The Preacher's Son
Three African American Authors sit on the New York Times Bestseller's List this week. Although my writing cronies applaud this feat, I question its deeper meaning. As I read which books made the list I see a peculiar similiarity, two of the books premise concerns black ministers with dirty secrets.
Now I know scandal sells, but I wonder does christianity do as well?
The African American Christian Fiction Market struggles to have equal footing in its genre. Yesterday I went to one of my local Lifeway Bookstores to observe book placement in the store and I only saw one Christian fiction book written by an African American Author on all the shelves. This month I meet with the manager of the store to ask him about this oversight, to speak with him about the demographics of his store, and give him a list of AA written christian novels that will be released this year.
Yet, as I peruse this New York Times Best Seller's list, I know what he is going to say. "We don't place many books written by African American authors because they don't meet CBA(Christian Booksellers Association) guidelines."
And although both and he and I understand that Carl Weber and Kimberly Roby, both of whom albeit are good writers, are not christian fiction authors, we will debate over a particular publisher of African American christian fiction books that publish novels just as racy as those. And I honestly don't know how to defend that.
Because what this list tells me concurs with the publisher in question's notion that black people don't care as much about faith, but about what go's on at church. Yet, how can christian fiction authors who refuse to sex up/dumb down their books find a place in this market?
New York Times Best Seller's List
Published: February 20, 2005
1 THE BROKER, by John Grisham. (Doubleday, $27.95.) The C.I.A. arranges a presidential pardon for a power broker who may know crucial secrets, laying a trap for the foreign intelligence service that wants him dead. 1 4
2 THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown. (Doubleday, $24.95.) The murder of a curator at the Louvre leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo and to the discovery of a centuries-old secret society. 2 99
3 SURVIVOR IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb. (Putnam, $23.95.) In 2059, Lt. Eve Dallas has an eyewitness to the brutal murder of a family: the sole survivor, a 9-year-old girl; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously. 1
4 THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, by Mitch Albom. (Hyperion, $19.95.) An old man who died while trying to rescue a little girl from danger discovers that all will be explained to him in the afterlife. 3 72
5 STATE OF FEAR, by Michael Crichton. (HarperCollins, $27.95.) Reverse eco-terrorists create natural disasters to convince the public that global warming is real. 5 9
16 *THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, by Kimberla Lawson Roby. (Morrow, $23.95.) The further romantic adventures of the Rev. Curtis Black, who, after two failed marriages, tries hard to be faithful to his latest wife. 1
17 AFTERBURN, by Zane. (Atria, $24.95.)
32 THE PREACHER'S SON, by Carl Weber. (Dafina, $24.)
You can learn more about African American christian fiction authors at my Christian Writer's Market Series at Suite101.com