Readers more and more commonly ask: Is [INSERT NAME HERE] a Christian author or Publisher?
Fifty years ago, that was easier to answer. However, with the ease of self-publishing, the publishing industry exploded. Anyone determined enough to type out some words and call it a book can put it on the market for sale.
Editing and design issues aside — not that I consider those small issues, but simply not the topic of this post — how can you tell if an author you’ve never read writes from a worldview you want to consume?
First, the Bigger Question: What is a Christian Author or Publisher?
What are you looking for in a book from a “Christian” publishing house? Or from a Christian writer. ~Karen Ball, author
This topic gets very murky very quickly. Truthfully, authors who identify as Christian write in all kinds of genres, not all of them with Christian publishing houses. So you must distinguish what you are looking for:
- Fiction that blatantly expresses the Christian worldview.
- Clean fiction that doesn’t glorify our enemy and his minions.
- Or, something in between.
Some readers have definite opinions about these questions.
Wading into the Question at Hand
Thankfully, many book descriptions and some reviews will reveal topics and situations we’d rather stay away from. And sometimes you can gain insight into whether it’s written from a Christian worldview or not.
But what if you don’t have the time or inclination to read the reviews? What if you want to read the book untainted by other’s thoughts? How do you know if the book in your cart is from a Christian author or publisher?
Indications of Christian Authors and Publishers
Keep in mind that these suggestions are not full-proof. Some readers follow If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all so strictly that they won’t post a negative word about a book even if it is honest. Additionally, some authors . . . well, exaggerate.
Okay. Some outright lie. Sorry if I burst your bubble, but that’s the truth of it. The unscrupulous sit in every industry.
Anyway, here are ways to look for indications that an author or publisher strives to put out Christian books.
Christian Book Distributors
Found at ChristianBook.com, this bookstore vets every book it lists for sale. I can submit all the required information to most book retail stores and have my book listed in 24 to 72 hours. But the approval process at Christian Book Distributors is longer.
Take note that they allow books that are not appropriate for all readers, so look at descriptions and reviews. However, if you want a Christian worldview that points toward hope and redemption, this is a great place to start.
The Amazon Book Page
On Amazon book pages, scroll down to the section labeled Product Description. Here is an example from my book The Embers Series. Amazon autofills some of this information, like shipping weight, and some the publisher fills in, like the language.
The Best Sellers Rank is a mix of the two. When a publisher lists their book with Amazon, they may choose up to two categories. After the book goes live, a publisher can ask for more categories, but most don’t, letting the Amazon algorithm choose additional categories for them. In this case, I chose Christian Mystery & Suspense Romance and Christian Mystery & Suspense, but Amazon chose Military Romance.
These categories provide insight on the audience the publisher is aiming for–in this case, Christians. However, keep in mind that if you only saw Mystery & Suspense here without Christian, that may show the book is not from a Christian worldview. Of course, it may also indicate that a Christian author kept the Christian worldview more subtle to reach those who refuse to read Christian genres.
If you are uncertain about a Publisher, look them up via your favorite search engine. If you Google Immeasurable Works®, the Publisher for The Embers Series, you will see something like this picture.
If you click on the top link, you’ll find “God” all over the webpage dedicated to Immeasurable Works®.
- Opening the company was God-led.
- God changed my path.
- God gently guided and directed.
A quick look at BethanyHouse.com shows their dedication to Christian literature, as does the About pages for Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. Quality publishing houses that are smaller in size than the big names we all know strive to be as clear, like the Publisher that first launched my Crossing series, Ambassador International.
Many authors today also have their own websites. Not everyone, of course, and not all of them are attractive or function well. Keep in mind that thirty years ago, this wasn’t an expectation authors had to worry about. Publishing is no longer a business where an author can hide away in a cabin and just produce words for the printed page.
Also, not every author is solely focused on selling books and connecting with readers. Jerry Jenkins loves to help people get published, so his website and blog focus on that. Additionally, his books include biographies on sports legends like Hank Aaron and Nolan Ryan, and he’s written for magazines such as Time and Newsweek. Although his Christian worldview is strong in many of his fiction books and some of his nonfiction, the hints of that are easy to overlook when you view his webpage.
Whether I’m at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I’m looking forward to reading. ~Bill Gates
As I said before, not all of these methods are full-proof. Some authors exaggerate and some publishers and retailers rely on computer programs that don’t always get it right. (Like Amazon listing my Embers series as a military romance, definitely a stretch.)
But a little investigation typically offers enough insight into an author’s worldview that you can determine if you want to invest any time or money into his books.
Since I talked about my Embers Series above, here’s more information for those who haven’t read it yet.
She never thought she’d be raising her daughters alone. But when Deputy Fire Marshal Cassandra McCarthy’s husband died unexpectedly, she was forced to find a career. Now working beside a retired Special Operations soldier and veteran fireman, she serves her small North Carolina town, protecting them from hazards they don’t understand. But things must change. First, a paramedic starts to work at one of her firehouses, irritating her with the most ridiculous names. And then the evidence in a series of unexplained fires points in a direction she doesn’t like. Can she continue to do her job with integrity and passion when she doesn’t like where it leads her?
She thought life would settle down. Nature had a different plan. Cassandra breathed a sigh of relief once the teenagers who had been starting nuisance fires around her small town were caught. But life is rarely so simple.
A hurricane rages up the eastern coastline, damaging homes and feeding floods as it goes. But evidence is mounting that the teens weren’t the only ones playing with fire. Can she prepare the town for the looming emergency and protect them from the danger living in their midst?
The danger grows. Will God protect her? Hurricane Matthew left millions of dollars of destruction, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency invaded to help the community clean up and move forward. Yet in the midst of recovery, the unexplained fires grow more menacing. Cassandra works closely with FEMA to help the community and with the sheriff’s office to follow the small pieces of evidence left at each fire scene. But what will it cost her to capture the arsonist? Is he closer than she wants him to be? And will she have to give up the one relationship she’s wanted since the death of her husband?
THE FINE PRINT: The federal government is concerned about businesses getting money from you without you knowing it. So, the Federal Trade Commission dictates that I must tell you when you are giving me any money. Additionally, my agreement with Amazon states that I must specifically tell you, “As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.”