It is time to take a look at our past year and reflect on all the things that have happened. It is a recitation of good things and not so good things. But all were under the sovereignty of God and as such we give all glory to Him. (If you’d like to look at previous annual reports they can be found here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009.)
The Agency Continues to Have Success
We (the four of us) continue to thrive despite numerous shifts in the industry. We were able to secure contracts for 130 forthcoming books. (This was the same number of books contracted in 2015!) It is exciting to note that in that mix were contracts for thirteen debut authors.
I spoke at seven events during the year. As an agency the four of us covered the country from Florida to Oregon attending nearly 20 different writers conferences.
We were proud to have three Carol Award winners – Lynette Eason, Lynn Huggins Blackburn, and Dina Slieman (out of seven finalists), and four Christy Award finalists.
Our team of agents currently represent 128 novelists and 113 non-fiction authors. It is an honor and a privilege to work with so many great people.
The Industry is Always Changing
The industry is constantly in flux. Some businesses thrive while others struggle. From year to year the “top dog” changes. The ebb and flow can be quite a challenge. There were publishers who announced changes in the types of books they would be acquiring or who are refocusing their publishing efforts in unanticipated directions, which caught some authors by surprise in the middle of multi-book contracts. Navigating those changes is a big part of what an agent does for their clients. We have to update our editorial contact lists on a regular basis to make sure the right person is receiving the right proposal.
In some general industry news, the Christy Awards will be managed by ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) which will assure its viability for years to come.
STL (Send the Light) Distributors closed their doors. I didn’t write about it earlier because it didn’t have a direct impact on writers, but it did create a gap in the supply chain for retailers. The void was filled quickly but it meant that publishers had to pivot and adjust their own sales channels to accommodate the new demands.
There were a number of significant authors who passed away during the year. The list includes: Charles Ryrie, Gilbert Morris, Gary Smalley, Tim LaHaye, Emily Barnes, Larry Richards, C. Peter Wagner, Sandie Bricker, and Thomas Oden. Each fulfilled their call to be a writer and their works touched the lives of millions of readers. (I apologize if I missed anyone. Please add their names in the comments below.)
Enclave Publishing Sold
After more than two years of owning and running Enclave Publishing I was approached by Gilead Publishing and agreed to sell the company to them. Enclave is now an imprint of Gilead Publishing. They asked me to remain as the Publisher for the imprint which means I continue to oversee the acquisitions and editorial process for those books.
Twelve new titles released in 2016. We were honored to win two Excellence in Editing awards for Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin and A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes. Both of those books, along with Rebel by R. J. Anderson, were Christy Award finalists. In addition, Heir of Hope by Morgan Busse was a Carol Award finalist.
It is no secret that Gilead Publishing ran into some funding issues in the fourth quarter of the year (their major investor reneged on the promised and contracted investment). They are working diligently to secure new funding as soon as possible.
The Christian Writers Institute and The Christian Writers Market Guide
After a lot of work I was able to launch The Christian Writers Institute in October. It had been a long time idea to create an online resource for writers to learn about this profession from some of the best teachers in the industry. There are currently nearly 100 classes available with more in the works.
At the same time I purchased the rights to the venerable Christian Writers Market Guide from Jerry Jenkins and set about compiling the new edition for 2017. The paperback and ebook are now available from your favorite retailer. Or you can subscribe to the information online and have access to up-to-date content all the time, on any device.
I think a nap is in order. Agreed?
I am always on the lookout for great new ideas in both fiction and non-fiction. The world is in desperate need of the good news of the Gospel. The time is ripe for voices who can help proclaim the way to Truth (with a capital T) and righteousness. May you continue to thrive in your ministry of words.