If you follow me, you know that Justified launched today, and it’s by far my biggest release ever. I wrote a post in a forum about Christian fic and the choice to write this book, which I think is interesting and worth the the read.
I’m so excited I don’t even know where to begin, but I have been trying to think about how to write this for others’ encouragement for the last hour. Forgive me if I ramble!
Justified is my first overtly Christian novel — the first time I’ve opted to dip out of the general market and into something that pushes my faith, and I was not even remotely subtle.
As I write this post, the book is at #1,031 on all of Amazon, #1 Bestseller in Christian Sci-Fi, with the other two books already in the top 3 new releases as pre-orders. It’s going viral and I’ve never had a book have so much buzz.
The common misconception is that toning down your faith, your belief in Christ is the best way to write to market, to make sure that you don’t offend anyone, or turn people away from checking it out because faith is considered a no-no in the general secular market.
I’m here to tell you that it’s anything but the case, that we’ve been somewhat deceived in that regard, and I believe it’s a spiritual warfare attempt to hold down Christianity as a concept and to keep it from being prominent in culture.
Ever since I started, which was in the general fiction market, I spoke at many conventions and conferences, doing well enough that I had buzz building around what I was doing. Invariably, folk would find out I’m a Christian, and invariably, folk would give me advice that I should hide it, that sci-fi readers “don’t want that message”, etc.
It was something that tore at me for a long time, but I did my best to take their advice as I was gaining credibility within the ranks of major sci-fi authors, becoming friends with big players like David Gerrold, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Lois Bujold and others. But as my popularity grew, folk started to see who I was, the publishing establishment absolutely shunned me because of this — which was fine.
The truth though is major publishing has lost sight of what readers want, not that we should be toning down what we’re passionate about. If we’re passionate for Christ, that will show through our work, it will make the work more authentic and more than anything — readers want authenticity. I’ve gotten dozens of messages this morning from people saying they’re not Christian, but they are checking out the book anyway because it looks awesome. This is the end goal! Reaching people through showing Christ. It’s 100% of why God gives us the gift of creativity to begin with.
There’s opportunity out there. People in our society are starved for truth. They are eager for something different than the dark, nihilistic visions being presented by every single entertainment outlet. The reason Christianity resonates is the same reason it always has throughout history — we provide hope because of the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
I went into this book very worried. Should I pigeonhole myself? Will it sink me? Will it turn readers away? I prayed over it constantly, asked God for guidance, and though it sounds cheesy, I prayed, “God, please help me write these books, give me a career and I will give glory to you.”
There is hope here, both for Christian speculative fiction as a market, and for the careers of Christians who don’t want to push the worldly agenda of hedonism and sexualization in their novels. The truth is, God WILL provide for the faithful. You will grow from the experience. He will take care of you. It may take time, but there is 100% a plan, and it is GOOD.
And that’s the message I hope to impart. Don’t tone yourself down. Be true to yourself and the Lord Jesus Christ. All art that is beautiful points to truth, and if you speak the truth of the Word, you will have something awesome. Be for Christ and He will be for you.
Onward, Christian soldiers! Deus vult!