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Is it Christian Lit? Or is it Inspirational?

Today’s post is a recap of author Pamela Thibodeaux, fellow White Rose Publishing author’s take on our industry:

Is it Christian or Is it Inspirational? What’s the Difference and Where to Market it.


Pamela S. Thibodeaux

© 2005

Revised 2009

I’ve been asked this question more than once….Christian, Inspirational….what’s the difference? Though many would consider it one and the same, I’ll do my best to differentiate.

Christian fiction is written for a particular audience…the CBA market/readership. Christian fiction focuses on a relationship with God and God is the center of every romantic liaison. It adheres to the guidelines set forth by the CBA publishers and readers. In most instances, those guidelines are very conservative. The CBA wants “chaste relationships…the emotional side of love without the physical.” Some of the guidelines include the heroine never appearing in her nightgown outside of the bedroom, no profanity or even ‘substitute’ words such as “shuck” “heck” and “darn.” They want little or no reference to a particular denomination, divorce is a no-no, sensuality is very limited and “unless it’s something the characters struggle with” must be done sparsely and very tactfully. Drinking, dancing, and other controversial subjects such as water –and Spirit- baptism, women preachers, etc. are also frowned upon. Issues such as abuse and domestic violence are usually only ‘hinted at’ and if delved into to any degree, must be handled with tremendous care. Even secular houses like Warner and Harlequin who’ve capitalized on the demand for Christian fiction, adhere to CBA guidelines for their imprints.

Christian Inspirational fiction is written more for those readers out there who are dissatisfied with the typical Christian fiction as well as those turned off by the normal secular romances. It is aimed for readers who like the idea of God/Christ in the books, but want more realistic characters, situations, etc. Though flavored with a bit more “sensuality and gritty realism” Christian Inspirational fiction still adheres to biblical principles. It is a unique combination of the sensual and the spiritual. Almost anything goes in Christian Inspirational fiction as long as it is done tastefully. If you’re putting sex, profanity, or abuse in there simply for shock purposes, stick to secular fiction. Readers of Christian Inspirational fiction want reality not morbidity!

A quick side note: “secular” fiction is the term associated with the ‘no holds barred’ guidelines.

Now that we’ve differentiated between Christian and Christian Inspirational fiction, let’s look at a few places to market it.

For Christian Fiction: Tyndale House, Barbour Publishing, Bethany House, River Oak, Steeple Hill (the Inspirational line of Harlequin), Multnomah and Warner Faith are just a few, but there are probably hundred’s more.

The best thing a writer of Christian or Christian Inspirational fiction can invest in is Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide. Much along the same lines as the traditional Writer’s Market Guide, the CWMG focuses solely on Christian markets, their guidelines and submission procedures.

As for Christian Inspirational Fiction, your best bet is to pitch to publishers who are not within the realm of the CBA. Some of these places would be new publishers or small presses such as, White Rose Publishing, and other independent publishers. Again, check both the WMG and CWMG. If the guidelines state they take ‘inspirational’ query!

Another great avenue is E-publishing. There are many E-publishers that are willing to give authors of Christian Inspirational Fiction a chance to start making a name for themselves. Do a web search and see who else out there might take a chance on you. Most E-publishers also offer Print on Demand services for those authors that prefer printed copies of their books. Beware though; it is extremely difficult to get POD books into traditional chain bookstores. However, with the dot (.)com sites out there like: Amazon, Borders, Christian Book, etc. there’s ample opportunity to sell a few books and generate some name recognition for yourself.

Marketing Christian and/or Christian Inspirational short stories and novella’s are made possible by publishers such as White Rose Publishing and others.

Whether you write conservative Christian or edgier Christian Inspirational fiction remember one thing….everything that gives God glory deserves to be praised!


Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the co-founder and a member of the Bayou Writer’s Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Multi-published in fiction and non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Author’s Email: //

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Previously featured in numerous ezines and at various websites.

How much is too much?

Author  Pamela S. Thibodeaux asks the question today, on White Roses in Bloom – How much is too much when writing an inspirational romance love scene?

For the full blog post, go to the :White Roses in Bloom Blog:

But here’s what Pam asked:

Would you read a Christian/Inspirational novel if it DID contain fully depicted love scenes as long as the couple is married – more fully than above? Is what I’ve shared too much or not enough to be considered “fully depicted”? :More:

Please head over, or leave a comment here… and let her know YOUR thoughts on the matter!

#RWAChange – What is it? How can you get involved? And, should you?

GreenRibbonThis conversation has been going on for a few weeks, and I’ve had the opportunity to take part – both in my new online RWA Group: ESPAN – and online at the RWAChange Yahoo loop – both which I discovered while participating in the Twitter Hashtag: #RWAChange

So, what is it – and let’s talk about it.

People on Twitter are only too happy to mention when a technology, application, device, or group fails in one way or another. Just create your own hashtag and share it with your followers. See #Amazonfail, #Agentfail, and #queryfail to name a few. (My own personal favorite was born when @SmartBitches mentioned that she looked up something on YouTube, didn’t find it, and stated that there were not enough hashtags for that fail! Hilarious. At any rate, I digress.)

#RWAChange was born when we decided to stop with #RWAFail already. We don’t want RWA to fail. Romance Writers of America serves a key purpose for romance writers of every genre, every heat, whether published or not. Ebook, or print. Mass distribution, or POD. We are romance authors and we need to be informed, in the loop, and talking to each other in order to continue to succeed in growing our careers. Thus – the Change.

Led by the charge of Dierdre Knight, author and agent — we primarily feel left out. Left out of decision making, due to the greening of our industry. The transition to small presses. The inability to enter in the prestigious RWA Rita contest as a published author. And, therein lies the rub.

As the romance writers either dive in (or dip their toes into) the new world of publishing, we just want our founding members to be able to support us. Rate our work. Know that just because a book is POD doesn’t mean you won’t sell enough to qualify as a PAN member (earning over a price point).

My publisher took a gamble on my success. They gave me a fantastic editor who worked with me, and has dragged me into good writing habits. I still shudder from some of the egregious errors I made on All or Nothing, but she did her magic and made it a fun read. I’m getting good reviews. I’d LOVE to enter it into the RITA contest. I cannot. I may enter it into the EPPIE contest. Or may not. But, I’m missing the peer review that I desperately need to keep my head in the game. Build upon my platform, and ultimately succeed in the Romance Marketplace.

Are you a reader of romance? A writer of romance? If not, chances are that you know someone who is — so, wear your green.

Follow #RWAChange on Twitter


Read up on the back & forth with the RWA President and industry professionals at ESPAN:

Plus, you can read a whole breakdown of the happenings at GalleyCat.

Join this century, and move with the times. I can’t wait to see what’s next for this exciting group of techno-savvy women, and I’m thrilled to be one of them.

What does Easter mean to you?

Happy Easter Weekend, everyone!

Welcome friends – new and old!  It’s Holy Saturday – April 11, 2009 – and this year I’m celebrating with the release of my Rosette – By Another Name – Now Available at

Can I tell you how AMAZING it feels to write that? This is my first true release -And, in celebration, I’m offering An Easter Lily Spring Cleaning Giveaway in honor of my characters! (see today’s contest information for what YOU CAN WIN at the bottom of this post…)

I had the pleasure of being interviewed earlier this week at Romance Junkies – along with my fellow Easter Lilies. I was asked about the theme of this story — Redemption — and what it really means to be redeemed.

By Another Name – Blurb:

What happens when a reformed high school bully falls for the girl he tormented seven years earlier? When Kade Sinclair crashes into the girl of his dreams, she quickly wrecks his heart. Not one to take no for an answer, he pulls out all the stops to win her over. What he learns changes his life forever.

Rosalee Timmons is coming home. A single mother, new business owner, and the object of the most popular guy in town’s attention–starting over will be the biggest hurdle of her life. She may be hiding behind a new name, but that doesn’t heal the old scars on her wounded heart.

When Kade realizes that confident, aloof Lee is actually little Rosalee Timmons all grown up, it seems he hasn’t a snowball’s chance. But when opportunity knocks, he finds a way back into her life. Will Lee accept an apology seven years in the making, or will Kade give up before she finally gives in?

Perhaps because the path I’m walking in this life has taken several jigs and jags, I’ve had to “do things over” a time or two. Like the kids game. I watch my daughters do the time honored tradition of the “do over” as they play pretend. They don’t care for the way things are headed, so they shout! “do over!” and move on in a different direction.

Check my “About” page if you want to see where I’m coming from – spiritually – but what I’d like to share with you all is this: Easter is the perfect time for Do Overs. Spring Cleaning of the soul…It’s a time for righting old wrongs, or at least facing them. It’s about checking your heart. And most importantly, about making amends.

So, if I might be so bold, I invite you all to check your own hearts… see if there is an area of your own life that needs renewal — a do over of your very own. Sweep out those old cobwebs, clean out those closets & drawers, and throw open the blinds! let some sunlight shine onto your soul.

You Found It!!!

You Found It!!!

In honor of my character Rosalee “Lee” Timmons – a phenomenal caterer in her own right – I’m delighted to give away a “Chef’s Delight” package!

All you have to do to win is comment by Monday Morning! either your favorite family recipe, house hold cleaning tip, or if you are so inclined – a moment in your own life where you realized you needed a do-over!  All names will be entered! TWO winners will be selected!!!

Enter to Win A Chef’s Delight – GRAND PRIZE:

  • A Cooking Gift Basket – Surprise cooking odds & ends AND my EXCELLENT (highly coveted) Scone Recipe
  • I’ll also be giving away a copy of each title from the Easter Lilies Bouquet:

  • Under the 5th Street Bridge
  • Wildflowers In Bloom
  • By Another Name
  • Remember! Join the blog hop for our ULTIMATE grand prize.  Find all 4 sparkly Easter Eggs…  Put some more romance in your basket by visiting Sharon Donovan at the next post in our blog hop tour tomorrow – April 12th, 2009: http://sharondonovan .blogspot. com

    If you’ve missed any part of our blog hop – start over here:

    (FYI -to my Inspy friends – my fellow blog-hoppers write in all heats or romance – so be advised! and blog-hop at your own discretion! – They’re lovely people, and excellent authors in their own genres… each and every one.)

    Good Luck! and have a happy Easter…

    Christian Fiction Surging in Down Economy

    I read this article this morning – thanks to one of my White Rose Publishing author friends. It’s a wonderful nod to how people turn to God in times of trouble… And this time, thanks to the wealth of amazing Christian and Inspirational authors out there, we have baskets overflowing with loaves and fishes for the masses!

    Has anyone noticed how The Shack continues to teeter at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List? Whether or not you believe in its philosophy, you have to love the heart in which it was written.

    If you want romance! it’s there. Check out White Rose Publishing and download titles today.  If your tastes run to the paranormal, there are even publishers tiptoeing around the vampire and shape shifting sub-genres. Action. Adventure. Historical. And let’s not forget the time honored non-fiction books to feed your spirit. And the common thread through it all – a message of hope. Of more than just flagging economies and crisis. A message of love, and promises that you are not alone.

    Read on to find out how this rise in the popularity of the Christian Fiction Market helps everyone.

    Blogging today at White Roses in Bloom

    Good morning, everyone! come over and join me at White Roses in Bloom!

    Look forward to seeing you there…