Christian Blog Tours: A blessing and a curse.

For those of us general market authors who are new and just starting out, it would almost seem a blessing to appeal to readers from an audience you never intended to draw readers from. This couldn’t be truer when it comes to Christian publishing here in the US. Christian publishing is quite different everywhere else. Authors who are Christian simply write for the general market. You might have small groups of different denominations branch off and write fiction to appeal specifically to their followers but you don’t have one group claim to represent all that Christian readers want to read like you do here in the US.

Enter CBA (formed in 1950 by a group of Christian/Baptist bookstores) and ECPA (created in the 1970’s, an association of affiliated publishers.) CBA called upon publishers in 1950 to provide very targeted, very biblical (according to their beliefs) and generally very watered down fiction for bookstore visitors to enjoy. Publishers who wanted to participate, because doing so guaranteed their authors would show up in every Christian/Baptist bookstore, paid a fee and followed the rules and conventions. Throwing caution to the wind, they ditched what general market publishers felt worked to create their own style of fiction. As a result there is now an entire generation of readers who simply aren’t used to reading general market work.

Christian blog tours here in the US, and there are quite a few, are made up of these readers. General market Christian authors who accidentally appeal to this audience often want to try their luck at touring to hopefully garnish a few additional reviews and to of course get their book out there.

Watch out! Be Careful!
Make sure you have some solid general market reviews that can hopefully thwart some of the misguided reviews you’ll get from readers who’ve no idea what works for general market readers Christian or otherwise.
I’d love to say I dodged that bullet but that bullet is BIG and is very tricky to dodge. My series does have solid general market appeal and my publisher felt is was worth the challenge. I’m glad they felt this way because I did garnish some absolutely fantastic reviews which are coming in now!!! Those reviewers who don’t care for general market work and want their fiction more targeted and subsequently less literary, were even nice though their comments often negated what general market reviewers are saying.
Just keep in mind, if you write for the general market and want to take your chance touring one of the Christian blog tours, it definitely is a blessing and in other ways, a curse. 🙂 Fortunately a few general market Christian readers are joining these blog tours for the free books. Hopefully one day they will dominate!
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