Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where are we going and can we get there from here?

Well, the ICRS has just concluded in Denver. If you're not acquainted with the International Christian Retailers Show and you're an aspiring writer, it's time to broaden your knowledge base.

The ICRS (formerally known simply as the CBA, Christian Booksellers Association) is the annual convention for the inspirational publishing industry, held in a different city every year. (Last year it was in Orlando, so I was able to attend as the guest of Regal Books, my publisher for Mom Needs Chocoalte.) This is the event that reflects the heartbeat of the industry.

According to the impressions of my publicist, Rebeca Seitz of Glassroad PR, and Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent with WordServe Literary Agency (by the way, check out Rachelle's very informative free writer's blog at, these were some trends evident at this year's convention:

- A bustling showroom floor with lots of excitement and activity (a good thing!).
- Booksellers seemed happy with the volume of business that transpired.
- Publishers appeared split in their reaction: some highly value the ICRS as an avenue for networking and communication with booksellers, agents, distributors and aspiring authors, others not so much.
- Regarding new projects, editors are looking for strong female protagonists in fiction; no longer the helpless damsel in distress, especially in historical romance. Wimpy women are out!
- Characters in interesting locations with unique occupations are in.
- Despite downward trends in sales during the past year (with the recession, publishing has had to tighten its belt just like everyone else), the atmosphere seemed positive and many publishers are looking for new projects (that means new authors).
- The door is opening for more memoirs (reflecting the general market).
- In non-fiction, platform is still of utmost importance, but many publishers are willing to consider new authors who have exlemporary writing skills and fresh new ideas.

All in all, it seems that gloom and doom were on hiatus and optimism shone brightly for the future. Can you say, "Hooray!!"