Tag Archives: lost genre

Let’s Take a Look at the Lost Genre Guild Web Site, Part 3 (final)

This is the last day of the CSFF blog tour of the Lost Genre Guild Web site.

I decided to evaluate the site based on its main objective:  to increase interest and awareness on the part of potential buyers of this type of fiction. Let’s see how easily someone interested in this type of fiction might find this site.

The first thing I am looking at is its Google Page Rank.  This is 3 out of 10. This is fairly good but could be better. I would like to see a 4, which is attainable for a site like this. (My own MotherboardBooks.com has a 4.)  A higher Google Page Rank will bring the site higher in the free Google search listings for any particular relevant keyword.  (I can find the Page Rank of any site using my Google Toolbar, which I installed to my browser.)  The way to bring up the Google PageRank is to get more incoming links to the site, especially links that highlight keywords that people search on, such as “Christian book reviews.”

Next I am looking at the description in the HTML code for the site. This description is what someone searching on Google will see first.  Here it is:
“Home page of the Lost Genre Guild. a web community of writers, artists and readers of Biblical
speculative fiction, founded by Frank Creed.”

This isn’t really addressed to the seeker on the Internet, who has no idea what Biblical
speculative fiction is or who Frank Creed is. Let’s imagine this is one of my teenage sons looking
for fantasy works with a Biblical worldview. He is very likely to move on. Here’s a better
one to consider:

“Looking hard for fantasy or science fiction with a Biblical worldview? Tolkien and CS Lewis fans need
look no farther. There ARE books being written in this vein and you CAN find information about them here.”

A set of words that many people use to search for this type of info is “Christian book reviews.”
It would be good to work that into the title of the page, to help the Google rankings. You can
find more using the Google Keyword Tool; just Google to find it.

So, how about the blog posts? Do they further the Web site’s goal?

Here’s an admission that the earlier ones didn’t, at
http://blog.lostgenreguild.com/2008/11/and-were-back.html In this post,
Grace Bridges said the blog posters had ceased posting for a time, but that it
had just been decided to start up again with a new goal.
“Where beforehand this blog contained essays by writers and for writers,
henceforth it shall bear tidings of the world of the Lost Genre…for readers.

“Lord willing, this will be a place for fans of Christian speculative fiction to find
what they’re looking for, and even what they weren’t looking for but will definitely enjoy,”
she wrote.

I am glad for the redefinition of direction for the blog, and hope it will be very useful
to readers looking for this type of work.

Check out other posts on the CSFF blog tour:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Courtney
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Lost Genre Guild
Mike Lynch
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Mirtika
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

Let’s Take a Look at the Lost Genre Guild Web Site, Part 2

The Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour for December is examining the Lost Genre Guild Web site.  I’m taking part. Today is the second installment of examining this Web site.

This Web site was started by a group of writers in the Christian-worldview fantasy-science fiction genre, which they renamed the Biblical speculative fiction genre, for clarification.  They put out an anthology of works in 2007.  They also are reviewing books in the genre submitted to them, and publishing the reviews for the books that receive three to five stars from the reviewer.  Today let’s look at the book reviews on the Lost Genre Guild Web site.

There are ten reviews posted, each linked to a picture of the book cover.  Each review consists of a two-paragraph plot summary and then three or so paragraphs of review by the reviewer. I like this format; it’s concise and easy to follow.  The books reviewed are for teens and for adults.

Why are there only 10 books reviewed? That seems like a low number to me, for a site that has been around since 2006. The site accepts submissions of books in the genre from authors.  Perhaps authors don’t know about the site, or there aren’t enough reviewers.  I would love to see more books reviewed here. I know there are plenty more out there! I would also love to see the book cover links contain more information for the reader before clicking over to the review, such as target age-range (young adult, adult) and sub-genre (horror, science-fiction, high fantasy, etc.) .  The links could be organized by these categories too. That would make it easier for a reader to pick and choose. Also, I would like to see a site navigation system at the top of each page that easily allows me to go from the book review page to the blog.

Check out the other blogs on the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Courtney
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Lost Genre Guild
Mike Lynch
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Mirtika
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

Let’s Take a Look at the Lost Genre Guild Web Site, Part 1

The Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour for December is examining the Lost Genre Guild Web site.  I’m taking part. So I took a look at the Web site blog, starting at the beginning, in 2006.

One of the earliest posts is by Frank Creed, who is the individual keeping the Web site going. In a 2006 blog post, he coined a new phrase:  Biblical speculative fiction.  This term is more precise than “Christian fantasy/science fiction.”  The new term can be used to distinguish the product, Christian-worldview science fiction or fantasy, from the producer, who may be a Christian writing secular fiction, for example Stephen King.  Here’s Creed’s definition:

“Biblical speculative fiction [Bib-spec-fic], noun: stories with settings or races that are significantly unlike our own, told through a Scriptural world-view and framework. “(From a post on 10-11-2006)

I think having a new term for Christian fantasy is a good idea.  For example, the title of my own blog which you are reading is the Christian Fantasy Review. But I actually am reviewing secular books as well as Christian worldview books, all from a Christian perspective.

The purpose of the Lost Genre Guild blog is to promote Biblical speculative fiction, or Christian-worldview fantasy and science fiction, using a number of voices and viewpoints.  Promoting Biblical speculative fiction is also the purpose of the blog you are reading, and of the many participants in this blog tour whose blogs are listed at the bottom of this post.

You may ask, Why does this genre need boosting?  How come it is “lost”?

If you just go into a library or a secular bookstore, you won’t see much of this Christian worldview fantasy and science fiction.  If you’re like me and my kids, you would conclude that no one is writing it.  How strange, we think, because of the towering examples of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, both recently re-envisioned for the big screen.

In fact, there are people writing it.  That much is clear from what I have learned writing the Christian Fantasy Review, and from what I can see reading the early posts of the Lost Genre Web site.  Clearly there are plenty of people out there who love to use this set of tools to be creative and to convey some of God’s great truths.

But there are plenty of potential readers out there who are wary.  Are science fiction and fantasy writers promoting evil?

A Lost Genre blog post on 10-12-2006 posted by Steve Rice provides some guidelines to help wary readers identify works from the dark side.  Rice suggests avoiding a work if it contains 1)detailed instructions on how to do witchcraft, or 2) preaches a false gospel, or if it glamorizes witchcraft or psychic powers. “Tolkien and Lewis didn’t; witches in “Narnia” are a loathesome lot,” he adds.  If these two warning signs are missing, any magic is just a plot device, he suggests.

I think that’s very good advice for potential readers.  The successors to Tolkien and Lewis are out there.  Let’s find them!  And enjoy the seeking!  — Phyllis Wheeler

Check out the other blogs on the Christian Science Fiction/Fantasy Blog Tour:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Kathy Brasby
Grace Bridges
Valerie Comer
Courtney
Frank Creed
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Andrea Graham
Todd Michael Greene
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Joleen Howell
Jason Isbell
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Kait
Carol Keen
Lost Genre Guild
Mike Lynch
Magma
Margaret
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Steve Rice
Crista Richey
Mirtika
Hanna Sandvig
James Somers
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Phyllis Wheeler
Timothy Wise

Convincing librarians to buy Christian fantasy fiction

How can we help our librarians choose more Christian fantasy fiction?

The children’s librarian in my library, Webster Groves Public Library, says she will buy a book I suggest:
* if it is published by a mainstream publisher
* if she can find a favorable nonbiased review in a publication she trusts such as Publishers’ Weekly, Library Journal, or similar publications,
* if there is money in the budget,
* if she perceives demand.
She will watch the track record of my suggestions to see whether to take me up on more of them. I suspect her policies are fairly typical.

(In fact, she is in the process of making a couple of purchases I suggested that meet her guidelines! I am very happy about that.)

The stumbling blocks for the Christian fantasy genre are the requirements that the purchased book be published by a mainstream publisher and reviewed in a journal like Publishers’ Weekly.

As I have mentioned before, mainstream publishers have been leery of this genre and haven’t picked up much of it. It doesn’t sell well at Wal-Mart and in Christian bookstores, where other more female-oriented Christian genres can be found. As a result, plenty of interesting works are out there that aren’t published by the mainstream publishing houses. They are being effectively sold over the Internet and through word of mouth, though. The genre has even got a moniker now: the “Lost Genre.” (See http://arjaybb.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=886 for more info on the “Lost Genre.”)

Many of the works being sold on the Internet are self-published. Publishers’ Weekly doesn’t review self-published works, and in fact reviews only a fraction of the books sent to it for review. So it’s pretty likely that at least some of the books I would like to suggest for my library would not be mainstream published and/or would not be reviewed in Publishers’ Weekly etc.

That doesn’t mean you can’t suggest these for your library though, dear reader. Your library may actually be more flexible than this. For example, I have a friend who buys books (for adults) for another municipal library in the St. Louis area, Dawn Y. At her library, Christian works are quite popular. In fact, I am wondering whether the popularity of Christian works at her library might have something to do with the increasing popularity of homeschooling. When I homeschooled, we spent a LOT of time at the library. Many homeschoolers are Christians.

Dawn answered my questions:

How do you choose which books to buy? I take into consideration the majority of our reader population, their likes and dislikes, the appropriateness of the material. I also look at reviews in 4 different main stream publications. I also am open to authors sending their own solicitations. I also check Fantastic Fiction.com, and Amazon and Barnes and Noble for upcoming works.

Do you ever choose a book that is self-published? Yes, if the author sends a good summary, etc. I have been approached a few times and have purchased them if I feel they have a market with our readers.

Do you ever choose a book that is available only on the Internet (Amazon etc.) but not in bookstores? I am somewhat restricted in that area, because we get our books through a book jobber and have a discount policy. We seldom get books from outside that system.

Roughly how many times must a book be requested by patrons before you decide to buy it?
There are a few variables with that—how many other libraries may have it, if I feel there will be enough call to warrant the cost.

I am particularly curious about the genre of Christian fantasy fiction. Are you aware of this genre at all? I have seen a few authors who might fall in this category. We have a couple of them and the genre is increasing in popularity. It seems anything Christian goes at our library.