Aloha from Karen, treasurer of CAN,
I’m at the International Christian Retail Show in St Louis, MO this week. This is where store owners, publishers, editors, authors, and agents come together to show case new books and products and interact.
It’s smaller than in the past, but people are hopeful. Last month Christian sales increased. I saw lots of new fiction books, lots of self-published books, and many CAN authors. I spoke with some book store owners I know and one in particular mentioned that being an event driven store really helps them do well and reaches out to the community. That means stores like authors to be involved and available for special events (not mere book signings). Talk to your local stores and see what works for them.
I heard from some editors about needs and I don’t think they are that different from what we’ve heard the past few years (platform, social networks that show activity (such as lots of comments on blogs) and more are only accepting through agents.
It’s interesting that my agency mentioned last year there were about 288,000 books published by traditional publishers (only down 1000 from the previous year), but there were over 700,000 self-published books. The average self-published book still sold less than 200 copies and only 2% of books sold over 25,000 copies in one year. Publishers who let people download a copy or chapter for a week or so saw the sales of the book and other works of the same author rise.
The biggest coming change editors mentioned is with the ipad. This allows readers to download and read books and included the capability to read a book, hit a link, and go to that link (a Bible study could have built in map links to the the Holy Land, or other reference sites). That means we may need to think of what we could do to make our books have a larger experience for readers with links. There’s still the problem of electronic rights and readers being able to download a pdf file and send it anywhere (impacting sales as they can pass it on for free). Hopefully technology will find a way to make a readable file that cannot be re-sent. We’ll have to watch how this unfolds.