Saturday, December 06, 2008

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday

My Friend Amy, who brought us Book Blogger Appreciation Week has a new carnival in the works, the Faith 'n Fiction Saturday.

Each week she will post a blogging prompt, which participating bloggers will answer on their own blogs. Then they head back to the original post and sign Mister Linky! This way we can all come to know each other more closely.

Today's question is inspired by a conversation Lilly started over at Book Blogs. What do you think about labeling books as Christian fiction? As you know, the range of spiritual content in Christian books varies tremendously. Some books barely even mention God while others use a lot of Scripture. Do you think Christian fiction books should be in a separate section of the bookstore or library? Do you think this limits who might read these books? Do you have any idea of how they could be arranged differently? And a little off topic but do you have a preference about whether or not books have a lot of spiritual content or only a little?

I, myself, do not mind when a book is labeled Christian fiction. If it is written with that intent audience than by all means market it as such. However there are books that are written by Christian authors but the stories do not mention Christianity that much if at all. Some of these books I feel can be marketed to the mass public if handled correctly.

What I have seen happen though, is people will pick up a book, ie. a Christian chick lit book, not expecting it to be Christian. While some of these readers become pleasantly surprised by the read (the biggest comment is that they thought Christian fiction was preachy and was surprised that their read wasn't) I have seen many angry comments about being tricked into reading "religious propaganda." I have read review on Amazon complaining that they felt "duped" by the book they had read. They all said something to the effect that if the reader had known it was a Christian book they would not have picked it up. Never mind that it was a good story or the writing was well done. It was the fact that the book did not clearly state it was Christian or religious by nature on the cover and therefore they felt tricked. These types of reviews tend to be the majority of the 1 star reviews that I have noticed on Amazon.

I'm not sure how to rectify this situation. Should all Christian fiction books have a "code" on the front for buyer beware? Like a little Jesus label on the cover so you know that it's Christian? I really cannot understand why it bothers people so much about being a Christian fiction novel. If a main character is Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu people don't seem to complain.

For those reasons alone, makes it wary to mix Christian fiction in with the regular fiction. I guess only unless the marketing is skewed towards mainstream can it be placed on the regular shelf.

It's interesting to note that a mainstream author can interject a character of faith in their novel but no one really complains. However put a Christian author, from a Christian publisher who has a character that is a Christian out and center and BAM!!! WARNING!!! THIS IS A CHRISTIAN NOVEL, STAY AWAY!!!!!


  1. A Jesus sticker, how funny. I don't see why it bothers people either if they liked the book, then they liked it. Its like reading book from a author that they don't like, but others are say man it was really good, do you give it a chance and see if its good or do you know look at it because you didn't like the other books..I am one that would give it a try. :)


  2. As someone who loves this genre, I don't understand how they feel duped, but on the other hand, if a book was not labeled "adult only" fiction and I began to read it, I see how they can feel that way.

  3. Good answer and statement of opinion. I am a Christian who writes novels that are cross-over books, intended for the secular readership to read, enjoy and pick up Christian messages. And while some religious Christians may not like the "real world" settings and realistic depictions of real world struggles, I will continue with my ministry of not preaching to the choir.

    Great post! ine is at:

  4. My library has a little stick-on cross that they place on the spine of some, not all of their Christian Fiction books.

    I kinda understand the duped feeling; it's how I feel when turning a page and find profanity and sex scenes plopped into up-to-that-point a perfectly good read.

  5. It's sad they feel duped by getting a Christian book. But I've certainly felt duped by grabbing a GM book and then realizing it's packed full of profanity and such.

    So if we put Jesus stickers on Christian books, maybe we could put toilet stickers on books full of potty-mouth talk! ;o)

    Great post!

  6. I didn't get this one posted at my blog - the weekend got away from me to fast.

    I don't see why people are bothered by a Christian character and not those of other faiths either.

    On the other hand I have seen books written by an author claiming to be Christian that have the "garbage" I don't want from GM books which is why I am extremely selective about reading GM books.

    Anyway I agree there are Christian authors out there writing books that are appropriate for and appeal to the GM readers and keeping them free of the "extras" that some consider necessary - more power to them. Some of these authors are even being published by mainstream presses and marketed to mainstream readers not specifically to Christian readers though I think they appeal to Christian readers like us as well because we know what we are getting.

    BTW I am giving you the Butterfly award. See the info here



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