Thursday, February 3, 2011

It’s February, and love is in the air. Publishers of Christian fiction, however, are hoping they can fill the entire year with romance as they expand their inspirational romance lines. This is welcome news since it comes at a time when publishers are cutting back on other titles. With sales for Christian romance steadily climbing and the critical acclaim it’s garnering, readers’ demands are being acknowledged. That’s good news for those of us who write inspirational romance with the desire to see faith-driven romance presented for readers who are hungering for an alternative to other choices available in today’s market.

One publisher who is already experiencing growth is Harlequin’s inspirational division, Love Inspired (formerly Steeple Hill) which recently doubled its Love Inspired Historical Series. The division includes three faith-driven romance series: Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, and Love Inspired Historical. The three lines now publish 168 titles a year. Senior Editor Tina James says the increase reflects the tremendous growth of inspirational fiction in the United States.

Thomas Nelson is another publisher who is looking to increase their romance titles. Presently they are publishing twice as many romance titles as they did four years ago. The company’s expansion of their romance line came about because of readers’ requests. As a result of this input, they announced the signing of four leading romance writers—Kristen Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter—to collaborate on Smitten, a collection of novellas that will release around Valentine’s Day 2012.

With good news, however, sometimes there is a downside. As authors of Christian romance, many of us have struggled to find the right publishing house for the stories we write. One only has to look at the growing numbers of members in American Christian Fiction Writers to know that many new authors are hoping to launch their careers in the inspirational market. Even with the growth of titles printed each year, there may be stiff competition for the number of spots available. Authors would do well to familiarize themselves with the types of stories that each house purchases before choosing who they should target. Then read books released by the publisher to get a feel for how the books are written.

What about you? Pre-published authors, who are you targeting? Multi-published authors, who do you write for? I’d like to know.


  1. Growth is indeed good news, Sandra. I write for Barbour Publishing, who just recently announced that they would be expanding their anthology collections to include non-seasonal novellas.

    I also write for Summerside Press, and though they recently joined with Guideposts, they too are looking at adding lines to they're already wildly popular Love Finds You line.

    So what does all this mean? Not sure I can say, though I can't help but hope that it will expand beyond the literary fiction market, to music and movies!

    Wouldn't it be great to just sit down with the family again and not worry about what they'll see?

  2. Okay, yeah, there were some typos in that last post...but it's 1:00 in the morning, and I'm working on creating a video when I should be in bed, so give me some credit. :-)

  3. This is a great (and very hopeful!) article, Sandra! I'm very, very excited to see that Inspirational Romance novels are growing in popularity, meaning that they're in more demand by readers. :) Not only do I love reading them, but it is my hope to be published in that genre at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future. ;)

    I think one of my favorite publishers as of right now is Revell (along with Bethany House). Their books shout quality in every way, from their well-edited and well-written stories, to their beautiful covers. I know I will definitely have to do more research into this before I attempt to get published (as well as finish my WIP!), but I think reviewing for various companies gives me an idea about what certain publishers look for.

    Thank you for sharing about this and reminding me of my need to be thinking ahead! :)


    P.S. We'll cut you some slack, Lisa, because that video is pretty awesome! ;)

  4. Thanks, Amber!

    Believe it or not, you actually are getting a very good headstart on your publishing goal by doing book reviews. Too many people jump into writing without any idea of who is buying what. By doing reviews, you will know which publishers are buying and printing books that are similar to yours.

    For example, Barbour does not currently publish speculative fiction. Sending them this type of manuscript would be a huge waste of time--theirs and yours. Still, you'd be amazed at how many people don't bother to figure out what kinds of books Barbour prints before they send in their manuscript. Unfortunately, that probably means a form letter rejection. Publishing your novel involves a whole lot of legwork that has nothing whatsoever to do with writing!

  5. Great article, Sandra. As the market for romance expands, do you think the quality of acquired manuscripts and the subsequent books will decrease?

  6. This post is music to my ears. :)

    Right now I'm targeting e-publishers. But eventually I'd like to write category romance for Love Inspired.

  7. Joy,

    That is super cool! :) I think both e-publishers and the Love Inspired lines seem to be expanding (from what I've seen), so I think that is a very hopeful ideal!


  8. Joy, I know a couple of authors who have elected to e-publish, and they LOVE it. With the popularity of tools like Kindle, Nook, and other e-readers, they were able to build a broad fan base, which eventually helped them build a respectable platform.


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