Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The changing publishing landscape

Early last week, Love Inspired Historical announced that their line would be closing in June of 2018 after their final contract has been fulfilled.

This rocked the publishing community that is LIH—and it’s readers. We’ve seen a lot of shaky foundations in our Christian publishing world in the last handful of months and to have one of the major publishers of such a high volume of Christian fiction decide to close one of their branches, we all felt the guillotine looming that much closer.

This has followed on the heels of Family Christian Stores shutting their doors—for good.

Harvest House closing down their fiction line, following in the steps of Abingdon Press, Moody’s River North and B&H.

We’re seeing more and more displaced editors turn to agenting and more and more of the remaining houses, trimming back on their acquiring lists and their volume/output.

It’s hard, as a newbie writer to not become discouraged and wonder if traditional publishing is in the cards for them.

And it’s hard for the published author with the contract in hand, to wonder if this is the last time this house will publish their book and when they will get the news that their house is throwing in the towel.

It’s a discouraging business when looked through the lenses of numbers, production, and opportunity. And it’s easy to get wrapped up in writing for the market, striving, crunching the numbers and wishing upon a star that you’ll get that all-elusive publishing contract and keep it.

It’s discouraging to live your dream at times, isn’t it?

Publishing is all about production and in the midst of the changing landscape, we forget and lose
sight of the fact that we’re dreaming and driving towards a dream that is too important to give up.
And we absolutely shouldn’t.

You might be shaking your head as to why I’m telling you not to give up.

And here’s why: this dream is bigger than you. It’s bigger than the changing publishing world. It’s bigger than what feels like one more damning flaming arrow against the fortress that has always been our beloved goal.

And it still should be your beloved goal.


Because God’s idea of this publishing dream for you is not defined by what publishing is or is not doing at this point. What houses are or are not publishing fiction. What genres are hot and which ones are ice cold.

What I’m saying to you might seem a stretch and like irresponsible planning, but I’m here to tell you: if you write for the market or the remaining publishing houses or any house that decides to make a go of it, you’ll write without purpose.

Because those opportunities fade. Another writer who’s better and published more than you will take the spot you’ve been aiming for and you’ll grow discouraged and beaten down.

Here’s the thing with writing for publishing: trust that God’s got this. He’s got you and your book—wherever that leads you. It doesn’t matter what the publishing world is doing around you, because when the time is right and the story is ready, you’re going to be published. I promise you that.

Here’s the thing: your dream is God breathed and God doesn’t follow the rules of publishing. He’s got His own blueprint and it’s a sight better than anything we strive to create on our own.

So that story you’re writing? Keep at it. It might not be on your specific timetable or what you thought were your specific expectations, but I promise if you surrender this story to God, it’s going to flourish. And so will you.

Take heart, dear writer. Yes, these are interesting and uncertain times, but we absolutely and irrevocably serve a certain and true God. 


Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in colorful Colorado where she gets to live her dream stalking--er--visiting with her favorite CO authors. 




kaybee said...

Casey, this is scary. I NEVER thought LIH would go down. Now, more than ever, we need to cling to God.
Kathy Bailey

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Wonderful words here, Case! Excellent!

Laura C. Brandenburg said...

Thanks for these words of encouragement, Casey!