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Change in the Inspirational Market May 22, 2011

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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The inspirational (Christian) market is selling increasingly more fiction, but what used to be a staple in the fiction has changed. In years past, inspirational fiction often included a conversion scene in which a character came to believe and trust in Jesus Christ. Now characters in inspirational fiction are more likely to already be Christians, and inspy books trace their journey as they grow stronger in their faith.

I think this change came as publishers of inspy fiction realized the people most likely to purchase their books are already Christians. The conversion scenes came to be viewed as a cliche, something tacked on to the end of a book to make it Christian (and, with high hopes, the reader). As it became clear that readers of inspy fiction are mainly Christians, the books focused less on evangelism and more on spiritual growth (besides the unchanging focus on entertainment).

I have mixed feelings about this change. My young adult novel, A Shadow in the Dark, includes a conversion scene while its companion book, Living It Up to Live It Down, follows the spiritual growth of two teens. I felt it important to include the conversion scene because, when I was a child, I’d searched for that in books but had difficulty finding it. I didn’t have much access to inspirational fiction, and the few inspy books I found always seemed to abbreviate the conversion scene.  The plot would build up to it, and then the conversion itself would be summed up in a brief sentence such as “They prayed.” After that, everything would be wonderful. I always wondered, What did they pray? I didn’t think there were any magical words one needed to say to be a Christian, but I craved an example nonetheless.

I still believe there are children and teens seeking spiritual insights in what they read–even as deep or basic as how to become a Christian–and the inspirational market should take that role and never let go.


A First Sale May 1, 2011

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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One of my first sales was to a children’s magazine that, at the time, I thought a bit obscure. The magazine cover showed a young boy I had never heard of. I wondered, Who is this kid and who is his audience? Will anyone read my story?  I wanted to write books, not magazine stories, and I wondered if writing for magazines could get me any closer to my goal. Would anyone even notice my writing?

Four books and 100+ magazine articles and stories later, I recently looked over my box of clips (a good idea for any writer looking for a pick-me-up). I found that old story, still in the original magazine. And this time I recognized the boy on the cover. It was Nick Jonas.

As in the Jonas Brothers.

He’d spent time in the same magazine as I did, and look how far he went!