Archive for April 3, 2009

Well, that headline isn’t a good sign for folk like me and the other bricks in the Wall who ply their craft for Christian type folk to read, but let’s give this a shot.

Recently, the commodious Dallas Convention Center hosted the first ever “Christian Book Expo” – an ceremonious event two years in the making (AKA “before the economic implosion”) that “was designed to connect publishers and authors directly with readers in the evangelical Christian market.”

That would have been great. Imagine the possibilities. Conceive the networking. Believe the hype. And laugh hysterically at the results.

According to this depressing story in Publishers Weekly, stacks of unsold books and glum publishers stood for three days … Only problem was there were few readers to connect with, despite the show’s location in Dallas, the buckle of the Bible Belt and a top market for Christian publishers. The show, sponsored by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, attracted 1,500 consumer attendees; it had hoped for 15,000-20,000.

They even brought in an atheist to sell tickets and escalate the bang-to-hype ratio. Good times, right? Not so much.

The show might, or might not, go on. “If we end up doing this again, it would be a smaller show,” Kuyper said. “We’ll be smarter next year,” said Michael S. Hyatt, president and CEO of Thomas Nelson and chair of the ECPA’s executive committee.

Here’s another suggestion: market the stupid thing. What? You think because you are reaching out to Christians that all of your target audience would get a personal invitation from God. I never saw one thing about this show, and I am your target audience. Heck, I write for a living… to Christians, sometimes?!

I know Christians who work on the local (and great) religion desk that didn’t even hear about this until it was here!

What’s the adage? If a book is published in a ridiculous event, will it make a profit if no one is there to read it?!

“If consumers had come, this would have been an incredible show,” remarked Michael S. Hyatt, president and CEO of Thomas Nelson and chair of the ECPA’s executive committee, in his personal blog Tuesday.

Or, uh, something like that. How about another, “If you advertise it, they will come.” Just a thought.