Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Industry News--a New Magazine and a Tour

The new issue of
Christian Retailing reports that Strang Communications (publisher of Christian Retailing) is launching a new magazine for Christian book readers this month--and it's free. The magazine--Christian Book Reader--will be published every other month and will feature author profiles and interviews, publishing trend articles and previws of major upcoming titles.

Christian Book Reader will be available to readers through Borders book store and libraries.

Ah, the ol' book tour--is it worth it? Often they're not. However, the summer Fantasy Fiction Tour featuring Wayne Thomas Batson, Christopher Hopper, Bryan Davis and Sharon Hinck seemed to create an awful lot of buzz. The coolest--and most crucial--marketing aspect of this tour was that each author represents a different publishing house. This unusual teamwork of promoting each other spoke volumes to the stores they visited.

Their books (with links to their blogs/websites):

Batson: The Door Within trilogy, Thomas Nelson

Hopper: The Lion Vrie, Tsaba House

Hinck: The Restorer, NavPress

Davis: Oracles of Fire series, AMG Publishers

No fancy rides or digs for the Fab Fantasy Four. Traveling in Bryan Davis's van, the authors visited 17 cities in about 10 days. They stayed with volunteer families, rather than in hotels.

The authors did some individual marketing for the tour through their personal blogs. They also established a tour Web site, which reportedly received 10,000 hits a week.

Sounds like each author put a lot of work into this tour. I'm glad to hear it was successful. And yay for the fact that the word about Christian fantasy is finally getting out!


Julie Carobini said...

Did you mean "Strang" Communications? Lol...

Pam Halter said...

I had to come out of lurking to comment on the Fantasy Fiction Tour.

I took my 14 year old daughter to see the authors when they were 15 minutes from my house. She was so excited to meet Bryan Davis! She's now a fan of Batson's books, too.

They were great with her, engaging her in conversation and making her feel important.

Wayne and Chris also gave us a sword fight demonstration. It was SO cool!

Someday, I'll get my fantasy published and go on a tour, too.

Hey,if you don't dream big, nothing big will happen!

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Thanks, Julie. Strang is no longer "Strange." :)

Becky said...

As you might guess, I was very excited about the Fantasy Four Tour and the buzz it created. It didn't hurt that the Washington Post ran a front page article featuring Wayne Batson, or that Fox Friends then invited him to do a live interview. How that press coverage came to be is something God only knows.

As to the web site, I think a big reason it was such a hit was the video clips they posted. It made me feel as if I was on tour with the authors, which was very cool since we'd been talking about the tour in a blog tour to kick off the actual event.

Thanks for the info about the Christian Book Reader.


Sharon Hinck said...

Hi, Brandilyn!
Thanks for the shout out about our tour. What amazed me wasn't just the large turn-out at various venues, the enthusiasm of the retailers and readers, or the non-stop energy of my tour mates (we sometimes did four or more major events in a day)...but the way God orchestrated ministry opportunities. We had meaningful conversations and times of prayer with new folks at every stop along the way. Yes, it generated excitement for our books, but more than that, we had a chance to talk about the awesome Savior who inspires all our tales. :-)

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm so glad the tour was a success. Praise be to the Lord for that. These are all great writers and they deserve the exposure!

Christopher Hopper said...


Thanks so much for such a great write-up about the tour! What a blessing! I'm (we're) honored. Hope to meet you someday soon.

Pam: I appreciate the kind words regarding you and your daughter's visit on the tour...and we'll do a sword fight for you anytime!

Becky: Thanks for the compliments on the videos. My wife, Jenny, is really the unsung heroine of the "video journal." While everyone else was sleeping when we got to our evening stop, she was up all night editing video for the world to follow along.

If anyone is reading this and would like to see what we were up to, here's a like to all the videos on the FFT site Video Library 2007:



WayneThomasBatson said...

Hi, Brandilyn

Righteous of you to mention the Fantasy Tour. One of the reasons we went is that touring together knocks out a lot of the negatives associated with touring alone. Things like: stores not prepared for you, not wanting to advertise, not being cost effective for publishing houses, turn-out not being worth the time, etc.

When you go together, you hook up each other's fan bases. After all, we all have the same mission. I am absolutely stoked that my readers discovered Bryan, Christopher, and Lady Sharon!

This kind of "cross" promotion should happen much more often IMHO. We continue to promote each other and the genre, knowing that we are promoting Christ and His mission. For example, Bryan Davis just invited Sharon, Christopher, and I to visit his forum--gave us usernames and a whole thread for each. In the first two weeks there, 15-20 pages worth of his fans' comments appeared on each of our threads. And many of these wonderful readers are now reading our books.

And Becky, the Post and Fox and Friends were simply God stepping into life and making BIG things happen.

And the videos are absolutely stellar--that's where so many website hits came from. Cool-as-if-you-were-there footage set to music...I still look at those for encouragement.

PS: We're hoping to Team Up and Tour again next summer. Fantasy Tour 2…if God wills...