Despite a slow global decline in Christian literature consumption, market analysts are hopeful that small victories in 2021 will lead to growth in 2022. This promising outlook was substantiated by an average increase in sales in Christian bookstores by 64% in the latter part of 2021. It may be necessary for burgeoning Christian writers to consider the potential reasons why the global market for Christian literature has declined. Many consumers may feel alienated or like an untargeted demographic due to a lack of inclusion and diversity. Innovative and forward-thinking ideas may allow the market to grow and reach an untapped demographic of consumers.
Dennis Schleicher is an LGBTQ activist and Christian author who has co-opted the faith-based space with a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive outlook. Schleicher has published best-selling books detailing his experience as a gay man and a recent member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
A brief history
Schleicher has experienced much adversity in his life. In his formative years, the author was also the subject of bullying-spoke and how this often extended into violence. A pivotal moment in his life was when he was subjected to a violent hate crime. This form of violence was initiated by ignorance and targeted Schleicher because of his otherness within his high school. Despite its toll on Schleicher, this incident provided the author with a platform to speak out against such atrocities. From that moment, he knew that he needed to build a space where kindness and inclusion are moral pillars.
Schleicher has appeared on numerous national and international talk shows. Notably, he appeared on Larry King Live. This was a momentous feat as, in the early 90s, members of the LGBTQ were not often afforded a space to speak on pertinent issues publicly.
The author has also noted that his childhood experience was not an accepting one. 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. As a result, Schleicher has actively promoted diversity and inclusion within the church by addressing and highlighting his own experiences as a faith-based member of the LGBTQ community.
Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association
Schleicher joined the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association in 2006 and has gone on to write and publish several best-selling books. The author has achieved this as a clinically diagnosed with dyslexia person.
The Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association is a non-profit association that connects authors, publishers, and people involved in the literary space. The organization was created to help authors and publishers increase their exposure, profit, and sales. Within the organization, Schleicher published his notable 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 broad audience positively received the book, which was reflected in the reviews. Schleicher has also published an affirmation journal, ‘Scripture Up.’ This affirmation journal attempts to help its readers by allowing them to develop and grow their habits relating to scripture.
Another critical moment in Schleicher’s personal and literary life was becoming the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association president. This career move has increased and added to the author’s ability to promote and write about inclusion and diversity within the church. Moreover, it has amplified his platform for telling his personal story about the church and his identity.
The global market for Christian literature has seen a decline in growth and consumption in recent years. This decline can be assumed to come from several factors; however, a lack of contemporary, inclusive thinking is among them. Author Dennis Schleicher has utilized his personal experiences to create a platform for inclusivity in the church. Similarly, the author has breathed life into the Christian literary market by crafting work appealing to a much more diverse audience. His work, and prevalence as a speaker, have allowed Schleicher to not only persist within the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association but become its president.
Story by Virginia Sagal