Discover a whole new world of Christian fiction authors
I have invited the creator of the newly revamped Christian Fiction Site, Soul Inspirationz, to share a bit of the site’s interesting history and exciting future. It is an awesome resource for readers and will soon become a go-to site to sort through the exploding indie market in Christian fiction. At the end of the post, we’ll also be sharing an exciting giveaway we’re hosting at her site.
Hi, my name is Ellie and I run Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site. I live in New Zealand, and thanks to the internet, have been able to express my love of Christian fiction over the years with readers all over the world by sharing what I find on the website.
It all started back in 1998, when I was an internet newbie, and I watched someone else make a “homepage” as they were known back then. I saw the HTML code and what it did, and thought, “I can do that!” So of course, I did. So, just like everyone else at the time, I started a homepage about me and the things I liked. But just like everyone else’s homepage, it was rather boring. I wanted to share more about what I loved – which was Christian fiction and music.
At the time, there were a few websites that shared information about CCM music, so it wasn’t very original to duplicate something that was already being done. It was easier to link to those sites from my homepage and focus on my other great passion… fiction. But, there were no publisher websites to look at. Not a single author website. No Facebook. No Goodreads. Not even MySpace was available then. Just Amazon.com. So, I started with the authors I loved most at that time – Janette Oke and Gilbert Morris. I created pages that listed their books. And it really didn’t take long to complete those lists (Gilbert Morris was still only halfway through writing his House of Winslow series back then).
At that time, if I wanted to hear more about the next book my other favourite authors were bringing out, I had to search long and hard for them – and realised it would be the same for everyone else as well. Working voluntarily in a Christian bookstore here, I had the advantage of having access to the publisher catalogues, so knew what to look for, but of course, the average reader did not have such information at their fingertips. And that’s when the idea to create a website listing monthly Christian fiction releases was born.
It started out small, simply called “Ellie’s World of Christian Fiction”, but by 2002, the monthly listings of new releases were getting a lot of attention from readers, authors, librarians, and even publishers, so the site was renamed “The Christian Fiction Site” and given a new look. Still, a primitive look compared to today’s standards, but back then, the only way to create a free website was the hard way – typing in the HTML code from scratch. In addition to listing the new releases, I had the opportunity to interview a few Christian novelists as well.
By 2007, I had a full-time job that took all my time and energy, so unfortunately had to stop updating the website as it was too time-consuming, and I couldn’t keep up with the monthly lists. At about that same time, though, other sites were established and were able to pick up where I left off. And although my efforts were gone from the website, my love for Christian fiction remained. (You can still see the old website in its archived state here.)
Just over a year ago I found myself with enough time on my hands to investigate re-establishing the website. With advances in website creation during the past five years, I found that if I chose the right option, it didn’t need to be as time-consuming as it once had been. So, after a bit of research, I settled on Weebly and started the new website on Christmas Day 2012. By mid-January the new site was launched, rebranded as Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site, and the first author’s interview with Julie Lessman was posted on the all-new blog.
While creating the Author Portfolios and hosting the author interviews
(now with giveaways) were fun, by August I noticed that unlike I had previously thought, there was still nowhere on the internet listing monthly fiction releases like I used to do them. So…
in September, the first of the monthly new releases posts was published, complete with book giveaways, and a new era was born. CBA Trade titles are listed at the beginning of each month, and Category Fiction is listed in the second half of the month (Love Inspired and Heartsong Presents). A new section focussing on novel releases has also since been added to the main site.
A community forum
was added in August, and has become a hub for readers to share what they love about the books they read, and ask other readers about authors and novels they are not familiar with.
So, what does the future hold?
With a shift in the way novels are published in recent times, there is a whole new frontier to be explored with the showcasing of
indie Christian novels.
Without the publishing houses to screen the novels for content and quality, readers rely on the honest reviews of others to determine whether a title is worth reading or not. And without the marketing prowess of the publishing houses, authors are struggling to get their novels “seen” by the audience they are intended for.
So this is where Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site can step in.
Over the coming months a new feature service will be available for readers to find quality indie Christian novels to read, and for indie Christian novelists to list and advertise their titles to readers.
If you are a reader
and would like to know more about this new feature, sign up here: Soul Inspirationz Readers Club
If you are an author
and would like to know more about this new service, sign up here: Soul Inspirationz Author Directory
Once there is something in place, you will be the first to know 😉
I hope you take the time to visit and browse through all that Soul Inspirationz has to offer. Dozens of Author Portfolios have been added, with hundreds more to come. Featured Authors have been spotlighted all year, with at least one scheduled every week. Sign up to receive the blog notifications by email, so you don’t miss out on any of these Featured Author Interviews or the monthly new release listings. You can also find Soul Inspirationz on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Have Your Say:
In the comments section below: Let me know what you love to see in a website dedicated to Christian fiction. What would you like to see more of? Is there anything you would like to see less of? What would make your browsing for your next read easier? Are book reviews helpful or do they influence your reading choices in a negative way? What about book trailers, do they work for you? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Giveaway for Sandra Orchard’s Deadly Devotion and Blind Trust
Soul Inspirationz is hosting a rafflecopter giveaway for a copy of Deadly Devotion for you or a friend of your choice, and an advanced copy of Blind Trust, once available, plus additional prizes contingent on the number of entrants. You get more chances by doing things like sharing the post, liking Sandra’s FB page etc., but there are 2 mandatory questions to answer to enter. You can view the copter here or at Soul Inspirationz. All entries are thrown into the same hat. (Giveaway void where prohibited.)
I love reading reviews of christian fiction. I do have to say that negative reviews have an impact on whether I will read a book or not. I love book giveaways and I occasionally watch book trailers.
Thanks for your response, Sheri! I hope you put Soul Inspirationz in your bookmarks and visit once a week as that’s how often the new featured author interviews are posted – usually with giveaways 🙂
Yeah, I have to admit to liking to peek at the reviews that rate a 3 or less. 😉
thanks for the nice possibility, sandra !
You’re welcome, Janka!
fingers crossed for the giveaway
Already a fan of Soul Inspirationz, but enjoyed reading the story of how it began.
Thanks for your support, Heather!
I usually don’t like to read the reviews until after I have read the book. If it sounds like a good book from the description, I read it and then compare what I though to what others thought.
Loved Deadly Devotion. I appreciate the great suspense and mystery that you put into the book. There’s not a lot of books out there that a man can enjoy.
Wow, Rick, thanks so much. I appreciate that.
Looks like a great resource site, Sandra! Thanks for sharing this information. I like to see features about new books: back cover copy, cover art, author info, behind the scenes etc.
I rarely read reviews until I’ve read the book, and in all honesty I only watch book trailers if I’m trying to support the author — so I can share the trailer knowing what’s in it. Trailers can be really well done, but I doubt they’ve ever influenced me to read a book I wasn’t already planning to read.
Thanks for your feedback, Janet – especially about what info you like to see about new books. Be sure to sign up for the Soul Inspirationz Readers Club at http://eepurl.com/GJoyX for future developments in this area 🙂
I do reviews but hope that others remember that just because I love it or don’t doesn’t mean they will also.
A great observation, Virginia, everyone comes to a story with a different journey so it will have an impact on how the story will affect them.
Really like the reviews and the trailers. Just a wonderful site and love it.
Thank you LeAnn 🙂 I love seeing your participation in the comments and giveaways etc.
Have not read any of the books but would really like to do so.
I definitely read reviews. I can’t always tell about a book just by the cover. I like the author interviews. I like getting an insight into the authors inspiration.
Thanks for your feedback, Jan – wonderful to hear you enjoy the interviews! I too love hosting them and am inspired and encouraged just as much as anyone else when I read them.
Deadly Devotion was a great read! I loved it! I haven’t read Blind Trust, but I have a feeling it’s another good one!
I think writers are always anxious about how their book will be received. We spend too many hours looking at the “before pictures” to know if the “after” is an improvement. 🙂 But…my crit partner said she liked it even better, so here’s hoping others agree!
Something that I would like to see is an events page on the authors – which would give info on book signings, or any other events open to readers, in which the readers would have an opportunity to meet their favorite authors.
I do read reviews, but if the book is by an author, that I have read & enjoy, if it is a subject that I want to read about, or if the cover &/or storyline is enticing – I will probably but the book, regardless of the reviews.
I enjoyed this post & learning more about the history, & future, of Christian Fiction Site. Thanks for the opportunity to win some of your books, Sandra!
You’re most welcome, Bonnie. 🙂
Thanks for the feedback, Bonnie – there is an events page but it’s rather empty of events at the moment – as authors tell me about book signings etc they get added in, along with book release dates and other major events like award ceremonies. At the moment there are only book releases listed. But very good to know that book signing info is looked for, it makes it worthwhile adding in 🙂
Fascinating to know how it all started and what the future plans are!
I’m a keen reviewer of Christian fiction—trade published and Indie (www.christianreads.blogspot.com). I used to do a new releases page, but found it was a lot of work … and I’d rather be reading. So now I just review although I’m planning to branch out into author interviews and guest reviews in the New Year.
That sounds great, Iola
Yay, Iola – glad to hear someone else saying how much work the new release listings can be LOL. So I’ll do those and you can keep up the awesome job of reviewing you are doing – readers need both! 😉
Oh merciful heavens — this is fantastic!!!! I spend way too long searching individual publisher websites looking for new releases before I go shopping. I’m surprise at how many of those websites make it really hard to access that information. It’s soooo frustrating and can take hours just to figure out what’s new.
Something I’d like to see is a separate section announcing debut author releases. I’d like to support them but sometimes it’s hard to see past all my fave authors’ releases and I forget about debut novels.
What a fabulous idea, Kav!
Thank you Kav! When it existed many years ago your response was a common one LOL So I am glad it’s still having that impact today, even though there are many other sites out there now compared to a decade ago.
Debut authors have been featured in interviews on the blog, but a separate section would be a good idea – I’ll work on it!
Great idea, Ellie! Thanks for getting the word out about great Christian fiction!
You’re welcome, Cathy – thank you for your encouragement!
Hope to read more of Sandra Orchard’s books.
I will be honest, when I look at a blog, I love to see recipes. Usually that will draw me quicker than anything. I like reading about authors’ writing styles and where they came up with the idea of which ever storyline they are working on.
As for reviews, yes I read them, but only after I’ve written mine. I check out the ones that have rated a book higher than mine to see if maybe I might have missed something. If I think that I did, then I delete my review and read the book again and write another review. I occasionally look at those lower than mine, but have done it.
Love Sandra’s books. Thank you for the opportunity to win.
Delighted to hear you enjoy my books, Katrina. 🙂 Did you know that I even have a recipe for each book? They are under the bonus features. 🙂
Book reviews are definitely a big help to me!
I really do not read reviews, because I like to make a decision for myself as to what a book is like.
I loved reading your review, of Deadly Devotion. Cassandra! Made my day. 🙂
I like interviews with authors as they let you get to know an author better. I am not a big review readers. I will see if you like the book but don’t need to see the review as I like to make up my own mind. Not sure what I would like more or less off. I like the idea of learning about authors and books. I don’t have to win a book or even have a giveaway to read an interview.
Hi Jenny! Glad to hear you like reading the author interviews without needing the added incentive to do so 😉
Looks like a wonderful resource site, Ellie. Since I am an Aussie author of six published novels, I will have to investigate it further as soon as time permits.
Sounds wonderful, Jo-anne! I can’t wait until I have the Australasian contingent represented – so far Ian Acheson is on there, but others are yet to come 🙂
I do read reviews and love the book trailers.Giveaways are great,this way I can read books that my library doesn’t have.I also love the chat parties authors are having on facebook.It gives me a chance to get to know the authors.
Those chat parties are great, aren’t they? Very fast paced, but that’s great to see. Usually those are run by the publicists for the authors or their publishers, but I will see about adding notifications about the chat party events I know of onto the website events calendar. Sounds like a plan 🙂
I love the book trailers and the reviews. It is such a blessing to have Christian sites to go to. Also love learning of new authors and books and catching up with familiar ones
Thanks for your encouragement, Jackie – responses like yours make it a blessing to be a blessing 🙂
Oooh, these look awesome! And such a great site!
(From Sarah, with Joy)
Great! Your book sounds wonderful
It was hard to find where to put a comment though.
God bless you
Sorry about that Chris! Yeah, I found that on the author interview myself and here with the rafflecopter, it’s a long way to scroll down. Thanks for persevering!
I’ve read Fatal Disclosure,I have Shattered Identity, read Dangerous Reunion,read Yuletide Defender, read Mountain Peril, read Final Warning, and I’ve read Critical Condition.
Sorry I have read Critical Condition and Deep Cover. The others are Sandra Robbins. I mixed them up, very tired.
No problem, Jenny…she’s a friend and we love that we share a name! I think I’ll need to exchange a Shades of Truth prize if you win so you can have the full Undercover Cops set!
I enjoy the reviews, although I must say I don’t always have enough time to read all of them. I agree, that if I see to many reviews with 3 or fewer stars, I read a few to see if I really want to read the book.
Like anyone, I really enjoy giveaways, since that has introduced me to many new authors that I would not have read otherwise.
Book Reviews can help the author out greatly plus to a reader also. I have not read any of your books yet but looking forward to doing so.
I love book reviews and meeting new authors. Thank you for the giveaway 🙂
You’re welcome, Lori!
I love reading book reviews. I enjoy knowing what others think and what is out there. 🙂
I like reading the book reviews and “meeting” the authors.
I love reading reviews of books… Not sure I’ve ever purchased one without reading them. I like to see new authors also