Tomorrow’s column is about how Christian fantasy fans can help all great Christian fantasy publishers — including the recently sold Marcher Lord Press — grow their readerships.
We must quit being “support zombies,” like evangelicals, and promote the stories we love.
But that’s tomorrow. I thought I’d get started early with an edited version of this comment from yesterday. Here I replied to fellow SpecFaith-er R. L. Copple’s remarks about how new Marcher Lord owner Steve Laube apparently seeks to market MLP books more broadly.
First Rick offered his interpretation of Jeff Gerke’s expression of support:
Steve’s goal is to expand the genre into the broader “we like Amish romance” readers.
I’d say that’s not his primary job. Or Jeff’s. Or Marcher Lord’s. Or other publishers’.
It’s our task, to “sell” this genre better to churches, friends, and culture at large.
Big houses have tried to do that before with limited success in many cases
There’s the problem right there, it seems. Genre preference must change at the “grassroots” rather than because of the actions of big-house publishers.
But would someone suggest that Amish fans couldn’t like sci-fi in a house, couldn’t like it with a mouse, wouldn’t like it here or there, wouldn’t like it anywhere?
If so, then I would disagree. You’d be surprised.
Once I was at a writers’ conference, an evangelical writers’ conference chock-full of womminfolk and which smelt of Amish butter and cozy-romance perfume. I struck up a conversation with two older women about our preferred genres, and they both mentioned that though they like romance stories, they also love fantasy. They kind of admitted this in lowered voices, as if to say they only enjoyed it for the articles.
A question about your average run-of-the-mill Amish/romance fiction fan. Really, think not about imaginary groups but the people you know at church or in culture at large. If we don’t know them, then we aren’t yet qualified for this discussion:
- How many of them would have seen, say, Disney’s Frozen in theaters?
- How many of them have at least read Narnia or Lord of the Rings?
- How many of them have boys crazy for superhero stories or movies?
- How many of them have girls who love princess/fairy tale stories?
- (Because I can just hear someone beginning to grump …) Or boys who love fairy tales and girls who love superheroes? (Happy now? :-P)
If so, then you’re talking about a closet fantasy fan who just doesn’t yet know it. Or, even if they can’t stand fantasy, they have children who love it. Booyah. Market.
We need to purge any stereotypes of fantasy fans being only stereotypical “geeks.”
Our primary question should be: how?1
- For more explorations of this idea, see (satire) The Strange Case of Nicheolas Bartleby, Reading Is Worship 5: Identifying Weirdness Idolatry, both by yours truly, and The Heart of Speculative Fiction is Not Weird by Rebecca LuElla Miller. ↩