The Changing Christian Publishing Industry

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.

Publishing Trends for 2020

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.

  • Writing for Your Life

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.

Publishing Trends for 2020

  • 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

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.

Related Posts:
The Pandemic’s Lasting Effect on Book Marketing
5 Book Publishing Trends You Need to Know for 2020
5 Common Indie Publishing Errors

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Photos by Lisa Fotios from Pexels and Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.

Conferences Are Worth It!

Why invest time and money to attend a writers conference when you can just watch a webinar online? After all, many online webinars are free, or at least cheaper than the cost to attend a conference.

I believe that there is great value in attending live events. Here are three reasons why attending a writers conferences provides greater benefit than reading a book, watching a webinar, or engaging on a forum.

1. The Live Experience

There’s nothing like being in the same room with other authors. Being with others of the same ilk in a room learning together heightens your senses. Learning in a live setting with others deepens the experience and makes it more meaningful.

2. Interaction with Experts

Writers conferences give you a great chance to not only learn from experts, but to interact with them one-on-one. Many conferences allow attendees to sign up for one-on-one consultations with the instructors so that you can glean from their expertise in the area that you need the most direction. Writers conferences truly give you the best return on your dollar in terms of training and consultation from experts. In addition, the passion and energy conference presenters exhibit are catching.

3. Networking

Due to the nature of writing, being an author can be isolating. Writers conferences are a great place to meet other authors. The networking opportunities are limitless. You can find others writing in the same genre who will be willing to support you, write you an endorsement or a review, or collaborate with you on a joint marketing venture. In addition, you will be amazed at what you learn just from talking with other authors.

In a nutshell, writers conferences offer you information, encouragement and support for your journey. I guarantee that if you attend a writers conference you will come away with a renewed vision and passion for your work—like this Christian writers conference attendee:

“I want to begin by thanking you for teaching such a wonderful and enlightening class at the Christian Writer’s Conference. I was blessed immensely with all that you shared, and it was an answer to prayer. I had intended to attend another continuing session when the Lord prompted me to attend yours instead. I’m so glad He did! It was precisely what I was praying for and needing. I can honestly say that because of your class, I was able to return home with everything I had wished to glean.” ~Erin

Writers conferences are not just for aspiring authors. Many Christian writers conferences often have more attendees that are already published authors than those who are not. After all, you can always learn new skills and strategies to improve your craft.

If you live in or near the Carolinas, I invite you to join me at the Carolina Christian Writers Conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on March 9th and 10th. I will be teaching two workshops. You can learn more about the conference at https://www.fbs.org/christian-writers-conference-2018.

Related Posts:
Four Truths Every Author Should Know
What Are You Learning?
5 New Years Resolutions for Every Author

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