We can presume that working writers interested in writing for any market, the Christian fiction market included, generally start by studying that market including by reading within the what we might call, broadly, the genre. Since the Christian fiction market has limited distribution, it makes sense to look at the places consumers can obtain the materials.
Generally, readers will find limited if any selection at chain brick-and-mortar bookstores. I visited my Barnes and Noble local outlet, and found that they had some rather eclectic Christian fiction, some of which I would not personally classify as Christian fiction but as more broadly inspirational. They also had a few, but only a few, of Harlequin’s “Love Inspired” titles in the same section as general romance, but that selection was very limited.
If you are interested in the “Love Inspired” line, some large Walmart outlets usually carry several titles. Walmart.com seems to have even more selection of titles than the brick and mortar stores, and availability varies from Walmart store to Walmart store.
Online ordering is generally the best bet for obtaining what we might call less mainstream Christian fiction. In addition to Amazon.com and authors’s own websites, I have identified three websites that handle Christian fiction sales. All three also sell nonfiction Christian books and generally other inspirational merchandise. These three are Crossings.com, Christianbook.com and FamilyChristian.com. All three tend to at least at times have titles that, until and if and when the books become available used, they exclusively handle.
I have the most experience with Crossings.com, which I have been ordering from for years. They carry a good variety of titles including some titles outside the romance genre and at times some in the suspense line of reading. One of this sites successes involves a series they ran about five years ago called “Love Finds You” which encompassed stand-alone romance titles . . . . some contemporary some historical . . . set in various locations around the United States. A range of authors participated in authoring the series, and if you can find it the material is different enough from some of the romance otherwise on the market that it is worth a read. Crossings.com no longer offers this line, nor have I found much in way of used titles available which is why I have not covered this sub-genre in the column. What Crossings.com does have is an incentive program that allows you to earn free books. The details change over time, so check the website when you first order.
Christian.com’s current unique offerings seem to have a western flavor. This website also offers an incentive program, but I have not ordered enough to have experience with the incentives themselves. Both this site and Crossings.com are fairly easy to use.
I cannot say the same for FamilyChristian.com. I found this site difficult to navigate as far as ordering books go, which seems to be a function of books in general and fiction in particular being a subset of the site’s offerings. The books I ordered came, but I have seen much faster delivery from other suppliers.
Author websites, in some cases, make good sources for obtaining Christian fiction. Finally, you can get a reasonable selection through Amazon.com or Google’s shopping portal if you use selective search terms to find what you are looking for.