Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christian Book Expo: Not For Us?

I don't know of a single Christian publisher who is NOT attending Christian Book Expo.
—Michael S. Hyatt (President and CEO, Thomas Nelson), September 2008

Back in September, Sue Dent wrote a blog about the Christian Book Expo; Michael Hyatt responded with the statement above.

My initial reaction was that either Mr. Hyatt is being:
a. condescending,
b. overly optimistic, or
c. held captive in his ivory tower without the requisite golden locks to freedom.

I wanted to, but didn't respond because I was working long hours to keep my own little publishing venture whistling along and I had to attend to a family emergency back in Canada. More important matters came to my attention and I forgot all about it.

This weekend, while reading an industry newsletter, the Christian Book Expo came up again and reminded me of what Mr. Hyatt had written here. It made me curious enough to do some research and then respond today—not that I have any more time than I did in September, but now I have some things to say!

Not that Mr. Hyatt gives a rat's banana, but TWCP is one Christian publisher who will not be at the CBE.

Why not?

1. TWCP's budget will not stretch to accommodate the $29.75/ square foot cost of a 100 sq. ft. booth (total $2975).

Hmmm, TWCP could share the expense with someone else and the cost would be more doable at $1487.50. (non-ECPA member price)

Wait! if two groups share the booth, then each has to pay an additional $500. $1987.50 is still steep for one-half of a 6 foot table. (http://christianbookexpo.com/pdf/CBE-Pricing.pdf).

2. Because TWCP operates on a budget that in no way resembles the large Christian publishers, I have to choose events responsibly. My usual process is to attend an event as an observer one year, scope out the situation, ask questions, observe, and then make a decision about attending the next year.

This is the CBE's first year, so I can't do that. So, I could be an observer in 2009—but need to weigh the cost of airfare and hotel (and entry fee, which I can't find anywhere) against other possibilities for book promotion.

3. TWCP isn't a member of the ECPA.


Small Press Member
Member Application
For evangelical publishers with annual sales less than $1M.
(A letter of recommendation from a Voting ECPA Member is required.)

Annual Dues: $600 Member Application

We don't qualify to be a member (except for the <$1M annual sales!). TWCP does not necessarily publish evangelical books—jeepers, some of our authors are even CATHOLIC! (Yup, the truth is out) who write from a Catholic worldview. Oh, and some of the authors may even be Democrats. Shudder.

But more to the point, the type of speculative fiction we publish does not appeal to the same market as the fiction produced by ECPA houses. In fact, the market to which the CBA appeals would consider many of our offerings to be un-Christian (you know, sci-fi, cyberpunk, horror, role-playing games and all those bad things).

Even if we could afford to attend the CBE, I am not at all convinced that the time, effort and cost would be an efficient and effective use of the marketing budget.

So, Mr. Michael S. Hyatt, now you know of one Christian publisher who will not be attending the Christian Book Expo. FYI.

Cynthia MacKinnon

Monday, November 17, 2008

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, The Shack & edgy Christian Fiction!

Four things that have a LOT in common! They will currently get you a ton of hits on your blog! So if you're looking to get someone to look at what you've written, post something on any of these subjects.

J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter will work best to get you hits if you push the possible Christian allegory or lack thereof, whichever your opinion is. Readers of Protestant friendly fiction particularly like to sound off on this. I'm not looking to get hits so I'll not share my opinion. *but my daughter has read everyone of Ms. Rowling's books and loved them and absorbed them and forced me to attend two mid-night book release parties the second of which I set her off on her own and told her to call me when she had her book!*

Edgy Christian Fiction will also warrent a look or two especially since those who post about this don't usually share that they're talking about Christian fiction that appeals to a particular audience of Christians who aren't used to seeing edgy fiction whatever edgy is. That's another question in and of itself.

The same goes for posting about what makes a Christian Fiction book Christian? It's hardly a valid question or one that can really be answered unless the poster specifies whether they're referring to the broader Christian market of Christian fiction or fiction targeted to a select group of believers.

And by ALL means post something about The Shack! Even if you've never read the book. And don't just give a review. Give a disertation disguised as a review. It doesn't even matter if you liked the book or not. You're sure to fill you hit quota for the week.

And if all that fails, post something about steampunk desk or mouse or steampunk whatever. Mr. Frank Creed seems to get more hits than anyone else on this blog concerning his posting of such subject matter.

Paging Cynthia Mackinnon

First things first. Click onHappy Birthday for a surprise. Okay everybody, settle down there! I SAID SETTLE DOWN!!!! Man, they're loud. I'll bet you wonder how I got all those people in the computer! :)

Sorry about the noise but the single low volume party horn sound effect cost $2.95. The crowd was free. And now drive yourself to your local starbucks and asks for Chelsea and she shall hand you one of these. Tell her no, that wasn't Ellie Mae Clampet from the Beverly Hillbilly's talking to her and yes, I'm responsible for spelling your name wrong. But you can blame it on her if you want to. So off you go now!!!! Shoooo!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Great Reviews for League of Superheroes!

Just look at some of the review excerpts Stephen L. Rice received from the FIRST Wildcard tour!

". . . a super-fun read! This group of geeky teens must save the world with their unique skills…and try not to get caught by their folks!"

". . . a highly entertaining story with some terrific spiritual lessons explained along the way! It sounds like there are more adventures ahead for this unusual group, so if you like superheroes, then Stephen Leon Rice is someone you need to look into further!"

". . . a really great book. when I first started reading it it reminded me a bit of Maximum Ride....but MUCH BETTER! seriously...you guys should get a copy to read of this book!"

"I'm hooked. Very creative and enjoyable. I plan on passing it on to my niece and nephew next. They're picky readers, but I think this is one they'll enjoy."

". . . funny, dynamic, and a real thriller. I can't wait to see the next adventures of the League of Superheroes!"

"Rice writes with humor and heart. I was laughing so loud during the scene when Rod acquires his suit, I was afraid that my family would think I was crazy. Rice taps into the insecurities that come with adolescence and gives each boy a strong individual personality. The plot moves whiplash fast, and the story is compelling."

League of Superheroes
Stephen Leon Rice
Christian Science Fiction
Young Adult
ISBN: 978-1-934284-0-56
TWCP; October 2008; $9.95; 216 pg.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Forever Richard in your bookstore!

Forever Richard in your bookstore.

Well, if you'd like it there, I suggest you go pre-order it at the store of your choice. Each and every bookstore in the free world can order it and get it in. They can also put it on their shelf but won't unless they see a demand for it first (because TWCP isn't one of the larger publishers and doesn't have the funds it takes to ensure every book they put out automatically shows up in every bookstore on every street corner. DUH!)

I would like to remind, however, that it might be better to stick with bigger booksellers as chains, that dabble in a specific brand of fiction, won't bring it into their store even if they can.

Why would they?

Specifically, don't think that just because I claim to be a Christian that my work will show up in Christian bookstores. It very likely won't.

I'd tell you why but I've already told you a gazillion times before and won't bore you again. (unless you ask :) However, it's important to note that one way to get Forever Richard into CBA/ECPA affiliated Christian bookstores (and even Independent Christian bookstores who seem to follow the trend of only ordering CBA/ECPA affiliated literature,) should you decide that's where you'd like to see it, is to just buy the book everywhere else first. Apparently astronomical sales can warrant an override in qualifications such as what happened with The Shack.

Oddly enough, CBA's approving this non-affiliated book for their affiliated bookstores didn't really help Mr. Young all that much as their core-market readers reacted very badly in far too many instances to note here.

So maybe it's just better to say, don't worry about getting it into affiliated Christian bookstores. It wasn't written for that market and like The Shack, may offend more readers than it appeals to.

But yes, do go preorder from your local bookstore. Especially if you want them to keep it on their shelf. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yes! I finally got the darn thing to work!

And here are the results. Two lovely .gif files for your posting pleasure and/or viewing pleasure . . . I hope. :)



Editors Karina and Robert Fabian Talk About Leaps of Faith

Leaps of Faith is not skepticism of Theology, but rather a new Christian sci-fi anthology of short fiction, edited by close personal friends Karina and Robert Fabian. Here, in this six minute Grace Bridges video (from Graces video blog across the US), the Fabians talk about the project:

If you want to learn more about Leaps of Faith, go to the official website
To purchase the book, you can go to the publisher's site The Writers Cafe Press, or Barnes & Noble (or amazon, if you must!).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christian Faiths and NOT Writing Just What You Know

I've had some interesting comments on Rob's and my latest anthology, Leaps of Faith. This is a collection of 14 stories of Christian science fiction. While I didn't fully itemize each faith represented, there are Anglican, Catholic and Christian stories and one Old Testament Biblical.

However, I've gotten a couple of comments to the effect that Leaps is a Catholic exclusive book. "written by Catholic writers" "a Catholic anthology" "I'm not Catholic but I enjoyed it." And the one that, frankly, insults the non-Catholic Christian contributors, the Christian publisher and my husband and me: "My only problem with this anthology is that uncomfortable feeling that the Catholics are the only people of God."

I'm not going to argue that here--you can check out the reviews on Amazon to see what people think about the mix of Christian and Catholic themes. What I want to talk about today is the ironic fact that many of the "Catholic" stories in Leaps--and some in Infinite Space, Infinite God, for that matter--were written by non-Catholics. In fact, we never asked anyone their denomination when we read the stories, and sometimes have been surprised ourselves to find out who practices what faith.

I'm always ticked at how that amazes and even scandalizes some people, even fellow writers. We think nothing of a housewife writing a detective novel or a computer technician writing a chick lit. Guys write romance with female protagonists while women write military sci-fi with predominantly male characters. Yet a person writes honestly about a particular faith, and people immediately assume the author practices that faith. Why is that?

I'm sure some people believe that to do anything different is to blaspheme in some way. I don't agree. To me, writing the faith that is right for the story is staying true to the creative talent God gave me. As long as I'm not glorifying a heresy or encouraging a sin, I feel safe in exploring other ideas, whether it's an atheist being pursued by a vampire or nuns living in outer space.

So what about writing what you know? I think writers that limit themselves to that do not go very far. There's such a wealth of adventure out there, some of which we will never know about first-hand. But we learn. I don't know asteroid mining--but I'm learning about it as I write Discovery. I didn't know Norse mythology until I started writing Live and Let Fly--and as I learned more, I had to change the story. That's what I love about writing. That's why I do it, even when I don't make the big bucks or get yet another rejection letter.

One person e-mailed me that he believed I preferred Catholic stories because that's what I'm more "comfortable" with. That's not true, not for me, not for a lot of writers I know. I'll stick with me, however. First off, I don't read a lot of Catholic fiction. (Yes, my fellow Guildies, I have not yet read Chesterson or Flannery O'Connor. They're on my list.) I read about wizards and aliens and serial killers and all kinds of non-comfortable things. I've written a story about a psychic teen who was mentally tortured. I've tortured one of my favorite characters while her best friend was forced to watch, and I have a scene for an upcoming book where the main character has to fight off a rapist. Think these were comfortable? Not at all, but they were disturbingly interesting to write and necessary to the story.

If I were to write what I "know" and what is "comfortable," I'd be putting out stories about how my kid didn't want to wear his jacket in the blizzard. That's about as much angst as I get in my life and believe me, I like it that way!

So it is with writing faith--not all my stories are Catholic. In one trilogy, the alien planet is Deist, and the other has its own odd mix of faith. They each had their own salvation stories, too. My Faerie world has what is called a Catholic Church, but "catholic" means "universal" and while it's similar to the Roman Catholic, there are enough differences that it is a unique religious organization. I could have (and maybe should have) called it the Faerie Church; I'm betting I take some heat from both Catholics and non-Catholics for it as time goes on. But if I do, I know it's because I've written a convincing world.

I'm starting to ramble here, but my point is that writers with real talent do not need to be limited by their current knowledge or beliefs. Imagination can take us to many exciting--and sometimes uncomfortable--worlds, and writing talent can help us share those worlds convincingly with others.

That's what the writers of Leaps of Faith and Infinite Space, Infinite God did. That's why I'm proud to have edited these anthologies.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Have you visited www.shoutlife.com?

Well you should. It's free to join and it's the official book launch site for The Writers Cafe Press' soon to be released,

Forever Richard

They will be displaying something each day until the release date of

January 5th, 2009

You know, so you don't miss it! :)

I'm still dazed myself but don't let that stop you from checking the site out.

And while you're there don't forget to visit all your other favorite TWCP authors.

Karina Fabian
Steve Rice
Frank Creed
Susan Kirkland
Mike Roop

TWCP even has their own page!

Leaps of Faith on a virtual book tour

Leaps of Faith is on a virtual book tour for the month of November! Find out what folks are saying about this new anthology of Christian sci-fi from The Writers Cafe Press.

For more information, check out www.leapsoffaithsf.com.

1( Book Info and Interview with Editors) Free Spirit http://inspiritandtruths.blogspot.com/
1 (Author's Interview and Book Info) Time with Tannia http://timewithtannia.tripod.com
3-9 (information, reviews, interviews) Christian Fiction Review Blog Roll www.cfrblog.blogspot.com
2 (Book Information) Tree-lady http://tree-lady.livejournal.com/
2 (synopsis of some of stories) Cathi's Chatter http://cathischatter.blogspot.com
3 (Interview with Karina) Bibliophile's Retreat http://bibliophilesretreat.com
3 (book trailer) Cathi's Chatter http://cathischatter.blogspot.com
4 (Interview with Susanne) Bibliophile's Retreat http://bibliophilesretreat.com
5 (review) Cathi's Chatter http://cathischatter.blogspot.com
5 (Information, Interview) Joy in the Journey www.teresaslack.blogspot.com
7 (Review) Bibliophile's Retreat http://bibliophilesretreat.com
12 (Interviews) Review Hutch http://reviewhutch.blogspot.com
13 (Interviews) The Book Connection http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/
14 (Interviews) The Book Connection http://www.thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/

Support Rice's Habit

World need saving?
This looks like a job for . . .
Yeah, geeks. I mean, who else is going to figure out how to use a super suit? Not some jock!

I'm Tom Reilly, a language geek; Rod Davies is the math and physics genius, the smartest guy in high school; Allen is our hacker; and Charlie is our doctor wannabe. Then there's Clarice, Allen's little sister. You know how kids are. And Genie, of course—the self-described "little girl" we know only from chat rooms. She's the smartest person in history—and probably the most endangered.

We've got to save her and the world. I hope we don't get grounded.

For anyone who enjoys superheroes, this is your book! Not only does the author present a compelling story full of action and excitement, the dialogue is so much fun with the League bantering back and forth. LOS reminds me of an adult version of Jon Scieszka's Time Warp Trio books. But, this book isn't all about laughs and guffaws, the LOS tackle some pretty serious subjects along the way, and the action is real.

Support Stephen Rice's habit of telling bad jokes, purchase copies of LOS today!

Barnes & Noble, OR
--you can purchase an
autographed copy from the publisher TWCP
--or at a bunch of other online stores or ask for your local bookstore to order it in . . .
or if you must, you can buy it from amazon (boo amazon).

League of Superheroes
Stephen Leon Rice
Category: Christian science fiction
ISBN: 978-1-934284-05-6
Pub. Date: October 1, 2008
Retail Price: $9.95
Pages: 168