The Benefits of Showcasing Books at Conventions

Are you thinking about attending a book industry trade show such as Book Expo, CBA Unite, Christian Product Expo (CPE), or NRB Proclaim? These venues present wonderful opportunities to learn about the industry, network, obtain media coverage, and promote your books.

I encourage you to listen to these testimonials from five members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) who attended the recent NRB Proclaim 17 (National Religious Broadcasters Convention) with us in Orlando. Hear what they have to say about their experience at this convention.

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Let Go and Let God

I answered my phone and listened to my daughter sob. After she calmed down, she told me that she had just fallen down a flight of stairs and thought that her leg might be broken.

The call came just hours before I was to leave for the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) where Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has a booth each year and represents our members’ books and products at this trade show. My teenage daughter was over 250 miles away at a summer college program for rising high school seniors.

letting-go-open-hands

My mother instinct wanted to jump into my car and immediately drive to my daughter’s side. I couldn’t due to my ICRS commitment. All I could do was make sure my daughter was in good hands, and then turn the situation over to God and trust that he would fill in the gaps.

Letting go is hard. I believe the timing of this accident no coincidence. God wanted me to become better at letting go and allowing him to handle that which I am not capable of doing. Yes, my presence would be a comfort to my daughter, but the purpose of the program she is in is to help her be more independent and ready for college. As for the broken leg, there was nothing I could do for that. Such injuries require doctors.

If you are like me, you might also have a hard time letting go. I tend to take matters into my own hands and use my grit to “make things happen”, especially when it comes to promoting and marketing a book. But the truth is there is only so much that I can do in my own strength. The rest is up to God.

I can put the information about my message and my book in front of people. I can’t make them notice this information. I can’t make them pay attention to the information. And, I certainly can’t make them buy my book. I have no control over these things. I must let go and let God.

I recently heard a Christian author say, “God gives you your platform and he can take it away.” That is so true. I have to remind myself that God alone is the one that takes my message and uses it to help others. My job is to simply show up, be present, and give the message God has given me. God must do the rest.

What about you? Are you trying to control too much? Are you anxious and stressed about marketing and selling your books? I encourage you to turn it over to God. He alone “builds the house” (Psalm 127:1). Let go and let God.

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ICRS 2015

The International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) was held last week in Orlando, Florida. ICRS is the largest gathering of Christian retailers that the industry holds. Sadly, Christian brick-and-mortar bookstores are dwindling, and along with them, ICRS is also facing fewer number of retail attendees each year.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has exhibited our member publishers’ products at ICRS for the past 12 years. I have been a witness to the slowly receding show floor space and attendance figures. However, while the Christian retail stores are dwindling, I believe there is still value in ICRS.

The International Christian Retail Show is a place to learn about the industry, make connections, and gather inspiration. This year, ICRS had a number of workshops geared toward authors and publishers that provided valuable information and professional development. In addition, Christian media personnel were present and offered opportunities for authors to connect with the media and garner publicity.

In the following weeks, I will be sharing some of the information that was presented at ICRS here on my blog. In addition, I am excited about the connections CSPA made at the tradeshow. Due to some of these connections, we will be bringing our member publishers some new membership benefits as we move into the fall.

If you are not yet a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), I encourage you to join. We are offering a summer membership special of $120 for membership through December 2016—that’s 18 months of membership for less than $7 per month. Join today on CSPA’s website!

CSPA’s booth at ICRS was busy. We had author book signings almost every hour the exhibit floor was open on Monday and Tuesday. You can watch our slideshow to get a feel of what we did!

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Tools for Publishing Success

The International Christian Retail Show is just two months away! This year will be the sixth year for Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) to host a seminar for publishers (and anyone interested in becoming a publisher, including self-published authors) at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS).

CSPA is pleased to announce that we will host our annual Publishers’ Institute at ICRS this summer in St. Louis, Missouri. The theme of this year’s Publishers’ Institute is “Tools for Success.” We have an exciting lineup of speakers for the seminar.

International Rights: Is It Right for You?
Cheryl Melendez, Executive Director, GLINT
Michelle Zasadil, International Rights Manager, GLINT

Cheryl MelendezCheryl Melendez is the Executive Director of GLINT (Gospel Literature International). Cheryl has worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 18 years holding several management and executive positions, has served as interim director for a start-up Foundation, has experience in retail sales, and has managed her own company for the past 7 years. She has a wealth of experience in growing memberships in associations, customer service, and managing business operations.

Michelle Zasadil has been the International Rights Manager for GLINT since 1998. She manages GLINT’s relationships with the “product owners”, which are the companies that publish English-language books and other resources that the international publishers are able to translate and distribute.

Creating Thriving Content Ecosystems
Jon Hirst, President & CEO, GMI

jon hirstJon Hirst is the President & CEO of GMI (Global Mapping International). Jon has a background in mission innovation, publishing, and leadership. He was the Executive Director of Communications for HCJB Global from 2005 to 2009. Jon is passionate about using technology to improve the spread of the gospel. Recently, Jon and his wife, Mindy, have mentored leaders and authors through their Generous Mind think tank. Jon is also co-author (with Mindy Hirst and Paul Hiebert) of Through the River: Understanding Your Assumptions about Truth and co-editor (with Jim Reapsome) of Innovation in Mission.

Marketing Trends in Selling Books
Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association

Sarah2009PicSarah Bolme is the co-founder and Director of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), the owner of CREST Publications, and the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. She is also the editor of the CSPA Circular, the monthly newsletter of Christian Small Publishers Association. Sarah’s passion is educating others to help them market their books into the Christian marketplace.

Publishers’ Institute will be held on Sunday, June 23, from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the America’s Convention Center in Room 262, during The International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis. The cost is just $20. You can register in advance on CSPA’s website by just clicking here. Registration will also be taken at the door of the event.

I hope to see you there!

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The Importance of Tradeshows

Book Expo America (BEA) was held in New York City a few weeks ago. Book Business magazine was there and interviewed some vendors as to their take on the tradeshow. These publishers and authors talked about why they felt physical tradeshows were still important in the book industry.

Whether it is BEA or the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS), tradeshows play a valuable role in selling books.  CBA Executive Director Curtis Riskey says, “While there is great concern, hysteria and hype about creating digital content and selling it through new technologies, there is also a real concern that without stores, the publishing industry will be squeezed and cash starved.”

Watch this video and see why publishers attending BEA feel that tradeshows are still important in selling books.

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