How Fiction Publishers Can Get My Money

Written By: Timothy Fish Published: 10/7/2007

The consensus among Christian publishers seems to be that men do not read fiction and are not worth the effort. I have heard the same thing. One gentleman told me that he usually reads non-fiction instead of fiction, as I was selling him a novel. I am convinced that more men would read Christian fiction if the publishers would give them novels that appear to be interesting. While I do not know what all Christian men are looking for in a book, I do know what I look for in a book, as a reader. So Christian publishers, I am standing here with money in hand; I am offering to give it to you; all you have to do is provide me with what I want.

The Types of Books That I Read

You name it and I have probably read it, as long as it is clean. Looking at my shelves there are books of many different genres, but some books really stand out. I like books that make me think. I love science fiction and fantasy. The primary reason is that they make me think as I imagine a world that does not exist or things that scientists have not invented. You must be careful, however, it is easy to sour the milk. Every time I watch Jurassic Park, I cringe when it comes to the line ďItís a UNIX system.Ē To me, it looked more like a graphical interface built on the Mac operating system. Someone who has analyzed the movie more closely would know, but it was clearly not the standard, out of the box, UNIX system, so there was no reason for the girl to think she could crack it from her previous knowledge. Do not feed me garbage.

One woman said that her husband would read novels that encourage him to think about scripture a different way. That is probably true of me, as well, but here again, you must be careful. I have read the Bible. If you feed me some doctrine that I do not think is supported by the scripture then Iíll go look it up and determine that for myself. If the author turns out to be right then I will be impressed, but if not then I probably will not read any of his books again. Along that line, you might as well tell me what denomination the author is, instead of making every church a generic church. If the author says anything worth saying then it will probably be evident in the writing anyway.

I like a good love story. I do not mean a romance. I have read some of those too, but most romances are not love stories. Where the Red Fern Grows is a good example, but I seldom read animal stories. If you want to hit an emotional chord with me then tell me about unconditional love. Isnít that what the Bible is about anyway?

How to Hook Me

Iíll admit it, I judge books by their cover. I once bought a book because of the picture on the front. It turned out to be a good book, but I did not know that when I bought it. I bought Inkheart because of the title and description. Who wouldnít want to read a book about someone who can read characters out of a book into the real world? If you can make me curious about the story then you probably have me hooked.

I tend to think very visually, so the picture on the front cover plays a very important part in my decision. Even so, it is difficult to describe what I expect to see. Every book is different.

Give me something that I havenít seen before. If I look at a book and it looks just like a television show that I have grown tired of or it is very similar to other books that I have read then it is unlikely that I will bother to read it. If the novel is inspired by real life, a movie or a television show then tell me what makes the book different from what I have seen before. If the difference is interesting enough then you have me hooked.

Where to Find Me

If you expect to sell Christian novels to me, you are going to have to do it online. You will not find me in a Christian bookstore, at least not very much. You might find me at Target, but I seldom look at the books they have.

Part of the reason that you will not find me at a Christian bookstore is because there is very little there that interests me. They usually cater to women. The interesting books are usually in the back corner of the store. That is fine with me, but it means that I have to walk through the Christian wall hangings, the posters with the footprints poem on them and the flowery Bible covers. I wouldnít know how to find Christian fiction that men might enjoy if my life depended on it.

Three Rules

Finally, let me say that there are three rules that will help you take possession of the money that I want you to take. Number one: give me something that makes me think. Number two: do not insult my intelligence. Number three: do not force me to read a book that has lace on the front.