CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING TODAY:

ARTICLE SUMMARY #2 (YATES)

Writer and literary agent Karen Yates is optimistic about Christian publishing. She wrote an article for Christianity Today ("The Next Chapter for Christian Publishing"), responding to Phillip Yancey's lament over the lost "golden age" of Christian publishing. (I summarize Yancey's article in a previous post). She acknowledges that the "good 'ole days" (1970s - 1990s) were indeed good, but she claims that the very technologies that wreaked havoc in Christian publishing are now creating a new "golden age" with some greater advantages for writers.


Following are the main points I saw (explicit or implied) in: 
Karen Yates' article: "The Next Chapter for Christian Publishing."

SHE NOTES THE POSITIVES OF THE INDUSTRY  IN PREVIOUS DECADES:
  1. Publishers were responsible for book promotion (now writers must take the lead).
  2. Traditional publishers released far more books annually. 
  3. Publishers took more risks, not requiring books to have the widest appeal. 
  4. Traditionally published authors did not compete with a flood of amateurish books.
  5. As opposed to self-publishing, traditionally published authors didn't risk their money on possibly feeble sales. 
  6. New authors were not expected to have an established platform (an assured base of readers). 
  7. Publishers cared more about writing quality than an author's popularity statistics.
  8. People did more leisure reading, and had greater focus and attention spans. 
  9. Printed books made more money than e-books. 

THE POSITIVES OF CHRISTIAN PUBLISHING TODAY: 
  1. Royalty advances are now common (unlike earlier).
  2. Christian book publishers now allow authors to negotiate terms (rights and royalties).
  3. Self-publishing innovations give new (and veteran) authors more options and opportunities.
  4. Advantages of the internet for writers: 
    • Writers can gain public interest before finishing or releasing a book. 
    • Writers can connect with more readers, and have more interactions with them. 
    • Female Christian writers can more easily gain notice of  readers (via blogs, etc.), and therefore publishers (leveling a previously uneven playing field).  
    • Writers are more able to influence their readers, promoting their ideas and interests. 
    • Writers have quick and convenient access to their readers at any time. 
    • Determined new writers have more tools to create a writing career.
  5. Advantages of e-books: 
    • They don’t require the expense of product materials, storing, or shipping. 
    • They are easily updated, quickly published, word-searchable, hyperlinked, and portable. 
    • Readers are buying them. 

Quote from her article: “[A]uthors and publishers who have adapted to the new era of Christian publishing have found the future ripe with opportunity.”

July 31, 2014

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