Now, this is a week to remember!
It started out with two incredible days at the International Christian Retail Show. I was able to meet Mr. Strang himself, the founder of Charisma Media and to see my mockup of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon” at the Charisma Booth. I met Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Charles Martin, Os Guinness to drop a few BIG names as well as singer and songwriter Matthew West. I learned that the future of publishing, at least in Christian retail outlets, is NOT dismal but is HOPEFUL. And, of course, the BIG development is the one I cannot speak of yet that has to do with future books by yours truly. Here is a picture with my Charisma editor, Deborah at the ICRS:
Saturday, my good friend and financial adviser, Kevin Murphy of Ameriprise held a brunch featuring my book, “The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye”. Sherry and I were expecting maybe a dozen people to show up but the room was full with around 50 attendees! I was stunned.
Kevin asked me to speak and answer questions. I talked about the development of my writing career to date and the process of writing “The 13th Demon”. And, I brought along a copy of that old reliable book I had co-authored, “Conquering Depression”. I was stunned when over half of those there wanted a copy of that book! Kevin took names and agreed to purchase copies and send them to those who signed up. I am continually amazed at how this little known book continues to change lives everywhere I go!
Last Sunday, Mark Sutton and I spent six hours working on a plan for a future upgrade to “Conquering Depression” and the developments of the week at the ICRS impacted the future of that book!
And, just now, I finished putting the final touches and making the final changes to the galley proofs of “The 12th Demon: Mark of the Wolf Dragon”! That book is now on its way to the printer with the cover and back design in place and the book endorsements tucked onto the first page. I am now making plans for the book launch.
For now, the book launch is planned for Friday, October 19th at the Well, the coffee shop of Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport. Like last year, we will have refreshments, giveaways and I hope we have another huge crowd. I have also scheduled a book signing at First Baptist Church Orlando for October 27 and 28. If you know of a book store that might be interested in having me for a book signing, just contact me and let me know. Get me the contact information and I’ll turn it over to Charisma. God is SO good. He is in charge and His plans are so much grander and more satisfying than we can ever imagine!
Here are some pictures from this weekend.
So, why didn’t I say much about Tuesday?
Because, I CAN’T!
Let’s just say I was part of some very special, very shocking (but not to God) developments for my future as an author and I’m still pinching myself. I’m still in shock. I’m still overwhelmed as much by the possibilities that were presented to me (and a certain co-author) and the awesome way in which God brought all of this to fruition. It is truly a tale worthy of Christian fiction but in this case all true. And, one day soon, I hope I can share the details!
So, the rest of the ICRS show was a blur after Tuesday morning. What is it like going to this show? Let me give you some quick idea.
1. When in line for a book signing you will be overwhelmed by authors pitching their books. I was once a self-published author and, frankly, I admire their guts for being so bold to promote themselves. After a while I had to burst their bubbles by telling them, “I’m NOT a retailer. I’m an author.” At which point they realized I wasn’t going to carry their book in a store I didn’t run. So, they moved on. I prayed for each and everyone one of these self-published authors.
2. ICRS does so many things very, very well. But, what it doesn’t do well is to advertise book signings. This is left up to each individual publisher. So, if you don’t go by their booth and see their sign for that day’s book signings, you will miss out. When I went to Book Expo America, the main publishing show of the year for all of publishing, there was a list of all book signings at all booths. Now, maybe such a list existed, but if it did, I never heard about it and it wasn’t listed on my iPhone app (another great development by ICRS). I was fortunate to meet Charles Martin, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, Martha Rogers, and Os Guiness. But, I missed out on a whole list of authors I would have loved to meet. Oh, and the books are free and often pre-releases not yet available. If you miss your author, chances are there will be a pile of unsigned books you can snag if you want an advanced copy.
3.There are two good organizations out there every Christian fiction author should know about. One, of course, is the ACFW, the American Christian Fiction Writers and the CAN, Christian Author’s Network. Both of them had a presence at ICRS and both of them promoted authors to the retailers.
4. Take a rolling bag. You will get loaded up with free books and media and trinkets. A nice touch this year (as opposed to 2008) was the shipping section in the back corner. For 12 dollars a box, you could put a cardboard box with your name on it on one of dozens of tables and come back and fill it up as you gathered books. Then, before leaving the show, you could take the box over to the FEDEX table in the same corner and ship your books home. This was a GREAT idea! I won $600 worth of books from CAN and I was able to ship two boxes back. But, I kept my signed copies of books from Charles Martin, Ted Dekker, Tosca Lee, and Os Guiness with me. I don’t want to lose them.
5. The ICRS is overwhelming from the kids running around handing out leaflets to the old man blowing the ram’s horn every thirty minutes to the loud raucous presentations at “Town Center” to the music playing in the music aisles. By the second day, I was shell shocked. There is no way to describe how overwhelming the atmosphere can be. It is exciting and challenging and humbling and tiring all at the same time. If you are an author, you can become a CBA member as an “industry professional” and you can make appointments with major publishers to pitch your ideas. You can learn a lot about the distribution side of publishing. You can learn a lot about how stores handle selling ebooks, for instance. And, if the timing is right and God has ordained, you might wander into the biggest proposal of your life!!!
One final picture with a man I have enormous respect for as an author and an apologist, Os Guiness:
Until next year, I’m hanging up my dress walking shoes and putting away the frazzled rolling bag and putting my own cards for “The 12th Demon” on the shelf and I’m taking a much deserved nap. Because tomorrow, there is WORK to be done!!!
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!!!!