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Christian Authors Abandon Majors for Boutique Publishing

Over the past few months, we’ve noticed a trend whereby well-known authors who were once signed to major imprints are now releasing books independently with distribution provided by Ingram or Send the Light.  Here are a few examples:

  • David and Neta Jackson (the Yada Yada series) have utilized their Castle Rock Creative moniker for their new Windy City Neighbors series [Note: see comments for a clarification]
  • Robin Jones Gunn has released the Christy and Todd – The Married Years series under their own Robins Nest Publications
  • Francis Chan’s new book, releasing next week, You and Me Forever is listed exclusively with Send the Light, with Claire Love Publishing the designated imprint
  • John Bevere’s last two books on the Holy Spirit and on Marriage are exclusively with Messenger International, along with some curriculum by John and Lisa

The Francis Chan situation interests me as a blogger, because normally, I would review his books, but clearly there is no way of doing this short of trying to track down a contact.  This means social media on the title may be lacking, and many in his fan base may be unaware of the release.

  1. August 21, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    This post is not exactly accurate concerning us, at least. We haven’t abandoned traditional publishing. We have, however, become hybrid authors, as have so many others. Castle Rock Creative is the name of our writing business, so yes, we have published some of our own books under that name, primarily reviving OP titles. But when we had strong stories that did not fit our traditional publishers line, we’ve fulfilled the expectation of our loyal readers by going indie with them as well. Our Windy City Neighbors series is a case in point. (But we appreciate the mention!)

    • August 21, 2014 at 5:54 pm

      Thanks so much for the clarification. I’ve modified that paragraph somewhat, though it’s the title of the article which is perhaps misleading. (One of the problems of cranking out material daily for four separate blogs is that things are sometimes rushed.) I tried to think of another way of putting it. Suggestions welcomed.

      I think that many times when we see this trend taking place, retail frontliners simply assume that the author was somehow dismissed from their major label (yes, a music term) because sales were flagging or the author stepped outside the bounds of orthodoxy. As retailers, we’ve seen this happen over the years, and there was another author I was going to include in this piece, but the situation was more like that, and belongs in a different article. In the four examples above, to the best of my knowledge, neither possibility applies.

      So that just leaves us scratching our heads and wondering. For example, in the case of Francis Chan, many indie stores use Ingram as their primary database for product searches, and with Send the Light having the product exclusively, they are simply going to conclude that the new title is being sold in-house, not realizing they have access.

      Another aspect of this, also outside the scope of this article, is authors leaving major Christian imprints for religious/inspirational imprints owned by S&S, Hachette, etc.

      Again, thanks for your comment.

  2. August 22, 2014 at 1:36 pm


    Hmm. We didn’t mean to be misleading, so another clarification: We tried something new with the Windy City Neighbors series–“parallel novels” [more about that on our web site http://www.daveneta.com]–and we found a publisher eager to give it a try. But sales were slow out of the starting gate and the publisher didn’t feel it would work for them, so they returned the rights to us. However, we felt committed to the series idea and to readers who were begging for more, so we decided to complete the series using our indie imprint. We’re grateful there are options!

    But that’s just one situation. As we noted above, most of our indie publications are reviving OOP works or other projects we feel compelled to do alongside working with traditional publishers.

    Best to you, Paul!

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