Despite a slow global decline in Christian literature consumption, market analysts hope small wins in 2021 will lead to growth in 2022. This promising outlook has been underpinned by an average increase in sales at Christian bookstores of 64% in the latter part of 2021. It may be necessary for burgeoning Christian writers to consider potential reasons for the decline in the global Christian literature market. Many consumers may feel alienated or like an untargeted demographic due to a lack of inclusion and diversity. Innovative and forward-thinking ideas can allow the market to grow and reach an untapped population of consumers.
Dennis Schleicher is an LGBTQ activist and Christian author who has co-opted faith-based space with a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive perspective. Schleicher has published bestselling books detailing his experience as a gay man and recent member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A short story
Schleicher has experienced a lot of adversity in his life. During his formative years, the author was also the subject of bullying talk and how this often extended to violence. A pivotal moment in his life was when he was the victim of a violent hate crime. This form of violence was initiated out of ignorance and was aimed at Schleicher because of his otherness within his high school. Despite its impact on Schleicher, this incident provided the author with a platform to speak out against such atrocities. From that moment, he knew he needed to build a space where kindness and inclusion are moral pillars.
Schleicher has appeared on numerous national and international talk shows. He has notably appeared on Larry King Live. This was a major feat because, in the early 1990s, members of the LGBTQ community often did not have the opportunity to speak out publicly on relevant issues.
The author also noted that her childhood experience was not one of acceptance. Schleicher’s first introduction to the church had been tumultuous and was often marred by his parental involvement with his identity. The author has since been able to reconcile with the church and find a way to use his differences as an asset. Accordingly, Schleicher has actively promoted diversity and inclusion within the church by addressing and highlighting her own experiences as a denominational member of the LGBTQ community.
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association
Schleicher joined the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association in 2006 and has written and published several bestselling books. The author achieved this as someone clinically diagnosed with dyslexia.
The Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association is a nonprofit association that connects authors, publishers, and people involved in the literary space. The organization was created to help authors and publishers increase their visibility, profits and sales. Within the organization, Schleicher published his remarkable work, “Is He Nuts?: Why a Gay Man would Become a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ.” This particular book details Schleicher’s experience as a member of the LGBTQ community and the church. A large audience positively received the book, which was reflected in the reviews. Schleicher also published an affirmation journal, “Scripture Up”. This affirmation journal tries to help its readers by allowing them to build and develop their habits relating to the scriptures.
Another critical moment in Schleicher’s personal and literary life was becoming president of the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association. This career change has increased and added to the author’s ability to promote and write about inclusion and diversity within the church. Additionally, it amplified his platform to tell his personal story about the church and its identity.
The global Christian literature market has seen a decline in growth and consumption in recent years. It can be assumed that this decline stems from several factors; however, a lack of contemporary and inclusive thinking is part of it. Author Dennis Schleicher used his personal experiences to create a platform for inclusiveness in the church. Likewise, the author breathed life into the Christian literary market by creating works that appealed to a much more diverse audience. His work and prevalence as a lecturer enabled Schleicher not only to persist in the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association, but also to become its president.
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