Guest Blogger: Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press

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If you are into speculative fiction, today’s post is for you. I’m pleased to introduce my friend Jeff Gerke, here to tell us about his new publishing company, Marcher Lord Press.

What is Marcher Lord Press?

Marcher Lord Press is the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction.
Whether it’s fantasy you love, or science fiction, time travel, chillers, supernatural thrillers, alternate history, spiritual warfare, superhero, vampire, or technothriller—if it’s speculative and it comes from the Christian worldview, Marcher Lord Press is your publisher.

Marcher Lord Press is a small, independent press that bypasses the traditional Christian publishing industry to get Christian speculative fiction directly into the hands of the fans who devour it.

The Marcher Lord Press Story

Marcher Lord Press grew out of a frustration and a dream.

The frustration arose in Marcher Lord Press founder Jeff Gerke’s mind during the years when he was editing fiction at traditional Christian publishing companies.

Jeff loved the “weird” kind of fiction—fantasy, science fiction, time travel, supernatural thrillers, and the like. He’d even written some near-future technothrillers (under the pen name Jefferson Scott ). But the companies he worked for—indeed, the entire Christian publishing industry—was not interested in weird.

These companies reached a particular demographic with its fiction—white, conservative, Evangelical American women of child-raising to empty nest years—and this demographic is typically not into weird. They tend to like prairie romances, female-oriented mysteries, and women’s fiction.

And yet Jeff knew there were many other kinds of exquisite Christian fiction than what could fit into that box. He personally knew many of the novelists writing that alternative kind of fiction, having met them through the years at writer’s conferences or the acquisitions process.

Yet there appeared to be little opportunity for these brilliant writers and their stories to have their chance to shine. Publishers who would take the occasional chance on a speculative fiction title would end up selling very few of them, thus reinforcing the conviction that no one in the industry wanted this kind of book.

This frustrating state of affairs caused Jeff to begin dreaming of ways to bypass the entire Christian publishing and bookstore industry. If that way was a dead end, surely there must be another way around. Because he was confident that there were thousands of readers out there who would enjoy Christian speculative fiction if only it was there and they could find out about it.

The frustration led to the dream, and the dream finally began to coalesce into an idea for an entirely new model of publishing. And thus the plans for Marcher Lord Press were born.

To learn what makes the Marcher Lord Press publishing model different from traditional Christian publishing, click here .
To learn what a marcher lord was, click here .
To read more about Jeff, click here .

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Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Susan on August 21, 2008 at 6:21 PM

    >I’ve been wanting a Christian spec-fic publisher for some time: now I know where to get my books once the kids are back in school and I’ve got time to read again!

    Thanks for the interview, Jeff and Rachelle; I loved it.

    (And Jeff, if I can get these last edits finished, you may be hearing from me VERY soon…LOL)

  2. Hope Chastain on August 20, 2008 at 11:58 PM

    >I read the sample chapters of Summa Elvetica with fascination! If this is a sample of the quality of books you’re going to publish, I foresee an excellent future for Marcher Lord Press. May the Lord bless you for standing in the breach!

    Are you on Shoutlife yet? That will give you another outlet and you’ll find a few Christian spec fic authors like Sue Dent there!

  3. Merrie Destefano on August 20, 2008 at 9:55 PM

    Were you just writing about your publishing adventures in third person? Pretending to be both you and not-you at the same time?

    As one of those speculative writers and readers that you just discussed, I’m excited about Marcher Lord Press and the first three books that will be coming out soon.

    I still believe the doors are going to open. The hinges may squeak in protest at first, but before long we’re going to need more doors.

    And I agree that the model of publishing is changing. All print media is being affected, not just books.

    Blessings on your venture, Jeff.

  4. Ginny Jaques on August 20, 2008 at 8:42 PM

    >Jeff, you said some ABA publishers are crying for Christian content. How do we find out who they are?

  5. Jeff Gerke on August 20, 2008 at 8:37 PM

    >Thanks again, all.

    Anita, you’re right about what alternate history is. It’s a giant what-if. What if Hitler’s Nazis had won WWII? What would life be like now? What if Adam and Eve had never sinned? What if the Roman Empire had never fallen?

    Stories like this can be the exploration of why things went differently, but they usually concentrate on how things are different later–and usually in our modern era–because of one crucial change.

  6. Anita Mae on August 20, 2008 at 7:17 PM

    >Congrats on taking the plunge to fulfill your dream.

    I’ve never heard of alternate history. What is it?

    If I had to guess, it sounds like you take history and add a twist – you change history.

    But is it the origin of that change or the result?

  7. Kim Kasch on August 20, 2008 at 6:29 PM

    >I love the story about the name: Marcher Lord Press.

    Good luck to you!

  8. Jennifer AlLee on August 20, 2008 at 5:41 PM

    >I’m one of those Christians who likes fantasy and SF. Right now, I write contemporary women’s fiction, but my dream is to one day write a time travel story that doesn’t contain a hug paradox!

    BTW, I’m going to be your “Synopsis Writing” workshop hostess at the ACFW conference. I look forward to meeting you. Thanks for sharing about Marcher Lord Press and for giving hope to all the spec authors out there!

  9. Jeff Gerke on August 20, 2008 at 1:45 PM

    >Thank you for all the encouraging words! And to Rachelle for letting me talk to you guys.

    I know that not every Christian likes fantasy and SF, but just about every Christian KNOWS someone who does. LOL.

    Tell those folks about Marcher Lord Press.

    Thanks again!


  10. Gwen Stewart on August 20, 2008 at 1:24 PM

    >Congrats on your new company. I think it's fantastic there are growing opportunities for all kinds of writers in Christian fiction.

    I'm imagining "our" shelf at B&N growing even larger and more diverse. This is excellent!

  11. Cecelia Dowdy on August 20, 2008 at 11:19 AM

    >I look forward to sampling some of the books you’re releasing! I sense you’re passionate about this it will more than likely be a successful venture.

  12. Sheri Boeyink on August 20, 2008 at 10:37 AM

    >Jeff, I admire your tenacity! It sounds like a great concept. Edgy, upbeat, and motivating. I wish you all the best!

  13. Inspire on August 20, 2008 at 7:03 AM

    >Jeff, I admire the tremendous adventure you and your authors are on. I wish you all the best of success.

    On Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers, Summa Elvetica by Theodore Beale is in the running among the top three book covers voted by SSMW readers. It’s a beautiful cover. I am impressed by the fantastic artwork for your company’s covers. The really fit the genre.

  14. Karen on August 20, 2008 at 6:53 AM

    >Jeff, a while back at a WTP conference, you encouraged me when I met with you. I’d like to return the favor and wish you the very best with your venture. If anyone will succeed in getting the CBA to step out of its comfort zone, you will.