Last night I saw the list for the 2017 Christy Awards Finalists…and I was annoyed. Not by the authors who made the list. The authors who made the list are very good writers and well deserving of the accolades, I’m sure. I’ve read a few books on the list. Once upon a time I would have read them all, but you see, lately I’ve taken a bit of a giant step backwards from Christian fiction. Maybe you can tell in the fact that I once I used to blog three times a week, and now I blog three, maybe four times a month. I used to interview authors. That rarely happens now. I used to do giveaways….and that has gone the way of the birds.
You see what happened was, after almost ten years of immersing myself in almost solely Christian novels, as a young Christian black female, I got tired. I got tired of reading only white authors, reading about historical events through only white eyes, and hearing about only white people problems. To be honest, after a while it all felt monotonous.
And I just don’t understand how this can be. Would someone please explain to me why the only fiction authors mainstream publishers sign with are white? Don’t get me wrong there is always one maybe two minority authors (this would currently be Tessa Afshar, she is phenomenal and deserves to be read) on the roster at a time. But where white authors can stand the test of time, most minority authors cannot.
After all these years of attending ACFW conferences, reading Christian fiction writing blogs, following Christian authors on twitter on Facebook, I have deduced three things of which one must be true:
- Minority Christian authors are not good writers;
- Minority Christian authors are just not interested in being published by mainstream Christian publishers;
- Christian publishers aren’t interested in minority writers.
I have a prediction. My prediction is that if Christian fiction continues on the path it is going, which is writing to only a specific group of people, it will slowly dry up. Because let’s face it folks, there are a ton of minorities in America and around the world, and if they are anything like me, after a few years, reading about white people through the eyes of only white people will only be so exciting for so long. Christian fiction is ignoring a huge demographic and certainly not attempting to reach others.
Am I bitter about this? To be honest? Yes. And you might be too if you realized that it was 2017…that you’ve been reading Christian fiction for at least 13 years and still, still there are so few minority Christian published authors. I don’t have children. But let’s say I have a daughter down the road and she loves historical romance just as much as me, if I don’t want her to read secular romance (and I won’t) I’ll have to steer her to Christian romance and after reading Christian historical romance for some time, she will realize that she’s only ever depicted as a friendly slave or a deeply spiritual servant.
Nevertheless, I will continue to read some Christian fiction. I like Christian fiction. I like reading books with hope and purpose and there are some really good authors out there. At the end of the day, the important thing is the story, and I do acknowledge that. It is just that sometimes the mainstream Christian fiction publishing world feels like a 1960s general store that just took down its ‘whites only’ sign. Now I can go in, now I can walk around; the people may even be friendly and encouraging. But, the reality of the matter is that I’m not welcome there.