By Iola Goulton
One of the many hats I wear is Zone Director for the American Christian Fiction Writers Beyond the Borders group, which is for ACFW members living outside the United States of America. We have around 100 members, from over a dozen countries. Most are from Canada, but we also have members from Australia, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Mozambique, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, the Virgin Islands, and the United Kingdom.
Part of my role includes contributing to and helping organise the International Christian Fiction Writers blog, along with Narelle Atkins and Jenny Blake.
ICFW was started in 2009 by twenty-one members of the Beyond the Borders group, most of whom were writing for (or aspiring to write for) one of the main US-based Christian publishers. Author websites and group blogs were a fairly new innovation, and it made sense for this group of international authors to band together to try and reach readers interested in novels by international authors or featuring international settings (or both).
Many of those early posts have had single-digit views, as is common for new blogs. But some have been read hundreds and thousands of times over the years. For example, The Battle of Blood River by Shirley Corder has been viewed over 5,000 times. Many other posts have been viewed over 1,000 times.
There are now almost 2,500 posts on the blog.
The blog has evolved over the years as contributors have joined and left, but the premise is the same: Christian authors writing stories in international settings. But what started as a blog focused on reaching readers has slowly turned into a blog that’s a little more writer-focused than intended.
And, if we’re being honest, the blog branding is tired. The main brand image has been updated to include new bloggers (including yours truly), but the essential look hasn’t changed in eight years. That’s about eight decades in internet time.
It’s time for a refresh.
We are going to be rolling out some changes here at ICFW. We’re not changing everything. We’ll still be right here, at http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com. We’ll still be posting every weekday. And we’ll still have a devotional post each Friday.
But we won’t be having the weekly Sunday Edition post any more. It doesn’t get many views—I suspect people want to see what’s on the blog today, not what’s coming up tomorrow. I know I do.
We’ve introduced a tagline: Connecting Readers and Writers Around the World.
That’s what we want to do: talk about books. And reading. And topics related to books and reading. Because we love books. And reading. We love talking about and introducing people to our favourite books and authors.
We want to introduce US readers to international authors and settings. We want to introduce non-US readers to books set in their home country. Okay, some of the books we feature will be set in the US, but that’s because the US is an international setting to most of us. We want to connect readers and writers from around the world over our love of reading. Because the best writers love to read.
We will be having themed posts Tuesday and Wednesday: Bookish Tuesday and Wandering Wednesday. We’ll also have a monthly New Releases post (and maybe even some giveaways).
The most noticeable change will be the look—we’re currently testing new colours, fonts, and images, and will be rolling out the new look across the blog over the next week or so (we've already updated Facebook and Twitter, and we even have a group board on Pinterest). Meanwhile, here’s a taster:
What do you think? What would you like to see more of here at International Christian Fiction Writers?
About Iola Goulton
Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Unpronounceable Names (Iola is pronounced yo-la, not eye-ola and definitely not Lola).
Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, and currently works as a freelance editor. When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, two teenagers and one cat. She is currently working on her first novel.