What Will You Be Caught Reading?

May is “Get Caught Reading” month! What will you get caught reading this month?

Each year, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) puts together a cooperative catalog featuring products from our member publishers. This year’s catalog features 60 titles from 27 of our member publishers.

I invite you to click on the catalog cover pictured below to check out the great titles CSPA members produce! I am sure you will find within the pages of the catalog a new book to read this month.

Due to the number of beautiful book covers featured in the catalog, it may take a few minutes for the catalog to load. Please be patient.

CSPA Catalog Cover

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Many Styles, One Book

A friend of mine, who is just about a generation younger than me, invited me to come to a new church opening up in our community recently. When I walked into the church service, I felt old. Everyone was almost a generation younger than me.

Everything about this new church was set up to interest this younger age group. The church had a coffee-shop style coffee area complete with bistro tables. The sanctuary was set up with chairs in a semi-circle around coffee-type tables all facing the stage. Each coffee table had a vase containing the offering envelopes and information about the church. Many of the people attending used these tables to set their coffee on during the service. No one was dressed up.

While the outward elements of this new church were quite different from the traditional churches I am used to, I noticed that it held the same service elements. These elements included: a time of singing worship songs, a sermon, and an offering.

This reminded me of publishing books. Books come in all shapes and sizes. They look different and are geared toward different audiences. However, there are some basic elements that make a book a book. These include: a cover, a title page, a copyright page, a table of contents (for nonfiction), and the body of the book.

What the cover looks like and how information is presented in each book will differ, but these elements are what make a book a book, just like singing, a sermon, and an offering are what make a church service a church service regardless of the physical setup or how the information is presented.

Just like this new church used a style of music, an informal sanctuary set-up, and coffee to draw the audience they wanted to minister to, so should your book contain cover art, font style, and a layout design that are geared to the audience you are seeking to minster to through your book.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and add cutting-edge elements to your book. It may be what is needed to reach your intended audience.

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A Glimpse of a Trade Show

If you have never attended a book industry trade convention such as BookExpo America (BEA) or the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), your first time attending can be pretty daunting.

The vast number of books, authors, gimmicks, and people can be overwhelming. However, book trade shows offer a great learning opportunity for any publisher or author. They are also great venues to network with others in the industry.

To get a small flavor for the 2012 BEA, which was held last month, check out this video made of the sights seen and the sounds heard while strolling the aisles.

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Gifts for Readers

My local newspaper recently ran an article highlighting gifts for readers for the Christmas season. I thought this was a fantastic idea, so, I decided to share a list of gifts for readers on my blog.

The following is a gift guide featuring books from small publishers.  It was difficult to just pick a few books to highlight, so I choose to feature books that have won awards and cater to a wide audience.

Preschoolers

The Color of Grace, by Jennifer Neill (In the Wind Books $12.99)—This book was a recent winner of the Gold Moonbeam Spirit Award and the Young Voices Foundation Gold Award. A young boy uses his five senses to question his mother about grace while getting ready for bed.

Young Elementary

The Prize Cake, by CBH Ministries (CBH Ministries $10)—This book was a recipient of the 2010 Homeschool Crew Seaworthy Award. Tori and her mom decide to make submissions to a cake competition but when things don’t turn out the way tori hopes, will she be able to find forgiveness in her heart?

Ten Things Every Kid Should Know About God, by Tina Bryson (Leeway Artisans $10.95)—Winner of the 2011 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, this book walks kids through 10 essential things they should know about God.

Teenagers

I Can See the Shore, by Mike Dawson (Grace Acres Press $19.95)—Winner of the 2011 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award, this story is a biographical account written by a missionary to the Yanomamo tribe in South America.

Conventional Wisdom, by Alain Auderset (Atelier Alain Auderset $11.99)—This comic book is a Christian best-seller in Europe. Its vivid illustrations make you think about God and the meaning of life. Full of humor, this book is great for helping individuals toward more faith.

Adult Fiction

Picking Up the Pieces, by Paula Vince (Even Before Publishing $18.99)—This book won the 2011 International Book Awards Religious Fiction category. One terrible decision leads to another and the Parker and Quinlan families find out what it means to be in total despair. In a moment of recklessness, Blake Quinlan does something he never should.

Seasons in the Mist, by Deborah Kinnard (Sheaf House $13.99)—This book was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the Grace Awards for excellence in faith-based fiction. Stranded in 1353 cornwall, american graduate student Bethany Lindstrom knows she must find a way back to her own time or face a life of falsehoods and peril.

Adult Nonfiction

Your Average Joe Unplugged, by Joseph Schneller (Nordskog Publishing $11.95)—This is a devotional book for men. Through 30 daily devotionals and a half-dozen humor articles, Joseph Schneller presents honest, often humorous encouragement for your Christian pilgrimage through this fallen world.

Real Spiritual Spinach: Faith for the Journey, by Tammy Real-McKeighan (Truth Book Publishers $17.99)—This book is a compilation of 59 faith-boosting weekly newspaper columns by Tammy Real-McKeighan. Each column dishes up commonplace, but encouraging stories that show how the Bible applies to people today.

If you are looking for a great book to give to someone this Christmas, consider these or other great books by small publishers! Books make great gifts.They are affordable, and they provide hours of surprise, escape, and discovery. Best of all, Christian books encourage your loved ones in their relationship with God.

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