Sunday, September 7, 2008

Christian Book Expo and how it affects authors who are Christians.

Well, it doesn't help all authors who are Christians. Only those who are CBA and ECPA affiliated.
It seems Thomas Nelson, CBA's biggest publisher has decided to avoid CBA conventions altogether and Book Expo America as well. You can blog to see Thomas Nelson's reasons. Mr. Hyatt does a far better job of explaining this than I could ever hope to do.

I have to admit, I'm a little surprised. Thomas Nelson is still CBA affiliated according to Michael Hyatt. And the code of ethics I've read, which CBA posts on-line, pretty much says you support CBA if you're affiliated. Don't know how not attending CBA conventions and starting your own, in a market that is already stretched thin can be called support but I'm not privy to all the information.

It's an interesting move I think. CBA made Thomas Nelson what they are and now Thomas Nelson is pulling out of their conventions altogether to create their own CBA convention errr . . . Thomas Nelson Book expo . . . errrr Christian Book Expo. *aye, my head is spinning* Perhaps this was the only way Thomas Nelson could corner the label Christian for the CBA/ECPA market and have it applied to their conventions. Maybe not. Either way, we slide deeper into the land of confusion.

If you attend the Book Expo and you're a Christian publisher or author but don't attend the Christian Book Expo because you don't serve the very targeted CBA/ECPA market, can you still call yourself a Christian publisher or Christian author?
Of course you can silly but you still won't get your work into a Christian Bookstore because they only select books from CBA and ECPA affiliated authors.

So what publishers and authors will benefit from the Christian Book Expo?

CBA and ECPA affiliated Christian publishers.

Addendum - Since Mr. Hyatt took the time to comment, I'll feel obligated to add this. Please follow the link he provided by Mr. Hyatt for more information on Christian Book Expo. This post is simply meant to address which Christian authors stand to benefit from it. :)

And for those of you who don't know me, when I say Christian authors I mean all Christian authors, Catholics, Baptists, conservative, radical, non-denomonational farrrrr too many to list.


Michael S. Hyatt said...

Yes, we have changed our trade show strategy. Here's the link to my original comments:

I don't know of a single Christian publisher who is NOT attending Christian Book Expo.

All of are still committed to CBA bookstores. We simply want more visibility for our products with the reading public. (ICRS, which is the trade show sponsored by CBA, does not allow the public to attend.) In the end, we believe this will be beneficial to everyone in the Christian book publshing and retailing industry.


Sue Dent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue Dent said...

"Yes, we have changed our trade show strategy."

Well, you've obviously moved on. I'm not sure I see that much has changed other than the name and that the reading public is allowed to attend for free.

"We simply want more visibility for our products with the reading public."

The ECPA and CBA reading public, right? Though I'm not sure allowing the reading public in for free actually brings more visibility to your reading public?

Thomas Nelson is still CBA affiliated, correct? And is therefore bound by what CBA and ECPA thinks will fly with their core market readers which most of the time isn't the reading public but a very specific group of Christians. And now that it's being called the Christian Book Expo, and it's free to the reading public, you're bound to get a lot of reading public who thinks your authors write for the general market when they don't.

"I don't know of a single Christian publisher who is NOT attending Christian Book Expo."

I know of many Christian pubhlishing houses who aren't attending. Specifically, nearly every Christian publishing house who hasn't paid to be affiliated with CBA or ECPA because they write for the general market and not CBA and ECPA's very unique core market. This group included but is not limited to my Christian publisher.

But then, you probably don't know them since their not CBA or ECPA affiliated. Yet what an odd way to gage attendance by Christian publishers, based on whether you know them.

And why would Christian Publishers not affiliated with CBA or ECPA attend. They can't get into affiliated bookstores even if their work appeals to CBA and ECPA readers. Christian Bookstores admittedly only pull stock from CBA and ECPA, the two gatekeeper affiliations set up to protect the core market Christian Bookstores serve.

I find the BEA quite wonderful for exposure. And will definitely be attending that with my Christian publisher and their distributor who also distributes through Ingram's Christian arm, Spring Arbor.

TWCP Authors said...

It is good to see an established group willing to consider change and continually evolve to meet market needs. Stagnation and/ or complacency, especially in marketing, can mean a long slow death for a company.

I wish the Christian Book Expo every success.

I would like to address something Mr. Michael Hyatt said above:
I don't know of a single Christian publisher who is NOT attending Christian Book Expo.

There are publishers not attending this Expo, but as Mr. Hyatt is likely not aware of these little guys, he'd probably not know this. There are independent publishers such as TWCP who prefer not to be part of the ECPA—in fact, do not belong in this honourable group as the work we publish either falls outside the "evangelical" category or it is considered too edgy* to find a home amongst the current offerings of the ECPA houses.

(*I am not a fan of the adjective edgy because of the relativity of the term. Edgy, to me, means a work that is considered too risky for the big publishers—a work with content some readers mistakenly assume cannot glorify Him. I don't mean the difference between overt and subtle Christian content. I refer to the genre of speculative fiction.)

What I do not approve of is one group of publishers (albeit a large group) setting themselves up as THE Christian book industry. However, it is a free market and many of these folks were established long before I was . . . born :)

I don't look for controversy, and it is with frustration and trepidation that I find myself in the situation of having to defend the Christianity of my little organization.

Cynthia MacKinnon

Sue Dent said...

I am forever grateful to your little Christian press which will grow astronomically and proportionately to your genorosity and Faith.

I can not wait for Forever Richard, the sequel to Never Ceese, to be released. The first and most likely the only vampire/werewolf saga to appeal to the very unique and very different market CBA and ECPA serve.

And to think that it will never get the credit it deserves for this monumentous accomplishment . . . well, at least not by those who should give it.

The readers certainly give it credit though and that's all that matters to me.

Thank you TWCP

No company no matter how big can take away who you serve! But man don't it hurt when they try.

*pssst Cyn, in the post above you wrote TWPC*

Sue Dent said...

Okay, so I post a blog concerning the newly formed Christian Book Expo that was put together and created by Thomas Nelson to benefit Christian publishers and authors who are specifically CBA and ECPA affiliated and I get a reply from Mr. H. himself?

I'm confused. I've been told that on his latest blog about branding, he admits to googling his name or at least tracking it so he'll know when others are blogging about him and, should he feel inclined, might even respond--but responding here on this blog is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Clearly from the lack of comments, and because it's a relatively new blog, there is no real traffic. Why in the world would he choose to pull from his certain hectic schedule to respond to an innoculous blog about Christian Book Expo? Even if it said something worth defending, there aren't enough viewers to worry abou it.

Furthermore, this blog entry in no way targeted him or Christian Book Expo and he made no effort to defend any stance taken. It would seem he simply popped in to supply that link. But then there's the rest of his reply. All Christian publihsers that he knew of would be at Christian Book Expo.

Well, thank-you for sharing that, I guess. I wonder what that exactly means anyway. And why post it at all?

So to recap, the Christian Book Expo will only benefit Christian publishers and authors who are CBA or ECPA affiliated, two orginizations set up to serve and protect the core market that visits Christian bookstores. That crowd hasn't changed much and neither of CBA or ECPA's rules--well, except for one. If a non-affiliated Christian book sells well in the general Christian market, they will almost always carry it despite knowing that their core market will absolutley tear it apart. The Shack is a shining example.

Nope, I've not seen any influx of people visiting this blog over the past few days. *darn*