2009 Denver Christian Retail Show (ICRS)

For those who follow Christian publishing, some news about ICRS  (International Christian Retail Show) 2009, held July 12-15 in Denver.

Publishers Weekly reported,

A lot of cards got exchanged as people got down to business at the 60th annual show for the Christian publishing and retail industry, despite a 20% drop in attendance from 2008. Professionals (non-exhibitors) in attendance numbered 1,903; international attendees from 56 countries totaled 534, down 28% from last year.

Next year ICRS will be held June 27-30 in St. Louis. [CBA president Bill] Anderson said the Midwestern location would make it more accessible for a majority of Christian retailers; he also estimated that 40 to 50 companies not at this year’s show would attend next year; this year’s dates conflicted with a gift show in Atlanta. And at least one publisher exhibitor plans to increase space next year. “We are planning our biggest year ever in 2010 and will need a larger presence to showcase our upcoming products,” Rolf Zettersten, publisher at FaithWords, told PW in a post-show e-mail. “The Denver show was a positive experience and encourages me about the future.

For authors and potential authors, these observations by literary agent Rachelle Gardner are informative:

– In fiction, regardless of genre, almost every editor told me they’re looking for strong female protagonists. This is particularly true in historical and historical romance. No wimpy women!

– Also in fiction, they seem to want characters in interesting locations and unique occupations that will add to the story.

– In non-fiction, the platform issue is important to all publishers but they don’t all treat it the same. Some look at platform as the primary consideration; others are more willing to consider an author with a beginning platform if they have a terrific concept and great writing.

– In fiction and non-fiction, many publishers are actively looking to publish more “fresh voices” which means new authors.

– It looks like the CBA is finally opening up to more memoir (catching up with the general market). I had great response to a couple of the memoirs I’m representing, which makes me really happy because I love memoir!

– While the ICRS show (like BEA) is shrinking, the atmosphere seemed really positive across the board. All the publishers I met with are eager to see new projects. While they seem to be acquiring slightly fewer projects than, say, two years ago, they’re still excited about whatever’s next.

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