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.