Zondervan, the evangelical Christian publishing division of HarperCollins, has begun a new direct-to-digital imprint. Zondervan First launches with the acquisition of a historical fiction title, Love in Three-Quarter Time by Dina Sleiman. The digital titles will be produced with editorial and marketing support from Zondervan.

Christian content is growing rapidly in digital publishing, especially in fiction. Zondervan First will initially focus on fiction but will eventually include all the categories the company currently publishes. Submissions will be accepted for fiction, non-fiction and Bible material suitable for kids, teens and adults in addition to manuscripts geared for curriculum, church resources, academic and reference books.

Zondervan First will not pay an advance, but authors will receive a 25% royalty from the first book sold. After an e-book sells 10,000 net copies, the author's royalty rate rises to 50%.

"We are thrilled to launch Zondervan First,” Scott Macdonald, Zondervan president and CEO, said in a statement announcing the imprint. "This digital imprint will give voice to notable content utilizing our editorial, marketing and creative expertise."