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Market to Christian Readers or Secular Readers?


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I'd like to know if any other authors struggle with this, because I always am. I have a difficult time knowing how to brand myself. On the one hand, I believe a lot of my books would be appealing to secular readers who enjoy books like Artemis Fowl, and some of my other books would appeal to readers of secular books like Name of the Wind, and so forth. However, my books are obviously Christian, and I make no apology about it.

 

But one of the reasons I write Christian Fantasy is because I want to share the gospel through story. I'd love nothing more than to reach secular readers and have them come to know Christ. So would me being so blatantly Christian in my marketing turn them off? Yet I have no shame in my beliefs, and I'm not afraid to tell anyone that I'm a believer. On top of that, I also think many Christian readers may enjoy my books as well.

 

I can't decide if I want to market myself as a Christian author, or just as a fantasy author. I also don't want to market myself as a regular fantasy author, but then have secular readers feel "tricked" when there's blatant Christian themes in my books. I don't want to be dishonest.

 

Any advice is helpful here!

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Yes, others struggle with this too. As you read through the threads, you will discover that you are not alone.

 

My answer (and I am not an expert) would be that it depends upon how "preachy" your books are. Have you had any secular readers? They could give you their take as to how much emphasis there is. C.S. Lewis has been read by all kinds of people.

 

Christian themes are one thing. "Preaching" is another.

 

Pray and listen. 

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I would consider my books to be not preachy at all. I have no idea who my readers are, honestly, other than the also boughts on Amazon. I have had a very difficult time learning how to market and what my target audience is.

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2 hours ago, dprowell said:

But one of the reasons I write Christian Fantasy is because I want to share the gospel through story. I'd love nothing more than to reach secular readers and have them come to know Christ. So would me being so blatantly Christian in my marketing turn them off? Yet I have no shame in my beliefs, and I'm not afraid to tell anyone that I'm a believer. On top of that, I also think many Christian readers may enjoy my books as well.

 

My advice would be to market them as Christian fantasy.  You should be honest with your readers, and it won't necessarily limit you to just that audience.

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48 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

My advice would be to market them as Christian fantasy.  You should be honest with your readers, and it won't necessarily limit you to just that audience.

Thanks! This is where I was leading. My only question is, what does the market for Christian Fantasy look like? Should I market to secular readers as well but still brand myself as a Christian Fantasy author?

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@suspensewriter has a good point. The secular Fantasy genre is very full and has a wide scope of subgenres. Christian fantasy, on the other hand, tends to be of a few certain types and that is it - at least that is my experience. "Chosen one" and "portal to another world" stories seem to dominate the genre. An approach like Artemis Fowl might not make a splash in secular fantasy, but it would be rather out-of-the-box in Christian fantasy, and therefore possibly more noticed.

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11 hours ago, dprowell said:

I'd like to know if any other authors struggle with this, because I always am. I have a difficult time knowing how to brand myself. On the one hand, I believe a lot of my books would be appealing to secular readers who enjoy books like Artemis Fowl, and some of my other books would appeal to readers of secular books like Name of the Wind, and so forth. However, my books are obviously Christian, and I make no apology about it.

 

But one of the reasons I write Christian Fantasy is because I want to share the gospel through story. I'd love nothing more than to reach secular readers and have them come to know Christ. So would me being so blatantly Christian in my marketing turn them off? Yet I have no shame in my beliefs, and I'm not afraid to tell anyone that I'm a believer. On top of that, I also think many Christian readers may enjoy my books as well.

 

I can't decide if I want to market myself as a Christian author, or just as a fantasy author. I also don't want to market myself as a regular fantasy author, but then have secular readers feel "tricked" when there's blatant Christian themes in my books. I don't want to be dishonest.

 

Any advice is helpful here!

 

I am in this very same boat. Yet, I haven't finished my first manuscript so I would be of no help to you. What I write has realm stones, dragons, and necromancy (which is depicted as bad). I feel (until I found this site a few days ago) that I do not know many Christians that love fantasy books. I grew up reading Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Frank Herbert, etc before I got saved so I sometimes worry that I might be including too much of the mystical into my work. 

 

Congrats on your series! Goodluck on your journey of branding/promoting your work.

 

Blessings,

 

E.T.

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On 8/1/2020 at 11:32 AM, suspensewriter said:

Nope- brand yourself as a Christian Fantasy author.

Second the motion.

 

I wasn't a Christian when I first read Tolkien and Lewis. I even enjoyed John Bunyan and read through A Pilgrim's Progress several times.

 

So you're not shutting yourself off from evangelism by branding your work as Christian fantasy. There's nothing worse than the bait-and-switch. Finding your niche is the best way to grow beyond it.

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I am a Christian Fantasy author. I definitely brand myself as that. My books are absolutely explicitly Christian. I've still had an Internet atheist review bomb a book because it was "too religious." It was listed in the Amazon Christian Fantasy category! (Got a best seller orange flag for that one actually).

 

But, as an author friend of mine pointed out, the Christian Fantasy category is really broad and has a bunch of bad books in it. So, that makes calling yourself one of those a bit challenging.

 

Still, if you are writing clean, wholesome books, Christians are going to love you for it.

 

I've working on a book that isn't Christian Fantasy right now, and I'm going to use a pen name for a couple reasons, but one of them is that I want to keep Thomas Davidsmeier as a Christian Fantasy author and not confuse any readers I've gotten to this point.

 

Any of you other Christian Fantasy authors got a good list of readers going yet? I keep getting distracted writing books instead of marketing like I'm supposed to. Is there a good Christian Fantasy forum or discussion or online presence? I've yet to find one... (I'm not on Facebook because it is of Satan).

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@Thomas Davidsmeier

This is helpful information thanks!

 

I don't know of any online forums other than this site, but I personally have built a list of 500 subscribers. They aren't very engaged though. Learning how to get email subscribers that actually care about your work is extremely challenging I'm finding.

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On 8/1/2020 at 11:03 AM, suspensewriter said:

 

My advice would be to market them as Christian fantasy.  You should be honest with your readers, and it won't necessarily limit you to just that audience.

 

 

You know, I was going to write a long post disputing this.  But, in the end, you're right.

 

I was going to write about not wanting to be in an echo chamber, or preaching to the choir.  But if I want to write for "us" and "them," I at least need to get started with "us" first.

 

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I agree with Suspensewriter and PenName.  

 

The market for secular fantasy writing is huge.  

 

One thing I would say is that it not that small within the Christian fiction writing scene. I think it takes the biggest slice of the CF market from what I have researched. PenName is right thought - it tends to be of certain repeated themes. So one angle to sell is what makes yours different?

 

 

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