Friday, October 16, 2009

Faith 'n' Fiction Saturday: Publishers and Branding

WAIT! If this is your first time participating in Faith'n'Fiction Saturday please read this post. It will tell you how it all works and what it's all about!

***REMINDER*** No Faith'n'Fiction Saturday next week as many of us will be participting in the 24 Hour Readathon. There's still time to sign up!

Today's Topic

This week Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher announced a new division for self publishing. They named this new endeavor, Westbow Press. This was a bit of a shock for those of us who remember books on the shelves by some of Christian fiction's most accomplished writers published under the Westbow imprint of the past.

When asked about this, Michael Hyatt responded that readers don't pay attention to imprints and publishers. To be honest, I found this rather insulting and it also made me question why publishers would try to brand themselves if readers don't really care anyway. Even before book blogging and reading book news every day, I paid attention to publishers. I figured if a publisher published enough different sorts of books that I liked, than I would like a lot of their stuff.

This really holds true today. I have favorite publishers in Christian fiction and in the general market. There are publishers I know I will read new authors from and other I'm less likely to pick up.

How about you? Do you know who the Christian publishers are? Who are your favorite publishers or imprints? Do you have certain perceptions of the kinds of books each publishing house brings out? Tell it like it is...even if you have no idea what I'm talking about!


Anonymous said...

Michael Hyatt's statement bothers me the most about this.

Marie Cloutier said...

I know who the Christian publishers are- but I probably didn't before I became a librarian or a blogger. And I know in the Jewish world who the publishers are and how religious they are- I have to know which one is Modern Orthodox, which one is affiliated with Chabad, as well as Union for Reform Judaism and so on, because it makes a difference when I'm making purchasing decisions for myself and for the library. I think with religious books if you read them you have to know which is going to be what you want and which isn't!

Dani In NC said...

When I was in my teens and 20s, I knew the names of publishers but that was about it -- for instance, I knew that Random House was a publisher and not a restaurant :-). The two exceptions were Harlequin and Scholastic. I associated Scholastic with the school book fair, and Harlequin has always meant "cheesy, predictable romance" to me.

Out of necessity, I've learned to look at my library's sometimes incomplete database entries and know that Thorndike does the large-print books and that Tydale House and Bethany House are Christian publishers. I know that Dorling Kindersley does those books with the great illustrations. My husband and my kids haven't stored that knowledge in their brains, but it will start to come naturally as they read more.

I would say that Mr. Hyatt is underestimating avid readers. If you name a TV show and what channel it will be premiering on, most TV viewers could give you an idea of the style of content: whether it will be more family-oriented or action-packed. CBS still maintains the image of being the network for people over 40 despite several efforts to break out; why does Mr. Hyatt think that avid Christian fiction fans won't remember what Westbow stood for?

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

I was out of town at the Women of Faith Conference in Minneapolis and missed this on Saturday. I am going to stop by and see what everyone had to say on this. The publisher does make a difference, in many cases by the publisher you know what you are getting.

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