Christian Retailing

ICRS: Novelists put retailers at ease at trends workshop Print Email
Written by Ann Byle   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 10:41 AM America/New_York

CynthiaRuchti-webTwelve Christian novelists took the stage Tuesday afternoon, June 24, for the Christian Fiction Trends Workshop: Celebrating Story at the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). The dozen authors write in genres that ranged from historical to suspense, fantasy to contemporary.

Sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the event was hosted by Cynthia Ruchti, ACFW’s professional relations liaison.

“The world hasn’t lost it’s love of story, and God hasn’t lost His love of using stories to spread His word,” said Ruchti in her introductory remarks.

The authors—Karen Witemeyer, Tessa Afshar, Creston Mapes, Colleen Coble, Melody Carlson, Robin Jones Gunn, Patrick W. Carr, Sarah Loudin Thomas, Cindy Woodsmall, Vanessa Miller and David and Diane Munson—answered a variety of questions posed by Ruchti, including: “What are you seeing as trends in the Christian fiction you are reading?” and “What kinds of author events and ministry partnerships are you seeing at Christian retailers?”

The authors listed trends such as the popularity of historicals and growth in suspense. Young adults and new adult genres are popular, as is Amish fiction, they said.

“The quality of Christian fiction is improving,” said Mapes, author of Sky Zone (David C Cook)from “The Crittendon Files” series.

Authors also talked about events that offered “value-added” levels, such as bringing food to a book signing to help local charities; library events; Skype calls with book clubs; and bookstores becoming a community gathering place.

Coble urged retailers to use social media, as well as tap into the social media of visiting authors, to gather fans and keep readers informed of events and news.

“If you’re not using Facebook and Twitter and other social media, you need to,” Coble said.

After the panel discussion, authors mingled with the approximately 75 attendees to answer questions, meet retailers and talk about their books. Several door prizes were given away at the end of the event, and guests were invited to take a bag of books by the authors.

“We Christian authors are on your side,” Ruchti said. “You are our preferred place to have people purchase our books.”