I found an news article labeled as such floating around the Internet (google it if you want to read it yourself) and thought I’d chime in since the actual wording makes it seem as though nothing like this has been done with Christian fiction before. I suppose the first thing to note here is that the label Christian fiction, in this instance, is referring to work produced by CBA affiliated Christian publishers not general market work. It’s meant for a very narrowly targeted market of Christians and the writing conventions are tailored so that no writing offends their conservative evangelical audience.
I’ve not read the Amish fiction affiliated publishers such as Steeple Hill put out but one reviewers response pretty much nailed the genre. When offered a chance at a free book they wrote that they did like the work of this particular author but they preferred to read Amish Fiction about the Amish. Meaning that CBA affiliated publishers’ Amish fiction is Amish from a conservative Evangelicals world view. Certainly makes sense since that’s who their audience is.
As far a vampires goes, also from a conservative Evangelicals world view. The book being talked about on this news release is from Zondervan, a CBA(ECPA) affiliated imprint of Random House. I contacted Zondervan after an affiliated author told me I should, (when my book was appealing to readers who favored CBA work.) I was told that no affiliated publisher would ever allow their authors to write about vampires much less call them that. As I understand it, this affiliated version from Zondervan isn’t even allowed to have fangs.
CBA affiliated Thomas Nelson pretty much held true to what the Zondervan editor told me and wouldn’t take my work which was later deemed socially acceptable for distribution to the Christian Market. Interestingly, not long after Thomas Nelson decided not to humor me, they released two books that both authors claimed were about vampires.
The author of this Christian vampire book from Zondervan is a fan of mine (I think.) She did e-mail me once because she was excited that Zondervan was going to allow her to write about vampires. I had to say I was a bit frustrated by this until I realized they didn’t let her do this at all. They’re sticking to their guns. They don’t want to distance the reader’s that have made them what they are.
As far as affiliated publishers being allowed to write more “general market” like material–well, if they knew how to and succeeded they wouldn’t be a niche market anymore would they. The Christian Booksellers Association was set up in 1950 by a group of Christian Bookstores, then called the Baptist Bookstore to provide very different and very targeted fiction to their visitors. It grew into a huge market and they’re not about to offend that market.
Not anytime soon anyway.