My Not-So-Secret Identity

So yesterday I got an interesting email from a guy who wondered why my Blogger profile identifies me as a Christian. He wrote, in part:

Are you hoping that the fact that you are not a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or atheist will influence people to read your blog, or to turn away? Are you trying to attract other Christians, or spurn non-Christians? I certainly don’t mind people identifying their religion where it is relevant. My Jewish religion is frequently mentioned in my memoir… but I see no point in identifying myself as a “Jewish phone equipment dealer” or “Jewish writer” on the home pages of my websites. I understand that your agency specializes in the “Christian market,” and that’s fine; and it might be best that your agency work be done by a Christian. But why should anyone reading your blogging care about your religion?

I wrote back, in part:

Being a Christian is an important a part of my identity like being an agent, a wife, and a mom, which are the other things in my Blogger profile. I’m absolutely not trying to attract anyone or spurn anyone by using that designation; I’m simply being honest and upfront about who I am. Non-Christians read my blog, and I love the dialogue. It’s kind of like the fact that I don’t represent fantasy or sci-fi, but some fantasy/sci-fi writers read my blog. They know who I am, I know who they are, we may not be a “fit” business-wise but we still enjoy the conversation.

I understand your position about not minding a religious designation where it is relevant. I totally agree. For me, my religious designation is relevant because it’s an important part of who I am, how I try to do business, and how I identify myself. I’m totally comfortable with the fact that for many people, their religious designation isn’t relevant in a lot of situations.

Perhaps someone reading my blog doesn’t care about my religion; that’s fine. The information is there in case people are interested. At least that’s how I look at it.

So, readers, what do you think? Chime in regardless of your own religious status.

Is it appropriate for me to identify myself as a Christian in my Blogger profile?

Is is relevant to you as a blog reader?

Does it bug you or put you off? Alternatively, is it one of the reasons you read my blog?

Inquiring minds want to know….

And have a good weekend!

Rachelle Gardner is a Christian totally neutral and PC literary agent whose email dialogue with Michael N. Marcus was the inspiration for this post.

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!

97 Comments

  1. Fredrick Stone on March 5, 2012 at 9:54 PM

    Hey Admin,This is an awesome blog. If you might ever need any backlinks vist the following link ( http://marketingyourbusiness-mike1242.blogspot.com/ ) .



  2. 24 Hour Payday Loans on September 29, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.



  3. Christine on February 18, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    >and please don’t take “wouldn’t be a good professional match” in any sort of negative fashion, because it wasn’t meant as one! =)



  4. Christine on February 18, 2009 at 2:59 PM

    >I’m actually pretty happy that you’re so open with it. Not only is it a big part of your personal life, but it’s a big part of your agenting life as well. Personally, I don’t write (or read – sorry!)Christian fiction, but I enjoy your insights as an agent, much as I enjoy the insights of agents who rep mystery. I write fantasy, so I know I’d be barking up the wrong tree by querying you, but your openness about your faith and how this is what you have decided to represent makes it easier to understand why we wouldn’t be a good professional match. That said, I really enjoy your blog.



  5. bookworm_megs on February 10, 2009 at 12:13 AM

    >i am not a christain, but i enjoy your blog for the insights it brings to the publishing world.

    i think if its important to you you should write it on your blog (or myspace, facebook etc)

    not to mention the fact you are a Christain Literary Agent.

    if people don’t like it, they don’t have to read it!

    simple.



  6. Anonymous on February 9, 2009 at 9:18 PM

    >To t.d.: If you want to know what I mean about the separation of church and state and being “nice,” just compare George Bush’s administration and Barack Obama’s leadership.

    Sadly, the last eight years gave Christianity a bad name. Still, I remain hopeful that we will become a nicer nation when religious and political differences are put aside for the greater good.



  7. Jen and Kev on February 8, 2009 at 3:35 PM

    >Rachelle:
    Yes, it is appropriate to say you are a Believer. It is also relevant; it’s who you are and what you do. It does not put me off, since I’m a Christian writer who needs to learn all I can about publishing in the Christian market,and I learn tons from your blog and those who post comments on it. Sorry, I forgot the 4th question!
    I loved your gracious response to Anonymous who used to be a Christian. Is is possible that God has led some searching ones to your blog to help them see that not all Christians are radical pea brains?
    Grace,
    Jeanette



  8. Melanie Avila on February 8, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    >I never thought twice about you including that in your profile, for all the reasons you listed. The majority of writers who read agent blogs do so because they hope to find agents that will be a good fit for their writing.

    I don’t write Christian literature and know my work wouldn’t be right for you, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot here and don’t enjoy what you have to say.



  9. Tricia Leigh Wood on February 8, 2009 at 10:38 AM

    >It is your blog.

    It is entirely up to you as to how much information you want to reveal about yourself.

    I see nothing wrong with it and KUDOS to you. In todays society, many people are embaressed by their religious practices.

    I respect his view but I believe his ‘problem’ with your identification is a personal one.



  10. Gwen Stewart on February 8, 2009 at 6:15 AM

    >”It makes sense to take religion out of the public school system…”

    As a public school teacher, I can’t speak my faith at work, but aspire to act it out in wordless love. I care for all my students regardless of race, religion, culture or background. This is one of my life’s callings, to love children and to teach…a profession I cannot separate from my faith, even when that faith must go unspoken.

    So I cherish the American privilege of speaking my faith when I’m “off the clock”. Americans value personal revelation in the name of diversity. Does that same courtesy extend to followers of Christ? If not, is it fair to question this privilege because some Christians have done wrong things in the name of faith? If that is the standard–that stated personal affiliations be only those above reproach–what affiliation can pass the test?

    Thank you, gracious hostess Rachelle, for allowing this discussion. That the comments have been respectful and well-stated is a tribute to you. I deeply appreciate that you do not take the privilege of stating your faith in your profession lightly, but approach it with respect and careful consideration.



  11. t.d. on February 8, 2009 at 1:09 AM

    >Rachelle,

    I assumed your Christianity was highly relevant to the type of literature you seek to represent…so…yeah, if my assumption is correct then it’s not only appropriate but necessary.

    I read your blog because it’s informative and entertaining. The fact that you are a Christian adds to the appeal – first because it shows a Christian excelling in a field, which is healthy and right; and second, because of our mutual beliefs I can identify with your perspective, or at lease expect to on certain matters.

    Anon 7:24 -If this were my blog I’d sure want to ask you what you mean by “separation of Church and State” and “nice”. But it’s not. : )



  12. Anonymous on February 7, 2009 at 9:24 PM

    >I’m a Christian too but people like Sarah Palin et al give it a bad name. I just try to be a nice person and don’t feel the need to identify myself that way.

    Like church and state, I think your personal beliefs and your professional world should be kept separate–but it’s your blog and it’s a free country!



  13. Elle on February 7, 2009 at 7:00 PM

    >Without reading any other comment at all–the reason I began to read your blog is because you identified yourself as a Christian, and you were in the publishing business for Christian lit. I keep reading your blog because your writing evidences the integrity of your claim. If your writing took a bender from that identification, I’d quit reading. Thanks for what you do.



  14. Sarah Malone on February 7, 2009 at 2:33 PM

    >I read your blog because I’m interested in writing for the Christian market. If you hadn’t mentioned that you were a Christian, I probably wouldn’t have subscribed to your blog. Why do we have to pretend to all be the same? I think this person that wrote you is most likely an agnostic Jew who would prefer that no one have an actual belief in anything. It makes sense to take religion out of the school system, but it doesn’t make sense to take it out of our personal and professional conversations. People that want us to do that are the ones that are being close-minded.



  15. Eric on February 7, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    >My Google alert – “Christmas for non-Christians” brought me to your blog…

    Your question(s)”Is it appropriate or relevant…?” Here are two thoughts:
    1. Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s response in a Time Magazine article in 2006. This was before she was ordained as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. The question was, “Is belief in Jesus the only way to get to heaven?” Her answer, “We who practice the Christian tradition understand him as our vehicle to the divine. But for us to assume that God could not act in other ways is, I think, to put God in an awfully small box.”

    2. My own response:
    “While writing my novel for pre-teens, I did a lot of research on Christmas around the world. It is interesting how the different cultural versions of Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, or Father Christmas, and many more, all have one thing in common. That is, they remind us of the benefits of unselfish, anonymous, generosity. It’s the idea of giving that should be in focus; we are all on this planet together for the long run. So let’s be kind to one another.”

    All the best,
    Eric Dana Hansen, Author of “IAN, CEO, North Pole”
    http://www.ianceonorthpole.com



  16. Anne L.B. on February 7, 2009 at 12:56 PM

    >Thank you for the poem, Rachelle. It brings me to weep to think of how much I don’t deserve this name.

    “Oh to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be.” ~ Robert Robinson



  17. Rachelle on February 7, 2009 at 12:16 PM

    >Thanks for the reminder of that poem! It is oh-so-true.

    Just fyi, it has been misattributed to Maya Angelou for many years as it has traveled around the Internet. It was actually written by Carol Wimmer way back in 1988. The correct title and text follows:

    When I Say “I Am a Christian”

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
    I’m whispering, “I get lost! That’s why I chose this way”

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t speak with human pride
    I’m confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not trying to be strong
    I’m professing that I’m weak and pray for strength to carry on

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not bragging of success
    I’m admitting that I’ve failed and cannot ever pay the debt

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I don’t think I know it all
    I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I’m not claiming to be perfect
    My flaws are far too visible but God believes I’m worth it

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I still feel the sting of pain
    I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

    When I say, “I am a Christian,” I do not wish to judge
    I have no authority–I only know I’m loved

    Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer



  18. Kim Kasch on February 7, 2009 at 11:05 AM

    >I thought I’d make it a little EZ’er for people to pop over and read the poem, thanks to Refresh Mom.

    ”Maya Angelou Poem”



  19. Bird on February 7, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    >The fact that you’re a Christian is one of the reasons I read your blog. For me, it matters.



  20. ng on February 7, 2009 at 4:13 AM

    >1 Peter 4:16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed , but praise God that you bear that name.



  21. RefreshMom on February 7, 2009 at 3:26 AM

    >I started a reply to this right after you posted. I think your reply was spot on, and many previous posters have echoed my sentiments on the topic–yes it’s relevant, your faith is not just what you do on Sundays, it’s not just a heritage that you carry with you the way you do your surname or your eye or haircolor. Being “Christian” is an integral part of where and how and why you do the business you do. Since that’s what this blog is about, then that’s a little fact that is just as significant as the fact that you’re an agent. It’s inextricably linked, as far as I can see.

    While reading through the replies here, I linked to Sharon Lavy’s blog and saw this post of a poem by Maya Angelou “Beautiful Christian Sister.” This is probably not what Michael was thinking when he asked, but somehow I think it might be kind of what you mean when you use the term.

    http://sharonlavy.blogspot.com/2009/02/i-cant-walk-alone.html



  22. Anne L.B. on February 7, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    >Yes I read your blog because you’re a Christian. How could this not be relevant?

    CBA has its distinctions and being a Christian is extremely relevant to many of your posts.

    You’re specifically looking for Christian worldview works, and how can you truly define that unless you’re a Christian?

    Christians who walks with the Lord are going to give it away before long anyway, whether with a slip of appropriate Christianese, or in that certain light that clings to them. You’ve got that light, Rachelle, delightful snarkiness and all.



  23. crt on February 7, 2009 at 1:20 AM

    >Correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the c in cba stand for Christian?

    Alot of different things being said in this topic.

    I’ve been saying for a while that the church is a little too militant. We’re too quick to throw stones rather then draw the line.

    Shouldn’t be surprised when a few get throw back at us. Even if we didn’t actually throw any, you know guilt by assosication. (Though I have been guilty of throwing a few)

    He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.



  24. Sheryl on February 6, 2009 at 10:49 PM

    >What I think he was missing is that Christian Books is a MARKET with a devout following, much like sci fi/fantasy, mysteries or historicals. The religious aspect he is objecting to doesn’t have anything to do with that. IMHO



  25. Susan on February 6, 2009 at 9:53 PM

    >Rachelle,
    I am a Jewish believer in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I understand very well the Jewish perspective. No one in my family is a Christian, and although we have loving relationships and respect for one another, the awareness that I am a Christian is always lurking just under the surface. There is a difference about me that is very tangible to them.

    Christianity is not like the religions your emailer listed. It is our very identity. Like some other relgions, Christians are a community. But unlike other religions, it is all about relationship with the God who sacrificed Himself for us. Your emailer said he doesn’t identify himself a “Jewish phone dealer” because being Jewish is just one aspect of who he is. Being a Christian permeates every aspect of our life including job, family, friends, worldview, etc.

    The fact that you identify yourself as a Christian in your profile is very important to me. It tells another Christian a key facet of who you are which a non-Christian cannot fully grasp. Not every Christian is perfect to be sure (including me), but I do not want to be unequally yoked, and that applies to business as well as to marriage.

    Thank you for sharing yourself as well as such important information in this blog.
    Susan



  26. Sara K on February 6, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    >Hey, Rachelle. I think it is appropriate for you to identify yourself as Christian, because it is letting the world know a little bit more about you and letting everybody know that you are comfortable with yourself, regardless of what they might say. I read your blog because of your line of business: literary agent, and I’m not the only one, either. However, being a Christian may affect how much the reader can connect with you and whatnot. Christianity is quite relevant–it defines you.
    But hey. That’s my two sense. 🙂
    ~Sara



  27. I Barbour on February 6, 2009 at 6:28 PM

    >When I initially found your blog, I was happy to read that you were a Christian. It didn’t have an effect on me, one way or another as for why and how I found your blog, but I do feel as though if we were to have a conversation, we would see eye to eye on some issues, perhaps making our communication more freely flowing – though I believe I can effectively communicate with anyone from any background.



  28. clindsay on February 6, 2009 at 6:11 PM

    >Rachelle –

    So, in other words, you’re a normal decent human being with many facets to your personality. Sounds like the kind of person I’d want to recommend as an agent. =)

    Colleen



  29. Rebecca LuElla Miller on February 6, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    >I thought your analogy about your disinterest in representing SFF was helpful. It’s who you are and those of us who do write SFF can decide to still read your blog or not. Either way, I’m glad I know where you’re coming from.

    How much more important is it to inform others of our Christianity! If faith is at the core of who we are, of course it is relevant in any venue other than one requiring some sort of clinical expression devoid of person-hood.

    Becky (who writes fantasy but still loves to stop by and read Rachelle’s blog)



  30. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    >Dear Ellen,

    Thanks for coming out of lurkdom! It means a lot to me that you would write your thoughts here.

    This may scare away some of my more conservative readers, but I think it’s important to share more truth about me: I’m a follower of Christ, and I also drink alcohol and sometimes I even swear. I watch secular television and movies, and I read lots of nonChristian books. I enjoy hearing the views and passionately held ideals of people of different religions, races, and political affiliations. I endeavor to love and support my homosexual brothers and sisters and let God be the judge, not me. I am passionately pro-life but I’m also sympathetic the very real difficulties that drive millions of women to abortion. I am human and I make a lot of mistakes. Sometimes I am snarky bordering on cruel without realizing it until too late.

    I believe life is messy and not easy and none of us does it “right” all the time, least of all me. I’m interested in discussing struggles, doubts, crises of faith, and the true hardships of being human and following Christ; I’m not very interested in trying to appear as Perfect Christian Woman because I will just fail anyway.

    I hope that helps you to feel comfortable visiting my blog, and even commenting!



  31. Sharon A. Lavy on February 6, 2009 at 4:24 PM

    >Wow, Rachelle. This post has stirred up a lot of feedback. I wonder if this will generate more posts than you have ever received to this date.

    A least we care. That’s better than apathy.



  32. Ellen Painter Dollar on February 6, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    >I think it makes sense for you to identify yourself as Christian on your blog, given your focus as an agent on Christian books. However, reading these comments has been very eye-opening for me and made me realize that your description of yourself as Christian was affecting my perspective on your blog. I read it every day because I find it incredibly helpful and easy to read for a someone new to publishing like myself. But I have never posted a comment, even when you specifically say “tell me what you think,” because I had a (mistaken) impression that your blog followers were a fairly closed community of like-minded Christian writers. The comments here make me realize my impression was wrong.

    My hesitation to comment in this perceived like-minded community is not because I’m non-Christian. To the contrary, I am Christian and am developing a book proposal for an interested Christian publisher–a blend of memoir and narrative non-fiction in which I explore a Christian response to assisted reproduction, genetic screening and disability using my experience as a person with a genetic disease who chose to have biological children at risk for the same disease. So this blog is perfect for someone like me–lots of nitty-gritty publication stuff with a background of Christian faith.

    But I hesitated to join in any conversation because, in my experience, sometimes when people label themselves as “Christian” and refer to other people as “Christian,” they have a very clear definition of what that means, beyond the basic doctrines of Christian faith. In other words, there is sometimes an assumption that if you are Christian, you always vote for the pro-life candidate, think homosexuality is a sin, and never drink alcohol–just as examples. And if you don’t do any of those things, well, then you must not be a “real” Christian. So I am always a little leery of anyone, or any forum such as this one, that identifies as “Christian” because I wonder if I would make the cut, so to speak.

    I am co-authoring my book with a dear friend who is a Christian ethicist, Roman Catholic, and both more spiritually disciplined and more conservative than I will ever be. We argue a lot over issues. But fundamentally, we respect each other as fellow believers, to the extent that we are godparents to each other’s children. Our working relationship and friendship are teaching me a lot about the fundamentals of Christian faith and community.

    I promise that any future comments will not be so long! But this has been very helpful to me in seeing this blog as a resource for writers of all stripes, and not the closed, like-minded community I thought it was.



  33. Alexandra on February 6, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    >Have we gone so far that we have to apologize for stating who we are? Being a Christian is a way of life for me. It dictates what I do, where I go, what I read 😉 what I say…it would be wrong to NOT post that you are a Christian on your blog. If people are offended, then you can just point to that. “I said up front that I am a Christian. So you shouldn’t get so bent out of shape that I write about my faith.”

    I am writing Christian fiction. Therefore I am seeking a Christian agent. Would I want a car salesman to sell my vaccuums to someone? No. And I would not want a non-Christian agent to sell my story. Faith has everything to do with my writing, and I want someone who will understand my story, and therefore “sell” it accordingly.

    PLEASE don’t become like so much of the world out there today and hide your faith behind PC and “everyone feel good” statements. We are Christians. We need to shine!



  34. raballard on February 6, 2009 at 1:54 PM

    >and, by the way clindsay I enjoy yor blog too. I have a link to your blog from mine. I doubt however I send you much traffic.
    I seem to have limited readership.



  35. raballard on February 6, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    >Yes, Rachelle I saw that twitter. I wish I wrote Chrisian Books, alas I write Middle Grade Fantasy.

    I was impressed with your ability to overlook a simple mistake, and call the author.

    If I ever write a Christian Novel, you will be the first agent I submit to. I promise not to call you Chritine.



  36. Mark Adair on February 6, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    >This is a very interesting topic. Based on the large number of responses it’s easy to deduct that simply identifying yourself as a christian pushes all sorts of buttons – in and out of the christian community.

    As a christian, I like knowing that you are christian. Having said that, when you label yourself as a christian on your blog, it creates literally thousands of different Rachelle-pictures in the minds of those who hear the words – many of them painful and hurtful. Certainly, everyone has a right to label themselves however they wish, but I’m not sure saying “I’m a christian” in America means what we’d like it to mean. As an alternative, a friend of mine states in her blog profile “I love storytelling and Jesus and…” I like that. It seems less ambiguous and certainly less of a lightning rod. It’s one thing for Jesus himself to be the lightning rod and the stone the builders rejected based on his words and actions, it’s another for people to reject a religious perspective or system built primarily by man/woman with all of its baggage, political stances, etc.

    Your blog exists to connect with writers, primarily christian, but not exclusively so. I happen to think your writing technique and style clearly communicate, inform, and even entertain. Writing experts spend a great deal of time training us/writers in the discipline of finding the best word or phrase to communicate effectively to our audience. When you say you’re a christian, I think there might be a better word or phrase to effectively communicate to your audience that very precious and important part of who you are. It may even cheapen what you’re trying to tell us about yourself, especially among those who aren’t part of the christian sub-culture – christians and others.

    Just a thought…



  37. clindsay on February 6, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    >And – by the way? – I’ve linked to your blog on many occasions from my own because I have you linked on my “Worthwhile Distractions” sidebar (mostly other agents and industry blogs) and my readers have never had anything negative to say. They just like reading your posts!



  38. Mark on February 6, 2009 at 1:39 PM

    >The man who went by the name Apostle as he chronicled his Appalachian Trail hike made a relevant distinction. He said, “I am not a Christian writer. I am a Christian writing.”



  39. clindsay on February 6, 2009 at 1:38 PM

    >I think you should identify yourself in the way that best reflects who you are inside, and if being a Christian is an important part of your identity, then you should self-identify in that way.

    Although I personally don’t consider myself a person of faith, I’m not turned off by someone else’s faith and I find it refreshing that people can be honest about who they are and what is important to them as a person.

    I found your blog on my own about a year ago or so, and I kept coming back to read because – as a fellow agent and former publishing employee – I was interested in reading your take on the publishing industry.

    I was happy to discover that you repped Christian fiction so that I had someone to whom I could refer potential clients, as well. Although I’ve promoted Christian books (for Waterbrook) I’m not interested in repping them myself. I just don’t know enough about the CBA marketplace.

    Just as being a gay woman and a big science fiction nerd helps to mold my own interest in repping LBGT books and science-fiction and fantasy, your being a Christian also has shaped some of your own interests in what to represent.

    And frankly, you could have called yourself a donkey and I’d still come back here to read your blog because you give great and sensible advice to writers.

    All the best,

    Colleen



  40. Cathy in AK on February 6, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    >I’m not a Christian, nor do I write the kind of things you represent. I’ll never submit to you, so what am I doing here? Reading some interesting posts and learning about the industry in general.

    I also follow Janet Reid’s blog, yet I don’t drink scotch or read Milton, and she doesn’t rep what I write either. Still, I have learned much from her as well.

    Yes, it’s appropriate for you to identify yourself as a Christian. It’s important to you. It’s who you are. That makes it appropriate.

    Yes, it’s relevant to me as a reader. I know you wouldn’t want to see my work. But then again, it isn’t relevant to me as I read your posts about the industry and such. For that I just want accuracy and honesty. Done and done.

    No, it doesn’t put me off. If it did, I wouldn’t keep coming back : )

    Have a great weekend.



  41. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 1:15 PM

    >raballard:
    No worries! Did you see my Tweet yesterday about receiving a query addressed to another agent? I still contacted the writer and set up a meeting b/c it was a great query!



  42. raballard on February 6, 2009 at 1:11 PM

    >I do apologize for calling you Christine, I have no idea why I called you that.

    It is almost like sending your excellent query to an agent and adressing it to another.

    I am sorry



  43. raballard on February 6, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    >Christine, I suppose if you were posting your blog during the early Roman Empire era, stating you were Christian would be relevant. On the converse side if one was to blog of their Jewish faith in Europe during the 1930’s and 1940’s would be just as relevant. We live in such a diverse time I can’t see the problem if your faith is mentioned in your profile.

    I have seen some of your comments on Twitter, it is obvious that being Christian is so much a part of who you are. The mention of your faith is relevant to what and who you are. I find it refreshing in this day that there are those among us that confirm their faith.

    I am new to your blog, but I will be back.



  44. Chatty Kelly on February 6, 2009 at 12:52 PM

    >p.s. The fact that you’re a mom isn’t relevant to the fact that you’re an agent either, and your blog isn’t about your kids. But again, I find that to be a very relatable thing, since I’m a mom too.



  45. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    >Again, thanks to everyone for your contributions here. I am overwhelmed… and learning so much about you.

    LurkerMonkey, I’ve always appreciated your comments on the blog and I don’t think you’ve misunderstood me at all. I appreciate your openness and your lack of being threatened by Christians. And I’m super impressed by your willingness to support your wife in her faith. I’m sure it’s not lost on anyone how Christlike your behavior is, as you choose to love without judgment. Thank you for that!



  46. mulberry on February 6, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    >Rachelle, I only discovered your blog today, from a link on a (non-Christian AFAIK) writer’s blog to your fab post on “voice”. I’m not a Christian (well, kind of lapsed), but I don’t have any problem with you stating that you were. If you are a committed Christian, and that belief is going to be expressed in your writing, then it is totally appropraite for you to say that. I don’t get the impression that it’s there to either attract or repel particular groups of readers. It does let readers know what content may be present on the blog so they can make their own decision to continue reading if Christian material is going to upset or offend them.
    Also, there’s a big difference in how I read your self-description depending on where you put the comma. Are you “a Christian, literary agent”, or “a Christian lterary agent”. The lack of comma in your profile tells me that you are a literary agent specialising in Christian writing, not necessarily that you yourself are a Christian. Every agent is plagued with unsuitable submissions, so why not make the type of writing you handle clear upfront, and stop writers wasting their time sending you a vampire erotic romance.

    I read across a diverse range of blogs, and have never thought to take issue with how the blogger chooses to identify themselves. That’s their choice, we are in the blogger’s space when we visit a blog.

    I feel very sad that someone like Anonnymous has had such a negative experience with people calling themselves Christians who have been so unloving and judgemental in their attitudes. They are out there, but they don’t represent what being a Christian is really about.



  47. Anthony on February 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    >Rachelle,

    I found the original email lacking empathy and a failure of critical thinking.

    All too often, especially in a widely dispersed online community, people disrespect other worldly views simply because someone else with a similar worldly view put a negative connotation in his/her mind.

    Deeds, not labels, define who we are. While perception plays a part, our actions to the outside world are definitive. It is obvious reading your posts and your tweets you are a Good and Godly woman. Putting that on your website, while a label, certainly is more than a matter of how you want us to view you, it is a sharing of your personal beliefs, for good or for bad.

    There is a disturbing trend among blog readers to point to innocuous things on blogs and websites and decry those things because they fall outside what they feel is “the norm.” We must frown on this trend and celebrate our differences.



  48. LurkerMonkey on February 6, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    >What a good question …!

    Personally, I have no problem with you self-identifying as a Christian on your blog, and I follow and read your blog pretty much daily (although comment less as of late). I love your voice and your willingness to share information about writing and this industry. Finally, I have no problem with anybody’s religious views. Truth is, I go to church every week and I’m not actually a Christian. I go to support my wife, who holds her religion very dear and would like for me to be there while she worships. I’m not antagonized or threatened by someone else’s faith, and I find the sermons interesting and thought-provoking pieces of religious philosophy.

    That said, and this isn’t meant in a negative way, I don’t think I’d query you, at least not at first. It has nothing to do with your growing and impressive record as an agent — it has, to me, to do with market realities. At least in my experience, the Christian publishing world is fairly insular. It has separate publishers, distribution, promotion and, yes, agents. I’m not really targeting a Christian market, ergo, I think I might not be a good fit with your expertise.

    On the flip side, though, this means it’s entirely appropriate for you, in my opinion, to identify yourself by your faith on your professional blog. The fact is, you’re recruiting among a Christian audience.

    Now, please, if I’ve misrepresented or misunderstood your business, I’m sorry. It’s never my intention to make unfounded assumptions about other people … I’m basing my impressions on the authors I’ve seen you sign, the books I’ve seen you sell to the publishers you’re selling into, and yes, your profile and bio.

    Anyway, I think faith generally is a personal affair — and thus, we should each be free to express our spirituality in the way that resonates with our soul. Your blog’s contributions to my life are independent of our differing religions.



  49. photoqueen on February 6, 2009 at 12:09 PM

    >Interesting e-mail. I think it’s completely relevant to your blog, because it’s not just only a part of who you are as a person, it’s also a part of who you are as an agent. And an important part on both counts!

    I read your blog because you are an agent for the Christian publishing industry, as I hope to work in that field some day. But you provide such useful information on a consistent basis that I would think anyone interested in publishing would be served to read your blog.



  50. Julie Weathers on February 6, 2009 at 11:58 AM

    >I think it’s very important to identify who you are in this instance. People know up front their satanic fantasy is probably not a good fit for you. Aside from that, people reading the blog won’t be surprised when they see Christian followers, who are very open about their faith, comment on your posts.

    Remember that brouhaha started because Janet Reid linked to your blog and some people were irreparably damaged because Christians posted here also?

    I was keeping my eyes open for some friends who have inspirational works and will be looking for agents. Since I study agents, I set aside names for people I think they might click with. For them, they need someone who not only represents Christian works, but also understands on a deeper level.

    For me, I just feel at home here even though I don’t write anything you rep.

    I don’t discuss religion or politics mostly, but I am glad to see you be so open about how you believe.



  51. Marla Taviano on February 6, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    >I’ve been thinking about this one all morning and haven’t figured out how to say what’s on my mind and heart.

    I love Jesus. I’m a worthless sinner, but He loved me so much He gave His life for me. He did it for everyone–even those who want nothing to do with Him.

    I wish the word Christian didn’t leave such a foul taste in people’s mouths, but it does. And with good reason.

    I can’t separate my relationship with Christ from the rest of my life. My life is His. And I wake up each morning wondering what I can do today that will draw people to Him and not push them away.

    It’s not an easy thing. And I fail miserably. Like I probably did just now with using “salvation mumbo-jumbo” instead of real words everyone can relate to.

    I love Jesus. Without Him, I can do nothing. I’d be a wreck. I can’t share “me” or my “work” without sharing Him.



  52. Lea Ann McCombs on February 6, 2009 at 11:49 AM

    >Hi Anon, I would very much enjoy talking to you! What a well-constructed response you’ve given for us to consider.

    Many of us who follow Christ completely understand what has put you off. My 16-year-old daughter is a devout follower of Jeus and loves people so thoroughly that she is hesitant to call herself a Christian at school because of (unfortunately)the negative connotation. However, many of tose multi-peirced, drug-dabbling kids contact her on her blog where she shares her faith, prays for them, and offers them hope.

    In publishing, there can be a huge brink between what true followers of Christ want to read and what the rest of the world enjoys. I am an avid reader, love suspense, thrillers, etc. but have grown disgusted with the filth and language usually present in bestsellers. Often the themes are dark and there is no hope, even at the end of the book. Often I’m left with an unsettled, restless feeling, even though the story may have been fascinating and the writing stellar.

    When Rachelle identifies herself as a Christian and says she is looking to represent a “Christian worldview,” that tells me she is seeking a different kind of book, one that reflects what many of us believe–that life is not hopeless and there is meaning to the pain humans must endure.

    As a writer of suspense, I found I could not be true to my own beleifs when I wrote from the same mindset I see in so much of ppopular fiction–that is: God and true faith are a non-issue and have no place in our lives.

    Books written from a Christian worldview have a difficult time finding a publisher in most mainstream markets, so Rachelle’s niche is to offers authors like me help in finding audiences that are waiting for books from a Christian mindset.

    I appreciate your courage and honesty and hope you’ll feel free to return to this blog, as Rachelle has so much information and encouragment to offer writers of any faith–or none.



  53. Dara on February 6, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    >It’s your blog. And being a Christian is a part of your life.

    Being a Christian myself, it’s a part of me I have to identify. It would be a lie to myself to not mention it.

    I understand why some non Christians are put off because a lot of Christians do give off that holier-than-thou attitude. But I also don’t like the fact that those types of Christians make it to where it’s assumed we’re all like that. That would be like me saying that all athiests or agnostics are mean and immoral, which is certainly not the case (I’ve met many who are actually friendlier than some Christians).

    I suppose it gets tiring of the double standard I often see. It’s ok to state you’re anything BUT a Christian, but once you mention that, many seem to automatically equate that with intolerance. It’s one of those things that irks me but I suppose it’s also something that comes with being a Christian–Jesus even said so himself.

    Anyway, keep it on there, no neutrality needed 🙂



  54. Euthyphro on February 6, 2009 at 11:39 AM

    >Rachelle:

    I thought that the email was a bit silly. I am not a Christian, but there was nothing off putting about your clear indication that you were. In fact, given that this is one of your outlets as an agent, it is especially relevant when elsewhere you have mentioned that you are looking for fiction that does not oppose a “Christian Worldview.” I think if the email-er had spent some time getting to know you and your blog he would have seen the relevance on his own.

    Cheers



  55. T. Anne on February 6, 2009 at 11:36 AM

    >As a Christian, my dream agent would be one as well. That is my prayer as a part of my dream.

    I think you announcing the fact is very forthcoming of who you are and what genre specifically you market.

    Because of the fact your a Christian when I visit your blog it feels safe, a little bit like home.



  56. Janet Reid on February 6, 2009 at 11:32 AM

    >Hey Rachelle!
    I think I may be the “secular blogger” you meant when saying someone got heat from their readers about linking to your blog!

    Well, heck with them! If the people reading your blog have a problem with how you describe yourself, that says more about them than you. (And nobody has complained that I describe myself as a scotch swilling admirer of Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost—and really, that SHOULD have brought some heat don’t you think??)

    It’s clear you practice your faith with great care. It’s clear from how your write about what you do, and how you respond to people writing to you on this blog.

    I think putting your faith in your bio helps potential clients understand how you approach your work, and thus it’s more useful than not.



  57. macromab on February 6, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    >He assumed it was your intent to EXCLUDE people simply because you identify as a Christian agent. I thought that was rather presumptous, although I agree he was being sincere in asking the question.

    If you had identified yourself as a gay editor specializing in publishing LGBT literature, he wouldn’t have thought anything of it.

    It’s just a sign of the times, but provides all the more reason for Christians to plant their feet firmly in the public square. Unapologetically.



  58. Deborah Vogts on February 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    Had I not known you were a Christian agent, I would not have approached you and thus would not be awaiting the release of my first book in a series of three. You’ve done nothing wrong. You are a Christian agent representing the Christian Publishing world.

    I’ve considered this very thing when posting my religious belief on my web site or other various places on the web. Do I refrain from announcing that I’m Christian or even that I’m Lutheran for fear of turning off a possible reader? It’s who we are–it’s what we do.



  59. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 11:16 AM

    >Dear Anon 9:09,

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your taking the time to write. Your comments are thoughtful and well-expressed, and believe it or not, I resonate with what you’re saying. I, too, am often put off when people have holier-than-thou attitudes. I do not appreciate “Christianese” or churchy language. I struggle all the time to find a way to follow the teachings of Christ without becoming sanctimonious, or hypocritical, or non-loving.

    I hate it that labeling oneself a “Christian” automatically feels off-putting to so many people, whereas a label of “Jewish” or “agnostic” doesn’t. People throughout history have dragged Christ’s name through the mud, and behaved in horrible ways. We are all people and we all make mistakes and behave badly sometimes, but when people do it “in the name of Jesus” it’s so devastating! I understand how it pushes people away from Christianity.

    I really do appreciate what you wrote. Thanks for a thoughtful comment.



  60. Anonymous on February 6, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    >I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to reply to your post today, but I don’t want to do it publicly [using my name] because the last thing I want is to get involved in a big religious stramash on the web. These subjects can quickly get heated, and that’s the last thing I want.

    I would never send a query to you because of your designation on your profile. Also, your wordserveliterary website says specifically that you will only represent Christian authors. Although I personally don’t feel it’s a good thing to discriminate on the basis of religion, at least having it up front saves me the trouble of getting into a hurtful conversation. It also says “We only represent people who want to promote a Christian Worldview”, which says to me any other way of thinking isn’t welcome. Even if I were a Christian (I used to be, in fact), I would find it strange to want to use fiction to proselytise. So between your profile and your website, it’s a big red “Go away” sign to non-Christians.

    So, I wouldn’t expect friendship from you. In my experience, Christians spurn relationships with “sinners” and “worldly” people, or will, very quickly, try to convert me. So, I would always hold back in my interaction. I would read and comment on professional related posts if I had something to say, but I would always be aware of a barrier between us. I read your blog because I’m interested in the publishing industry.

    I tend to avoid Christian websites, causes, functions, gatherings, etc. Part of it is a language used that although I understand it from past experiences with it, really does put me off. For example I went to an author’s blog recently who had on her blogger profile “I am a handmaiden of Christ.” I’m happy for her that she’s happy, but to me it’s a covert way of saying “Go away if you don’t talk the Jesus talk.”

    The Bible says “They will know you are Christians by your love.” (I’m quoting from memory, so I know the wording is incorrect. My apologies for that, but I don’t have a Bible anymore to look it up.) Instead I find it’s “They will know you are Christians by your forum signatures, t-shirts, bumper-stickers, and Facebook profiles.” Sadly to say, I’ve encountered very little acceptance, love, and compassion from Christians. Which is why I’m not one anymore.

    I’ve read this letter over several times, because I want to be careful not to be disrespectful or unkind. From my own experience, I do understand that putting the label “Christian” on your website means something very special to you, and I would not suggest that you ever change it. I’m only writing because you asked how other people might feel about it. It does send out a message, loud and clear. Unfortunately, it carries with it every message every other Christian has also sent out. Some are good, but if someone has specifically turned away from your religion, it is likely because of bad experiences that will be recalled when they read that. Not your fault, and not your job to change it and make up for it.

    To your questions:

    Is it appropriate? Sure. I assume you’re putting out these messages consciously.

    Is it relevant? Not to me reading or not reading (although I would unsubscribe if the content became about Christianity, as that’s not a subject I’m interested in), but it does affect any potential interaction with you.

    Does it bug you or put you off? A little. But I’m trying to get over my prejudices.

    Best wishes.



  61. Sheila on February 6, 2009 at 11:03 AM

    >It’s your blog, that makes it relevant. Enough said.



  62. Anonymous on February 6, 2009 at 10:53 AM

    >Rachelle,
    What attracted me to your website was your faith statement. I am constantly amazed at how bent out of shape and ‘offended’ non-Christians get at Christians who actually live like Believers…like it is a direct affront to them in some way. The world says, “live and let live, be tolerant of those different from yourself.” Yet, it seems more and more that that holds true for everyone except Christians. We are becoming more and more scrutinized for our faith. Your blog, in the way it is written and in the way you express yourself shouts loudly that you are a person of integrity, insight and one who treats all others with respect…with no excepts. I wager you are that type of person because you believe, follow and live like one loves and worships God and His Son. I am not put off by that I rejoice in that.



  63. Pam Stephens on February 6, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    >Wow,it seems our world has become so sensitized that the mere mention of the word “Christian” evokes disdain or inquiries from the ACLU! I have read the whitehouse.gov website for the agenda as recommended by a good friend… you might want to check it out. There may be more of this to come, not less!
    Let’s not drop the “Christian” from our bios! Go Rachelle!



  64. Kat Harris on February 6, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    >Is it appropriate for me to identify myself as a Christian in my Blogger profile?

    Since you represent Christian fiction, I think it’s completely relevant for you to identify yourself as a Christian.

    It’s all about expertise in the field. Do you really think you’d be able to identify with what Christian writers write if you were an atheist or Muslim or Jewish or Hindu?

    When I want to buy a car, I go to a car dealership, not a lawnmower retailer. The same could be said in this situation.

    Is is relevant to you as a blog reader? No. My fiction is geared toward ABA. I still find a lot of useful info here.

    Does it bug you or put you off? Alternatively, is it one of the reasons you read my blog?

    No and no. I read this blog because you lead a great community of writers thirsting for knowledge about publishing and the written word.

    I raised an eyebrow when I saw you have the word “Christian” struck out beneath this blog post. I mean, I understand you did it to be funny.

    But if you continued to do it, I’d be upset because it’s almost like Peter denying Christ. You shouldn’t have to do that.

    Say it loud. Say it proud.



  65. Sharon A. Lavy on February 6, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    >I am shocked, appalled, and my stomach is acting up.

    I am sad that Christ is offensive to some. I can see I live a sheltered life.

    I am glad that He is such a part of you that you cannot leave the fact that you are a Christian off your profile.

    God Bless you richly today and everyday.

    Keep leaning on Him.

    You Go Girl.

    etc, etc, etc, 😉



  66. Mindy Obenhaus on February 6, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    >I think it’s TOTALLY appropriate for you to identify yourself as a Christian. Then again, the first words of my profile identify me the same way. Like you said, it’s who we are. I am put on this earth to serve God above all else. And that’s nothing I should be ashamed of.
    As for relevance, if I’m interested in someone’s blog, if they have information that I want or need, I don’t care. If they’re trying to shove their beliefs down my throat, then I probably won’t go there anymore.
    I like the information you give via your blog. The fact that your a Christian is, I suppose, a bonus. That means we have a similar world view.
    Thank you for sharing that email, Rachelle, and having this discussion. It was very enlightening.



  67. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 10:39 AM

    >One of the reasons I state the “Christian” designation is so that blog readers will be forewarned. While I struggle with the “label” because of the negative connotations it has in many circles (which I totally understand since I spent many years rejecting Christianity myself), I finally decided that it was only fair to my readers to be forewarned of my spiritual leanings. Like some of the blog commenters have mentioned, I wouldn’t want them to be blindsided or feel misled if they’d been reading me for awhile and then found out I have a religious affiliation to which they object.

    In the past, when secular bloggers have linked to my blog because of a particular publishing-related post, their own readers have given them heat about it. They felt they were misled in being directed to a “religious” blog. This only proved my instinct correct… get it out there up front, and people can make their own decisions about whether to read me or not.



  68. Carol on February 6, 2009 at 10:29 AM

    >I am interested in writing for the Christian market, so I specifically search for and read blogs by Christians. I also read some blogs by agents and publishers who are not Christians, or don’t identify their religious orientation–including a few that I know I would never submit work to. The information about writing, agenting, and publishing is helpful regardless of the person’s religious beliefs, or lack of them. However, I think it is more interesting to read the ones that mesh with my own values, and I appreciate knowing up front where a person is coming from.

    I just checked my own blog profile to see if I have a “warning” that I’m a Christian. I don’t. Maybe I should add one so people aren’t upset when they see my prayer requests, or they learn that my favorite musicians are Christians, or that I am a book blogger for a Christian publisher, etc.



  69. Karen Witemeyer on February 6, 2009 at 10:27 AM

    >To be honest, I’ve never looked at your blog profile even though I’ve been reading your posts for months, now. It’s not necessary. I can hear your faith in your words. Like Timothy said, anyone can label themselves a Christian. I’m more interested in the evidence that is shown through actions, words, and attitudes.

    For me, I specifically sought out your blog because of my interest in Christian literary agents. Any quality agent could give good advice about general writing skills, but I wanted information from someone who knew my target market. Since I write Christian fiction, I wanted someone with knowledge and experience directly related to that segment of the industry. That’s why I keep coming back.

    Keep shining your light.



  70. John UpChurch on February 6, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    >Although I am publicly (in my writing) a Christian, I do not specifically state this on my own “professional” blog. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or reads the comments would be able to tell (as I want to live a life that reflects my belief), but I did not mention this aspect on my blog.

    For me, the reason is simply because my blog is focused on helping writers of all stripes, and—to be honest—I would like them to read my other works especially if they aren’t saved and without a preconception. Perhaps this is a bit underhanded, but one of my goals as a writer is to reach out to those who wouldn’t normally read Christian writing.

    As for your blog, given that you do represent Christian writers, it would be odd not to include that.



  71. Sarabeth on February 6, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    >I read your blog because you are an agent with interesting topics. Your religion has very little to do with why I read your posts.



  72. Heather on February 6, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    >For me, you being Christian makes your blog more desirable for me to read–I know I can trust you not to put up any junk that I have to wade through in order to get to the good stuff. If I could find a good, completely clean non-Christian writer’s blog, I’d probably read it too. But I prefer to stick to those I know I can trust.



  73. Sheryl Tuttle on February 6, 2009 at 10:14 AM

    >Good post. Like you, I mention that I am Christian in my blogger profile because it is such a strong part of who I am. It’s not intended to attract a certain reader, nor do I hope it would cause someone not to read. I think your response was right on.



  74. Rachelle on February 6, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    >Wow. I’m humbled and awed by all the thoughtful responses so far. Thanks for chiming in!

    Anyone who holds a different perspective, PLEASE don’t hesitate to state it here. Your views are welcome. I love an honest and respectful dialogue.



  75. RumorsOfGlory on February 6, 2009 at 9:46 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,
    Excellent response to his question. I hope you put the link to this on Twitter.



  76. Daniel F. Case on February 6, 2009 at 9:42 AM

    >Rachelle, don’t you DARE hide your Christianity and go “totally neutral and PC” on us!

    Your relationship with Christ is part of who you are. While there may be some who can divorce their religious lives from their everything-else lives, that just doesn’t work when you replace religion with relationship.

    A relationship with Christ changes people. It infuses their lives and becomes a part of who they are. You can be open about that without being offensive, just as you’re open about being married and open about being a literary agent.

    D.



  77. Jeanie W on February 6, 2009 at 9:30 AM

    >I may be reading between the lines a bit too much, but it sounds to me like that guy has a chip on his shoulder where the openly Christian are concerned. Several of your blogposts have contained references to your spiritual life. It’s probably best that you warn folks like him up front that they may stumble upon Christian content when they read your posts. We wouldn’t want them breaking out in hives unnecessarily.

    Your blog is not a government publication. You do not have to appear religiously neutral. Readers are free to follow other agents’ blogs if they fear exposure to the teachings of Jesus.



  78. morgan collins on February 6, 2009 at 9:13 AM

    >I think it’s appropriate for you to say whatever you want to say about yourself…it’s your blog:)



  79. lynnrush on February 6, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    >Wow, interesting email. Your life sure isn’t dull, is it? I bet you sit down to your computer wondering what kinds of emails read.

    Well bless you for handling it with a Christlike attitude.

    I follow many blogs, not all are faith-based. However, one of the main reasons I follow your blog is that very reason–your Christlike attitude toward the industry, life, and your clients.

    Have a great wekend.



  80. D.A. Riser on February 6, 2009 at 9:00 AM

    >My impression from following your blog was that you represented Christian books. Doesn’t that make it relevant?

    All that aside, a profile simply tells about you – some fun, some silly, and some facts. If others can list off what movies they like or their favorite color, I’m not sure why you can’t say your religion.

    Hmm … maybe I’ll put that I’m from Mars on my profile and see if it increases my blog traffic. No, wait … A Christian from Mars …



  81. Kerry on February 6, 2009 at 8:42 AM

    >yes
    yes
    no
    yes

    😉



  82. Just_Me on February 6, 2009 at 8:30 AM

    >If you rep Christian or religious literature than, yes, your religion is relevant. People will want to know where you’re coming from.

    Even if you didn’t the right to free speech and freedom of religion means you can tell people what you believe as long as you don’t force them to agree. How many people do you see daily who have some religious emblem on them? A cross necklace? A Star of David pair of earrings? A headscarf? A Bindi on the forehead?

    Part of religion is being willing to admit you have chosen a certain creed to follow. If it’s part of who you are, it’s appropriate.



  83. Bryan Davis on February 6, 2009 at 8:27 AM

    >I am not a Christian, but I am a regular reader of your blog – even though I know you would never be able to represent what I write, I find it insightful and helpful and a great reminder that it’s not just writers that are people.

    I was glad that you self-identified as Christian – I think it’s an important aspect of what your blog is about. If being a Christian and the Christian book market weren’t frequent topics in your blog, tagging yourself as a Christian might be superfluous, but it wouldn’t be anything to get huffy about.



  84. Timothy Fish on February 6, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    >Appropriate and Relevant? Yes. Meaningful? Hmm.

    We received a Dear Abby type letter the other day. The person writing wanted advice on how to handle a situation with a church member who claimed to be a Christian on his website and yet had some things on his website that a Christian has no business supporting. In America, it is easy to claim to be a Christian. Sadly, there are many who claim to be Christians and are not. There are people in the churches of America that do all of the churchy things—attend every service, teach a class, sing in the choir—and they are headed straight to hell.

    Mark Twain said, “When the author describes the character of a personage in his tale, the conduct and conversation of that personage shall justify said description.” The same goes for designations we put on websites. If we are going to claim to be Christian then I sure hope our conduct and conversation justify that designation.

    From what I know about you, your conduct and conversation seem to justify the designation.



  85. Anonymous on February 6, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    >^ Actually, I think Nathan Bransford is a Christian 🙂 Just FYI. I might be wrong, and it’s no big deal if I am, but I’m almost positive I’ve heard him talk about his faith before. (And even if he weren’t — he’s said things on his blog that convince me he’s very respectful toward people of faith, open to dialogue between them, interested in their writing etc.)

    Anywho – I wouldn’t pick an agent, or read their blog, simply because they say they’re a Christian. However, I don’t think it’s a big deal you have that in your profile. It’s who you are. I appreciate that you don’t use churchy words or slogans or woe is me talk up in here. You don’t get into politics – you just focus on good writing. The advice on here is what I come for. I love how solid the advice is. I don’t think it maters if you keep it or drop it in your profile.



  86. Myowne on February 6, 2009 at 8:23 AM

    >As I read the email you received, I felt offended, although perhaps I shouldn’t have been. I have a blog as well, though not nearly as interesting (I think) as yours and how I identify myself (be it with racial classification, educational classification, professional classification, and more specifically my faith classification) is my business and my perogative. It is not necessarily meant to “x” out anyone that is not similar to me or who is believes like I do. It is just me saying who I am. That’s what blogs are for, in part. You are telling what is most important to YOU. You can’t always do that anywhere else outside the blogosphere. I would think that is the same for you.
    My concern with the guy’s email is the concern I have had for a long time with anyone that feels that stating a religious belief or faith foundation is cause for separation and division. I worry sometimes that people are looking for a reason to argue or fight or throw words and religion or faith is the boxing ring. The truth is, when we say we believe in a certain thing, we are mainly telling those who are interested where we stand in regards to our faith or the premise by which we carry out our business in life. I do think we need to say who we are and what we believe so there will be no confusion – especially if what we are striving to do is an outward representation of an inward reality (hence, Christian literary agent). You keep being you so the rest of us can learn to be comfortable being who are as well.



  87. Richard Mabry on February 6, 2009 at 8:17 AM

    >Rachelle,
    You’ve heard me say it before: “If I tell you the truth, I don’t have to remember what I said.” In my own blog I characterize myself as a Christian writer. In my relationship with other authors, a few of whom aren’t Christian, I make no secret of the fact that I write from a Christian worldview.
    I simply think you’re being upfront. The number of persons who follow your rants and ramblings is adequate evidence that your openness in mentioning this important part of who you are hasn’t turned away very many folks.
    Thanks for giving us something to chew on over the weekend.



  88. Chatty Kelly on February 6, 2009 at 8:02 AM

    >As a Christian, I know I would prefer a Christian agent, because I know you will “get” me. You understand what I believe, and especially if I am writing Christian material, I know you are on the same page as I am. (excuse the pun.)

    For me, being a Christian influences every other aspect of my life. It’s not my religion. It is who I am.

    So, yeah, I read your blog over Nathan Bransford’s because I know you believe what I believe. It’s important to me.

    The question is, if Michael Marcus is not a Christian, why does he care if you are?



  89. Pheebles on February 6, 2009 at 7:09 AM

    >I have honestly never given much thought to your identifying yourself as Christian. It’s simply a non-issue for me. I read your blog for the excellent conversation that goes on here, and for the fact that you’ve never said or done anything to make me feel unwelcome here. I enjoy reading your tips, your rants, your rambles and your reader challenges.

    Being ‘denoted’ as a Christian blog is neither here nor there as far as I am concerned.



  90. CJ Raymer on February 6, 2009 at 6:47 AM

    >I agree with Gwen. This is YOUR space to personalize any way you see fit to do so. You are telling about YOU. You should never be apologetic for, or question your validity by, opening your life up to others and presenting a facet of yourself that is deeply important to you.

    I’ve been wondering lately why it has been mostly those who identify themselves as Christians that have spurned debate over their use of that identity. Others, with “religious,” political, or social views are more than accommodating when it comes to their expression of personal conviction…why must Christians be made to feel like they should hold back?



  91. Gwen Stewart on February 6, 2009 at 5:28 AM

    >I see this a bit differently, I guess.

    I view visiting someone’s blog as being invited into their living room. You wouldn’t go to someone’s home and suggest decor changes or state that you prefer brownies when cookies are served. Nor, in my humble opinion, should you take offense at how someone identifies themselves on their own blog.

    Once you begin responding on other people’s blogs, though, you are the visitor and should act accordingly. If I visit a blog about teaching, I’m going to respond as a teacher and not a Christian. Not that I ‘hide’ my Christianity, just that it’s not the topic of conversation. If someone clicks my name to see that I identify myself as Christian, well…they peeked in my purse when I was out of the room. 😉 They see what they see.

    I know your blog is business-oriented, Rachelle, but it’s still a blog titled “Rants and Ramblings”. Implication: your rants, your ramblings. It’s not a company website. So, I say be who you are, don’t rearrange the furniture, and serve whatever you want. I’ll not put my feet on the coffee table. Or peek in your purse.



  92. Ruth on February 6, 2009 at 4:36 AM

    >Of course it’s relevant you’re a Christian. You represent Christian books, and being a Christian affects how well you are able to do so. You know where the other person’s coming from, that way – you understand both the writer and the market better.

    I’m agnostic, but I used to be Christian, and I know your life does tend to revolve around the faith if you’re a “real” (as opposed to Sunday) Christian; hence, personality-wise, it’s also important.

    Plus you blog about Christianity quite a bit (imo), so stating upfront on your blog that you’re a Christian meant that as a blog-reader I wasn’t totally blind-sided when, after the previous several posts about book publishing, there was suddenly one in-depth one about Christianity.



  93. the-sea-to on February 6, 2009 at 3:58 AM

    >Hi Rachelle,

    I tend to randomly lurk around the fringes of your blog because you have such amazingly good advice for people starting out.

    Personally, I like the fact that you denote that your are a Christian. To my mind (and I may be reading this completely wrong) it defines pretty clearly your areas of interest, and as such probably prevents you from receiving too many stories that fall outside your scope. (Pardon the strange grammatical construction, I have just woken up).

    I wish other literary agents were as forthcoming, as I write in a niche genre, and I know that people with strong Christian-centric values (and I’m not knocking these, I’m Roman Catholic, and completely concur with having a deeprooted value system) would be completely disinterested in what I write. Both for the alternative sexualities portrayed in it, and for the type of deep catholic religious vs. secular and materialistic state themes that run through it.

    Okay, the end result of all that random wibbling is not only do I like the fact that you call yourself Christian, but I think that from a business sense, both for you and your clients, it makes perfect sense and prevents either party from misutilising their time.

    All the best, and thank you so much for this post.

    Chris



  94. Careann on February 6, 2009 at 3:36 AM

    >I wonder if Michael Marcus arrived at your blog on a random roll. If he were searching for an agent and had taken the time to check out your agency he would have found the home page statement: “Our company specializes in serving Christian authors who are seeking to be published either with a Christian publisher or in the general market. We represent books that have a Christian worldview.” Then perhaps it wouldn’t have seemed so irrelevant to him that you are a Christian.

    I’m a Christian writing for the secular market. Depending on the situation I don’t always announce that I’m Christian, but I imagine hints of my faith are evident in everything I do and write, simply because it’s a part of who I am. It’s not only part of who you are, too, but it’s also relevant to how you do your job. And for readers like me who are getting to know you via your blog, that’s important. (So stop worrying… and take out that “totally neutral” bit) 🙂



  95. Katherine on February 6, 2009 at 3:18 AM

    >I was honestly a little floored the e-mail. Not offended, just floored. I would hope we’re at a place today that religious orientations wouldn’t turn people off a blog, or a person for that matter. And being told not to write it in your info would be like telling someone not to list that they have red hair, or blue eyes, or that they enjoy a certain kind of music or certain movies. It’s just more pieces that make up the whole of a person. I think it’s nice to be given some of those pieces 🙂 BUT, whether you list them or not is completely up to the individual.



  96. Kim Kasch on February 6, 2009 at 2:45 AM

    >Telling blog readers you’re a Christian, might be like an amateur attorney having a designation like “Attorney at Law”. It may not be necessary, I mean how many “Attorneys at Medicine” do you know?

    But, then again, what does it hurt? And, the Christian tag tells something about you.



  97. Wickiser on February 6, 2009 at 2:12 AM

    >I think your response was good. I read your blog because some publisher said read literary agents blogs if you ever want to publish to get to know what they are looking for. So I read your blog and a few others. That you are a Christian does not matter much to me in reading your blog, but I am glad you are clear about that. I too am a Christian and too often people do not think of Christian as part of their identity. This comes up a lot in the media. Christianity defines everything in a person’s life. With Christ everything is different than without Christ, and people should notice, and I think it is fine for someone to identify themselves as a Christian just so people know you better. I want people to know I am a Christian so that they know how I tick, and so they know why I would ever be a Biblical Languages major. I know, this post was long, and not too well written. Oh well.



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