3 African American Authors Make NYTimes Best Seller's List

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Three African American Authors sit on the New York Times Bestseller's List this week. Although my writing cronies applaud this feat, I question its deeper meaning. As I read which books made the list I see a peculiar similiarity, two of the books premise concerns black ministers with dirty secrets.

Now I know scandal sells, but I wonder does christianity do as well? The African American Christian Fiction Market struggles to have equal footing in its genre. Yesterday I went to one of my local Lifeway Bookstores to observe book placement in the store and I only saw one Christian fiction book written by an African American Author on all the shelves. This month I meet with the manager of the store to ask him about this oversight, to speak with him about the demographics of his store, and give him a list of AA written christian novels that will be released this year.

Yet, as I peruse this New York Times Best Seller's list, I know what he is going to say. "We don't place many books written by African American authors because they don't meet CBA(Christian Booksellers Association) guidelines."

And although both and he and I understand that Carl Weber and Kimberly Roby are not christian fiction authors, we will debate over a particular publisher of African AMerican christian fiction books that publish books just as racy as those. And I honestly don't know how to defend that.

Because what this list tells me concurs with the publisher in quesion's notion that black people don't care as much about faith, but about what go's on at church. Yet, how can christian fiction authors who refuse to sex up/dumb down their books find a place in this market?

Your thoughts...please post here or at my christian fiction blog at http://christianfiction.blogspot.com.


Hardcover Fiction

Published: February 20, 2005


On List
1 THE BROKER, by John Grisham. (Doubleday, $27.95.) The C.I.A. arranges a presidential pardon for a power broker who may know crucial secrets, laying a trap for the foreign intelligence service that wants him dead. 1 4
2 THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown. (Doubleday, $24.95.) The murder of a curator at the Louvre leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo and to the discovery of a centuries-old secret society. 2 99
3 SURVIVOR IN DEATH, by J. D. Robb. (Putnam, $23.95.) In 2059, Lt. Eve Dallas has an eyewitness to the brutal murder of a family: the sole survivor, a 9-year-old girl; by Nora Roberts, writing pseudonymously. 1
4 THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HEAVEN, by Mitch Albom. (Hyperion, $19.95.) An old man who died while trying to rescue a little girl from danger discovers that all will be explained to him in the afterlife. 3 72
5 STATE OF FEAR, by Michael Crichton. (HarperCollins, $27.95.) Reverse eco-terrorists create natural disasters to convince the public that global warming is real. 5 9
6 CONVICTION, by Richard North Patterson. (Random House, $25.95.) A lawyer comes to believe that her client — who is on death row for the sexual assault and murder of a young girl — may be innocent. 4 2
7 BY ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT, by W. E. B. Griffin. (Putnam, $26.95.) An Army officer tries to thwart a terrorist plot to crash a stolen 727 into the Liberty Bell. 6 6
8 CHAINFIRE, by Terry Goodkind. (Tor/Tom Doherty, $29.95.) The 10th volume of the "Sword of Truth" fantasy series. 7 5
9 LABYRINTH OF EVIL, by James Luceno. (Lucas/Del Rey/Ballantine, $25.95.) A new "Star Wars" novel, featuring Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. 9 2
10 I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS, by Tom Wolfe. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28.95.) A very smart, very innocent freshman from the Blue Ridge Mountains is amazed by what she finds at a prestigious university. First Chapter 15 13
11 PREP, by Curtis Sittenfeld. (Random House, $21.95.) A scholarship student from South Bend, Ind., encounters a world of privilege when she attends an expensive boarding school in Massachusetts. First Chapter 1
12 *A SALTY PIECE OF LAND, by Jimmy Buffett. (Little, Brown, $27.95.) A cowboy's life is changed forever when he meets a 101-year-old woman who hires him to be a lighthouse keeper in the southern Bahamas. First Chapter 14 10
13 NIGHT FALL, by Nelson DeMille. (Warner, $26.95.) A husband and wife who work for an antiterrorism task force reopen the investigation into the crash of T.W.A. Flight 800 over the Atlantic, off Long Island, in 1996. 11 11
14 ALONE, by Lisa Gardner. (Bantam, $24.) A sniper with the Massachusetts State Police faces a wrongful-death lawsuit — and a killer who's on the loose. 12 3
15 THE LAST KINGDOM, by Bernard Cornwell. (HarperCollins, $25.95.) In ninth-century England, a warrior must decide where his loyalties lie: with the viking chieftain who raised him or with Alfred the Great. 8 2
16 *THE BEST-KEPT SECRET, by Kimberla Lawson Roby. (Morrow, $23.95.) The further romantic adventures of the Rev. Curtis Black, who, after two failed marriages, tries hard to be faithful to his latest wife. 1

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Also Selling
17 AFTERBURN, by Zane. (Atria, $24.95.)
18 LONDON BRIDGES, by James Patterson. (Little, Brown, $27.95.)
19 THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA, by Philip Roth. (Houghton Mifflin, $26.) First Chapter
20 UNEXPECTED BLESSINGS, by Barbara Taylor Bradford. (St. Martin's, $24.95.)
21 THE CAT WHO WENT BANANAS, by Lilian Jackson Braun. (Putnam, $23.95.)
22 CAT'S EYEWITNESS, by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown. (Bantam, $25.)
23 THE SAME SWEET GIRLS, by Cassandra King. (Hyperion, $23.95.)
24 DRAGONSBLOOD, by Todd McCaffrey. (Del Rey, $24.95.)
25 GILEAD, by Marilynne Robinson. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $23.) Excerpt
26 ANGELS & DEMONS, by Dan Brown. (Atria, $17.95.)
27 THE TEA HOUSE ON MULBERRY STREET, by Sharon Owens. (Putnam, $15.)
28 THE REAL MOTHER, by Judith Michael. (Morrow, $24.95.)
29 KAFKA ON THE SHORE, by Haruki Murakami. (Knopf, $25.95.)
30 ENTOMBED, by Linda Fairstein. (Scribner, $26.)
31 COME SPRING, by Tim LaHaye and Gregory S. Dinallo. (Kensington, $14.95.)
32 THE PREACHER'S SON, by Carl Weber. (Dafina, $24.)
33 A THREAD OF GRACE, by Mary Doria Russell. (Random House, $25.95.)
34 WHITEOUT, by Ken Follett. (Dutton, $26.95.)
35 LIFE EXPECTANCY, by Dean Koontz. (Bantam, $27.)

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