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Religion Update I

Religion Update I

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Faith Fiction Forecast 2011: What’s Coming from a Piping-Hot Category

www.bethanyhouse.com • Available from your sales rep or call Bethany House Publishers (800) 877-2665.
Bethany House Publishers is a division of the Baker Publishing Group
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A QUARTERLY RESOURCE FEBRUARY 2011 VOL.50
Features ● Profiles ● Reviews
P U B L I S H E R S WE E K L Y
®
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R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
the early 20th century, even as Bethany
House also is experiencing success with
the 19th-century Regency-era novels by
Julie Klassen. Long says a new genera-
tion of authors “who are going to be writ-
ing for a long time” is making its way
into the marketplace; he cites Karen
Witemeyer and Jody Hedlund among
those new authors.
Reconfiguring at B&H included the
elimination in January of the position of
executive editor Karen Ball, a fiction vet-
eran who continues as a consultant there
and freelance editor. “We’re still focusing
on suspense and thriller, and just starting
to move forward into straight romance,”
says Ball, who developed the house’s Pure
Enjoyment brand. B&H signed longtime
Zondervan suspense author Brandilyn
Collins to a three-book deal that begins
with Over the Edge (May). Tosca Lee,
whose previous novels Demon and Havah
won attention and acclaim, next takes on
the traitorous Iscariot (Jan. 2012). Like
other publishing veterans, Ball is keenly
aware of the need to do fresh things, espe-
cially to reach younger readers, who may
be reading several books loaded on an
electronic device instead of curling up in
a chair poring over a print novel. “Cap-
turing them and getting them to engage,
that’s the key,” says Ball.
David C. Cook was not known for
fiction, and getting its identity estab-
lished as a fiction publisher was a “rocky
road,” says Don Pape, publisher for trade
books. Cook’s foray into fiction began
years back, when it quietly launched
what became the wildly successful Mit-
ford series by Jan Karon. Cook’s 12–15
titles per year are about 20% of its list.
“I would probably say, from the proposal
side, we see fiction 10 to 1,” Pape says.
Cook’s target readers are women, and its
genres include suspense and historical.
Authors Travis Thrasher and Lisa Ber-
gren have also begun YA series; Bergren’s
River of Time series began with Waterfall
(Feb.)
“Our FaithWords fiction program is
definitely growing,” says Christina Boys,
FaithWords editor. Fiction appeals as
escape, but readers also want “characters
Fiction Publishers
From A to Z:
Strategies,
Opportunities,
Successes
By Marcia Z. Nelson
H
ere’s one informal measure of
growth in the market for what
some call Christian and others
call inspirational fiction. In
2010, the number of novels
recei ved by PW’s rel i gi on
department for review consideration
increased by 15% over 2009. That’s one
eye-catching indicator of just how hot
this corner of the fiction market is, and
more publishers have been jumping in
(see “Joining the Fiction Frenzy,” p. 12).
As in general trade, a handful of estab-
lished novelists—Karen Kingsbury,
Francine Rivers, Beverly Lewis, Ted
Dekker, and Joel Rosenberg—dominate
the category. Yet as publishers look for
the next generation of writers and read-
ers, they say they’re open to new voices.
“Fiction is huge,” says publishing vet-
eran Ramona Richards, editor for fiction
at Abingdon Press. Richards recently
took over for Barbara Scott, who founded
the United Methodist house’s fiction line
in 2009. She thinks the niche for specula-
tive fiction, always small but steady, is
growing a tad, and points to the popular-
ity of steampunk novels in the general
market. “I’m open to [steam punk in this
market], and I have not heard of anyone
writing one,” Richards says. Abingdon is
developing a few Amish fiction authors,
but recognizes that market has demo-
graphic limits. “There is an entire seg-
ment of young people looking for litera-
ture that speaks to them, and Amish
cozies may not be it,” she says. Like other
faith-based fiction publishers, Abingdon
is growing its line modestly, potentially
doing as many as 25 titles annually.
At Barbour, one of the market lead-
ers, business is holding steady and expan-
sion is in the offing for 2012, senior fic-
tion editor Rebecca Germany tells PW.
Romance is the house’s best genre;
“romance lifts the soul during trying
times,” Germany observes. The house
plans a new line of brides and weddings
romances, and is touting a new—of
sorts—author: Grace Livingston Hill, a
prolific 20th-century romance author
who died in 1947. Her work is being
revived in trade paper editions.
Bethany House, which almost single-
handedly invented the category with the
1979 publication of Janette Oke’s prairie
romance Loves Comes Softly, is “having a
nice year,” says senior acquisitions editor
David Long. He says sales are improving
in big-box outlets and growing a little in
Christian chains like Family Christian
Stores. “That feels like the recession com-
ing out of its slumber a little bit,” he
says. One hallmark of the house is his-
torical fiction; Long says authors are dig-
ging more deeply into different eras of
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Take
One young woman (Sarah, Katie, or Rebecca).
One young man (Jacob, Daniel, Samuel).
Add one, or more, problems:
Someone is 21 and unmarried.
Someone has a family secret.
Someone is tempted by life outside the Amish community.
Someone’s heart has been broken.
Mix together with one Daed, one Mamm, assorted siblings.
(Optional: add grossdawdi and/or grossmammi).
Bake together for 352 pages till resolved.
Garnish with Pennsylvania Dutch glossary or recipes or quilt
pattern.
Nobody has included a quilt pattern in an Amish
novel—yet. But that might come as publishers in this
competitive subniche within the niche of inspirational/
Christian fiction work to distinguish their offerings.
April brings the publication of eight Amish novels from
seven publishers, with Sarah’s Gift by Marta Perry
(Berkley, Mar.) a month earlier making nine, like a large
Amish family.
The Mamm (mother) of what is becoming a category
by itself is Beverly Lewis, whose The Shunning (Bethany
House, 1997) launched the Amish fiction phenomenon.
Lewis has written seven Amish series, and The Judgment
(Bethany House, Apr.), second in the Rose Trilogy, has a
first printing of 250,000. Lewis’s books (she has more
than 80 altogether) have sold more than 12 million cop-
ies. Coming up behind her, Barbour’s Wanda Brunstet-
ter has sold more than five million copies and inaugu-
rates a sixth series with The Journey (Apr.). Sales for
Amish novel author Beth Wiseman (Plain Proposal,
Thomas Nelson, Apr.) approach 400,000. With just
three Amish novels and one nonfiction volume about the
community, Revell author Suzanne Woods Fisher has
sold 260,000 books.
Publishers agree that Amish fiction offers a big help-
ing of nostalgia, feeding a cultural appetite for the way
things were (or are imagined to have been): simpler,
slower, more family oriented. Joan Marlow Golan, exec-
utive editor of the Love Inspired lines of inspirational
fiction at Harlequin, observes that the Amish don’t
watch TV or use Twitter. “The rate of change is so fast in
today’s society that it creates anxiety, and the Amish
remind us of the deeper values and what counts,” she
suggests.
Yet because the range of story possibilities in a small,
homogeneous community of Sarahs and Samuels is nar-
row, publishers are thinking hard about how to stand
out in the Amish field, with variations on the Plain Peo-
ple theme emerging. Some novels use settings outside
Lancaster County, Pa., the region associated with the
Amish. Brunstetter’s new Kentucky Brothers series fol-
lows a young Amish man to Kentucky; Paradise Valley
by Dale Cramer (Bethany House, Jan.; profile in this
issue) is set in Mexico; Beth Wiseman’s Land of Canaan
series moves to Colorado, where real Amish are really
moving as the Amish population grows.
Quilting is one natural element to stitch into Amish
stories. It makes a mighty gut cover illustration and can
broaden appeal to readers who like crafts. Lilly’s Wedding
Quilt by Kelly Long (Thomas Nelson, Apr.) is the second
volume in the Patch of Heaven series. In fall 2011,
Zondervan will launch an Amish cozy mystery series
with Falling to Pieces by Vannetta Chapman, set in Ship-
shewana, Ind. “We’re looking for things outside the tra-
ditional Amish genre that will allow ours to stand out a
little bit and gain a good audience,” says executive edi-
tor Sue Brower. Thomas Nelson will marry Amish and
angels—two reader pleasers—in The Promise of an Angel
by Ruth Reid (June), kicking off the Heaven on Earth
series. Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart (David C.
Cook, Feb.) pays tongue-in-cheek homage to the cate-
gory in a humorous tale of a wanna-be detective hired by
an Amish dropout to spy on his former girlfriend.
Ya, Amish fiction looks to be staying. Yet in these
nichey times, not everyone is buying. In an interview on
the blog “Novel Matters,” Jeff Gerke, publisher at
Marcher Lord Press, which specializes in speculative fic-
tion, maintains that some readers prefer other-world
alternatives to the Amish world. “They want to read
about mutant alien vampires who will eat your brains,”
Gerke says. —M.Z.N.
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ist in speculative fiction, publishing six
books a year, and they’re good—the
house has won both Christy and Carol
awards. Publisher Jeff Gerke, a diehard
promoter of the genre, is repackaging in
a single volume, with notes and the
author’s preferred text, The Annotated
Firebird by Kathy Tyers (Apr.), a niche
favorite. Later this year and next will
come two new volumes in the series. The
house’s small size enables it to be nimble
and experimental: Adam Palmer is cur-
rently Tweeting his novel Space Available.
“The beauty of my model is I thrive on a
small number of sales,” Gerke says, “a
luxury almost nobody else enjoys.”
At Steeple Hill/Love Inspired,
owned by Harlequin, the outlook is
“rosy,” says Joan Marlow Golan, execu-
tive editor, who oversees the Love
Inspired lines. Love Inspired began in
1997 and now includes Love Inspired
Historical and Love Inspired Suspense.
All the lines have grown since they
started, and “people are asking us to
expand some more,” Golan says. Her
readership wants wholesome editorial.
Surveys done of buyers in the house’s
direct-to-consumer operations show her
that 5%–10% of customers report “the
religious element has nothing to do with
what they read,” she says. “They like nice
clean books.” She has no trouble finding
fresh voices in a crowded and talented
marketplace of authors and has already
signed three new authors this year.
Regency-era inspirationals are enjoying
a boomlet; contemporary cowboys and
westerns are selling, as well as suspense
with thriller elements or cop heroes—
cozy mysteries, not so much.
At Revell, where fiction makes up
50% of front list, “we’re on track for pro-
jections and thrilled about it,” says exec-
utive editor Andrea Doering. New writ-
ers are an important part of the fiction
program; Doering points out the house
has published eight new authors in the
past two years. “The Help [Kathryn
Stockett’s acclaimed debut novel] is why
we all look at a new novelist.” She sees
nostalgia driving interest in earlier peri-
ods of the 20th century, with historicals
they can relate to who deal with
complex and realistic conflicts,”
she says. His Other Wife by Debo-
rah Bedford (Feb.)—who moved
to Christian fiction from the gen-
eral market—is the tale of a
divorced woman whose teenage
son makes a disastrous choice,
bringing her ex-husband and his
new wife back on the scene. The
model for the tale is the biblical
story of Hannah. Like many other
editors, Boys says she too is open
to new authors.
“We don’t do dark and edgy at
Harvest House,” says senior edi-
tor Kim Moore. With 22 fiction
titles a year, Harvest House doesn’t
do a lot of fiction, but does have
several Amish fiction authors,
including mystery writer Mindy
Starns Clark. A new line, to be
called Angels and Heroes, will fea-
ture first responders in emergency
situations emphasizing elements
of hope and help. “For our house
and audience, historicals are doing
well, and we’re looking for prairie
westerns,” she says. A couple of
years ago, prairie westerns were
hard to sell. “In fiction, the pen-
dulum swings,” notes Moore.
Howard would like to grow its
fiction, says editor-in-chief and
v-p Becky Nesbitt. “The market-
place will always desire fiction;
readers are looking for entertain-
ment,” she says. The house’s list is
now around 70% nonfiction, and
Nesbitt would like to see it move
toward a 50/50 split. Christian
horror pioneer Frank Peretti has a
book due next spring; the house is
currently doing well with wom-
en’s fiction. Of particular interest
to her are books that can appeal
across the marketplace, to general
readers as well as those with an
interest in a novel’s faith elements.
That’s logical: Howard is an
imprint of general market giant
Simon & Schuster.
Marcher Lord is a tiny special-
Writers’ associations are almost
as common as book clubs. But
within its niche—inspirational
fiction—American Christian
Fiction Writers is the mother of
them all. ACFW’s growth mir-
rors that of this booming cate-
gory. Born with a handful of
members who started American
Christian Romance Writers in
2000, in 2004 it broadened to
become ACFW. Today there are
more than 2,200 members, 300
who joined in the past year. Its
first conference in 2002 attracted
100 people; its fall 2010 confer-
ence, drawing writers, editors,
and agents, had 600-plus attend-
ees. ACFW’s mission is to edu-
cate its members about the craft
and promote the genre to the
public and the trade. Around
25% of its members are pub-
lished, and the group tries to
move that indicator each year
with its Genesis contest, which
recognizes unpublished writers.
Current president Margaret
Daley sold her 75th book last
year. The 2011 conference will
take place September 22–25 in
St. Louis. —M.Z.N.
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Forthcoming Christian/inspirational novels from
new and established authors, eras historical and
contemporary:
An Eye for Glory by Karl Bacon (Zondervan, Apr.).
A debut novelist and student of the Civil War
traces the journey of Union soldier Michael Palmer
into the battle of Gettysburg, an event that changes
the Civil War and Palmer’s life.
Snitch by Booker T. Mattison (Revell, May). Present
tense speeds up the urban action from a young
writer-filmmaker.
The Promise of an Angel by Ruth Reid (Thomas Nel-
son, June). Crowd-pleasers meet in this novel with
angels and Amish.
Pompeii: City of Fire by T.L. Higley (B&H, June). A
nonbiblical historical offers a new perspective on
ancient times.
The Canary List by Sigmund Brower (WaterBrook,
June). This suspense thriller wrestles with the pos-
sibility of demons in the world.
Hearts in Flight by Patty Smith Hall (Love Inspired
Historical, July) highlights women as aviation pio-
neers in WWII.
The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund (Bethany House,
Aug.). Hedlund’s first novel, The Preacher’s Bride,
was well reviewed, debuted on the CBA bestseller
list, and took a less traveled historical road.
The Second Messiah by Glenn Meade (Howard,
Aug.). Irish author Meade gives the thriller genre a
boost in a tale of archeological finds, the pope, and
conspiracy—sound familiar?
Edge of Grace by Christa Allan (Abingdon, Aug.).
A young woman who becomes estranged from her
brother when he reveals he is gay is forced to evalu-
ate her choices and attitudes when her brother
becomes the victim of a hate crime.
Space Available by Adam Palmer (Marcher Lord, no
date) is a sci-fi comedy being written on Twitter.
Really. Check it out: twitter.com/AdamAuthor.
—M.Z.N.
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set in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. Romantic
suspense and author Irene Hannon are
also doing well. Publishing veteran
Doering says she doesn’t see new topics
and themes as much as a difference in
how narrative is done: less description,
faster pacing, more and crisper dialogue.
“Readers are changing even when they
don’t know they’re changing,” Doering
says.
“I’m very bullish on the future,” says
Allen Arnold, senior v-p and fiction pub-
lisher at Thomas Nelson. One of the
top-tier fiction publishers, Thomas Nel-
son expects to grow its list of 40 new
titles by seven. “We’re looking at adding
staff in 2012,” says Arnold, calling the
publisher’s growth plans “aggressive.”
He sees opportunities in YA, historical,
and Amish. Nelson wants to publish new
authors, “because they are going to be
tomorrow’s bestsellers.” As longtime
Nelson author Ted Dekker moves
increasingly into general fiction, Arnold
also sees a sweet open spot for an author
of supernatural thrillers, and he’s got a
candidate: Robert Liparulo. His The 13th
Tribe is due in fall 2012.
Tyndale is one of the few publishers
not doing Amish fiction. “No one needs
us to do that,” says Karen Watson, associ-
ate publisher for fiction. But the house is
happy with the bestselling success of
authors Francine Rivers and Joel Rosen-
berg and likes its strength in the com-
petitive category of contemporary fic-
tion. It adds new writers by publishing
the winner of the annual Operation First
Novel contest run by the Jerry B. Jenkins
Christian Writers Guild. Jenkins also
helped Tyndale build its reputation in
the 1990s with the Left Behind series of
tennial of the conflict. An Eye for Glory by
debut novelist Karl Bacon is the house’s
opening salvo. While chick lit is still
dead, women want to read about female
friendship, so this fall’s Barcelona Calling
by Jane Kirkpatrick (see profile in this
issue), who usually does historical novels,
fills that bill. Within the historical cate-
gory, Brower also sees possibilities in
ancient times that aren’t tied to Jesus. Set
in the time of King David, Cliff Graham’s
the Lion of War series, starting with Day
of War (Apr.), has epic scale, a movie
option, and male readers in mind. n
12 apocalyptic novels written by him
and Tim LaHaye, which sold 42 million
copies. The Rapture still hasn’t hap-
pened, so the series is being repackaged
for a new generation of readers. The first
volume, in case you forgot, is Left Behind
(Apr.).
Both lines at WaterBrook/Mult-
nomah aim at the core market for wom-
en’s fiction, addressing topics in depth,
says senior editor Shannon Marchese. The
house is also doing some middle-grades/
young adult fiction, mining the current
taste for fantasy elements with its authors
Donita K. Paul and Chuck Black.
Marchese cites authors David
Gregory and Sigmund Brower for
thriller themes and treatment that
appeal to male readers. She’s keep-
ing an eye on how digital publish-
ing is changing the landscape.
“You need to think about the next
five years,” she says.
Zondervan executive editor
Sue Brower pinpoints a number of
trends that the house’s fiction pro-
gram is addressing. She foresees
opportunities for the next four
years in Civil War–related fiction
as the nation marks the sesquicen-
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The Evangelical Christian Pub-
lishers Association is the trade
group for the publishers who pro-
duce Christian fiction. ECPA
gathers sales data from retailers
to produce its monthly bestseller
lists; while the data doesn’t
include sales at big-box outlets
such as Wal-Mart, it captures
sales in the core market. For the
fourth quarter of 2010, fiction
accounted for 12% of Christian
book sales.
“Everybody’s looking for a
growth opportuni ty, ” says
Michael Covington, ECPA infor-
mation and education director and the group’s
numbers guru. ECPA’s sales data can be sliced
and diced in ways publishers can use
for guidance. For example, according
to Covington:

Counts of titles in a category (his-
torical, romance, etc.) in relation to
sales can yield a measure of opportu-
nity. The ratio of titles to sales shows
relative potential in the categories of
futuristic and historical; the romance
category is saturated.
• Although 85% of Christian fic-
tion is published in paperback edi-
tions, five of the top six books in the
fourth quarter 2010 were cloth.
• The top five Christian fiction
publishers in the fourth quarter 2010
are Tyndale, Baker Publishing Group, Thomas
Nelson, Zondervan, and Barbour. —M.Z.N.
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Joel Rosenberg’s The Twelfth
Iman boosted fourth-quarter
2010 sales for Tyndale
House.
What’s
Hot:
Amish, thrillerish suspense, 20th-
century historicals (pre-1960), YA
with fantasy/supernatural elements
What’s
Not:
Cozy mystery, dark and edgy
www.abingdonpress.com/fiction
|
800.251.3320
|
Fax 800.836.7802
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A good book means a great adventure.
history • intrigue • romance • mystery
love • laughter • faith • truth
a novel approach to faith
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place to be because the point of social
networking is to share with friends.”
Mey plans a year-long social media
campaign for Thunder in Heaven that
includes a Joshua Jordan Facebook page
with constant updates, as well as several
chapters free via the Internet.
Author Efforts Are Key
Michele Misiak, marketing
manager for Revell, credits
her fiction authors with creat-
ing their own Facebook and
Twitter pages and keeping
them current. “Most authors
embrace social media because
they get immediate feedback,
most of which is positive,”
says Misiak. “We find fiction
authors easy to work with and eager to
connect with readers.”
Facebook parties have been very suc-
cessful, she says, as has cross-author pro-
motion among Revell writers. “We’re
definitely trying to change the mix, to try
new things,” Misiak says.
Eric Mullett, marketing director for
fiction at Thomas Nelson, calls author
involvement crucial. “We’re presenting
the author as a brand, and part of the
appeal for fans following authors online is
the feeling of being behind the scenes.”
He adds, “Readers need to feel that their
favorite authors are listening and respond-
ing to their questions and preferences in
books, and that they’re getting to know
the interesting personalities behind the
novels they love to read.”
Trust is key, says Mullett. Along with
great content and the ability to stand out
in the crowded inspirational fiction mar-
ket, trust is what keeps readers coming
back to an author’s work, and then they
tell their friends. No longer can publish-
ers just use ads designed to persuade read-
ers to buy the book. Those readers will
check consumer reviews, talk with Face-
book friends, go to author Web sites, and
use all of the other interactive opportuni-
ties there are to make decisions about
what they buy. “The value of word of
mouth looks very different [today], and
tapping into it does as well,” says Mullett.
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To Market, with Strategies
Old
and
New
By Ann Byle
P
ublishers of inspirational fiction
are blending new and old tricks
to tempt readers to buy, whether
a t Chr i s t i a n books t or e s ,
megastores, or via the Internet.
Past successes—print ads, shelf-
talkers, word of mouth—are augmented
with the newest technology to reach
savvy fans.
Zondervan is add-
ing to its strategy
playbook with video
trailers for top-sell-
ing authors. These
high-end book pro-
mos are posted on
video-sharing sites
such as YouTube as
well as author and
publisher Web sites,
but the company takes marketing one
step further by buying national cable
time via Google TV for pennies on the
dollar.
“Is it risky? Absolutely,” says Tom
Dean, senior marketing director. “But we
want to try something new. If we want to
get a new audience, we have to reach
them in new ways.”
Dean oversees marketing strategy for
Terri Blackstock, Zondervan’s top-selling
suspense author. The house is buying ads
in magazines such as Ellery Queen, hoping
to tap new fans.
For Bethany House, reach-
ing its solid fan base doesn’t
mean constantly plowing new
ground. “A lot of it for us is
reputation,” says Steve Oates,
v-p of marketing. “We know
what we’re doing and people
respond to that.”
While the publisher sends
review copies via Kindle and
buys advertising on Web
sites, “We’ve got to be the
most boring marketers in the
world,” Oates says. “We’re not
reinventing; we’re doing the
basics really well.”
The basics—print ads fea-
turing several books, book-
store end caps, really good
covers—are working, as the
historical fiction genre, Beth-
any’s hallmark, continues to
draw readers. “I want to spend my first
dollars on store placement, then on help-
ing the store talk to customers, and
finally on radio, Internet, and magazine
ads,” says Oates.
David C. Cook’s Ginia Hairston, senior
director of marketing for books and mul-
timedia, points to the company’s empha-
sis on book trailers for every fiction title
as “the most successful tactic in market-
ing for fiction.” The trailers are posted on
video sharing sites, used by Christian
retailers on their Web sites, and sent to
book club Web sites such as Authorbuzz.
com and dearreader.com. All print media
now include a QR (quick response) code,
a two-dimensional bar code that links
consumers directly to videos, provided
they have appropriate scanning technol-
ogy on phones or Apple devices.
Zondervan is using QR codes to link
readers to video featuring Joshua Jordan,
the main character in Tim LaHaye and
Craig Parshall’s the End
Series. With book two, Thun-
der in Heaven, due out soon,
senior marketing director Ali-
cia Mey plans a strong push
for the video via Facebook,
Twitter, and other sites.
“People attach themselves
to a character, so we are using
character-driven ads,” says
Mey. “Social media is a good
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
THE ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHING GROUP
www.rlpgbooks.com | 800-462-6420
SHEED & WARD
2010, 224 pages
978-1-58051-234-3
$29.95 cloth*
*Distributed to the trade by
National Book Network.
EBOOK
SHEED & WARD
2010, 216 pages
978-1-58051-236-7
$16.95 paper*
*Distributed to the trade by
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EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
Apr 2011, 240 pages
978-0-7425-7031-3
$24.95 paper
EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
2010, 192 pages
978-1-4422-0577-2
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2010, 220 pages
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WhatWould Jesus Read? WhatWould Jesus Read?
Tom Dean
Steve Oates
Ginia Hairston
F e a t u r e | R e l i g i o n U p d a t e
tion” T-shirts will hand out the Redeye, the
Chicago Tribune’s free newspaper, at 15
high-traffic el stations; the paper will fea-
ture a Post-it note on the cover promoting
the book, as well as a full-page ad inside.
The winning combination for inspira-
tional fiction publishers is a multifaceted
package of marketing methods. Book-
store staples such as shelf-talkers and end
caps now feature QR codes; authors still
talk to readers, but now through Face-
book and Twitter. Authors hawk their
books on street corners, but also on Skype
and through blogging. Christian radio,
bookstore promotions and catalogues,
and advance reader copies are still healthy
techniques; magazine ads and e-blasts
not so much.
Says Mullett of Thomas Nelson: “The
models to support new consumer habits
are still evolving, but adapting quickly
and creatively will be the hallmarks of
those that thrive in the new environ-
ment.” n
“We provide our authors with upfront
knowledge of marketing and all that is
available to them via our ‘self promotion’
packet,” say Rea and Kerwin. “We then
partner with our authors in individual
marketing plans. Authors who take con-
trol of their own social media platforms—
Web site, fan page, blogging, Twitter—
actually do more to help themselves than
marketing dollars could.”
Street-Level Campaigns
Still Work
While Web-based marketing is vital,
publishers and PR professionals still take
to the streets. Rebeca Seitz, president of
Glass Road Public Relations, had The
Topkapi Secret author Terry Kelhawk (Pro-
metheus, Sept. 2010) in Times Square
this Valentine’s Day handing out post-
cards about her book.
Zondervan will promote Lee Strobel’s
first novel, The Ambition, on the streets of
Chicago in May. People wearing “Ambi-
Tyndale credits
pr e - pub c a m-
paigns and book
t o u r s i n t h e
authors’ top mar-
kets for its suc-
cesses, along with
author speaking
events and Skyp-
ing with book
groups. According to Babette Rea and
Cheryl Kerwin, senior marketing manag-
ers for Tyndale, marketing their bestsell-
ing authors is almost easy thanks to their
name recognition and established fan
base. The challenge comes with market-
ing authors with small fan bases where
the goal is to acquire new readers.
The house began shifting away from
marketing to retailers and reviewers several
years ago. The new focus is direct-to-cus-
tomer: social media, bloggers, book groups,
libraries, radio promotions, and book
trailers on YouTube.com and Tangle.com.
THE ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHING GROUP
www.rlpgbooks.com | 800-462-6420
SHEED & WARD
2010, 224 pages
978-1-58051-234-3
$29.95 cloth*
*Distributed to the trade by
National Book Network.
EBOOK
SHEED & WARD
2010, 216 pages
978-1-58051-236-7
$16.95 paper*
*Distributed to the trade by
National Book Network.
EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
Apr 2011, 240 pages
978-0-7425-7031-3
$24.95 paper
EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
2010, 192 pages
978-1-4422-0577-2
$29.95 cloth
EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
2010, 220 pages
978-0-7425-9959-8
$34.95 cloth
EBOOK
ROWMAN &
LITTLEFIELD
May 2011, 240 pages
978-0-7425-6473-2
$35.00 cloth
EBOOK
WhatWould Jesus Read? WhatWould Jesus Read?
Michele Misiak
free downloads, Lewis says, but it’s also
running new promotional experiments
each month. That reflects an industry-
wide trend of exploring and learning
through trial and error what will work
today and tomorrow in a fast-changing
environment.
Trying Different Strategies
Publishers are trying to keep pace with
an electronic landscape that’s shifting by
the month. The past year has witnessed
the iPad’s debut, a
Kindle price drop
to $139, and the
arrival of Google’s
e-bookstore. Tech-
ni ques to boost
s a l e s l a s t y e a r
might not work
this time around.
In Christian fic-
tion, publishers are
using e-books as a
tool to re-energize backlists.
“No consumer sees fiction as back-
list—it is simply a title they haven’t read
yet,” says Allen Arnold, v-p and pub-
lisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. “The
digital world gives us even more oppor-
tunities to bundle collections, offer free
first novels in a series, and [give] bonus
content to readers.”
One early-stage strategy: price-cut-
ting. Baker has in the past offered a free
e-book download in conjunction with a
53% discount on other e-books in the
same series. This spring Baker will also
try bundling three e-books for the price
of two. Tyndale plans to experiment with
different price points while continuing
to offer free downloads for
titles by emerging authors,
according to Andrea Lind-
gren, associate publisher for
marketing.
Marketing experiments
tend to focus on the Internet.
Zondervan, which publishes
close to 30 fiction titles
annually, is concentrating
resources on blog tours,
social media campaigns, and
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY ■ F E B R U A R Y 2 8 , 2 0 1 1 10
Surfing the E-book
Wave with Fiction
By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
R
eaders of inspirational fiction
have a story of their own to tell
these days: they love e-books,
especially when the price is
right. But can publishers keep
them coming back after the nov-
elty wears off?
For now, publishers in this niche are
riding a wave. E-books make up a larger
percentage of sales in Christian fiction
(5.4%) than in any other trade category,
according to a Pub-
Track Consumer
survey of book-
b u y e r s ’ h a b i t s
between January
a nd Se pt e mbe r
2010. Evangelical
publ i shers com-
mo n l y d e r i v e
8%–10% of their
Christian fiction
sales from e-books,
says Mark Kuyper, president and CEO of
the Evangelical Christian Publishers
Association.
It’s a rapidly growing business. Tyn-
dale has seen e-book sales climb from
2.5% of fiction sales in 2009 to 10% in
2010. At Baker, with the Revell and
Bethany imprints, fiction accounts for
just 38% of all sales (print and e-book),
but it accounts for a whopping 67% of
all e-book sales.
Industry insiders say inspirational fic-
tion is a natural fit for e-books because
e-reading devices like the Kindle, Nook,
and iPad work especially well for vora-
cious pleasure readers on a budget.
“You’re reading it as a leisure read and
not with pen in hand because you won’t
need it as a reference later on,” says Don
Gates, Zondervan’s v-p of marketing for
trade books. “And you’re reading many
more books as a fiction reader, and thus
the value is right to make a move to [less
expensive] e-books.”
Free Is a Good Price
Short-term offers of free downloads con-
tinue to fuel buzz, not only for new books
but for entire series. Abingdon, which
launched a fiction line in 2009 and now
draws 12% of fiction revenue from
e-books, gives away free copies of a dif-
ferent e-book just about every week.
In a strategy that’s also used by Thomas
Nelson, Abingdon’s giveaways are often
the first book in an author’s series. One
week last summer, readers downloaded
30,000 copies of Judy Christie’s first
novel, Gone to Green. While boosting
sales of e-books and print versions of
Gone to Green, the promotion also helped
generate attention for Goodness Gracious
Green, her soon-to-be-released second
book. The new title received about 25
reviews on the Web in one day, according
to Maegan Roper, marketing and public-
ity manager for Abingdon Press Fiction.
To date, publishers have been using
free e-books as a hook to grow readership.
Baker has expanded its reach by attract-
ing mainstream readers who might have
never bought a Baker title, according to
David Lewis, executive v-p of sales and
marketing. But free give-
aways aren’t boosting sales as
strongly as they did at first,
Lewis says.
“We’ve been taking the
easy, low-hanging fruit,” he
notes. “We now need to focus
more speci fi cal ly on the
opportunity and the change in
the economy that e-books are
bringing to publishing.”
Baker continues to offer
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
DARE TO GROW OLDER
formatiobooks.com 800.843.9487
Souls in Full Sail
Emilie Griffin provides us with the tools and the
vision we need to approach aging as the wonderful and
turbulent voyage we’ve been preparing for all along.
978-0-8308-3548-5, $15.00
“This book enriches not only those moving into their later
years but also the ones who are watching those they love
grow older.”
—Jan Johnson, author of Abundant Simplicity
PW Souls in Full Sail #7245 1 2/8/11 3:02:13 PM
Mark Kuyper
Allen Arnold
David Lewis
F e a t u r e | R e l i g i o n U p d a t e
in nonfiction to allow e-readers access to
related video and audio, such as by click-
ing to hear an author’s sermon on a rele-
vant topic. Fiction, though, adds a new
wrinkle in that Zondervan can’t just tap
an author’s electronic library for content.
It needs to produce original video. The
company expects to recoup these addi-
tional costs in part by charging about $3
more for what the industry is calling
“enhanced e-books.”
For now, publishers are still enjoying
the add-on effect in sales, as free e-book
downloads spur more e-book and print
sales. But they’re also aware the climb is
likely to get steeper.
“We may find that [free downloads]
are only effective for a certain amount of
time, and [maybe then] we’re going to
do it to drive interest for those books that
are part of a series,” Roper says. “For now,
though, we feel we’ve tapped into some-
thing that works, so we’re sticking with
our strategy.” n
ning to blur. Kuyper notes how publish-
ers are designing e-books to serve as a
launching pad for making new connec-
tions.
“Someone was just telling me they
went to highlight a line in a book and
it said, ‘within your community’—
however that was defined—‘87 other
people have highlighted this,’ ” Kuyper
says. “You could tell who they were.
You’re actually going to be able to con-
nect with those people and have dia-
logue on it.”
At Zondervan, novels will soon take on
new dimensions in e-book formats that
come to life, especially on the iPad.
When former journalist Lee Strobel
comes out with The Ambition this spring,
the novel’s e-book version will include
video of Strobel visiting Chicago sites
where he reported on events and found
inspiration for particular scenes in the
book.
The project echoes Zondervan’s efforts
e-mail blasts since the Internet is a logi-
cal place to find readers of e-books. Some
publishers are also including QR codes
in their online or print advertisements,
Kuyper says. This allows an interested
reader to scan the code with a smart-
phone, connect instantly to layers of
information about the book, and, of
course, buy it.
Experimentation goes beyond market-
ing. Publishers are developing new con-
tent to complement the fiction text.
Thomas Nelson, for example, plans to
bring more readers together around
shared reading interests. Just as fans of
Amish fiction now meet up at amishliv-
ing.com, similar online communities
will spring up and help shape story lines
in years ahead, according to Arnold.

Unique Features, New
Opportunities
In some cases, lines between narrative
content and social networking are begin-
DARE TO GROW OLDER
formatiobooks.com 800.843.9487
Souls in Full Sail
Emilie Griffin provides us with the tools and the
vision we need to approach aging as the wonderful and
turbulent voyage we’ve been preparing for all along.
978-0-8308-3548-5, $15.00
“This book enriches not only those moving into their later
years but also the ones who are watching those they love
grow older.”
—Jan Johnson, author of Abundant Simplicity
PW Souls in Full Sail #7245 1 2/8/11 3:02:13 PM
Joining Forces
Guideposts had a major reorganization
of its inspirational fiction when it
acquired Ellie Claire and its Summerside
Press line last November. Ellie Claire’s
president, Carlton Garborg, is now
senior v-p at Guideposts and is oversee-
ing fiction, which will maintain two
separate imprints. “We feel we can reach
more customers with distinct brands
and increase our shelf space,” Garborg
says.
Summerside Press’s Love Finds You
series has topped more than a million
units sold. “We typically see 30,000 to
50,000 units of every title we release in
that series, and it continues to grow,”
Garborg says. Among the new titles are
Love Finds You in Tombstone, Arizona by
Miralee Ferrell (Feb.), and ...in Camelot,
Tennessee by Janice Hanna (Feb.). New in
Summerside’s series titled after popular
songs are Love
Letters in the Sand
by Diann Hunt
( J u n e ) a n d
Unforgettable by
Tr i s h P e r r y
(Mar.). Summer-
side will launch
a new western
series this fall
called American
Tapestries. The
imprint’s Signature line features stand-
alone titles by both new and well-known
authors, such as Bodie and Brock
Thoene.
Guideposts typically markets its fic-
tion through direct-to-consumer lines,
then repackages the most successful for
retail. Its Tales from Grace Chapel Inn
series has also hit the million mark, and
new at retail are Never Give Up: Tales from
Grace Chapel Inn and Keeping the Faith:
Tales from Grace Chapel Inn, both by Pam
Hanson and Barbara Andrews (Feb.).
Garborg will work closely with Guide-
posts v-p and editorial director David
Morris to repackage Guideposts fiction.
They will also place Summerside’s titles
in Guideposts’s direct-to-consumer cata-
logues, Web sites, and e-blasts. n
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY n F E B R U A R Y 2 8 , 2 0 1 1 12
New and revamped players make their moves
Joining the
Fiction Frenzy
By Kimberly Winston
C
hristian fiction remains an
attractive market to many pub-
lishing houses, with several of
them expanding their presence
or jumping in for the first time.
But with the cranky economy,
the shifting landscape of retail outlets,
and the ever-finicky reader, houses look-
ing to play in the competitive category
say they must have a sharp focus and a
clear plan.
Rookie Success
Abi ngdon Publ i shi ng
entered the Christian fic-
tion market in fall 2009
and quickly exceeded its
expectations. Says associate
publisher Pamela Clement,
who joined the Abingdon
team in January after stints
at Thomas Nelson and
FaithWords, “[Abingdon]
has been very market savvy. They looked
at the kind of books that are working and
were careful to select for the initial roll
out mostly new voices that wrote well
and could grow.”
Much of that growth has been in series,
something the house remains devoted to
developing. New this spring are The Glory
of Green: The Green Series #3 by Judy Chris-
tie (Mar.), A Time to Heal: Quilts of Lancaster
County #2 by Barbara Cameron (Mar.).
But there is room for the stand-alone
title, too, like Sweet Baklava by Debby
Mayne (Mar.). “I don’t think that one or
the other is driving the publishing pro-
gram for us,” Clement says. One key to
the house’s success, she says, is its fic-
tion’s unflinching appraisal of contempo-
rary issues: she cites last year’s Walking on
Broken Glass, a first novel by Christa
Allan, which looked at addiction and
grief. “Our books are about Christians
living in the real world and living with
real world social and family issues,” says
Clement. Also key is a dedication to fresh
packaging. “We have upscale covers for
all our trade paper that make promises
the interiors follow through on,” says
Clement. Abingdon plans to release
approximately two dozen new titles a
season.
Mining Out-of-Print Gold
Hendrickson Publishers enters
the Christian fiction market for
the first time this spring—with
a caveat. “We determined that
there are already so many play-
ers that we could spend a lot of
time and money to rank maybe
25th in the Christian fiction
world,” says Rick Brown, pub-
lisher. “Then we looked at what we do
well, which is reprints.”
Hendrickson is working with former
editors from some heavyweight publish-
ing houses to cull the best out-of-print
titles. First up are Nana’s Gift and the Red
Geranium by Janette Oke and The Story
Jar by Deborah Bedford and Robin Lee
Hatcher, both April releases. Next are
the one-volume The Napoleon of Notting
Hill and The Man Who Was Thursday by
G.K. Chesterton (June), and Phantastes:
A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by
George MacDonald (June).
Successful reprints require excellent
packaging, Brown says, and all these
titles feature new, original cover art;
some have new four-color interior illus-
trations.
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e F e a t u r e
Combine for Discount.
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PW 2-11 bookshelf 4C 1/20/11 11:03 AM Page 1
like Hallmark movies, but Deepest Waters
is more like Masterpiece Theatre,” Walsh
says.
Walsh got the idea for The Deepest
Waters (reviewed in this issue) while
watching the History Channel, where he
saw a story about divers finding the SS
Central America, which sank off the shores
of North Carolina in 1857. The paddle-
wheel steamship was full of gold. In his
research he learned of a honeymooning
couple who were separated after a
hurricane capsized the ship, but little
else was known of them. Walsh was
inspired to write a “what if” tale about
the couple and a miraculous rescue of
some of the survivors.
With The Deepest Waters, Walsh
establishes himself as the writer he
started out to be before taking a 25-year
detour into ministry: a writer of
character-driven historical fiction,
crafted by a man who’s been telling
stories to a live audience for a quarter of
a century. —Greg Taylor
Dale Cramer
Asking the
right questions
Dale Cramer doesn’t want to be typecast
as a writer of Amish fiction. He’s written
three stand-alone novels without Amish
themes or characters, along with Levi’s
Will (Bethany House, 2009), which is
loosely based on his father’s story of leav-
ing the Amish community. “I write
whatever story seems to demand my
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e P r o f i l e s
P U B L I S H E R S WE E K LY ■ F E B R U A R Y 2 8 , 2 0 1 1 14
Dan Walsh
Sounding
deepest waters
Dan Walsh’s colleagues in pastoral min-
istry—who steeped themselves in theo-
logical and scholarly works—were
amazed at his love for reading and writ-
ing fiction and poetry.
“I’m a writer who became a pastor;
back in 11th grade I got bit by the bug,”
says Walsh, who dedicated his first book,
The Gift, to Mrs. Connie Longnecker, his
high school English teacher.
So after a 25-year pastorate at a church
in Florida, Walsh is returning to a love
of writing he developed when Mrs.
Longnecker took him aside and inspired
him.
As a pastor, he wrote 6,000–8,000
words a week for his sermons, so he had
plenty of practice before 2010, when he
stepped down as a full-time pastor and
became a full-time writer. “My blood
pressure is doing much better as a writer.
Writing has been really a relaxing thing
for me, very calming,” Walsh says.
His church was not calm watching
Walsh’s young replacement take the
pulpit, but, says Walsh, “half the church
love fiction,” so the congregants were
excited that their former pastor would
publish three books with Revell. He
recently signed a deal for three more.
The Unfinished Gift (2009) and The
Homecoming (2010) were both set during
WWII, but The Deepest Waters is set in
the 19th century. “The first two are more
IN
Profile
attention at the time,” says Cramer, who
lives just south of Atlanta.
Yet f ami l y hi story grabbed hi s
attention once again, so it’s back to
Amish tales for Cramer. Paradise Valley
(Bethany House, Jan.), the first in the
Daughters of Caleb Bender series, taps
into his father’s past one more time.
“I was casting about looking for a new
topic and asked my father why he was
born in Mexico,” says Cramer. “He told
me a story about what amounted to
religious persecution in Ohio before he
was born.”
The Bing Act, passed in Ohio in 1921,
required children ages six–18 to attend
school. The Amish believed otherwise,
which prompted legal action against
them. A number of Amish decided to set
up a colony in Mexico to avoid the forced
schooling of their children.
This colony, in Paradise Valley,
Mexico, is the setting for Cramer’s novel.
Caleb Bender and others purchase land
in a country just coming out of the
Mexican revolution. Their journey is
arduous and the land is filled with
bandits, but the Benders persist in their
efforts to build a new home.
Cramer adds a fair share of romance for
several of the Bender daughters, though
he doesn’t categorize the book as a
romance. Instead, he calls it a generational
prequel to Levi’s Will (Levi Mullet
marries Emma Bender) and a novel that
considers issues of church and state.
“A lot of writers shy away from
conflicts such as those of church and
state, as well as how the Amish as pacifists
have to defend themselves against
bandits, but all of that makes great
fodder for a book, and that’s what I like
to explore,” he says.
Cramer found scant information about
the Amish settlement; he researched the
geography and history of Mexico at the
time, then created the tale of the Bender
family based on how it might have been.
“The setting and times are as accurate as
I could make them, but a lot of what
happens is pure invention,” Cramer says.
Paradise Valley is the first in a three-
book series—the others will release in
Stay In Bed All Day Fiction
From sweeping sagas to tender romance novels to
edge-of-your-seat thrillers. It’s just worth giving up a Saturday.
late 2011 and 2012—and Cramer is
using his online presence (dalecramer
.com) to build his fan base.
“I believe fiction is more of a parable,
a story that asks readers a question they
can answer,” he says. “I don’t necessarily
want to provide answers, but I want to
ask the questions.” —Ann Byle
Jane Kirkpatrick
Life and
fiction are
messy business
To read a Jane Kirkpatrick novel is to
enter a world of complex and flawed
characters, people like the ones you
know. Kirkpatrick—a former social
worker, wife to Jerry for 25 years, step-
mother to two adult children, and grand-
mother of five—has lots of hard-won
experience with the messy business of
living. And she knows how to place her
multifaceted characters in stories that
continue to engage readers.
Kirkpatrick began writing after she
and Jerry moved in 1984 from Bend,
Ore., to a hardscrabble 160-acre property
in the eastern part of the state known as
Starvation Point. It was seven miles from
the house to their mailbox and 11 miles
to paved roads. The long “driveway”
skirted heart-pounding drop-offs and
wound through land inhabited by
rattlesnakes, sagebrush, and quiet.
Kirkpatrick’s first book, Homestead
(Word, 1991; WaterBrook, 2005),
narrated the heartbreaks and joys of this
experience—fires, farming failures,
family member addictions and tragedies,
Nana’s Gift
and The Red Geranium
JANETTE OKE
Two heart-warming novellas
in one volume by best-selling
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Available April 2011
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The Story Jar
ROBIN LEE HATCHER and
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Best-selling novelists combine
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a novel about hope and
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Available April 2011
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My Father’s World
MICHAEL PHILLIPS and
JUDITH PELLA
The first book in the famous
Journals of Corrie Belle
Hollister series, in which Corrie
and her siblings journey west
during the California gold rush
to find their uncle.
Available April 2011
Paperback • 978-1-59856-663-5
Retail $12.95
Coming Soon:
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Daughter of Grace.
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faith in God, and her discovery of a
vocation to write.
More than 26 years and 19 books later,
Kirkpatrick’s writing has earned acclaim,
including the Wrangler Award from the
Western Heritage Center and National
Cowboy Hall of Fame. Her books have
been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur
Award, Oregon Book Award, WILLA
Literary Award, and Reader’s Choice
awards.
More novels are on the way. Kirkpatrick
is a contributor to the forthcoming
col l ecti on A Log Cabi n Chri s t mas
(Barbour, Sept.) and is a contributing
author to The Midwife’s Legacy, a
collection of four novellas (Barbour, Mar.
2012). Her first book for Zondervan—
and her first contemporary novel—
Barcelona Calling, releases in September.
Kirkpatrick also has contracted for three
historical novels with WaterBrook; the
first is The Daughter’s Walk (Apr.;
reviewed in this issue). Set in 1896 and
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e | P r o f i l e s
CONTACT YOUR
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TORY ABEL 760-701-2015; tabel@publishersweekly.com
As books about faith and spirituality
remain widely read, PW will continue its
commitment to covering the religion
category in 2011. Delivering our signature
reporting to booksellers and the industry
in special features and supplements ofered
throughout the year, you have a selection
of issues to choose from to best highlight
your books and products and align with
your marketing eforts.
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To order call 1-800-877-2665 — In Canada, contact David C. Cook Distribution 1-800-263-2664.
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Religion Category, 2010: Signs of Improvement
A QUARTERLY RESOURCE AUGUST 2010 VOL. 48
Features ● Profiles ● Reviews
P U B L I S H E R S WE E K L Y®
SUPPLEMENTS
RELIGION UPDATE II
Issue date 5/9/11
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RELIGION UPDATE III
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Agnes Sparrow, Abingdon Press, 2009),
Magnin is publishing her third work in
the seri es, Gri s e l da Take s Fl i ght
(Abingdon, Apr.; reviewed in this issue).
Magnin says the townspeople are
exaggerated versions of the people she
grew up with. She also credits the
influence of Norman Rockwell’s art.
Rockwell exaggerated everyday events
like trips to the doctor—the people
looked taller, their fingers longer, she
notes. “It speaks to things that are true
but over the top, with a curlicue on it,”
she says.
When she teaches writing workshops,
Magnin tells students that a distinctive
voice and story are more important than
some moral theme, and clearly she has
taken her own advice. She knows her
fictional town as though it truly exists (a
map of Bright’s Pond is on her Web site).
Not only does she “live and breathe
Bright’s Pond,” Magnin says, but she also
has taken the time to research her
characters’ activities. For the new book, in
which the main character takes flying
lessons, Magnin contacted a friend to
learn about small aircraft. To depict the
town’s pumpkin contest, she researched
hybrid pumpkin seeds developed in the
1970s.
Magnin says she wants readers to
identify with the characters, with their
struggles and triumphs. “Maybe at some
point one of the things that my characters
are going through might relate to
something someone in a book club is
going through, and the people in the
book club will help her along,” she says.
“It’s not about reading in isolation but
reading for community.” Magnin has
visited the book clubs of some of her
readers and hopes to continue that as
readers explore her latest book.
The quirk will also continue. Magnin’s
fourth Bright’s Pond novel (Blame It on the
Mistletoe) is slated for release in September
2011, with three more Bright’s Pond
novels to follow. She also recently signed
a deal with Zondervan to write a novel
about a woman who travels cross-country
using every form of transportation except
buses and airplanes. —Jackie Walker n
based on a true story, it tells of a mother
and daughter, in danger of losing their
family farm, who are promised a cash
prize if they can walk across the
continental United States in an allotted
time period. As the story unfolds,
Kirkpatrick explores family secrets, loss,
choices, and forgiveness.
“Life is messy,” Kirkpatrick says.
“Finding peace and love and grace within
is inspiring, and offers readers ways of
looking at their lives with new eyes.” She
adds, “I try to give readers things to
br eat he i n—t hr ough l ands cape,
relationships, spirituality, and work—
even if the story doesn’t always have the
‘met my prince’ ending. My stories may
not always have happy endings, but they
have hopeful ones.”
Al though Ki rkpatri ck and her
husband still own the ranch at Starvation
Point, they recently moved back to Bend.
Life there is less complex, at least in one
respect: “The postman actually rings the
bell and delivers packages instead of our
having to drive seven miles to the
mailbox.” —Cindy Crosby
Joyce Magnin
Putting on the
curlicue
Joyce Magnin grew
up attending a quirky church in Drexel
Hill, Pa. She remembers the hellfire and
brimstone sermons and the politics at
potluck dinners. Whether it was the
church or her humorous parents or her
own offbeat nature, Magnin says this
environment contributed to her writing
style. Writing “quirk” has helped her
make sense of a strange childhood.
Af ter wri ti ng two books about
characters in the fictional town of
Bright’s Pond (including The Prayers of
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e | P r o f i l e s
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R e v i e ws R e l i g i o n U p d a t e
H The Daughter’s Walk
Jane Kirkpatrick. WaterBrook,
$14.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-
4000-7429-7
N
ineteen-year-old Clara Estby is
hauled by her mother, Helga, on a
7,000-mile walk from Spokane, Wash., to
New York in 1896. The fashion industry is
looking for promotion of the new, shorter
dress for women; Helga is looking for a
$10,000 prize to save the family farm from
foreclosure. The historically factual walk is
only the first half of the book; the rest fol-
lows Clara after she leaves her family,
becomes a businesswoman, and makes her
way as times change for women at the turn
of the century. Kirkpatrick has done impec-
cable homework, and what she recreates
and what she imagines are wonderfully
seamless. Readers see the times, the
motives, the relationships that produce a
chain of decisions and actions, all rendered
with understatement. Kirkpatrick is a mas-
ter at using fiction to illuminate history’s
truths. This beautiful and compelling work
of historical fiction deserves the widest pos-
sible audience. (Apr.)
Griselda Takes Flight
Joyce Magnin. Abingdon, $14.99
trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-4267-
1157-2
Books in
Brief
Magnin tackles many adult themes
throughout the novel: a caregiver’s resent-
ment, questions of fidelity, etc. Yet the
playful style stands in the way of deeper
character development; readers are taken
through endless tales of pumpkin patches
and treasure hunts that interrupt a more
meaningful tale of a struggle for indepen-
dence. Readers seeking an escape to a land
where neighbors still wander into each
other’s kitchens will enjoy the “aw shucks”
attitude and surprise ending. (Apr.)
The Deepest Waters
Dan Walsh. Revell, $14.99 trade
paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-8007-1980-7
W
alsh, a pastor turned full-time
writer, surprises with a swashbuck-
ling tale of a sunken pre–Civil War era
steamship and its cargo of gold—and a
newlywed couple who must make a har-
rowing decision. When a steamship heads
directly into a hurricane on the Atlantic
coast, John and Laura Foster must choose
to stay together or be separated when
I
n book three of the Bright’s Pond series,
Magnin gives Griselda Sparrow, sister of
the physically large and pious titular char-
acter of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, center
stage. As Griselda explores new personal
freedom, with Agnes being cared for in a
nursing home, an unfolding mystery dom-
inates the town gossip. The country bump-
kin language (“gee whilakers”) returns to
the scene, along with character names fit
for a Roald Dahl tale (“Mildred Blessing”).
Balancing kitschy fun with sober reality,
After moving to Kentucky, life has a whole new
outlook for Titus Fisher. But can a heart once
torn by love’s rejection find new life and choose
between two women who are as unique as night
and day?
Who will Titus choose, and will it be
the right choice?
HEARTS ARE MENDED IN
Rural Kentucky
From New York Times Bestselling Author
www.wandabrunstetter.com
978-1-60260-681-4 / $14.99 / April 2011
Contact your Barbour rep today! | 800.852.8010 | www.barbourbooks.com | Twitter: @BarbourBuzz
Journey_FEB2011.indd 1 2/14/11 9:56 AM
R e l i g i o n U p d a t e | R e v i e ws
women and children are evacuated to
another ship. What makes the story more
than romantic fluff is its basis in a true
event, the sinking of the SS Central America
and its payload of gold, and a dramatic sub-
plot of Micah, a slave who longs to be free
along with his family. Some flashbacks that
provide backstory are awkwardly obvious,
and characters seem to be more obsessed
with sunsets than one might expect desper-
ate survivors to be, but the story has pen-
etrating moments. With this novel Walsh
establishes himself as a Christian historical
fiction writer who crafts credible character-
driven stories. (Apr.)
Leaving
Karen Kingsbury. Zondervan,
$21.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-310-26699-0
C
haracters from Kingsbury’s Baxter
family epic recur in the first of a new
series about young actress Bailey Flanigan.
Bailey, who has appeared in a film of
Unlocked (a real novel by Kingsbury) and is
awaiting a callback about her Broadway
audition, has a problem: Hollywood hottie
Brandon Paul, reformed bad boy and film
co-star, is after her; star NFL rookie Matt
Keagan is another potential interest. But
Bailey really loves Cody Coleman, the reg-
ular-guy Iraq war veteran who abruptly left
her. Ex-POW Cody is teaching and coach-
ing at a rural high school, visiting his drug-
gie mom in jail, and trying to forget Bailey,
whom he left out of fear of his mother’s
unsavory connections. A parallel story
involves firefighter Landon Blake, whose
ground zero experience is affecting his
health. Fans won’t mind the self-promo-
tional reference to Kingsbury’s previous
book as they enjoy the treacly confection of
Hollywood and heroes the popular novelist
offers. (Mar.)
Sarah’s Gift
Marta Perry. Berkley, $14 trade
paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-425-23891-2
P
erry (Leah’s Choice) offers another story
set in the Amish country of Pleasant
Valley, Pa. The widowed Sarah Mast is a
midwife who moves to Pleasant Valley to
join her Aunt Emma’s midwife practice.
Sarah invests money to expand the practice
as signs of her aunt’s declining health
emerge. Carpenter Aaron Miller agrees
reluctantly to do the work; his mother had
died in childbirth 16 years earlier, attended
by Emma. Just as reluctantly, he finds him-
self drawn to the even-tempered new mid-
wife. The only one who isn’t impressed by
her is Englisch doctor Thomas Mitchell,
who takes legal action against what he con-
tends is the unlicensed practice of medi-
cine. Perry’s narrative keeps a nice pace as
things develop credibly if somewhat repet-
itively between Aaron and Sarah; the legal
challenge makes for more than merely
romantic tension. Minor characters are also
clearly sketched and differentiated. This is
a competent addition to the booming
genre. (Mar.) n
Join backpackers Jason Medley and Theo Barnes on their road trip
across Europe, New Zealand ... and the Milky Way Galaxy.
Two friends. One Jar. The Universe’s DNA.
What could possibly go wrong?
The big bang was no theory.
FINDERS KEEPERS
A novel by Russ Colchamiro
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a strong debut from a very imaginative writer.”
—Publishers Weekly
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RUSS_1/2H.indd 1 2/11/11 11:57 AM
For available rights information, please contact Marilyn Gordon at mgordon@bakerbooks.com.
www.bethanyhouse.com • Available from your sales rep or call Bethany House Publishers (800) 877-2665.
Bethany House Publishers is a division of the Baker Publishing Group.
“I am a big fan of Dr. William Marty.
He sees Scripture with such heart that
you can feel its pulse on every page.”
—Beth Moore, LIVING PROOF MINISTRIES
The Whole Bible Story by Dr. William H. Marty
$12.99; Trade Paper; 978-0-7642-0829-4
AVAILABLE MARCH 2011
With total book sales over 1.5 million,
Norman Geisler is a trusted name in
theology and apologetics. Here he offers
a new approach to answering one of
Christianity’s toughest questions.
If God, Why Evil? by Norman L. Geisler
$14.99; Trade Paper; 978-0-7642-0812-6
NOW AVAILABLE
Respected pastor and sought-after speaker
helps readers move beyond “checklist”
prayers into a deeper, transformational
relationship with God.
Transforming Prayer by Daniel Henderson
$13.99; Trade Paper; 978-0-7642-0851-5
NOW AVAILABLE
Popular women’s author offers a unique,
thoughtful devotional for readers looking
for greater depth in their quiet times.
Deeper into the Word:
New Testament by Keri Wyatt Kent
$13.99; Trade Paper; 978-0-7642-0842-3
NOW AVAILABLE
New Nonfiction From Bethany House
“A well-written treatise on creation and on the care
of ourselves and the world.” —Publishers Weekly
Love Written in Stone by Philip Carlson, MD
$14.99; Trade Paper; 978-0-7642-0847-8 • AVAILABLE MARCH 2011
Engage Your Mind, Stir Your Soul
Don’t Miss Any Books by Bestselling Author
Suzanne Woods Fisher
Readers of Lancaster County
Secrets series will find themselves
transported into the world of the
Amish and deeply invested in
these wonderful characters.
“Fisher writes with
her heart and soul.”
—RT Book Reviews
Amish Peace
You don’t have to become Amish to make
personal peace a reality. Amish Peace shows
you how you can cultivate a simple life of
love, gratitude, and faith in the midst of a
very complicated world.
Amish Proverbs
Through firsthand research and personal
relationships, Suzanne Woods Fisher has
collected more than 200 proverbs that uncover
the rich heritage, folklore, faith, values, history,
and essence of the Plain People.
Amish Values for Families
In this inspiring and practical book, readers
will find charming true stories interlaced
with solid, biblical advice about parenting,
marriage, and all aspects of family life.
Coming August 2011
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the CBA bestselling author of
The Choice, The Waiting, Amish Peace, and Amish Proverbs. Her interest
in Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D.
Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren
Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Benedict eventually became
publisher of Christianity Today magazine. Suzanne is the host of a
radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many
magazines. She lives in California.
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Amish Wisdom Radio Show
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Connect with Suzanne on
F Suzanne Woods Fisher and
T SuzanneWFisher
To order call (800) 877-2665
To order in Canada call David C. Cook (800) 263-2664
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