I just completed my talk on “Publishing and today’s difficult economy” here at the Glorieta (NM) Christian Writer’s Conference. I’ll have to admit I was rather concerned that I could take such a potentially dry subject and make it interesting. I asked the Lord, of course, to use me to tell these people what they needed to hear. I spent a lot of time checking industry sites and quoting industry professionals from their blogs or emailing them directly, and when I distilled down what they were telling me several interesting things emerged.

I suppose it came off okay, I got a lot of very nice comments, none of which impacted me as much as Dan Penwell of AMG who took the time to compliment me on it, then said he was getting the CD to play for the people back at his publishing house. That meant a lot to me.

I do believe even though some of the information was hard to hear that it is really important for people to have a realistic outlook of the marketplace, what it is doing, and what it takes to succeed in it. It is not a time for rose colored glasses. I have put it online at my website and the direct link is http://www.terryburns.net/Publishing_and_the_Economy.htm for anyone who would like to see the results of this research and gathering information from some of the key people in the Christian publishing industry. I encourage you to take a look.

If you don’t have the time let me give you the bottom line. What I heard industry pros saying is business as usual, but a bit slower and more cautious. It calls for exceptional books with good, defined markets. They expect authors to share in the risk of the market by taking some lower advances in return for higher royalty rates, and stronger and stronger platforms for helping promote the product become increasingly important. And we need to remember this is nothing new, the industry has been here before. In fact in the Great Depression, two areas that stood up the best was publishing and the movies. The more difficult it got on people the more they needed an economical means of escape from their problems.

Drop by and take a look at the best information I could gather on this difficult subject and let me know what you think.