This year has brought many changes to the world and our way of life. The book industry—including the Christian publishing industry—is enduring and shifting due to the ramifications of both the pandemic and the spotlight on racial injustice.
The COVID-19 Pandemic
With worldwide lock down and banning of large in-person gatherings, the convention and conference landscape has been shaken up. Many events have been cancelled, some have gone to a virtual format, and a few brave organizers are forging ahead with running a physical event.
Christian Writers Conferences are an important infrastructure in the Christian book industry. They provide authors with:
- Vital training to take your writing and publishing to the next level
- Literary agents to connect you to the publishing world
- Book and magazine editors looking to work with new authors
- Freelance editors to provide valuable critiques
- Fellow authors to both network with and encourage you in your journey
A number of Christian Writers Conferences have taken a huge hit from the pandemic. Many have been cancelled for 2020 and some are scrambling to provide virtual conferences like:
- ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)
This organization will be holding their annual writers conference in September via zoom—a first ever for them. Learn more on their website at https://www.acfw.com/conference.
- Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference
This conference has been running for 50 years. This year, it was cancelled due to COVID-19, and the organizers decided that they could not longer sponsor the event moving forward. In an attempt to save this conference, the Steve Laube Agency, has initiated a Kickstarter fund to try to save the conference and hold it in March 2021.
If you have ever attended this writers conference or are interested in attending, then join this campaign by signing up for the March 2021 conference now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/christianwriters/2021-mount-hermon-christian-writers-conference
In response to the need for continued support for writers, some new virtual conferences have been started.
This group recently announced their inaugural Writing for Your Life Christian Children’s Book Conference. This virtual conference is geared toward Christian children’s book readers and writers. The conference will be held in September. You can learn more at https://writingforyourlife.com/2020-online-christian-childrens-books-conference
Racial Injustice Issues
The recent protests and movements around the United States have shown a spotlight on the publishing industry’s need for more diversity. Interestingly, the Christian book industry had already begun to address this issue.
- Christian Publishing Summit
Last fall, Publishers Weekly held an online Christian Publishing Summit. One of the sessions in this summit was “Lessons on How To Engage and Serve Diverse Christian Audiences”. In that summit, Helen Lee of Intervarsity Press talked about why diversity matters and the importance of inclusion from a variety of perspectives.
Publishing in Color is a writers conference for spiritual writers of color. This conference was started help overcome the fact that in today’s spiritual publishing industry writers of color are under-represented. Under-represented writers of color include (but are not limited to) African Americans, Latinx Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.
This fall, Publishing in Color will be held as a virtual online conference in October. You can learn more at https://publishingincolor.com.
More recently, a new group has formed to encourage Christian publishing professionals of color.
- Christian Publishing Professionals of Color (CPPOC)
Jevon Bolden of Embolden Media Group recently launched an online community called Christian Publishing Professionals of Color (CPPOC). The group was formed to be a place where BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Christian publishing professionals can connect with other each other to bond, brainstorm, strategize, and problem solve as well as get encouragement, advice, and support.
Sadly, this group is only open to BIPOC Christian publishing professionals who work in traditional publishing or providing services that serve the Christian publishing industry—marketing, sales, distribution, ghostwriting, editing, literary agenting—or those who are aspiring to any one of those positions in the field. So, indie authors and self-published BIPOC authors are excluded.
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Photos by Lisa Fotios from Pexels and Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.