WestBow Press Publishing “More Innovative Fiction”

WestBow Press received some great coverage in the March 28 issue of Publishers Weekly. Here are a couple of excerpts worth noting:

Thomas Nelson’s WestBow imprint is quickly gaining a reputation for publishing more innovative CBA fiction. Launched in late 2003, WestBow’s intention from the start was to raise the bar. “Our primary goal isn’t ‘edgy’ fiction but stories with a real, authentic voice that are entertaining, culturally relevant, and God honoring,” said publisher and industry veteran Allen Arnold. “When we find those voices, we don’t shy away from the edgy elements—or sugarcoat them.”

But other publishers continue to do so. Arnold says at least one major CBA publisher maintains a list of subjects that are taboo in its novels. “By asking authors to avoid so many—and often silly—things and asking readers to accept a world that isn’t remotely close to reality, you quickly have fiction that is unbelievable and irrelevant,” he said.

Still, WestBow and other more progressive CBA publishers maintain that their books are solidly grounded in a Christian worldview. “Are there certain lines we won’t cross? Absolutely,” Arnold emphasized. “If we feel a word or scene is gratuitous, then we have no interest in including it. But when you partner with the right authors, this is rarely an issue. The bottom line is, we want our stories to be known more for what they include than for what they delete” (p. S13).

This is wonderful coverage. It makes us all look good. Kudos to Allen Arnold, Ami McConnell, Jenny Baumgartner, and the entire WestBow team. I’m proud of you!

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  • http://denaliflavors.blogs.com/ John

    Congrats to Allen!! I’ve always been a fan of his (even though he and I disagree on who would win a fight between Superman and Batman — but that’s a different topic) and I can’t wait until he starts his own blog. :-)

  • Troy Johnson

    Commentary: “Perceptions and Perspective”
    Last night, on 48 Hours (Wednesday Edition), I watched Dan Rather interview Jack Welch. As you may know, Welch is a very successful business leader that became CEO of GE and took them to new heights growing their top line and EPS (earning per share) by a large measure–really became an icon in the corporate world.
    Welch has a new book coming out titled, “Winning.” Welch is all about winning and he has both an incredible drive and savvy to succeed. However it’s come at a cost. What was most intriguing about the interview was to watch this man of power, confidence, and vitality (at the age of 80) seem like he’s still top of his game (still with past and some continued controversy) blend his way of influence and sharpness through the interview even with some of the more pointed, controversial questions about his personal affairs and corporate dealings while he served at GE.
    But it was the final question of the interview that captured my attention the most. Rather asked Welch, “What’s the most difficult question you’ve been asked?” Welch replied, “Do You think you’ll get into heaven?” And suddenly, I saw insecurity from that confident, savvy, successful business icon with a response of “Well, if God looks at people that are nice to people, kind and caring…” and he went on never really understanding what the answer to the most important factor in life.
    What this interview did for me is a lot of what life throws at us everyday. We can easily be built up and/or wrapped up too much by the daily achievements we’re targeting (which we should set high objectives and strategic measurements to achieve our goals), but as we know, at the end of life, God isn’t measuring our successes or failures, He’s only measuring one factor. The moral of this interview for me was, yes, as a Believer, aim high, strive hard, and as a Believer stand out for the right reasons, but in the end the most important factor is to finsih strong in my faith. I trust that I will be able to achieve this goal.

  • JANIS

    Interesting information about WestBow Publishing. However, if you go to their website (under FAQs), they state that they no longer accept manuscripts from authors. This is unfortunate.

    • Cia McKoy

      Janis, not sure where you found that, but it's definitely not true. WestBow Press offers a number of packages that do far more for writers than most big name publishers ever do. But maybe the Press and the publishing house are two different entities? I'm new to them and about ready to sign on.

  • chris

    Hmm. I’m not sure if Westbow really is a departure from the traditional CBA publishers. Dekker and Co seem like more of the same. The writing in general still labors under the necessity to communicate a message rather than merely tell a story.

  • Tasha

    On “Edgy Christian Fiction” would a MS having a main character working as a server in a strip club be a definite “NO”? Can the main character have an alcohol abuse problem? Can a main character have a substance abuse problem? Can the MS show these difficulties while they are on a downward spiral; but the light of Christ in them brings them to victory over the advarsary that was trying to bring them down? Or is it “No to alcohol, and drugs in any circumstances to include a bar.”

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    @Tasha: I think the Bible has these kinds of characters—and worse! So, yes, I don’t see that as an issue. However, the story must still be compelling. At the end of the day, this is the most important thing in good fiction, and the thing so often lacking in so-called Christian fiction.

  • http://heartns0ul.wordpress.com Tyra

    This is encouraging news that there is a venue for "edgy Christian fiction." I have a work of fiction that includes two attempted rapes, a murder, and alcohol abuse, but then there is also redemption and someone teetering on the edge of forgiveness. I have a second work in progress that includes a school shooting. I have deemed these two works as too soft for mainstream and too harsh for Christian fiction. Maybe there's a way my characters can be heard.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnPaulDeWalt John-Paul DeWalt

    This is the kind of publisher I’m looking for.  Fiction is supposed to be about Truth and sugar-coating or deleting the unseemly or painful doesn’t cut it with those who know better.