separate division for Christian titles?
Publishing books for the Christian audience is similar in many ways to publishing for the general audience. The editorial, marketing and sales functions operate in much the same way, but there are many subtle differences. First, the editorial content requires an understanding of Christian theology and worldview. Christian books, even novels, emphasize a spiritual message and context. Second, Christian titles are also marketed through religious media (television, radio and periodicals). Third, Christian books are sold in religious bookstores, in addition to general market retailers. There are approximately 2,000 Christian stores nationwide, most of whom belong to the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). Thus, separate editorial, marketing and sales expertise and focus are needed to reach this audience.
Sue’s input: Whose theology and worldview? Up until recently, only the theology and worldview of folks who visit Christian Bookstores. Targeted fiction until the merge of Ingram/Spring Arbor. Christian books are sold in religious bookstores but the larger Christian booksellers only shelf titles produced by CBA and ECPA publishers. Oddly enough, they are accepting titles from large CBA affiliated authors who are now publishing through Center Street who is not a member of CBA or ECPA. How bizarre is that? Karen Kingsbury and Ted Dekker are two examples. I haven’t seen it happen yet where a previously unaffiliated Christian author published by Center Street got onto the shelf of a bigger Christian Book Store so I can’t really comment further on that. So far it just seems Center Street is tying to gain noteriety by publishing a few successful CBA authors. That’s just my take.
Does Hachette Book Group use a separate imprint for its Christian books?
Books that are specifically and exclusively written for Christian audiences are identified with the FaithWords imprint. However, many Christian authors today are writing for a broader audience and those books are published under the Center Street or Hachette Book Group imprints. The determination is based on the content and intended audience of the manuscript. In addition, Hachette Book Group has the Walk Worthy Press imprint for the Christian African American market.
Sue’s input: Thus Faithwords is Hatchette Books CBA imprint. Many Christians authors today are writing for a broader audience? Many Christian authors have always been writing for a broader audience so why cator to them now? I won’t share my input here.
Who handles Hachette Book Group’s sales into the Christian retail market?
There was no real answer here. Just a number you could call but unless the world is spinning in a different direction and I completely misunderstood the question Spring Arbor will be handling Hatchette Book Group’s sales to the Christian retail market. That’s what they do.
Another very interesting thing I learned is that Hatchette Books actually created an Imprint from William Young’s Windblown Media. I know I’m confused now. LOL What market will this be for?
Also Center Street on their about me page claims they are a general market publisher. In their FAQ they elaborate that Center Street is actually publishing for the broader Christian market. In the whole schem of things, General Market and Broader Christian Market are in most cases two very different audiences.
Okay, back to your regularly scheduled blog reading. *and that’s for the one or two who actually read what I write. 🙂