So. Is this the end? You know: the end of Christian Fiction as we know it? Some say, "I hope so." Others say, "Of course not." And some of us just sit and watch. Thought provoking articles derived from other posts and comments add fuel to the smoldering fire and add new angles to the limited controversy.
My opinion is just one in a sea of writers, authors, and publishing professionals. My opinion says it is not the end of Christian Fiction, but it could be the end of Christian Fiction as we currently know it. The reason I say this is because the staunch demographic will one day not be enough to sustain it as it has for so many years. Amazing authors who've been entrenched with their publishers for a solid number of years are being let go. Being of sound mind and talent, some of them have turned indie and began to invest in their own measures to publish their works, many discovering they can make more money but add a little/lot more work to their endeavors. Other previously successful authors have become hybrids with contracts and publishing their own work, hence gaining the best of both worlds.
Enough devoted Christian Fiction readers have decided they want more from their novels. Some have migrated to the general market and suffered through the language or graphics of certain novels trying to find those intriguing stories which resonate. These readers have their favorites in the Christian market, but fewer of those favorites seem to be showing up in diminishing bookstores and cost an exorbitant amount online with shipping. E-books from the usual publishers are over-priced compared to e-books in general and after purchasing the lower priced e-books, it's not attractive to pay exorbitant costs in a competitive market.
When the publishers/sellers decided to glut the bookstores with Amish stories, romantic historicals and suspense, and sweet little romances as their primary fare, many readers turned away and began shopping online. With the explosion of Christian writers entering the independent market and small publishers picking up the slack to offer more of a variety in their novels, readers journeyed in their direction. Most die-hard readers prefer to hold a book in their hands, but the convenience and costs of reading them from an e-reader have caused a surge in e-book publishing.
I write Christian Fiction so, of course, I'm not going to adhere to its demise as a general genre. Indie publishing can be a lot of work to do it well, and it isn't an option for some. Many will pay to have their work published because of the technicalities to do it themselves (that would be me). Too many readers who love the Christian themed stories ache for authenticity, reality, and will continue to search for those authors who meet their preferences. I've read more general market novels in the last few years than I had read in many years. I tired of the "traditional" offerings from the usual CBA publishers. Formulaic, predictable, unimaginative, and some very average writing provided the impetus for my veering away from the publishing houses from whom I used to buy. I can also say I've read more smaller press and independent authors' work in the last two years and found some wonderful authors and writers. And then there's my own stuff: I write what I want to read.
So that's just my "one more opinion" added to the mix on this topic.
Father, help me to continue to do what you have for me to do. That's all that matters. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.