Guest / Limited Access /
Book Buyer Beware? It's Christian Fiction.
Book Buyer Beware? It's Christian Fiction.

Atlanta novelist Creston Mapes is thrilled that a recent weekend of free Kindle downloads gained him legions of new followers. That despite some negative reviews of his book, Nobody.

"I've always wanted my books to be seen by thousands, and now they finally are," said Mapes, who gave away nearly 60,000 eBooks after his 2007 paperback generated only modest sales.

And those negative reviewsMany had to do with readers' failure to click on links that revealed the Christian identity of Mapes's protagonist. Wrote one: "I have nothing against religion, but there is a place for it, which is not in a good fiction novel."

Before the giveaway, Colorado literary agent Rachelle Gardner warned in a blog that if Christian authors fail to mention their books' faith-based content, they are in danger of receiving nasty reviews. "The star ratings on [sites such as] Amazon and Goodreads do influence how people look at the book," she said.

An underground controversy over the practice has raged the past two years, since Christian publishers discovered free eBooks could increase author awareness, said Gardner.

Mark Kuyper, president of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, says it's hypocritical to complain that a book has a Christian worldview. After all, he says, Christians who pick up a general market novel don't receive any warnings of potentially objectionable worldviews.

"In the marketplace, the reader is not always going to be aware of or happy with your content," he said.

Many critics of James Rubart's 2010 Rooms—given away on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com—failed to notice clear references to its faith elements. "It surprised me how many people must have downloaded the book without bothering to read the description," ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedIs Buying Your Way Onto the Bestseller List Wrong?
Subscriber Access Only
Is Buying Your Way Onto the Bestseller List Wrong?
A year after Mark Driscoll's church got caught manipulating the New York Times list, authors and publishers question a practice that extends far beyond Mars Hill.
TrendingThe 'Boy Who Came Back from Heaven' Retracts Story
The 'Boy Who Came Back from Heaven' Retracts Story
(UPDATED) Alex Malarkey's mother, grandmother, and publisher weigh in on retraction of best-selling book; John MacArthur first raised concerns two years ago.
Editor's PickWater Is Weird
Water Is Weird
And its strange behaviors make life possible.
Comments
Christianity Today
Book Buyer Beware? It's Christian Fiction.
hide thisJune June

In the Magazine

June 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.