demise of Abingdon Press' fiction line. This is only one in a series of closings that have seemed to rock the Christian fiction world. Combined with the merging of houses, and the fact that a number of houses aren't currently seeking to acquire, it can seem like a discouraging time for authors and publishing hopefuls.
Over the past few years, browsing CFs new releases for LIBRARY JOURNAL, I've noticed in spite of the tumult several new boutique publishers seem to be attempting to carve a niche in the market.
Many successful CBA authors such as Brandilyn Collins and James Scott Bell have turned to the independent market. Yet another market seems to be building steam, leaving writers to ponder whether small is the pathway to publication.
Boutique, or hybrid, seeks to combine the strengths of both traditional publishing and self-publishing.
Small and slow payout rates, far ahead publication dates and diminishing market size are some reasons authors are looking at the small pub model. Some authors are reluctant to take the plunge with indie publishing. First, there is the status that a traditional house still holds in the minds of many. Secondly, a few feel inadequate to handle the marketing involved in self-publishing. Covers and the visual aspect of novels also intimidate writers.
Boutique publishing might be able to offer a third option to those looking for a strong market for their books. Authors like giving feedback, though might not want to handle the editorial process on their own. Small houses keep writers involved throughout the publication journey. For instance, Brown Girl press offers monthly meetings to help its authors grow in their craft. A larger house might not be able to enable such opportunities on a regular basis.
Ebooks are a hurdle that some writers don't enjoy. Self-publishing can feel like a headache. Many small presses offer an alternative. And some offer in-print books as well as digital.
Redbud Press founded by authors Regina Jennings, Lacy Williams, and Erin Taylor Young is poised to market to those interested in inspy romance. Their Timless imprint seeks to publish the backlists of authors published in the traditional market. These are titles that often sit in drawers but with epublishing they can find new life. Their Hometown Romance line ministers to contemporary fans of small-town life. They use a digital-first model. Karen Ball, Rene Gutteridge, Diane Noble, Gayle Roper, Camy Tang, Cheryl Wyatt, and Kathleen Y'Barbo are just some of the authors who have found a new home with Redbud.
Brown Girls Publishing fits a unique niche in the market that isn't fulfilled elsewhere. With African American CF lines closing, some see faith-filled fiction as a place that isn't as diverse as it could be. For more see Mike Duran's "Does Christian Fiction Have a Race Problem?" for some thoughts from agents and others in the industry. Brown Girls Faith was founded by ReShonda Tate Billingsley and Victoria Christopher Murray, both published authors. Brown Girls has three main lines: Faith, Teens, and the Jacquelin Thomas line. They are seeking to publish not only African American voices but all ethnicities and so might offer a market for those who have been unable to find a home in CBA.
Mountainview Press is another model. Founded by C. J. Darlington, author of BOUND BY GUILT, the line will be publishing the Jerry B. Jenkin's Operation First Novel winners. Historical author Peter Leavell and Don Brown, author of the Naval Justice series are some authors writing for Mountainview. These presses give help with the marketing process, sending books to publications such as Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews.
There are so many more boutique presses available but these are three that have launched in the past several years to give you an example of what the small publishing model might offer you. Many authors have started out with smaller presses and later found themselves gaining traction with the larger houses. Its just one of many paths that could be the right one for you. You never know unless you check it out.