Zondervan Wants YA Readers To Blink


Monday
Apr 8, 2013

zondervanimprint_blinkFantasy and sci-fi novelist Jill Williamson is one of several authors behind Zondervan’s new YA imprint. From Publishers Weekly:

Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, is launching Blink, a new YA imprint, with titles debuting this fall. Chriscynethia Floyd, v-p of marketing for Zondervan, said the imprint is designed for the general trade, not the Christian market: “These would be no different from other YA titles published by HarperCollins. They are for anyone, regardless of faith.” She added, “These will be hopeful books. We won’t go as dark [as some other YA novels], but we will touch on very real issues” while striving for a “positive balance and approach” and “[representing] morals and ethical standards.” Five to six titles per year are planned.

doctorwho_thetimeofangels_angelonvideoThis of course leads to the question: Did publisher planners know the new nerd-classification for the phrase don’t blink, or even the simple imperative or word blink? Or perhaps they did know, and didn’t mind launching off the recognition?

Yet what other and potentially more serious questions do you have about this new crossover imprint?

E. Stephen Burnett

E. Stephen Burnett explores biblical truth and fantastical stories at Christianity Today, Christ and Pop Culture, and Speculative Faith. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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14 comments on "Zondervan Wants YA Readers To Blink"

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Lex Keating
Guest

Was it Zondervan who did this before? A YA imprint for edgy fiction? It wasn’t “faith lite,” but it did cover tough issues and had more open-ended resolutions. Th1nk, maybe?

Galadriel
Guest

I signed up for Zonderhaven’s “sounding-board thing”–maybe I even voted on this. It’s amusing, anyway.

Adam Collings
Member

There is nothing more terrifying than a weeping angel.
Hoping that blink will be able to offer some positive alternatives to some of the dark stuff that’s out there these days.

Robert Treskillard
Member

In one way, this move by Zondervan came as a complete surprise, but in another way, I guess I had hints along the way.  In my original proposal to them for Merlin’s Blade I even spoke about the excellent appeal that the King Arthur legends have in the general market … I just didn’t expect them to make a move this big!

All I can say is that it’ll be *very* interesting what the next year brings, and I’m excited for the opportunity to be part of this, as I’m sure every other BLINK author is.
 

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

Well, that answered my question, Robert. Merlin’s Blade is under this imprint. Very, very cool!

Becky

D. M. Dutcher
Member

Eh, depends what they actually publish. Not sure why a Christian publisher can’t launch an actual Christian line as opposed to a “hopeful and positive” one. 

bad_cook
Guest

Limited market. Publishing is a business, after all. I can only hope that it means more story and less maudlin, boring preaching, though “hopeful and positive” implies that they’re going to shoehorn in a moral whenever possible. I don’t have anything against morals, really, but I’m getting really tired of the hamfisted treatment. “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” does a much better job than most Christian kids’ media I’ve seen.

Kristen Stieffel
Guest

Right. I think this is part of the response to what a lot of people have pointed out — that Christian fiction lately has been less about putting Christian ideals in the general market than about Christians talking to one another about Christianity. On the one hand, I appreciate reading books that strengthen my faith and reinforce my worldview. On the other hand, a Christian house with a not-obviously-Christian imprint has more potential to reach the unchurched than one that’s only shelved, as Jill noted, in the religion section.
But it is too bad they didn’t have a Whovian on staff to tell them “Don’t Blink.”

Rebecca LuElla Miller
Admin

“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” does a much better job than most Christian kids’ media I’ve seen.

Bad Cook, I’m not sure what Christian kids’ media you’re talking about. I’ve read some very good YA books in the last five years, and there are some videos that are really well done. When I hear this kind of comment, I can’t help but wonder what you’ve been reading/watching that makes you give this kind of negative blanket statement.

Becky

bad_cook
Guest

(I’ll admit that I haven’t read any strictly kids’ stuff anytime recently, so all this is about YA, and it’s unfair to lump kids and teenagers into one box, though a lot of people do that.) I used to be a pretty big fan of Ted Dekker until he began writing the same story with the same characters yet again. His originality was his biggest asset, because lordy were his metaphors and messages obvious, but how it’s starting to look like he’s a one-trick pony (and I still have feelings for you, Ted [of the platonic, fannish sort]; you just need to get off your backside and do some actual work). The latest of-the-genre book I’ve read is Shannon Dittemore’s “Angel Eyes,” which was less stereotypical of the Christian genre but still had its problems, some of which stemmed purely from being a teenage romance flick, so I really can’t blame it all on the Christian genre. But it’s sad that if they’re not doing cliches native to the genre, they’re importing them.
And I’m going to post another essay of a comment to Burnett’s comment detailing my dissatisfaction with Veggie Tales and Sherwood Films.

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

Perhaps this is another indication that a “Brony” is in our midst. 🙂

Comparing children’s animated shows to YA novels seems like the proverbial apples and oranges. A more apt comparison might be classic VeggieTales videos, with their originality, creativity, and humor (moralism notwithstanding; even Phil Vischer now agrees with that). I’d put those against any other secular kiddie show.

bad_cook
Guest

Ehhh, maybe. Veggie Tales has gotten better over the years, but they still think they can’t be subtle in their themes and messages. My problem is usually in the dialog, and they’re pretty hit-and-miss. Some lines are good, some are ehhh, okay, and some are bland or painfully cheesy or fake-sounding. That’s a problem even in not-strictly-kid stuff. Sherwood Films, those peeps who did “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” just can’t do scripts. Granted, I’ve only seen the trailer for “Courageous,” but if those are the good lines, I’d rather watch a dumb action flick, where at least there are explosions to distract me from the bad writing. I don’t think even professional actors could save those scripts. It all feels contrived, which has unfortunate implications about Christianity’s real-world viability.

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