There’s good news for discouraged novelists.
When I worked as an agent, publishers kept repeating the same bad news for one client, who’d just written her first novel. While they liked her story and style, they turned down her book because it just didn’t fit their boxes.
Some said they did publish historicals, but only stories that fit their familiar, sales-proven categories. Others were more specific: They published only Amish stories, also known as “bonnet fiction.”
Now maybe the tide is turning. Last week in Publishers Weekly, Lynn Garrett wrote a report about “Saving Christian Fiction: In a moribund market, publishers hunt for fresh voices and new genres.”
Garrett quotes Steve Oates, vice-president of marketing for Bethany House. “Where are the new names appearing on the bestseller list? Who is coming out of nowhere in fiction? What is the next big thing?”
Maybe the new names will be authors previously shut out of traditional publishing, writing the next big thing that until now has been rejected.
“Christian fiction has been struggling primarily because authors have been encouraged to stay creatively narrow for a long time,” says Gilead publisher Dan Balow. “The business solution is in encouraging author creativity.”
If you’re one whose creativity has been discouraged, maybe it’s time to dust off the proposal for your favorite novel and contact an agent.