Monday, September 9, 2013

Blink YA: A Secular Imprint of the Religious Zondervan Publishing: Marketing to Teens

When I bought Doon at the bookstore, I was surprised to see that it was published by Blink YA, which I had never seen before. 




The book flap made no mention of God, and it didn't seem to be leaning towards a Christian romance. And besides, Scots lore and fairy tales probably have their own share of pagan origins, so I couldn't see the main characters ending up with "And then I welcomed Christ into my heart." The story sounded like a good romantic fantasy tale, and the cover was gorgeous (oh, shallow me) so I went ahead and bought it. 


(Update 9/10/2013: I consider Doon a Christian romance/fantasy novel. Read my review of the novel here.) 

Upon closer inspection on the copyrights page, I read that "BLINK is a trademark of The Zondervan Corporation." 




Well, to be honest, my first reaction was, Um, is this going to be Christian fiction? Zondervan is the religious division of big publisher HarperCollins. I flipped through the book and sure enough, the Acknowledgements page has its share of thanking the Lord (by both authors). 

I went online to BlinkYAbooks.com and checked out their About Me section. Their mission statement:


"Blink brings true stories and fiction to YA readers. The literature published by Blink is a positive reflection of what is inspiring and heartening while maintaining a tradition of imaginative and exciting storytelling that will bring readers to the edge of their seats, immerse them in a heartrending love story, or engross them in a story of a life well-lived. Readers will see themselves in all facets of Blink’s literature and will find new levels of entertainment that enrich and uplift."

Novels that "enrich and uplift" mean that we probably won't be seeing many angsty and angry teen novels coming from Blink YA. I'm not sure how vulgarity will be treated, but we'll see. They actually have a couple of dystopian books, one of which is Aquifer by Jonathan Friesen. 




According to Publishers Weekly, these books won't be any different from YA titles published by HarperCollins. A lot of money and effort is being put into promoting the stuff. 

How successful will Blink YA be? I don't really know right now, but it's clear that a lot of effort has been put into marketing the books as mainstream YA, which they are intended to be. The cover designs are beautiful. While I didn't see Facebook ads or other promo for the books until I picked up Doon, the Blink books were placed prominently alongside their non-Blink counterparts on the New Young Adult Fiction shelf. 

They are projecting a youthful, hip image of their books. I think this is a great project and hope that they will be successful with their ventures. 

~~~

Thank you for reading this! What do you think about Blink YA? Have you heard something else about them lately? I'd love to hear from you, so leave a comment! <3

--Ellen

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