Visualizing Visionary Fiction

Many years ago Bob Friedman, John Nelson and I put our heads together to try to solve a problem for the publishing industry, and for the metaphysical (New Age) community. We were unable to have the impact he hoped to have, but perhaps the cause is not quite lost.

The problem is this. Suppose you’re someone new to metaphysics and you come across, say, “The Celestine Prophecy,” or “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” You go to your local bookstore (assuming you still HAVE a local bookstore and probably you ask what else they have by the same authors. But after a while, when you’re read everything James Redfield or Richard Bach had published, you might want more of the same, by other authors. You know (or anyway you assume) it exists. But how do you find it?

More to the point, how do you find tomorrow’s best-selling metaphysical authors? (There was a time, after all, when Richard Bach was known only as an author of books about airplanes.)  The answer is: If your local bookseller doesn’t know, you’re probably out of luck. And how can any bookseller know all the great fiction writers — especially the up-and-coming fiction writers?

It’s a problem. Bookstores with metaphysical or New Age sections don’t usually include fiction in those sections except for some obvious block-buster authors. And metaphysical fiction, shelved among mainstream fiction, is going to be lost unless the author is already known.

So, we created the category of Visionary Fiction and pressed to make it industry standard. We envisioned metaphysical sections with a shelf saying Visionary Fiction; we hoped to jump-start a new market for new authors — our own and others. Well, we got the category established officially, but precious few bookstores ever set up the shelves of fiction. And there is so much out there, and would be so much more if the prospective authors had a decent chance of selling their novels.

It occurs to me, the internet may yet provide a way for people to find new authors of Visionary Fiction, which I define as fiction whose story depends upon metaphysical concepts. Maybe someday. 

3 thoughts on “Visualizing Visionary Fiction

  1. Hi Frank

    Yes Frank – I had exactly the same problem when I started “waking up” – I couldn’t devour books fast enough! And here in Melbourne no one seemed to know what I was talking about. Even the internet wasn’t helpful. I remember emailing you asking if you could recommend any authors who’d written about their experiences at TMI – and you were helpful at the time. So hopefully the internet will find a way to provide this information.

    Irene

  2. Hi Frank,
    I’ve found that the early internet chat rooms and message boards filled this function back then. From time to time people would post lists of books, authors, movies etc that they had found meaningful, and I would check them out. If I was in a hurry I’d post such a list or start the topic myself. This sharing often turned out to be a good way of fnding similar material.

    Now, in addition to those resources, Amazon has a very amazing cross-reference system. If I look at “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” it will tell me what other books similar-minded people have bought. Also, people can post lists, such as “My favorite Metaphysical books and/or authors”. So I can view these lists (and have) to find similar material.

    And there is also e-mail, which helped to spread “The Secret” by (electronic) word of mouth.

    I rarely go into any type of physical store these days, buying as much on-line as I can (saves gas & time). So I don’t think I would find a separate “Visionary Fiction” category useful these days. If I do go into a bookstore I check out their metaphysical section (but I find that I already own most of the books they stock). Rather, I find the online sharing of information works well to acquaint me with works of interest these days.

    Bob

  3. That’s a very interesting insight, and I realize that i do the same thing you do, for the same reasons.

    That makes me feel better about the situation. As an author of visionary fiction myself I can only hope that the right people find my books as they need them.

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