Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Guest blog - Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press

Captain's Log, Stardate 09.10.2008

Today, I have a guest blog from Jeff Gerke, publisher of a new Christian speculative fiction press that launches on October 1st!








Marcher Lord Press (MLP) is the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. Founded by Christian publishing industry veteran Jeff Gerke, MLP is dedicated to producing the best in Christian science fiction, fantasy, time travel, spiritual warfare, superhero, vampire, and other wonderfully weird Christian novels. MLP produces full-length print novels for Christian adults.
Marcher Lord Press releases three books a season in two release seasons a year: October and April. Go to http://www.MarcherLordPress.com to meet the authors, read sample chapters, see cover art, and more.

And now, here's Jeff!


You Want To Read What?

Christian science fiction? Christian fantasy? Christian time travel or superhero or…gasp…Christian vampire fiction?

What’s gotten into you? Don’t you know nobody publishes that kind of weird stuff—not for Christians, anyway. Why not pick up this Janette Oke prairie romance instead?

Is there someone like this in your life, someone who wouldn’t read a Christian romance novel if his life depended on it? Someone who wishes there were fantasy or SF or even weirder fiction out there from a Christian point of view?

I’ll bet if you thought about it a minute you could come up with someone—a husband, brother, father, son, daughter, or nephew—who might fall into this category. Maybe it’s even you!

The hard truth is that there’s next to nothing available for these good people. Oh, we have Ted Dekker and a handful of others, and those books get gobbled up eagerly. But beyond that, there’s very little.

Why is that?

Mainly because of a Catch-22. The main buying demographic for Christian fiction is white, American, Evangelical women of child-bearing to empty nest ages. Consequently, publishers put out novels that appeal to this demographic.

So we get the five genres: romance and romantic comedy, contemporary and women’s fiction, female-oriented historical and biblical fiction, female-oriented thrillers and mysteries, and the “lits” (chick-lit, lady-lit, etc.).

You’ll notice the conspicuous absence of anything weird.

The perception is that no one outside of this demographic buys Christian fiction. Therefore publishers do not produce novels for anyone outside of this demographic.

When someone outside of this demographic does venture into the potpourri-laden knickknack tea party that is the modern Christian bookstore, he finds no fiction that interests him. And so he ceases shopping for fiction at those stores. Catch-22.

We’ve already established that we all know people who desire Christian fiction that doesn’t fall into the aforementioned genres. Where can they find the kind of novels they love? Or are they forced to read secular novels in these genres, and swallow all the garbage?

For twelve years I worked inside the Christian publishing industry to try to change this. I wrote Christian technothrillers (see www.JeffersonScott.com) and, while I was on the editorial staff at each of the three CBA publishers I worked for, I fought to acquire Christian speculative fiction—SF, fantasy, etc.: the weird stuff.

Over those years I had a number of successes. I was able to get some speculative novels through the acquisitions and publishing process. At one of these companies I even helped launch a fiction imprint dedicated to Christian speculative fiction. My guiding thought was that if I could just get good speculative fiction out there, people would find them.

But they didn’t. By and large, the speculative novels I was part of publishing did not succeed in the marketplace. Because…? Because the people who would love them had already stopped looking for them. The industry had already driven them away.

And so I began dreaming. I began seeking solutions to the problem. How could I get amazing Christian speculative novels to the people who would devour them if only they could find out about them?

That’s how the idea for Marcher Lord Press was born.

Marcher Lord Press is a small, indie publishing house producing Christian speculative fiction. We don’t even try to get into bookstores—Christian or otherwise. Why would we try to get these books into places where our target reader doesn’t go?

Where are our target readers? They’re online. Therefore Marcher Lord Press markets its books exclusively online. Like Amazon.

MLP is a royalty-paying publisher producing full-length print novels for adults. It is not a vanity press. It does not produce e-books. It is not for a YA audience.

Marcher Lord Press launches on October 1 of this year. We will release three original Christian speculative novels: a comic fantasy, a far-future science fiction, and what I’m calling a philosophical fantasy. Go to the site to find sample chapters and cover art.

While you’re there, sign up to win one of the incredible prizes we’ll be giving away on launch day. And tell your friends to do so, too, because every time someone signs up and names you as referrer, your name goes into the prize drawing another time.

If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for those folks in your circle who would adore weird Christian if it was available, now you know where to look.

Camy here: Thanks, Jeff!

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