First Blog Post

Since 2007, when we started announcing Marcher Lord Press, and since October of 2008, when we actually released our first books, MLP has been—and remains—the premier publisher of Christian science fiction and fantasy books.

In the years since then, the publishing industry has been turned on its head. The givens of the whole industry—the major players, the big bookstores, and even the publishing model itself—have been radically changed.

When MLP first launched, our publishing model was considered unusual. I’d tell my professional colleagues what we were planning, and they’d look at me like I’d eaten a funky mushroom.

I’d love to say that I did things so differently because I saw the economic collapse coming. I’d love to say that I read the trends so beautifully and predicted what the next wave of publishing would have to look like.

What actually happened was that I didn’t foresee anything of the kind. I was just looking for a way to solve a problem, and I saw that technology had evolved to the point where I could accomplish my goals and provide the solution I was seeking. And, also, because I’m a bit of a contrarian.

I wanted to be able to publish original Christian fantasy and science fiction books and get them directly to the people who wanted them, bypassing bookstores and distributors and the whole existing supply chain in order to keep my costs down.

I didn’t realize it would also prove to be such a perfect system for withstanding—and thriving during—recession.

The more the publishing landscape changes, the smarter I look. But that’s how I know God was involved, because I’m not that smart.

From 2008 through 2011, Marcher Lord Press racked up an impressive trophy case, especially for such a small publishing venture. During those years we won two Christy Awards, two Carol Awards, several other awards, and were finalists on many more. We received review coverage in Publishers Weekly and Library Journal and other important magazines.

The company has been profitable since Day 1, and we have an amazing stable of authors and a library of Christian speculative fiction that I’m excessively proud of.

However, as 2012 dawned, I felt it was time to try some new ideas. Our mission remains the same, but I’d love to see MLP grow in terms of reach. Lots of people know about us, but lots of people don’t.

I felt I’d gone about as far as I could go, and taken MLP about as far as I could take it, doing what I knew to do. I was ready to see what a professional marketing firm could do to bring us to the next level.

The reinvented www.marcherlordpress.com is the result.

With the new design, we’ll have good reason for you to come back to the site not just once every six months, but once a month—or once a week or more.

I want this to become the place where the conversation about Christian speculative fiction takes place.

And I’d love for you to help make that happen.

So, let’s start right now. What do you think of the new site, and what would you like to see here?

39 Responses to First Blog Post

  1. Morgan L. Busse May 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Of course you already knew this, but I love the new site! And I can’t wait to see where MLP will be in the next few years 🙂

  2. Lori Stanley Roeleveld May 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Speaking as a middle-aged, Evangelical retired-homeschool mom with a miniature guillotine and a Worf action figure on her desk, a sword on her wall, and some pretty weird ideas in her head, I’m looking forward to a clearing in the forest where I stand a chance of feeling at home. Gives me hope that I’ll have people to hang with in eternity. Still too traumatized from hanging out with normal Christians to throw out any topics but I’ll jump in once they start flying. (I once was taken aside and scolded for suggesting that Ray Bradbury’s book “Zen and the Art of Writing” was helpful to my writing. The lovely Christian woman who exhorted me suggested that the “Eastern and scientifc influence” of the book may be where I get my strange ideas and shouldn’t the Bible be the only writing inspiration I need?) Thanks for being out there! Lori

    • Jeff Gerke May 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      Awesome, Lori! And if you (and anyone else) are looking for fellow wierdians, make sure you visit the “Community” link on the site. The Anomaly is for you!

  3. Kaleb May 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    I like this new website. It captures both parts of spec-fic really well.

    I’d like to see the sequel to “Starfire: The Mending” to appear in the bookstore.

    • Jeff Gerke May 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

      So would I, Kaleb! Stuart, you hear that? People are waiting! [grin]

  4. Andrew Winch May 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    I love the new site layout, Jeff! It’s appealing to the eye and user friendly. Not once have I felt lost or confused about what I was looking at. I’m curious, with MLP strutting around in its new fancy clothes, how long will it be before “The Anomaly” decides to go shopping for a new wardrobe, too?

  5. Jeff Gerke May 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Good thoughts, Andrew. I dunno. That’s a ProBoards thing, but I’m sure we could do SOMETHING. Not just yet, though, I think.

  6. Sarah Cowles May 31, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    Congratulations on the new website and you’re publishing success. Perhaps God gave you wisdom about how to approach a new model of publishing. : )

    • Jeff Gerke May 31, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      I’d like to think that, Sarah. The more the publishing industry transforms, the smarter my model looks…which means at least some of it definitely didn’t come from me!

  7. Jennette June 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    The new website looks amazing! Professional.

  8. Luther Powell June 1, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I’m so giddy after browsing this site, I’m shaking. It’s funny, I first began looking for publishing websites a year or two before it says on here that MLP came about, and I felt a bit hopeless during my first few searches. Once I started revising a mess of stuff and decided nothing was ready to get published anyway, I met Ben Erlichman, who introduced me to you. And you, Jeff, have shown me exactly what I’ve been looking for. Says on here you take ‘chillers,’ so I hope that you and/or readers will like what I have to offer. God bless!

    • Luther Powell June 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      Whoa… my picture showed up. How’d that happen? 😛

    • Jeff Gerke June 2, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Awesome, Luther! You must’ve been looking for us during the time I was getting ready to launch. I announced MLP in October 2007, one year before we officially launched and the first books were released. But I’m not surprised you didn’t find us. It’s taken this long to generate the reach we have now, and I’m always looking to expand it. Glad you’ve found us.

      • Luther Powell June 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        I began writing my first novel on New Years’ Eve of 2006, started looking for publishing sites maybe halfway through it, so that sounds about right. 😛

  9. Jenni June 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    Love the new site! Partial to the colors, too. 😉
    Really awesome to see this played out:

    “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:
    He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.”
    Ps 37:5-6

  10. Jacob Lindaman June 2, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Glad to hear about the success, not just in making great stories, but also the financial success. You guys have done a good job producing and marketing a quality product. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for MLP and Christian story-telling.

  11. Yoda47 June 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Love the new site! It looks better, is easier to navigate, and I’m looking forward to the discussions on the weekends.

  12. Simmie McMillan June 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Hi Jeff, this is the lady that sent you an email a couple of years back that said “Thank you for existing!” I’ve just about got my first novel finished (sans editing) and will be doing the “acquisition thing” by the end of the summer. I totally love your new website. It’s powerful and inviting. Congratulations on all your success. Be blessed!

  13. Jeff Gerke June 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Thanks, everyone. Loving hearing from you guys.

  14. Nadine Brandes June 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    “Thrilled” doesn’t begin to capture the elation clawing around inside me about the new MLP website. The look is fresh, snazzy, and exhilarating. I’m most excited about the increased activity and interaction on the website (aka. I get to visit more often!).
    Some things I’d like to see?
    Some interaction from the MLP authors. This may already be on the menu, but guest blog posts about their MLP stories or the process God took them through with writing.
    I know many of the authors have their own websites or blogs, but I’d love to see an “Our Authors” tab or something that links to all their websites or has a little blurb from each of them. Perhaps it exists and I just haven’t found it yet. Either way, I look forward to all the exciting changes and development with which God’s dousing Marcher Lord Press.

    • Pascal Imperato June 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

      Nadine has a good idea. An interface of authors in our favorite genre would be a creative jaunt. And Jeff, your new site is so cool. Hope you don’t mind if I pull a few ideas to jazz up my pathetic web presence.

      • Jeff Gerke June 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

        Great idea, Nadine (and Pascal, go ahead!).

        We do have our authors on-board for lots of interaction. I’ve asked them to make it an ongoing meet the authors events. Beginning…any time now, they should be on here and engaging with you awesome folks.

    • Marc Schooley June 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Hey Nadine,

      Yes, ma’am…on the menu, indeed. Thanks for the encouragement; this blog has a good feel to it already.

    • Morgan L. Busse June 5, 2012 at 9:15 am #

      Ok, I’m late to the party, but I have a valid excuse 🙂 Yes, many of us authors will be blogging here as a way to share our journey, thoughts, and love of everything speculative. So be watching the blog, there will be something new every day!

  15. J. L. Lyon June 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Very impressed with the new site. I grew up writing weird stories, and so when I started looking into publishing I was shocked to find the door largely closed to Speculative authors in the CBA. I think this is slowly changing due in no small part to your efforts with MLP. I’m excited to see what worlds your authors take us to in the future, and I will definitely be back on a regular basis.

    But what would I like to see?

    Acquisitions, acquisitions, acquisitions! 🙂

  16. Nancy June 4, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Your website looks great, Jeff. Here is my suggestion for the blog (and it’s a tall order that may require installments): describe how a Christian worldview is manifested in Christian science fiction books, fantasy, time travel, steampunk, alternate history, spiritual warfare, superhero, vampire, or technothriller, maybe one genre at a time. Write a simple white paper that will help take the fear out of weird fiction for parents and teachers who want to respect the reading interests of their children/students, but are leery of such genres. There you go. Easy peasy, right?

    • Jeff Gerke June 4, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Hi, Nancy, good idea. I could put it in the “For Parents” page. We designed the new site knowing that the kind of person you describe (concerned parents) would be coming to the site. But we didn’t include the content you’re talking about, and we could.

      The short answer is that I don’t publish anything that isn’t in some sense a novel arising from the Christian worldview. I spell that out for potential MLP authors on the writers guidelines page, just so people who don’t fit in that category won’t bother submitting their work to us.

      The Christian content is integrated in MLP books in diverse ways. Some are lighter in that respect, containing only a mysterious priest of the One God who leads our heroes to discover some truth about Him, for instance. While others are ABOUT Christianity, such as “A Star Curiously Singing,” which is set in a future in which sharia law is the law of the whole earth and then the God of the New Testament breaks back into that world, or “The Word Reclaimed,” which is a science fiction about a future in which all Scriptures have been lost, and a teenager finds the last Bible in existence and makes the “mistake” of reading it.

      A benefit of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, etc.) is that it allows you to remove things to a completely new and fresh setting and examine them there. Because if you’re dealing with, say, idolatry in a typical setting, the reader can get distracted by all the “real” elements and side issues that go along with it. But if you remove it to a bizarre world where nothing is familiar to the reader, you can more readily bring the focus onto your main theme.

      Thanks for your note, Nancy!

      • Jeff Gerke June 4, 2012 at 8:54 am #

        Done!

  17. MS Quixote June 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Congratulations, Jeff…

    The new site is top-notch. Class act as usual.

  18. John Mason June 5, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    A great looking and well worked out site.

    As for me, for the most part the wet wiring has paid off and I am now fully wireless. As long as I’m in a G3/G4 area, any blog posts or updates in the MLP site will instantly download to my brain. The doctors say the swelling in the optic nerves will subside soon and all of the hues and colorful tones of the site will look normal to me.
    I’m glad to see that this realm for SF writing has finally launched and I know the scope of its future is boundless.

    Now, go forth and be brilliant.

    • Jeff Gerke June 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

      I’m…not exactly sure what that means, John, but it sounds good! So, thank you.

  19. Nancy June 6, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Thanks, Jeff. Now I have a place to send folks who want more to know more on this topic. No matter what they say, you are a good man. 🙂

  20. Zach June 6, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I can’t find links to the individual authors. Do you have a list of your authors, brief bios, and links to their personal websites?

    • Jeff Gerke June 6, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Hi, Zach, thanks for your note. Not seven minutes before your note arrived, I had just added the “MLP Authors” page. You can find it under “About” on the navigation bar near the top of the page.

      As of right now, there are no authors listed there. I’ve just sent out a note asking my authors to write up a brief introduction to themselves, along with a link to their various home pages.

      In addition, I’ve asked them to write up introductions to themselves and post them on the blog.

      I really want this to be a place where readers and authors can get to know one another.

  21. Clarissa Ruth June 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    This is a great site. I visited just recently and the site didn’t make much of an impact on me. Today, when I returned, I sat perfectly still for a moment, as it dawned on me that yes, I am in the right place, and yes, it looks 90% better! (I was going to say 100% better, but I didn’t want to insult your old site…it was pretty good too 🙂

    Suggestions: I visited the bookstore and used the drop-down menus. But if I chose one “Product Category” for instance, when I tried to choose another, the only choices were “All” and the category I had picked before. I had to go back to “All” then choose from the list which mysteriously reappeared. Not a big deal, but if you are looking for bugs to root out, there’s one 😉
    Also, I’d enjoy being able to automatically get the new blog posts in my email. This might defeat your purpose of people coming to the site very often…or it might remind people you are there and give them more incentive to come. Just a thought.

    And I just have to say this. I saw your picture on the “About” page, and it warmed my heart to know I’m not the only one who runs around in costumes with knives and chain mail! Does it make me a huge nerd that I made my chain mail out of multiple dog leashes?? lol

    Anyway, great site, huge improvement in looks and usability!

    Thanks for all you do for the nerds of the world.
    ~~Clarissa

    • Jeff Gerke June 7, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Good thoughts, Clarissa; thank you!

      And yes, I’m afraid you’ve identified yourself as a nerd in a number of ways. LOL. But hey, as you said, you’re in the right place. (But we prefer the term geek. It implies vast technological prowess–to compensate for a lack of social skills…)

      That you HAVE chainmail makes you a geek. That you MADE your own makes you a geek. But making them out of dog leashes…that just makes you creative! Now I want to see it.

      • Clarissa Ruth June 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

        True, true, I think most people on here are geeks (in the best possible way, of course!). But the word brings with it a certain weight of intelligence and/or vast amounts of knowledge, so I hesitated using it for myself 😉
        The chain mail probably isn’t worth seeing in the least, but if I find a geek who knows how to attach pictures to blog replies, you’ll be the first to know!

  22. Thomas Preston September 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    I really like the new site. I like the newly publishing plan of one book a month (now I don’t have to wait so long!). I still have to buy a book from ya’ll (hopefully, that will be remedied this year). Right now, I’m looking at Steve Rzasa’s new book, Crosswind.
    I do have a question. When will Marcher Lord be publishing a Time Travel novel? This is my favorite are of spec-fic, so I was just wondering.
    Also, will Marcher Lord ever do a serialized space opera? Kind of like of Star Trek, with one ongoing series with many authors. I think that would be a really cool idea.

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