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!!!!!