Is Christian Fiction Effective? (Revisited)

Christian Fiction is found in segregated aisles of secular book stores. Even though it is widely available through Amazon’s websites and Christian book retail outlets, the formula conversion stories in some of the books begged the question from various bloggers and authors, “Is Christian fiction effective?”

Author, Eric Wilson (Fireproof), wrote a post in 2010 called, “Is it Time For Christian Fiction to Die?” It was republished in SheReads, a large book blog. Eric caused a huge debate even as far back as 2013 whether Christian fiction was effective at all. In the 2010 article, he said:

“Why, as Christian novelists, have we removed ourselves from a place of influence in the “marketplace” of the everyday reader? Do atheistic authors put their books in the “Atheist Fiction” section? Does Stephanie Meyer label her books “Mormon Fiction”? Aren’t we actually “selling out” if we write what will sell to a certain church demographic instead of writing what God puts in our hearts?”

Tired of the debate, but in agreement with him, I sought out guest posts from well-known Christian authors to answer the question, “Why do you write Christian fiction?” Asking a different question, I sought out atheists and unbelievers to write a critique of any Christian fiction.

The response was wonderful. Four well-known Christian authors wrote their pieces. An atheist graciously, but unsuccessfully, helped me find other atheists to review Christian books, and agreed to do a critique of Christian fiction. A humanist also agreed to do a book review of a Christian fiction. Their responses are below from 2013. Even though the debate was hot in 2013, the question remains even today among writers, “Is Christian fiction effective?”  

Writers ask each other, “Should I write to the secular crowd?”

They struggle with the question of whether to be labeled a Christian writer, or just write secular stories, using their social media and blogs to reach the unbeliever instead. The question also applies to those who wish to review books for The Cozy Corner.

 

Why are we reviewing books? 

How can these stories speak into the heart of the unbeliever? 

Answers and Critiques From, “Is Christian Fiction Effective?”

Tricia Goyer, Author
I have to admit when I first started writing, the reader was the last person on my mind. I didn’t set out to reach unbelievers with the message of Christ. And the truth is, that’s still not my goal. Let me explain. READ MORE

Carol Cox, Author
Why do I write Christian fiction? First, let me say that I don’t see myself as a writer of Christian fiction as much as a follower of Christ who happens to write fiction. That may sound like a fine distinction, but it makes a difference in the way I look at my writing. READ MORE

Dianne Christner, Author
I’m at that glorious age where I use a magnifying mirror to put on my make up even though I’ve memorized every freckle on my face. At sixty, I finally know myself. Aging is liberating, and I highly recommend it. According to Emerson, the writer is crucial to the writing voice. Flip flop it, voice is an expression of self. READ MORE

Atheist, David Rosman
I am an atheist. There, I said it, proud of it and will not deny it, much like many of my Christian friends and authors who honor their trade(s) and faith(s). I am also an author and book reviewer. I am not one of those radical atheists out to destroy religion or an evangelical atheist out to convert everyone to the life of reason, logic and science. I have written essays in support of Christians and Muslims when harmed based solely on their faith. READ MORE

C.S. Lakin, Author
The first question that needs to be asked about writing Christian fiction is, Who is the writer’s audience? Most Christian writers write for the Christian market, and the publishers in CBA (the acronym for publishers in that market) buy and solicit novels they hope will sell, based on the sales records and buyers’ demographics—which consist mostly of white, American females in their thirties with a high school education only, small children at home, and not extremely traveled or “worldy” in the more general sense of the word. These readers who are targeted by the CBA booksellers and publishers have very narrow tastes, and for an author to want to sell in that market, they have to tailor their novels to fit. Which, to reiterate, provides a very limited canvas on which to create. READ MORE

Humanist, Jennifer Hancock
Let me first say, I did enjoy reading this book. It took a while for the real action to start, but once it did, it was pretty exciting and despite the fact I didn’t really care for the characters all that much given they were almost all obnoxious Christian proselytizers, I found myself rooting for them anyways. READ MORE

Christian Fiction Book Recommendations:

To Know Her By Name by Tamera Alexander

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

War Room by Chris Fabry

Love Without End by Robin Lee Hatcher

 

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