For the past two years, faithful readers of this blog have watched me struggle with my feelings about Christian fiction and well, books about faith. On the one hand, I felt a growing dissatisfaction with books that felt like the faith element was tossed in or books that existed solely to share a message and not a story. But the books that moved me profoundly were books in which faith was essential to the storyline. I exchanged emails with many people trying to sort out my feelings on the subject and trying to figure out why what was called Christian fiction was a very narrow number of books.
I sought out other books that explored issues of faith. I found publicists pitching me books that were published for the general market but still deeply about faith--Christian faith. And I discovered there just might be more than I knew about.
There are others I respect trying to bring attention to what they feel are excellent books of faith--but there is a noticeable prejudice against books called Christian fiction. I don't share this. The books I want to read...they are published by Christian publishing houses and they are published by big publishing houses and they are published by small presses and they are even self-published at times.
And so the INSPYs were born. I couldn't get the idea out of my head that Christian fiction deserves more respect and that general market books about faith need to be discovered by the right people. And I watched how supremely successful the Cybils are...and I knew that I couldn't sit around and wait for someone else to do this thing that was on my mind and in my heart to do.
I asked some people I know who blog about Christian books if they were interested in helping and they were. And I'm so proud of what, after months of discussion and lots of brainstorming, we were able to come up with. I'm so excited to see how all of this is going to work. I'm so very excited and hopeful that we'll be able to discover the very best books that grapple with the Christian faith that are being published today.
We need your help. We need book nominations! And we need judges! And we need to spread the word, because we need to discover these great books! We need to know they are out there. So....if you are interested in being a judge, please head over to the INSPYs site and read over the criteria and apply. If you are interested in nominating the great books of Christian faith you've read in the last year, then please go read the criteria for books and nominate the books you think should be considered.
I want to personally thank Kelli of Pulse Point Design for our logo, Pam of Bookalicious for last minute header help, Ann from the Cybils for her blessing to borrow the idea and some of the format of the Cybils, and the amazing and wonderful advisory board for the INSPYs: Carrie of Books and Movies, Deborah of Books, Movies, Chinese Food, Hannah of Wordlily, and Rel of Relz Reviewz.
(I hope you will help us spread the word! I hope you will follow us on twitter, like us on facebook, and subscribe to our blog.)
Friday, July 2, 2010
The INSPY Awards: The Bloggers' Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Lit