Please pardon the interruption, folks, but we've got a minor change in the lineup. I will feature Marilynn Griffith's survey comments next week. Today we have an interview with Dave Long.
Dave Long is a fiction acquisitions editor at Bethany House Publishers and a 2002 Christy Award winner for Ezekiel's Shadow.
Here's my interview with him:
LH: It's been said that books with people of color on their covers limit their audience or reach. What is your opinion on that?
DL: I'd love to be able to say that there's no impact, but I think that's naive. I think if you look at the demographic of the core of the CBA readership, it's a largely white readership. And that makes an impact as you look at targeting audience. I don't want to go so far as to say it automatically limits the audience though. But I think the overall design of the book and packaging of the book becomes important. A book like Abraham's Well, which BHP published, is aimed widely at that general readership and we feel has a cover that will appeal widely.
LH: Do publishing houses use African American (AA) marketing firms to help them market the book? If not, are there any efforts underway to consult with AA marketing professionals?
DL: This isn't an area in which I'm terribly knowledgeable. I'm sure some do as a number of houses have imprints targeted at the AA market. I wasn't part of the Sharon Foster books in-house, so I don't know what went on here specifically. But when you're talking marketing firms, etc, you're talking about pretty significant campaigns aimed at the heart of your audience... And so the question for any publisher would be: Do we think this book is best aimed at the widest possible audience or best targeted at a niche? BHP to this point has not decided to pursue publishing AA Christian fiction. Though we're be happy and honored to publish fiction by AA Christians. Any and all races, in fact. Or nationalities. Or age demographic. It's the work that counts.
LH: To the best of your knowledge, are there any African Americans working in marketing for Christian publishing houses?
DL: We don't at BHP. I don't know the make-up of other marketing departments to speak more broadly. You could likely ask a pretty provocative question about the make-up of the entire staffs of most CBA publishers. And, frankly, the congregations of many, many many churches. It's an issue that seems beyond us as a Church right now.
That's all for now. Have a great weekend.