an open letter to the christian book industry

Dear Christian Book Industry,

I didn’t mean to bash you in my last post.  I’m sorry if I offended you or stepped on your toes.  It wasn’t my intention to offend – I wanted to give you some constructive criticism.

Our generation is suffering.  We’re constantly bombarded by standards from the media and from others – standards we can’t possibly live up to.  I will never be as skinny, funny, sexy, witty, smart, or charming as society wants me to be.  My wardrobe will never be as put-together as the characters on TV, and I will never be able to come up with hilarious one-liners like certain characters in books.

So why don’t we have better role models?  Why do we have books where the characters have no hope?  Why do we have movies where the characters use crude language all the time?  Why do we have TV shows where the plotlines are all the same, every episode, with very little progression in the overall storyline?  (I know you’re not involved in film, but lots of books are adapted for the screen.)

My intention for the previous post was to bring a need into the light and challenge young authors.  I know that there are amazing young authors out there, and I don’t want to discourage them and say that “all Christian books are EVIL,” which is what I think came across.  (Whoops.)

When I look at the selection of Christian fiction that is available to young people today, I see a lot of Amish romance (with Christian characters), fantasy (Christian fantasy, duh), sci-fi (Christian sci-fi, duh), and supernatural (aka “involving the spiritual realm”).  This is great.  Don’t get me wrong – one of my favorite authors writes a ton of Christian fantasy.  I could give you a long list of Christian books that I love that fall under these categories.

But it’s not enough.

More than that, I don’t see many books involving teens… and only teens.  No other-genre twist.  Just teens.  Where are the books that showcase modern teens with modern problems?  Where’s the story of the teenage girl who’s struggling to balance her identity in Christ with the pressures of her non-religious friends?  Where’s the story of the guy who recently became a Christian and is having problems giving up his addiction?  Think John-Green-meets-Katherine-Reay or Rainbow-Rowell-meets-Paul-McCusker.  Where are those books?

There are so many ideas out there – so many possibilities for good books that could encourage young adults and guide them in their journey of faith.

So why aren’t you publishing those books?  Why aren’t you looking for those authors?

Praying for change,
-Ashley-

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