Friday, August 25, 2017

GUEST POST FEATURING CAITLIN LAMBERT : The Neglected Niche




Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be here! Today I’ll be discussing what I like to think of as the “forgotten niche” of writing. I am a huge proponent of clean reads. It is something I am passionate about, and something that, as a writer/author, I demonstrate in my own manuscripts.

Many people, however, see clean reads as simply “Christian”. While Christianity is typically the main reason behind clean reads in the first place, books do not need to be overtly “religious” in order to be clean. This right here --- is the forgotten niche.

P.S. – If you don’t know what a niche is, don’t worry =) It is just a particular section or division of writing. Because clean reads are not their own genre, I will classify it as a niche.

Alright, so let’s imagine we walk in to a bookstore, where every section is labeled by genre. You’d have the “Christian” section, where you find books with strong and obvious religious themes.

Then you have YA, which has grown darker and more immoral as the years progress. Young adult literature is a place where anything goes… topics that were once hush are thrust into the light, and there is very little in the way of a filter. Pick up practically any bestselling YA novel, and you will find multiple instances of profanity and immorality.

There are several reasons for this---

1.      It sells. What people buy, authors will write. The books that will sell, publishers pick up. Which, in turn, means unpublished writers (and even published writers) continue to produce it. Publishing is a business.

2.      “It’s real”. If you are even a tiny part of the writing community, or if you have observed or interacted with people who are, you’ll notice trends in people’s discussions. One thing I have heard spoken about is how YA is so wonderful because it is gritty and difficult and real. It takes on relevant and challenging issues --- pertinent to our present-day and its youth. Young adults today really do use profanity. They engage in immorality. That’s real, and it’s the truth. But propagating it in literature? Doesn’t this just continue the cycle? YA isn’t just read by actual young adults. A younger and younger population is reading YA, and by being exposed to these types of characters, they think that all young adults act like this. It is the way they should grow up to act.

With the rise of a darker, grittier YA, filled with profanity, how should we respond? Of course, writing good clean Christian books are wonderful, and necessary for those who already follow that path.

But what about those people who walk into a bookstore and head straight passed the Christian section and right into the YA section. What will they find there? An unsaved person is not going to randomly pick up a Christian book and begin reading. We will never reach them there. We reach them in the niche.

This niche is the space between religious YA books and secular YA books. There is a void there --- a place where we can have a huge impact, but can also help those Christians or young readers who simply want to read a great story without worrying what they will find when they turn the page.

These books are not Christian. They do not have overt religious themes. They aren’t preachy. They are good stories, which can appeal to the “secular” publication industry, and to secular readers, but are completely free of any of the profanity typical of many YA books.

Science fiction and fantasy are especially difficult. I have read articles condemning these genres as evil, as lies and sin. But look at LOTR, or Narnia. These fantasy books were used for amazing purposes, and are still huge sellers today. They are iconic in the world of publishing. Fiction can be used for an amazing good, if we return it to good.

I often get discouraged as a reader when I go to the bookstore, or search for new books online. I’ll find one with an awesome premise, buy it, start to read, and be incredibly frustrated when the story is peppered with all kinds of immorality or profanity. Often, the story is amazing. The plot is intriguing, and the characters are well-written.

It really makes me wonder if there are any clean-reads advocates left out there. Being a part of the writing community, I know now that there is a wonderful population of writers who want to put more clean reads out there, especially in the genres of science fiction and fantasy (my faves!). Keep doing what your doing! Your writing is important.

I will of course be frank and real in saying that it is hard to make it into the publication industry. It is especially difficult if you write clean reads, because, like I mentioned earlier, it isn’t what sells. But let’s look at great books that are clean, and have become HUGE names in the publishing world. Hunger Games doesn’t have a single instance of profanity I can think of (if there is, I apologize, I just can’t recall any). What about Lord of the Rings, or Narnia?

Whoever says that great stories can’t be clean... that just isn’t true!

I understand the discourage of slogging through manuscript after manuscript, seeing nothing but rejections, and then watching other writers put more and more literature out there which isn’t clean. I understand that frustration… that feeling of wanting to give up.

But out work is important! There is a thirteen-year-old out there somewhere who feels the same way I did when I was that age (and still do today). He/she is staring at their bookshelf and wishing for a great book they didn’t have to worry about reading. Write for him. Write for her.

_




Caitlin Lambert is the mind behind Quills & Coffee, where she shares tips, tools, & encouragement for writers. She writes YA sci-fi/fantasy novels, and is currently querying her second book, WHAT LIES ABOVE, while drafting her third. When she’s not writing or working, you can find her reading, composing piano, and adding endless destinations to her travel bucket list. Or quite possibly eating dark chocolate.

Website: Quills & Coffee www.caitlinlambert.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorcaitlinlambert
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaitlinALambert
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh-K-APVt2T_cb4zmsOkrTw

26 comments:

  1. Thank you for guest posting, Caitlin! You did a wonderful job. <3

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  2. This was beautifully done and we really appreciate you guest posting ;) Your points are spot on!

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    1. Aw, thank you!! It was a pleasure... thank you for having me =)

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  3. Thank you, Caitlin, for being our first guest poster! Your post was wonderful!

    Catherine

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  4. This was amazing! I think along these same lines SO MUCH! Thank you for guest posting, and also for being such an encouragement to me :)

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    1. This made my day! Thank you Lila <3 Always remember you aren't alone =)

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  5. Amazing post Caitlin! Thanks so much for guest posting, and expressing the need for clean reads so well. Keep writing! I'm sure we'll see your book in a bookstore soon. <3

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    1. This almost brought me to tears! Thank you so much Melissa <3

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  6. Super amazing. Thank you for posting, Caitlyn. It's so true that we're always neglecting this niche.

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  7. Amazing post, Caitlin! You really spoke to me as this is what I've been feeling. I write books that aren't preachy because I don't like to read books that are overly preachy. This is great. Awesome job!

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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  8. This is beautiful, Caitlin! There is a "void" in between those two genres where we can step in with a new niche. Thank you for your post! <3

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    1. Thank you, Audrey!! You're exactly right! Nice to see you here *hugs*

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  9. This is very true - we're not going to reach non-Christians by writing in the 'Christian genre'. Lovely post, and I'll definitely keep it in mind! Thank you, Caitlin!

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    1. I'm so glad it resonated with you, Jem! Of course, Christian books are wonderful too, but they strengthen those who already believe. It is rare to reach an unbeliever with them. Thank you so much!!

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  10. I completely agree and this is the exact niche that I am going for with my writing. No offence to Christian fiction, but I don't enjoy it very much as it always seems to be hitting you over the head with the Bible. Instead, I write clean fiction in other genres that I hope to publish someday so that other teens can have good books to read.

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    1. That is amazing, Rachel! Keep it up! Your writing is important! =)

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  11. Thank you so much for doing a guest post Caitlyn! It really means a lot to us to have published authors supporting our cause!!!

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    1. Aw, thank you! I'm actually not published yet, but I'm working on it!! =) And absolutely... it is a cause I am passionate about, and 100% worth supporting!

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  12. This is terrific. You said it so well!

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