Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Random Reflections From The ACFW Conference

Growing up, I enjoyed reading the sports pages of the daily papers. (Some of you may not remember newspapers--but that was before computers). Anyway, one of my favorite things was when Blackie Sherrod did a column on "Scattershooting, while wondering..." The thing he wondered about might be stuff like "...why Tim Tebow didn't make it in the NFL." But, I digress.

I've just returned from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. There I attended a panel composed of knowledgeable people who review or distribute fiction. One of the questions asked them was, "What do you think we need more and less of?" The consensus was that Amish fiction has peaked and we don't need more, but good Young Adult fiction is still in a state of shortage. What do you think?

I talked with some publishing professionals--editors and publishers. Although they didn't reveal any proprietary secrets, I came away with the distinct impression they recognize a major change in publishing, brought about by the ability of authors to publish their own books via e-publishing. They're trying to change to meet the challenge, but it's sort of like turning the Q.E. II--it's a slow process.

Writers, agents, and editors alike agreed that when a book is "indie-published" (i.e., self-published by an author), all the marketing will fall to the writer. Some people are temperamentally suited for this, some are not. I talked with lots of authors, and remain convinced there's room for both types.

Of course, no one knows what writing and publishing will be like in a year. Meanwhile, my plan is to maintain the posture of backside-in-chair, fingers-on-keyboard, nose-to-the-grindstone and try to write the best book possible.

Did you attend ACFW? What were your impressions? Are you a reader? Were you even aware of the upheaval in the industry? Chime in. I want to hear.

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2 comments:

Patricia Bradley said...

I was there, but never quite made it to say, "Hi" to you. I'm not sure that Amish has peaked. I believe readers will always want to read about that simple lifestyle.

Agreeing with you that it will be interesting to see where we are in publishing in a year. I'm traditionally published and since I hate marketing, it works very well for me. My publishers--Revell and Harlequin do all the major marketing.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I can think of a dozen or more folks I wanted to speak to, but in the crush of several hundred people it was somewhere between difficult and impossible.
Thanks for your comment. We'll have to wait and see where publishing is when the ACFW conference rolls around next year. Place your bets.