Christian Book Expo Held in Secret

Apparently, the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association thought it would be a good idea to hold a Christian Book Expo in Dallas on March 20 – 22 without telling anyone.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the Christian Book Expo drew about 1500 people to the Dallas Convention Center during its three-day run. Mark Kuyper, president and CEO of the host organization, lamented that the numbers were far less than hoped for.

I’d  say that’s not too bad for an event that wasn’t promoted. Mr. Kuyper admits the marketing strategy relied on publishers, authors and church groups to get the word out. Such a plan might gaurantee the attendance of industry folks, the authors’ families and a few bored church parishioners. The other 1000 – 1200 people in attendance were gravy.

Where were the billboards, the mass mailings, the blog posts and the tweets?

In addition to an exhibit floor featuring 200 Christian authors, the expo offered panel discussions, worship events and children’s activities. The coin to get in was more than a bit steep at $29 dollars per day. You’d think with that kind of dough they could afford decent promotion.

I feel bad for the authors. Some of these guys were big names, but a lot of them were not. They had to provide their own promotion? C’mon! Stuff like this casts a bad light on the Christian area of the book industry and turns away potential authors and readers.

Related: Missed Connection: Christian Book Expo Attracts Few Customers

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About James A Woods
Freelance Writer, Constant Learner, Family Man

2 Responses to Christian Book Expo Held in Secret

  1. Thanks for the post James. You are right, we did anticipate a greater showing based on publisher connections. We realize now that mass media was lacking. However, to your question on blogs and tweets – @CBE2009 was started two months ago and has nearly 1000 followers and was receiving quite a few re-tweets with daily contests leading up to the event. We had fan and group pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Plaxo. As for blogs, we haven’t counted yet but more than 100 authors and publishers blogged about the event, many with multiple comment strings attached. Beyond that CBE provided banners and badges that were found on many prominent sites such as tangle.com, christianitytoday.com and thomasnelson.com to name a few. More than 4 million e-mails were sent out by partners such as christianbook.com and Zondervan as well as authors such as Lysa TerKuerst and Kerby Anderson. Radio interviews were conducted with local radio stations by Mark Kuyper as well. Our strategy did not leave out the need for mass media, we were hopeful that publishers who were already utilizing mass forms of media in the region would use the time to tell folks about CBE, we do not know to what degree that took place at this time. The reason for this was to try and keep costs down for exhibitors in a tough economy, it was the wrong decision and should we have another chance we will do it differently. Thanks again for your feedback!

  2. Pingback: Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Damage Control « The Sky’s the Limit

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