This is a subject that can be quite difficult to approach. . . mostly because no matter what is said, it sounds [looks] like finger pointing. However, as mostly an outsider looking in, I feel I have somewhat of an advantage.
So, I’m going to give it a go.
Publishing is an ever-changing thing that can, at times, be impossible to actually keep up with. And, while I understand that Christian Authors, Publishers and Book Bloggers have to make their way through this digital minefield and make a living and/or a name for themselves if they hope to survive, there have been some very alarming trends that have leeched over from the non-Christian world of dog-eat-dog, cut-throat, back-alley, under-the-table type dealings that we as followers of Christ are supposed to avoid at all costs.
In the last few years especially, there have been more and more Christian small presses popping up all over, filling the void left behind by the large presses that have either gone under or been swallowed up by the big 5. For the most part, they put quite a lot of effort into sticking to a mission statement, but there are more than a few (I will not name names, but if you look around a little, it’s not hard to figure out who is who) who proudly proclaim themselves to be a Christian press. However they only publish a handful of actual Christian fiction.
Sadly, the story is usually about the bottom line. They publish just enough Christian fiction works to get on the lists of the Christian Author/Publisher/Agent organizations’ lists and then they publish whatever they darn well please, while still putting out the occasional Christian fiction title (or edgy Christian fiction – as the term stands now) solely to keep up appearances so they do not lose their footing in the Christian fiction world.
And, sadly, that is the least of the reprehensible behaviors I am exploring today.
Next I would like to shine a spotlight at the bloggers who are on an ever-present slippery slope of trying to make just enough waves with their snarky “critical” reviews, while skating the line between truth and complete fabrication with either the authors or the publishers they do not want to fall out of favor with.
It’s a slippery slope to slide down, trying to make yourself sound more professional by tearing down authors who are published by small presses, while blatantly fabricating praise about others just so you’ll continue to receive free books and not fall out of favor with big-name authors.
It’s also a dangerous game to play with the emotions of authors who are notoriously an unstable bunch to begin with. To rip their work to shreds simply because you did not enjoy the formatting their publisher picked (which means they had ZERO control over it personally) or you don’t find enough murder and mayhem or drama between the pages of a book that specifically states it contains none of the above is not what it means to be an impartial or “honest” reviewer.
And the worst is yet to come. . .
Leaving aside the personal habits of Authors of Christian fiction who should be setting a Godly example, I am going to focus solely on their behavior within the realm of the Publishing world.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there is a fine line between writing a book on a particular subject because it is currently popular, and taking someone else’s ides, tossing in a few name and place changes and calling it your own, especially when it is at the expense of a single mother who is struggling just to make ends meet. Sadly, this is happening more and more with authors who are small-press or Indie published–and because the mainstream authors have a large following and a big house behind them, no one bothers to notice that their stories are a blatant rip-off of someone else’s work. And if the Indie author ever pointed a finger, not only would they end up mauled by the social media monster, they would be effectively putting an end to their own career in the process.
It is a sad state of affairs indeed.
The bottom line here is that God calls us to lift each other up. . . not tear each other down or use, abuse and then leave behind an empty, bleeding shell of a person like the man from the well-known parable of the Samaritan.
©Naomi Claire 2018