How do Christian fiction books differ from your straight, run-of-the-mill fiction books?
Here are characteristics of most Christian fiction books:
1. An element of faith inspires the main character’s decisions throughout the story.
2. A sparing but appropriate use of Bible quotes — usually two or three that fit the story.
3. Evil exists in the story, but there are no graphic descriptions of sex, murder, and other deviant behaviors.
4. The ending leaves one feeling encouraged and trusting that life will work out for the better.
5. Language is clean with no swearing or violent words. For instance, a character might be described as “swearing a blue streak,” but the actual cursing words are left out.
Don’t be misled into thinking that because the book has a Christian or faith element you can get away with half-baked writing. Christian readers are as critical as other readers in wanting good plots, well-crafted story structure, and believable dialogue. Most readers are looking for enjoyable reads that are inspirational.
Pursue Christian writing as carefully and thoroughly as you would general fiction. Make sure that your book is edited, rewritten, edited, and rewritten again.
Marketing the Christian novel is as challenging as marketing any other book. Know your audience before you write. Where do they hang out? Will your book be directed at a general Christian audience or to a narrow niche such as Baptists, Evangelicals, or Catholics? How will you reach out to them? Through social media, public speaking, or writing articles?
Remember that most authors do not achieve success overnight. Plan on marketing your book for at least three years while you work on other books. Each book builds upon the others and expands and solidifies your following of faithful readers.