I love reading your LDS Publisher blog, and have a question I hope you'll consider for the blog.
I'm LDS, and I've written a fluffy romantic comedy. My book has characters who are LDS, who behave in ways that are consistent with LDS values, but the book itself isn't an LDS book. It doesn't use language or terminology that would be confusing for non-LDS readers. I wanted it to appeal to both LDS and non-LDS markets.
My personal blog gets over 100,000 visitors per month, and I also run/own the [another blog] site, which currently gets about 30,000 visitors per month. In other words, I think I've got a good start on creating a platform. I'm getting ready to begin querying agents and publishers and I'm trying to decide whether or not to pursue LDS publishers.
What I want to know is - what do YOU think are the advantages to querying LDS publishers? From what I've read so far, it seems like the market is incredibly small, the royalties are pretty slim, and most LDS authors really struggle financially. Looking at it from a strictly financial perspective, I'm having a hard time figuring out why anyone would write for a strictly LDS market. Can you educate me on the benefits?
Thanks very much for your time, and for all of the insights you provide on the blog.
Oooh, I love questions like this—she butters me up both at the beginning and at the end of her question. I feel so important. :)
Now for the question itself. You've pretty much summed up the downside of the LDS publishing market. The benefits are that you're reaching an audience that "gets" and appreciates the little idiosyncracies of the LDS lifestyle. Also, you won't have a publisher pressuring you to add in language or behavior that is not in line with LDS standards. And some LDS authors just like publishing for the LDS market. They like being a big fish in a small pond. They feel they are contributing to the cause of building up a collection of good works that we, as Latter-day Saints, can be proud of. Those are reasons why you'd want to choose the LDS market.
However, there's also something to be said for creating good, clean fiction that portrays members of the LDS church in a positive manner within the national market. There is a market for that, albeit small. One roadblock you'll hit is that in the minds of many non-LDS readers, Latter-day Saints are still viewed as a cult or non-Christian sect—at their worst, people to fear, at best, a bunch of kooks. Therefore, it's more difficult to sell LDS characters to a national publisher.
More difficult, but not impossible.
If I were you, since your novel does not use LDS terminology or try to convert anyone, I'd submit to the national market first. See what the response is. If you don't get any bites, then start querying the LDS market.
Oh, and way to go, building a following that huge. You know at least some of them will buy you book, no matter where it's published.