The Christian Marketplace

Ever since the last fantasy book tour, I’ve been thinking about the paradox that is the “Christian Marketplace”. Never heard of it? Me neither – in that form. There’s no real term for what I’m going to discuss today. In Christian fiction we use the term “CBA” which stands for the Christian Booksellers Association. This is the group that is the gatekeeper for Christian publishing, as opposed to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), which is where secular publishing occurs (although the ABA is not exclusive against Christian authors, while the CBA is). The problem with my discussion today is that it goes beyond fiction, thus the term Christian Marketplace.

To me the Christian Marketplace is the sub-culture that has been created for (mainly) Evangelical Christians in entertainment – encompassing music and fiction primarily, but can include movies, TV, video games, and other mediums. I don’t know the history on how Christian fiction became segregated, but I have some understanding regarding contemporary Christian music (CCM).

CCM came about after the Jesus People movement in the late 60’s/early 70’s, when hippies were getting saved, and doing what came natural to them: playing rock and roll. At first artists were on record labels along with regular artists of the day. Unfortunately, these pioneers were in between a rock and a hard place (no pun intended). Their music was too religious for the mainstream labels, but too loud for the general church audience (and a lot different from the black gospel/southern gospel forms that had been around all along).

Specific music labels were created to be a showcase for these artists. Soon there was Christian radio to play this music, with Christian rock festivals, and Christian music magazines. Soon it became a self-sustaining phenomenon, and it the process turned the word Christian into an artificial genre description rather than what the intent of the term may be.

This has been going on for thirty some-odd years for CCM. Like I said, I don’t know when Christian fiction became a sub-category (after C.S. Lewis’ time, thankfully). But I do know it was mainly known for prarie romances and historical fiction until Frank Peretti came along in the late 80’s with his This Present Darkness and subsequent books. This has triggered a slowly burgeoning fiction landscape that has a pretty diverse selection of books at this point.

Whoa, didn’t know this would start with a history lesson. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the CSFF tour from 2 weeks ago. What really got me thinking was a review of Karen Hancock’s book The Light of Eidon on Amazon that was mentioned on Rebecca Grabill’s blog. Check out that review, and I’ll discuss what instigated all of this tomorrow.

The Christian Marketplace

Ever since the last fantasy book tour, I’ve been thinking about the paradox that is the “Christian Marketplace”. Never heard of it? Me neither – in that form. There’s no real term for what I’m going to discuss today. In Christian fiction we use the term “CBA” which stands for the Christian Booksellers Association. This is the group that is the gatekeeper for Christian publishing, as opposed to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), which is where secular publishing occurs (although the ABA is not exclusive against Christian authors, while the CBA is). The problem with my discussion today is that it goes beyond fiction, thus the term Christian Marketplace.

To me the Christian Marketplace is the sub-culture that has been created for (mainly) Evangelical Christians in entertainment – encompassing music and fiction primarily, but can include movies, TV, video games, and other mediums. I don’t know the history on how Christian fiction became segregated, but I have some understanding regarding contemporary Christian music (CCM).

CCM came about after the Jesus People movement in the late 60’s/early 70’s, when hippies were getting saved, and doing what came natural to them: playing rock and roll. At first artists were on record labels along with regular artists of the day. Unfortunately, these pioneers were in between a rock and a hard place (no pun intended). Their music was too religious for the mainstream labels, but too loud for the general church audience (and a lot different from the black gospel/southern gospel forms that had been around all along).

Specific music labels were created to be a showcase for these artists. Soon there was Christian radio to play this music, with Christian rock festivals, and Christian music magazines. Soon it became a self-sustaining phenomenon, and it the process turned the word Christian into an artificial genre description rather than what the intent of the term may be.

This has been going on for thirty some-odd years for CCM. Like I said, I don’t know when Christian fiction became a sub-category (after C.S. Lewis’ time, thankfully). But I do know it was mainly known for prarie romances and historical fiction until Frank Peretti came along in the late 80’s with his This Present Darkness and subsequent books. This has triggered a slowly burgeoning fiction landscape that has a pretty diverse selection of books at this point.

Whoa, didn’t know this would start with a history lesson. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the CSFF tour from 2 weeks ago. What really got me thinking was a review of Karen Hancock’s book The Light of Eidon on Amazon that was mentioned on Rebecca Grabill’s blog. Check out that review, and I’ll discuss what instigated all of this tomorrow.

Modern Slavery

Breakpoint had an article about a pressing problem in Brazil. I’ve blogged about human trafficking and slavery before, and plan to continue doing so as I hear of problems that people ought to know about.

According to the story, a lot of workers on Brazil’s sugar plantations are modern day slaves.

Anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000 Brazilians are what are known as “debt slaves.” Their employers keep them in perpetual bondage by charging them “exorbitant rates for the food, water, clothes and the tools they work with.” Because their wages are so low, the workers can never pay off the “debt” and, thus, can never leave.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the stop of the Atlantic slave trade by the British Parliment due to the work of William Wilberforce. That was a momentous change in the evil practice of slavery. Oh that in this day we can rise up with the courage and dedication of someone like Wilberforce to stand against the abuse of human life.

Modern Slavery

Breakpoint had an article about a pressing problem in Brazil. I’ve blogged about human trafficking and slavery before, and plan to continue doing so as I hear of problems that people ought to know about.

According to the story, a lot of workers on Brazil’s sugar plantations are modern day slaves.

Anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000 Brazilians are what are known as “debt slaves.” Their employers keep them in perpetual bondage by charging them “exorbitant rates for the food, water, clothes and the tools they work with.” Because their wages are so low, the workers can never pay off the “debt” and, thus, can never leave.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the stop of the Atlantic slave trade by the British Parliment due to the work of William Wilberforce. That was a momentous change in the evil practice of slavery. Oh that in this day we can rise up with the courage and dedication of someone like Wilberforce to stand against the abuse of human life.

Blog Tour – The Heir

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing THE HEIR (Bethany House March 1, 2007) by Paul Robertson.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and former independent bookstore owner in Blacksburg, Virginia. This is his first novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jason Boyer Just Got an Inheritance to Die For
The fortune wasn’t supposed to befall him. Jason Boyer had known all along his father’s business empire would pass to different hands. Which suited him just fine. The money was crooked and the power corrupt. But when an accident claims the old man’s life, everyone is stunned by the unveiling of the will. With the passing of the Boyer crown, power-hungry politicians and shady business partners all try to force Boyer’s hand. Fighting the temptation of influence and riches, he simply wants to be a better man than his father–but attempting to stand for what’s right soon brings murderous consequences. As those closest to him are endangered–and news emerges that his father’s accident may be something more sinister–Boyer finds himself fighting for his soul…and his life!

Is There Any Escape for The Heir?
All the money he could ever crave. In the splintering crash of a car plunging through a railing, Jason Boyer’s life is changed. All the fame he could ever desire. But the last thing he wanted was the throne of his father’s corrupt business empire. All the power he could ever wield.The estate should have gone elsewhere, but the will was changed. And now everything is Jason’s. But gaining the whole world just might cost him his life.

THE HEIR is a Grisham-like tale of intrigue and murder with a lot of humor and well-drawn minor characters.

Endorsement: “In THE HEIR, Paul Robertson serves up politics, privilege, and murder with a side of acerbic wit. What a fabulous book–a great mix of angst, humor, and ultimately, hope.” T.L.HINES–author of Waking Lazarus and The Dead Whisper On

Blog Tour – The Heir

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing THE HEIR (Bethany House March 1, 2007) by Paul Robertson.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and former independent bookstore owner in Blacksburg, Virginia. This is his first novel.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jason Boyer Just Got an Inheritance to Die For
The fortune wasn’t supposed to befall him. Jason Boyer had known all along his father’s business empire would pass to different hands. Which suited him just fine. The money was crooked and the power corrupt. But when an accident claims the old man’s life, everyone is stunned by the unveiling of the will. With the passing of the Boyer crown, power-hungry politicians and shady business partners all try to force Boyer’s hand. Fighting the temptation of influence and riches, he simply wants to be a better man than his father–but attempting to stand for what’s right soon brings murderous consequences. As those closest to him are endangered–and news emerges that his father’s accident may be something more sinister–Boyer finds himself fighting for his soul…and his life!

Is There Any Escape for The Heir?
All the money he could ever crave. In the splintering crash of a car plunging through a railing, Jason Boyer’s life is changed. All the fame he could ever desire. But the last thing he wanted was the throne of his father’s corrupt business empire. All the power he could ever wield.The estate should have gone elsewhere, but the will was changed. And now everything is Jason’s. But gaining the whole world just might cost him his life.

THE HEIR is a Grisham-like tale of intrigue and murder with a lot of humor and well-drawn minor characters.

Endorsement: “In THE HEIR, Paul Robertson serves up politics, privilege, and murder with a side of acerbic wit. What a fabulous book–a great mix of angst, humor, and ultimately, hope.” T.L.HINES–author of Waking Lazarus and The Dead Whisper On

Writing Encouragements

In some ways I don’t like coming off of cool blog tours like last week’s CSFF tour featuring Karen Hancock. It means I have to come up with new ideas to keep the ol’ blog going! This week seems to be a smorgesboard so far.

This morning I’ve found a couple of links that give some encouragement to those working on their writing. I’ve been getting back into comics recently, and have been checking out Newsarama for updates. They have a guy named Dirk Manning who’s been writing a series called Write or Wrong. Today’s post “Lose Yourself” spoke some encouragement to me – maybe stuff I’ve heard before, but it’s the type of thing we keep needing to hear regularly. I haven’t checked out his other posts, but there’s a list of them at the bottom. Let me know if you find other worthwhile links there.

Also Mike Duran gives an insightful account of his recent writing conference experiences. He has some pitfalls to watch for, as well as highlights of “Trends in CBA Publishing”, as given by Dave Long. Interesting stuff – thanks Mike!!

Writing Encouragements

In some ways I don’t like coming off of cool blog tours like last week’s CSFF tour featuring Karen Hancock. It means I have to come up with new ideas to keep the ol’ blog going! This week seems to be a smorgesboard so far.

This morning I’ve found a couple of links that give some encouragement to those working on their writing. I’ve been getting back into comics recently, and have been checking out Newsarama for updates. They have a guy named Dirk Manning who’s been writing a series called Write or Wrong. Today’s post “Lose Yourself” spoke some encouragement to me – maybe stuff I’ve heard before, but it’s the type of thing we keep needing to hear regularly. I haven’t checked out his other posts, but there’s a list of them at the bottom. Let me know if you find other worthwhile links there.

Also Mike Duran gives an insightful account of his recent writing conference experiences. He has some pitfalls to watch for, as well as highlights of “Trends in CBA Publishing”, as given by Dave Long. Interesting stuff – thanks Mike!!