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CBA – ICRS — Authors, Singers, and Forgiveness — Afternoon Part 1

Be sure and read both parts 1 and 2. But for part 1 of the afternoon, I want to focus on the Membership Luncheon.

First, though, I won a bin of books from the Christian Author’s Network worth $600!

The membership luncheon focused on three things: a tribute to two members who passed on this year, a review of where the future of stored based sales is headed, and a mini concert by Matthew West. For my readers interested in Christian fiction I’ll cover some of the comments of the director of the DBA and the chairman of the board. The Q&A session mainly focused on the future of retail sales of books. The main theme of the DBA for the future is “MORE” so they focused on the idea of making the brick and mortar book stores more than just a receptacle for “foot traffic” but insisted the future is for these stores to move into a role as part of the community. This can be done by adding in areas for people to see the stores moving out and doing things in the community. An example is participating in fund drives and promoting “causes” that illustrate the “love of Christ”. The phrase I hears was “People support businesses that support things they care about.”


To that end, the DBA is emphasizing a week of reaching out to the children in need of food in our communities with an emphasis on that ministry the week of Sept. 30 through October 5th and it will be called “Christian Store Week”. He asked that any author who had a favorite “cause” should approach the stores and link support of that “cause” with a store appearance — either as a book signing or a book reading or an offer to donate the “profits” of the author’s book sales to that charity for that day. How this is done through the stores was a little beyond me. They used some fancy terms about “rounding up” the cost of the book and taking the difference between the rounded up price and the list price as using that as the “donation”. The point is that if YOU are interested in being a part of this emphasis, that week would be an excellent week to contact a book store and see if you can participate and support the store.

Another term that surfaced was “showrooming”. In this phenomenon (I am guilty of) the reader comes in and browses books. They then leave and purchase the books on Amazon. They emphasized that there are developing technologies at this year’s show that allow stores to capture those sales by allowing them to be made while in the store and the store gets “credit” for the sales. I believe this model is in place for the Nook and Barnes & Nobles stores. Also, they said that publishers now refer to themselves as “content providers” not just book publishers.

Overall, they did not lament the current state of affairs over E-Book sales. Rather, they were ecstatic that Christian writers and artists were selling content that was of Christian origin, no matter who sells it.

Next, Matthew West go up and sang a few songs. What was moving to me as a writer was the projects Matthew has been involved in for the past two years. He started out asking for stories from his listeners that would serve to inspire songs he would write. He was anticipating “a couple of hundred but we ended up with over 20,000.” He sang a couple of songs I recognized and then introduced his newest song “Forgiveness”. Here is where it got really moving.


He showed a video of the story on which the song was based. A mother lost one of her twin teenagers to a drunk driver. She started traveling the country speaking out against drunk driving and the driver received a jail sentence of 22 years. But, she felt moved by God to go and forgive the man. She did and he became a Christian. Eventually, she asked that his sentenced by halved so he could join her in her new ministry. Matthew then sang the song “Forgiveness” based on the story. At the end, he asked someone to come up on the stage and it was the mother who told the story! It was incredibly moving. Not a dry eye in the house!!!


And, that was lunch! Talk about getting full!

ICRS — Christian Booksellers Association Show – Monday Morning

I parked in the West Parking Lot and after walking across the world, I arrived at the International Retail Christian Show. If you have never been, it is OVERWHELMING! A huge exhibit floor filled with all kinds of media companies. I was wandering down the hallway in front of the main exhibit hall and noticed the B&H Publishing room off the hallway. Now, I have a book with B&H, “Conquering Depression” published in 2001. Not many people know this, but Mark Sutton, my co-author, and I are considering an update of the book at the urgings of our agent, Jeff Jernigan.



I wandered into the room and instantly met with two wonderful people who recognized my name and told me they have been considering an update to the book! I can’t go into the details, but within 15 minutes of arriving, I already had a meeting scheduled with B&H over the future of my depression book.

Next, I entered the main exhibit hall and for the first hour, I went from booth to booth meeting other publishers and a few authors signing books. At the American Christian Fiction Wo


rkshop booth, there were a plethora of Christian fiction authors answering questions. I ran into this kid dressed like an old school newspaper cryer handing out information. I am now sitting in the “Town Center” listening to a presentation by the Christian Author Network.


I’ll continue to keep updating the blog throughout the day. Right now, I’m already tired and I’ve been here only an hour!!!!

International Christian Retailers Show Weekend

This weekend I am flying down to Orlando. Again.

I visit Orlando, Florida about six times a year. First, there is Walt Disney World which I visit about four times a year. Second, there is my co-author, best friend, and former pastor Mark Sutton who is now involved in his own ministry to Haiti (link). Third, my publisher, Charisma Media is in Sanford, Florida just north of Orlando and I like to visit them once or twice a year. It’s good to put a face to the name and it is good to get a feel of the organization for which you write. And, the people at Charisma are outstanding!

But, this trip is special. I will be attending the International Christian Retail Show. What is that? Here is a description from their website:

The International Christian Retail Show is where the Christian resources industry meets – and there are a lot of reasons why. There is no other time or place where so many people, products, services, media, authors, artists, and craftspeople are gathered together in one place.

To say this gathering is awe inspiring, daunting, and,  yes, exhausting is an understatement. Exhibit after exhibit from all kinds of publishers, retailers, marketers fill the Orange County Exhibit Center and it will take three days to see everything. But, what I really love about this gathering is the chance to see and hear new media. Concerts and film showings will go on the entire time. My wife and I were fortunate to attend the 2008 gathering and we were stunned to hear a concert one evening that featured Jeremy Camp, The Annie Moses Band, Nicole Mullen, Natalie Grant, and others. All in one concert!!! I can’t wait to see what is in store this year.

So, join me each day beginning Sunday for a report from the exhibit floor of the International Christian Retail Show and I’ll tell YOU what to expect in the music and book stores this fall!


If you happen to get your hands on the ICRS magazine for July look on page 72! Awesome ad!

If you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be on the exhibit floor Monday and Tuesday. Just use the contact button to send me an email, a test message, or give me a call.

Get one of my cards:


See you there!!!!

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