Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Edenstar - Interview with Bill Bader

Today, I'm pleased to welcome Bill Bader. One secret about him that others may not know: Bill is notorious in our writer's group for bad puns.

However, he's also a wealth of information.

Sharon asks: What are some of your top recommendations in CSFF?

Bill: These are a few of my favorite things:
"Portal" by Brian Reaves. "Joseph Turner's life was irrevocably altered by a mistake he made fifteen years ago. As a result, the girl he loved died while he was powerless to save her. He never forgave himself. Now he has a chance to change the past.... One of the absolutely best time-travel stories I've ever read, and I've read a lot. I've enjoyed this one three times so far.

"Relentless" by Robin Parrish. Starts with Grant Borrows discovering he isn't who he always thought he is, and gets more engrossing from there. Impossible to put down. Impossible to put down.

"Wilderking Trilogy" by Jonathan Rogers. Excellent juvenile trilogy that adults can enjoy. Contains elements of the story of King David with a Huck Finn second progagonist added for good measure. Many laugh-out-loud moments, but very thought provoking as well.
"Arena" by Karen Hancock. Callie Hayes volunteers for a psychology experiment that thrusts her into a parallel world, and a fight between good and evil. Intense.

"Transgression" by Randall Ingermanson. Dr. Damien West invents a time machine so he can travel into the past to assassinate the Apostle Paul. Ali Kazan and Rivka Myers follow him to prevent this. Followups ("Premonition" and "Retribution") are equally good, with all three providing in-depth views of the culture of Israel 2,000 years ago.

These are off the top of my head. I could really get carried away here :-D

Sharon: As a librarian, what have you observed about interest in Sci-fi and fantasy?

Bill: I've seen first-hand that the interest is stronger than libraries may be aware. I worked in a branch library which included a good number of CSFF titles in its general sci fi collection, and the entire SF collection circulated so well it was impossible to weed the cramped section. It took literally years of lobbying to add another 15 feet of shelf space, and that's not enough.

If books are well written, libraries are reasonbaly likely to carry them, especially if the author is local or if the book has been reviewed favorably. Science fiction fans are passionately devoted to their genre, and I suspect that very few will complain about the Christian content (none kvetched to me, at any rate).

Sharon: Any ideas for how Christian authors of sci-fi and fantasy can market their books to develop wider readership?

I'd suggest that authors be prepared to persist, persist, and then persist some more.

The most helpful step is to get them on http://www.amazon.com and http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ ! Try to get them reviewed, whether in print or on line, even if it's in your local newspaper. This may prompt their readers to buy them. It often encourages libraries to order them since patrons ask for them. Allegedly, library ownership of a book can increase sales.

Two of the best review resources are "Library Journal" and "BookList" (both of which are in virtually all library systems so you can see what their review policies are). They both review Christian fiction and CSFF and take a strong interest in new authors, but competition is probably serious.

I can immediately think of three potentially helpful online resources: Christian Fiction Review ( http://www.christianfictionreview.com/index.html ) includes a lot of CSFF, and the reviewer is usually perceptive. Christian Fandom ( http://www.swcp.com/christian-fandom/ ) and ChristSF ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/christsf/ ) have discussion / mailing lists with members who may be able to help. All of these will get the word out, but I don't know how many are involved with each, so results may be smaller than you hope. Searching the Internet via Google may lead to websites that discuss marketing strategies.

Libraries will have books about marketing books. Subjects include "Books -- Marketing" and "Authorship -- Marketing" or variations on these. If nothing turns up, try asking a librarian for help. We thrive on questions!

These are a few ideas that came to me quickly. I hope they help. Marketing is a tough business, especially in CSFF, which is a niche within a niche (science fiction in general). But there are books out there, and they sell, so there's hope.

Sharon: Bill, thanks so much for visiting my blog! I'm delighted that more people are finding out about Edenstar and all the great resources you have on that site.

I hope those of you who visited this week have enjoyed getting to know Cheryl, Bill, and Edenstar Books and Games!

Sharon Hinck

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Sharon, thanks so much for visiting and commenting on my blog! I love fiction, and I'll have to check out some of your books!