Is ICRS Still Important?
Blogger: Mary Keeley
Goals of being published are like flying. My plan was to write today’s blog on the plane home from ICRS in order to give you an up to the minute perspective on the International Christian Retailers Show in St. Louis. However, the many Please turn off all electronic devices; we are cleared for take-off messages followed by reversals as we sat on the tarmac for 3 1/2 hours delayed my plans and my blog. Such is life and writing.
Exactly what is ICRS and what goes on there, you may be asking. This trade show has changed drastically over the last ten years. It used to be a selling event. I remember the days when the bulk of a publisher’s book sales occurred during this week-long show. Publishers sent their entire sales staff to take orders and a few editors to be available to their authors who were signing books for book store owners.
Today the scene has flip-flopped. More editors attend than sales staff. ICRS has become a primary venue for editors and agents to meet and discuss future projects. Most publishers still have booths on the “floor” to display their new books and authors, but the value in doing that has changed. The website’s welcome page for the conference begins with, “The International Christian Retail Show is the starting point for new-product launches and latest releases from top authors, musicians, and pastors that you can see in one place.” See it here.
We Books & Such agents schedule time for walking the floor together. It’s a valuable opportunity to see what genres, authors, and books almost all publishers are highlighting “in one place.” And we take mental notes of new trends in book cover design and packaging. There is no other such venue in the industry on this scale that provides this value.
ICRS has become the primary place for agents and editors to meet. Editors give publisher updates and alert agents to the genres they are seeking. Agents present their clients’ new projects. It would be more costly for both publishers and agents if they had to make individual trips to publishing houses and literary agencies for these meetings. And the value to you authors is that your name can be spread across the industry in this three-day event.
Although times have changed the look of ICRS, its value has not. In changing with the times, ICRS still is a win-win for everyone.
The Christy Awards Banquet is scheduled to coincide with ICRS. Congratulations to the nominees and winners. You can view them here.
The most poignant moment for me was being able to say goodbye to one of the industry’s good men at the Awards Banquet. Aside from Janet Grant and Wendy Lawton, the Books & Such women at the time, Lee Hough was a favorite agent to work with when I was an acquisitions editor. Unless the Lord decides otherwise, Lee will be going home to heaven very soon. Even now he is the same gracious, authentic person, who is at peace.
Is this what you thought goes on at ICRS? If you have been there before, how do you see it changing?
A perspective on ICRS 2013 @marygkeeley. Click to Tweet.
ICRS may be changing, but its value remains. Click to Tweet.