Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who Do They Think They Are?

Our friend Sue Dent has been ambushed by one of the big boys: Tommy Nelson.

She's done all the work . . . and they've taken the credit.

The Tennessean ran an article Friday about Eric Wilson. A nice article about a great guy who also happens to be a great author. Eric has a new book coming out that has vampires in it. Except, the publisher I assume, won't let him use the word vampire.

HOWEVER, read this statement from his publicist Katie Shroder: "This is the type of thing that's not out there yet, but we think it's something the market is asking for," she said of Wilson's Jerusalem Undead trilogy.

WHAT?
If Ms Shroder means the first book with vampires in it where the vampires aren't called vampires to accommodate the sensibilities of the CBA demographic, maybe she is right.

If Ms Shroder means the first book with an undead story set in Jerusalem, maybe she is right.

If Ms Shroder means the first book with vampires who can't be called vampires published by a large Evangelical Christian Publishers Association house, she is probably right.

BUT, if she means the first Christian vampire novel marketed to Christians, her statement is blatantly untrue and misleading.

Sue Dent's vampire/ werewolf novel was first published in 2005 and then republished early 2006. She has worked extremely hard to market this book and has received a lot of attention from secular and Christian audiences, including being shortlisted for a Bram Stoker award and being named Book of the Month at the ACFW.

For a large publisher, or spokesperson of that large publisher to suggest that Mr. Wilson's upcoming novel is the first and make it a promotional point is disingenuous at worst and very poor research at best.

Ms Dent has always said that this day would come . . . when Thomas Nelson would take credit for all that she has worked so hard for . . . Ms Dent has opened the doors for TN and not the other way around.

You can't tell me that Tommy Nelson doesn't know about Never Ceese and Sue Dent. In fact, I know they are very much aware of the novel. So why would they make such a patently false statement? Oh yes, I know . . . their big marketing machine. To sell books. To get big press coverage.

Quite quite unchristianly if you ask me.


(Katie Shroder is the publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson.)

3 comments:

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Ms Dent has always said that this day would come . . . when Thomas Nelson would take credit for all that she has worked so hard for . . . Ms Dent has opened the doors for TN and not the other way around.

i.e. Big Publisher steals it from the little author's life work and takes all the credit, backed up with $$$ and lawyer$. Big Marketing Machine to $ell book$ and get the next be$t$eller.

Just this time it's done with a coat of CBA God-talk paint.

Stu Dent said...

Oh, this is so not the scenario here. A. you're not a little author in my mind unless you've been writing for years and don't make the money the big boys make and B. No CBA publisher is a "big" boy.

Right now, CBA is struggling. One of their tactics to stay afloat is to play off of someone elses winning stratagy. IMO Their readers are the reason my book has done anything in the Christian market and yet, I didn't come through their market. To answer to the success I've had with their readers, they give another author the leeway to write something similar (if you hold it to the light just right and stand on your head with one eye closed.) Only that's been the problem all along. The success I've had is because I wrote a good story not because I wrote something similar to a good story.

I just think its very unChristian like behaviour but then, I'm not one to judge people. Their readers love me and I love them and God loves us all. :)

TWCP Authors said...

Big Publisher steals it from the little author's life work and takes all the credit, backed up with $$$ and lawyer$. Big Marketing Machine to $ell book$ and get the next be$t$eller.

Just this time it's done with a coat of CBA God-talk paint.


Yes, this was certainly my take on it. Sad that it comes from a Christian source. One of the respondants to the Tennessean article expressed disgust at companies tagging products with "Christian" as a marketing gimmick. I've come to learn the the tag doesn't always mean that the product or service is provided in a Christian manner. However, to be fair, a few rotten apples in the basket doesn't mean all are bad. Most times the label is there in an informative manner.

On the article's blog, Eric Wilson did come back to say that his publicist meant the first [almost vampire] novel in the CBA market ergo, her statement was not misleading but factual. My counter was that her intent is not as important as public perception. How many people outside the Christian fiction industry know that there is a difference between the CBA market and the Christian fiction market? I would bet that the majority of readers took her statement just as I read it.

Upon reflection I wonder if part of the problem with the publicist's statement is that she and her organization do not see past their own association, or perhaps realize there is a thriving independent publishing industry but discount anything that comes from them as inferior? I can give her the benefit of the doubt, but am skeptical . . . she is a publicist, after all, and has a job to do.

--cyn