News: Deseret News reports on Mormon fiction

As a fellow pr professional, I give Covenant’s marketing team major props for this article on the increasing quality and quantity of Mormon fiction that appears in today’s Deseret News. I don’t know if Covenant’s people pitched the story idea or not, but I’d say that Covenant beats out Deseret Book in the article in terms of creating mindshare and a favorable impression.

The relevant section:

“In recent years, LDS fiction has increased in both quantity and quality, said Robby Nichols, vice president of marketing for Covenant Communications. ‘Ten or 15 years ago, you saw very few LDS novels. It is now a strong segment of the market.’

“Consider, for example, that in 2003, just over half of all the new books Covenant published were works of fiction. Even more telling, perhaps, are the numbers of new authors being added to the shelves. ‘Interestingly, we introduced two new fiction writers in 2002, 10 new fiction writers in 2003, and we already have eight new fiction writers in the first four months of 2004,’ said Nichols. ‘The opportunity for a new fiction author to get published is greater now than ever before.’

“And not only are there more writers, he said, but ‘writers are getting better. The bar is much, much higher as to quality.’

“At Deseret Book, another major player in the fiction market, the story is much the same. ‘I was here in 1979 when Deseret Book published its first-ever fiction title,’ said editor Emily Watts, ‘It was considered a major breakthrough.’ That book was by Dean Hughes.

“A few months later, she said, Jack Weyland’s ‘Charly’ came along, ‘and that was so popular. It kicked a few doors open.’

“She’s not sure that the percentages of fiction books published by Deseret Book have changed all that much in recent years, ‘but we’re publishing so many more books, so we are publishing a lot more fiction.'” (Carma Wadley. “Novel ideas: LDS fiction gaining popularity among readers and publishers.” Deseret Morning News: June 25, 2004).

It’s subtle and may simply be the product of the writer’s quote selection, but the message I get from the story is that Covenant is a more happening, vibrant place when it comes to LDS fiction.

Now, I don’t know if that’s true or not. Since both Covenant and Deseret Book focus mainly on genre fiction, I haven’t really dug into any of their titles yet. I’m still working on the LDS literary fiction titles that I have decided are essential. Then I’ll get into some of the genre stuff.