Let me start off by saying that I am not against traditional publishing, and I am not here to pit trad publishing against indie publishing.
This post mainly has to do with the books that come out of both, and it’s mostly in regards to how they portray romance. (I may eventually do a few posts on other things that have caused me to drift away from trad fiction and more towards indie)
There are two major distinctions I’ve seen between novels that come out of the traditionally published group and the novels that come out of the indie published group, and I believe both are tied to each other.
In most, if not all, traditionally published Christian fiction I’ve read, the romances tend to lean a little too close to the other ‘L’ word.
In contrast, all the indie fiction I’ve read has portrayed romance in a tamer way. Physical attraction isn’t emphasized as much as it is in trad Christian fiction. There’s no staring at each other’s lips when they first meet (Literally the most annoying thing).
I have a theory about this (Which I touched on in this post here): Most, if not all, trad authors I’ve read tend to be married, so they’ve experienced the intimacy that comes with that.
Because of that, I believe their experience bleeds through their writing, possibly subconsciously. Which leads to the romances being portrayed too close to the line and being more focused on physical looks instead of one’s personality and character.
(Note I have not found this in all trad fiction I’ve read; there’s at least one or two trad authors I will still read. A certain other three, not so much, which kind of sucks because the plots were what drew me in the first place)
By contrast, all the indie authors I’ve read so far are unmarried. So they haven’t experienced that intimacy, and so the romances in indie fiction tend to be tamer and not so close to the line.
(This isn’t to say there isn’t indie fiction that toes the line, because I’m sure there is. I’m just saying that I usually find tamer romances in indie fiction and not-so-tame romances in trad Christian fiction)
So, when it comes to romance, there’s one side that tends to play it safer while the other side tends to…not.
Romance is a serious business. It’s not all fireworks and butterflies (though those probably do happen still, right?); it involves a lot of things that many couples aren’t willing to do today. Sacrifice, commitment, faithfulness, etc.
Christian writers, we should be holding the romance novels we read to a higher standard, because we usually don’t. And if we’re going to write romance, we need to portray it how it is.
Tell me your thoughts below! What do you think of romance novels in both camps?