Tuesday, June 06, 2006

LDS or Mainstream?

By Darvell Hunt

The further I get involved with the LDS niche fiction market, the less I seem to understand about it.

Here’s my dilemma: do I write LDS-friendly material to be published in the mainstream market or do I try to publish my non-specific LDS material in the LDS market?

A few years ago, a representative from a local LDS publisher said at a writing conference I was attending that they wanted to branch into the mainstream market. Great, I said to myself, I’ll send them something to help them do exactly that. I wrote a mostly-mainstream young adult fantasy novel to send them that fit this requirement.

They really liked it, but they rejected it. They told me that I should put more LDS-specific material into it or that I should remove all LDS-specific material and submit to the mainstream market. So now I’m confused.

Deseret Book has published Leven Thumps, which is mainstream young adult fantasy and Cedar Fort has published Jimmy Fincher, which is also mainstream young adult fantasy. These are the same publishers that are telling me that my book isn’t LDS enough to publish in the LDS market, yet they are publishing these “non-LDS” books with great success.

Hence my confusion.

So, I may end up selling my LDS-friendly young adult novel—which I wrote to satisfy the national-market needs of a local LDS publisher—to the national market instead. In the process, I’ll probably sell more copies than the local LDS niche market could even support.

I guess I should thank the local LDS publishers for forcing me into the national market. I should, but somehow I don't feel inclined to do so.

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