By Steve Laube
This year’s ICRS (International Christian Retailing Show) was a great time of celebration and doing a lot of business.
First I have to celebrate with Four award winning clients!
AWSA (Advance Writers & Speakers Association)
Fiction Book of the Year
Susan May Warren – Heiress (Summerside)
The Christy Awards
Ronie Kendig – Wolfsbane (Barbour) – best Contemporary Romance
Ginny Yttrup – Words (B&H Publishing Group) – best First Novel
Lisa Bergren – Waterfall (David C. Cook) – best Young Adult
I am so honored to represent such wonderful writers! It is especially meaningful having traveled the journey of each book with each author. Ask the authors for the story behind their story!
As for business, we had a lot of great meetings with publishers, editors, and authors. Tamela Hancock Murray and I had 23 scheduled appointments on Monday and Tuesday. It meant flitting from place to place in record time, especially since some appointments were on the convention floor and others were at one of the main convention hotels. (See Tamela’s post later this week for her perspective on the event.)
We also had over 20 of our clients in attendance which made it fun to say hello and enjoy some short “hallway” conversations.
This was my 31st consecutive booksellers convention. Tamela was a witness that when we walked into the convention hall for the first time I audibly gasped. I stood there in a stunned posture for a moment because, for the first time in three decades, I could see both ends of the convention hall from where I stood. It felt so small! But after a few hours it became evident that virtually every publisher and distributor was there, but their footprint was smaller. In other words instead of having a massive display booth, the publisher had a third of the floor space as they have had in the past. This shrank the total square footage of the event. It is interesting that every year we comment on how small the convention feels. But everyone was in agreement on this year’s event.
In addition there were fewer gift product booths than I remembered and really only one big music booth (EMI). I suspect the entire event could have been held in a super-sized hotel ballroom instead of a convention center.
The International Marketplace was a buzz of busyness as usual. They really should expand that section of the sales floor because there was barely enough room to move around and not enough places to have meetings.
The tone and attitude of the industry was one of “we have survived the worst.” And one of enthusiasm and excitement about new properties and new opportunities, especially in the digital arena. Since our agency has had an author in the Tyndale Digital First program and one of Tamela’s clients is the launch author for Zondervan’s new digital fiction program (see last Thursday’s post), we had a number of conversations about what works and what doesn’t in this fledgling category.
We were very glad that a couple publishers brought a full roster of editorial staff to the event. This allowed us to have some one-on-one time with acquisitions editors we normally do not get to see at conferences or even during visits to publisher’s headquarters.
All in all I would say this was a great year for further cementing great relationships and for building a number of new ones.