I am a member because I am an editor with Splashdown Books, the publisher of Finding Angel, and Splashdown is an "ACFW recognized" publisher. That means Splashdown meets their requirements as a Christian publisher, even though we publish very weird stuff ;).
Their requirements can be pretty stringent, and I don't agree with many of them. For example, they require their recognized publishers to have a separate imprint for Christian fiction if the overall publishing house has secular books as well.
A particular publishing house called Desert Breeze was denied "recognition" by the ACFW despite a clear distinction between their Christian and secular romance novels. They didn't want to restructure their entire house, and I agreed with them. It's ridiculous. There are other publishers with Christian "imprints" whose websites don't distinguish between books from those imprints and the other, secular books. Yet DBP has their site very well organized. This, my friends, is bass-ackwards.
DBP appealed to the leadership via proper channels. They were ultimately denied. But instead of getting on the ACFW loop and squawking, they involved themselves elsewhere, joining groups that were more secular. They've been really successful, with both their secular AND Christian novels. They did what I said we need to do in my other post--they found where they belonged, and or created places for themselves, and it's worked. They essentially ignore the ACFW--because their visions don't jibe.
One particular author with DBP, Shawna Williams, is a good friend of mine. She recently attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Several other DBP authors went as well. From what I gather, they had a blast. And Shawna told me specifically how open the attendees were to Christian romance! Again, instead of moaning about the lack of acceptance by a particular group, these ladies involved themselves in a convention that held the same standards.
I mentioned my own publisher, Splashdown Books, and the fact that we are recognized by the ACFW. We happen to fall in line with them, but it's not because we specifically set out to meet their standards. AND we do branch out, both as a publishing house and as individual authors, into markets for our particular genres. You won't find me at an ACFW conference, but you'll find me at the Necronomicon. We at Splashdown know that we're both Christian and speculative.
My point? Success comes from focusing on what you're trying to accomplish and not spending valuable time berating what others are doing. DBP has my respect because they set out for a certain goal and accomplished it, without looking anywhere but forward.
Matthew 10:14 says, "If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave." Even God's word is not meant to be hammered into people, so what makes us think our opinions should be?
If you disagree with a group, go find another group. No inciting derision, pouting over backlash (that you refuse to address), and posting follow-up blogs about how petty that group is. Shake the dust from your feet and move in the direction you want to go. If the "other" group is wrong, they'll fall of their own accord. If not...well, there's room enough for both groups.
If customers want different, more modest scenery, they can go to another restaurant. If they're entrepreneurally inclined (can I coin a new phrase?), they can even open a restaurant of their own, specifically for those customers. Here's the catch--they can't stand in the middle of Hooters berating the waitresses and managers, nor drag the customers from their seats. Instead, they need to advertise their restaurant for what it is, rather than what it's not, and if there are customers who want that, they'll come.
DBP did exactly that. Splashdown is doing that.
I'm doing that, too. This is my last post on the topic. I'm shaking the dust.
(PS--I chose that top picture because I was known for my black Chuck Converse in high school. I miss those old, raggy shoes....)