Marcher Lord Press

On October 1, 2007, the website for Marcher Lord Press went live, and one year later the publishing company released its first set of books. Instantly, it became the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction.

The Vision

Marcher Lord Press grew out of a frustration and a dream.

The frustration arose in my (Jeff Gerke's) mind during the years when I was editing fiction at traditional Christian publishing companies.

I love the "weird" kind of fiction—fantasy, science fiction, time travel, supernatural thrillers, and the like. I've even written some near-future technothrillers (under the pen name Jefferson Scott ). But the companies I worked for—indeed, the entire Christian publishing industry—was not interested in weird.

Those companies reach a particular demographic with their fiction—white, conservative, Evangelical American women of child-raising to empty nest years—and this demographic is typically not into weird. They tend to like prairie romances, female-oriented mysteries, and women's fiction.

And yet I knew there were many other kinds of exquisite Christian fiction than what could fit into that box. I personally knew many of the novelists writing that alternative kind of fiction, having met them through the years at writer's conferences or the acquisitions process. I even created the largest roundup of Christian speculative fiction on the Web here in the booklist.

Yet there appeared to be little opportunity for these brilliant writers and their stories to have a chance to shine. Publishers who would take the occasional gamble on a speculative fiction title would end up selling very few, thus reinforcing the conviction that no one in the industry wanted that kind of book.

This state of affairs caused me to begin dreaming of ways to bypass the entire Christian publishing and bookstore industry. If that way was a dead end, surely there must be another way around. Because I was certain that there were thousands of readers out there who would enjoy Christian speculative fiction if only it was available and they could find out about it.

The frustration led to the dream, and the dream finally coalesced into an idea for an entirely new model of publishing. And thus the plans for Marcher Lord Press were born.

What is a Marcher Lord?

In medieval times a marcher lord was a knight who was given lands on the borders of the kingdom. These knights were charged with patrolling and defending these wildlands, the marches, and thus protecting the heartland. Marcher lords were both the first line of defense and the secure bastions from which civilization could expand.

God willing, Marcher Lord Press will be a keep on the borderlands, a base from which Christian publishing can begin to settle the untamed frontier of speculative publishing.

You know, the kind of publishing that lies beyond where the map ends.

Marcher Lord is not a Vanity Press

In the minds of some, print-on-demand (POD) technology is synonymous with self-publishing, subsidy publishing, or vanity publishing. Sometimes that association is true, but it is not so with Marcher Lord Press.

POD is the technology I use. It is merely a delivery mechanism that enables me to produce short print runs or even one-offs of the titles Marcher Lord Press releases.

But whereas with subsidy publishing an author can usually get about anything published (for a fee), with Marcher Lord Press the author doesn't pay anything and the books that are published are only the ones I approve. So far, it has been only a handful a year. (Typically six.)

Six of the finest Christian speculative fiction titles I can find.

In most respects besides the fact that we use POD technology instead of traditional printing presses, Marcher Lord Press is a "regular" publishing company.

Our books have had hundreds of positive reviews, been lauded by professionals and amateurs alike. Used by writing instructors as examples to be followed. Been mentioned in Publisher's Weekly. Become finalists for numerous awards. We've even won two awards that used to be reserved for the big guys—both a Christy and a Carol.

If you're a fan of WhereTheMapEnds, then I know you'll be a fan of Marcher Lord Press.

For more information on our books, our authors, or anything else Marcher Lord, check out the site here. We've achieved so much, but it still feels like we're only getting started...stay tuned!

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