Trying to determine the best path for a new novel series is like trying to find your way through a wild jungle with only a pocket knife at your disposal.
When we look at how best to release our Gabby Wells novel series, we have extensively researched, evaluated the marketplace and have come up with some basic assumptions.
- Publishers and readers will pigeonhole these novels as Catholic or Christian fiction. The consequence is the book becomes a niche young adult offering instead of a general one. This is based on the fact that the main character is a Catholic youth, strong in her faith, who actively works to figure out how her faith should interact with her life.
- Most Christian publishers are Protestant-based and rarely/never publish Catholic flavored fiction. This comes from evaluating the top Christian publishers and the books their authors write.
- Most Christian bookstores are Protestant-based and rarely/never carry Catholic flavored fiction. This comes from evaluating the top Christian bookstores and the books they sell.
- Most Catholic publishers focus solely on non-fiction authors. This comes from evaluating the top Catholic publishers and the books their authors write.
- Most Catholic bookstore do not carry Catholic fiction. This comes from personal experience and validated by further research.
- Most of the work in promoting and marketing a novel is done by the author. This comes from extensive research from information shared by authors themselves and blogs from publishers and agents.
- Publishers may be wary of the dark paths and decisions the main character takes during her faith journey and the sacramental nature of her faith. This is more of a gut feel than proven research, but since the novels are a series, there is a risk of one publisher owning the rights to some of the books while the remaining books in the series are owned by some other entity.
- Publishers would be wary of taking on a novel series where they cannot benefit from all of the rights normally included when signing an author. Gabby Wells character is a Sonlight Pictures property with television series and movie scripts already written and copyrighted.
- The higher value proposition for a niche book limited by the assumptions above would be far greater by not using an established publisher. If assumption #1 is correct, then a decision has to be made on whether it is a better decision to make %15 on a niche book from an established publishing company or take 85% on a niche book by self-publishing/creating your own imprint?
I’ll be honest. I have no idea if any of these assumptions are completely valid. That’s why they’re assumptions.
But these are the things that muddle through my brain as we get closer to a finished product in the first book in the Gabby Wells series.
So, if our assumptions are correct and it would be difficult to find a publisher that would accept it, find a bookstore that would sell it, that we’d have to market it ourselves anyway, for a niche book that would exist in a small market, then the next logical questions is:
Why are you doing this????
Simple. Because I feel God has asked me to.
I’ve learned from past experience that God dreams bigger than we do and, therefore, I remain ever hopeful of the success of our novel series. That definition of success is up to God, not me.
As much as I believe my assumptions about publishing Gabby Wells are close to the mark, I have also learned from past experience my assumptions about God’s plan in my life have rarely been accurate. So, I will wait and see how things play out, what resources will cross my path and what opportunities will find me when I least expect it.
Only then will I know if I have assumed correctly.