Ask the Agent: Christian Worldview
“You’ve said you’re looking for books with a Christian Worldview. Why do you say that, and what does it mean?”
First, almost all agents specialize in a particular type of book they represent. (I am talking about the entire universe of U.S. literary agents, both ABA & CBA.) Some represent mostly romance. Some specialize in mystery, thriller and suspense. Some agents specialize in healthcare and self-help titles. Others might be a little wider and represent all genres of fiction, or many different categories of non-fiction. This makes sense because there are so many publishers, and within them, so many editors handling different kinds of books, that any single agent can only get to know so many at one time. Specialization allows agents to become experts in their genre or category, staying on top of trends and requirements.
So, WordServe literary specializes in Christian books by Christian authors. This means we deal with all genres of fiction and many different categories of non-fiction, as long as the book expresses a Christian worldview. This way, we can be “experts” at what’s going on in the Christian sector of the publishing business.
As for what “Christian worldview” means, that’s a big question but I’ll try to answer simply. A Christian worldview is a way of looking at the world filtered through the truths taught in the Bible. It assumes a sovereign God who created everything and everyone; it assumes we are answerable to God for our thoughts, words and actions; it assumes we have need of salvation and redemption and that it comes only through the person of Jesus Christ. Christian worldview also assumes other things such as that morals are not relative but absolute. And that human beings were created in God’s image, purposefully and with a divine intent, rather than springing randomly from the earth for no particular reason. (Of course, there are countless variations in the details of Christian beliefs; that’s why we have so many denominations and even sub-groups within denominations.)
In Christian fiction, some books overtly express elements of Christianity in the story, integrating things like prayer, conversion, church, etc. Other books don’t include overt references to Christianity but they are clearly written from a Christian worldview, adhering to Biblical principles and usually expressing some aspect of redemption, God’s unconditional love, honest grappling with faith, etc.
In Christian worldview fiction, you can have non-Christian elements, but they can’t be without consequence or some kind of opinion that comes through in the prose. Maybe your story features exotic dancers (read: strippers) but the story can’t glorify their lifestyle or make it look like it’s a value-neutral activity. You might have characters taking part in psychic activities like palm reading or using a Ouija Board, but your story must clearly reflect a general Christian perspective on it, which is that these activities are not endorsed in the Bible.
Of course, this can get really sticky when you get down to details. Can a Christian character get a tattoo? Can the believers in your story have wine with dinner? When it comes to often-debated issues like this, the individual publisher will let you know where they stand and if it needs to be removed from your story.
Christian non-fiction is usually overt in its use of Biblical principles to teach a particular subject. For example, I’ve received quite a few queries about leadership books. The Bible contains numerous teachings that apply to leadership, so for us to represent a leadership book, it would need to contain specific Biblical tenets. If we were to consider a memoir, it would most likely be a person’s faith journey and their wrestling with the spiritual side of life.
I hope that helps……..