Saturday, November 3, 2007

Historicals Set Outside America

Would you buy a historical book set outside of America? What if it was a time period set before 1800? Many CBA publishers feel that there isn't enough readers in this market to pursue publishing all the great manuscripts out there that fall into these categories. I've always been taught that anything marketed well, will sell.

There are still so many readers out there who need to know that CBA fiction isn't preachy, and it contains valuable fiction with creative stories and characters with so much depth, they'll keep turning the pages. For so long I didn't read Christian fiction because I didn't think they would have any books that I like. Imagine my surprise the first time I discovered Kathleen Morgan's Scottish Medieval in Borders. I stumbled upon Embrace the Dawn, and began exclaiming so excitedly, I'm sure everyone around me thought I'd lost it. I've since bought all her books, but was quickly disappointed to discover that I couldn't find many more CBA books like hers. How frustrating this is for an avid reader. Since then I've read Carol Umberger and I'm still searching.

Then there are the missing Regencies in the CBA market. Where are they? People will read and buy them, but they can't if they don't exist. I finally discovered Dorothy Clark's Joy for Mourning, but as with most CBA books it is set in America. While it's a wonderful book, I'd like to see more settings. Where did the idea come from that this market doesn't exist? Did someone produce some massive study on this topic? How long ago was it conducted? The face of CBA publishing has changed and is still changing through massive growth.

I know that publishers want to publish what people want to read, so I pray that people will start demanding these books. I know that there are several CBA editors who long to work with authors on these subgenres. They only need the market, the readers, to start demanding it. If you like historical books, I urge you to email and write CBA publishers asking for the kind of historical books you'd like to have the opportunity to buy. They aren't going to be willing to invest in them without your voice. And be sure to invest in the ones out there. Next week, we'll have an author interview with Molly Noble Bull regarding her new historical book set in France, Sanctuary. Be sure to join us!

I know there are many more books out there that I didn't get a chance to mention in this one blog, but when you compare what is available to all the CBA books published for all time, we need more historicals with broader settings and wider time periods.


  1. As a reader, I love to read historical or contemporary books set in foreign countries and before 1800. But I am a "who" not a "that."

  2. Hey, fancy meeting you here, Lena. Glad you could drop by.
    Jenn, I don't read a lot of historicals these days. I tend to go in spurts. But the last historical bend I went on involved lots of medieval, a few Scottish, and some regency. I wish I could find the selection of them in the Christian market that I've seen available in the secular market. Trends may change, but people still have things they gravitate to.

  3. If anyone approaches the CBA as a whole and asks for more pre-1800 historicals, it should be the readers, not us. After all, many of us have an axe to grind, don't we? I know I have a medieval I'm dying to sell, and a Regency in the bottom drawer, though I've only ever sold contemporaries. Readers, if you want historicals, do speak up. There is no prejudice in the marketplace I think, only in the publishers' mindset.

    I'd love to test this theory, in either case.

  4. I love medievals, too, not the dark, secular, depressing ones, but the hopeful, fun, romantic ones. I also love anything set in Europe. I don't really understand why CBA publishers don't publish more of them. The truth is, I love any setting, as long as it's a great story and is well written. But Christian medievals are almost non-existent, and I think that could and should change.

  5. I haven't gotten around to reading many historicals set in Europe, but I'm not opposed to it AND would be interested in it.

    It just seems lately the historicals coming across my desk are American.

    Good topic Jenn. Hopefully some readers will start contacting the publishers about what they want!

  6. I love historicals set in other areas. Especially Scotland and England. Love them!