May 2022 Have You Been to the Christian Product Expo
If you are an author or aspiring Christian author, have you given any thought to how you’ll connect with Christian bookstores across the country? One good way to explore this is to attend the Christian Product Expo (CPE) and meet bookstore owners face to face.
Those frontline booksellers can provide you with their invaluable perspectives as you make decisions on the books you write, including their titles and covers and even in helping you determine the content for your next book.
Seeing many other new Christian books from many publishers all in one place will provide invaluable data for you as well.
We periodically provide info on CPE, a tradeshow for Christian bookstores to see and order new books and Christian gift products, and for authors to gather to meet bookstores and other professionals as well as receive training. It’s also a time of fellowship and worship, and usually includes some interesting big-name authors or performers.
The next one of these twice-annual events will be Sunday – Tuesday, August 14-16 in Lexington, Kentucky at the Hyatt Regency Central Bank Center (pictured above).
Most of the activity for the event takes place between Sunday afternoon/evening following morning worship, and continues all day Monday and most of the day Tuesday. There will be exhibition booths featuring products that bookstores can order, as well as sessions on industry updates and 6 hours of author training (3, two-hour sessions) sponsored by AWSA, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.
Anyone can buy a ticket to attend for one or both days, and this can be a valuable way to learn more about the Christian retail industry (termed retail because Christian bookstores generally also sell many other gift and other types of merchandise).
If you do have a book that’s for sale and able to be ordered at the show, check out the popular and well-attended book signing event on Sunday night called Apps and Autographs (formerly known as the Personality Party). At this event, authors have the opportunity to meet and interact with at least 100 CPE attendees and give them a copy of their book to consider ordering it. Check with your publisher or distributor on options for your participation but you must apply and there is a deadline.
Christian media is also invited to attend, and an increasing number of Christian journalists have begun to attend and interview authors. This is where Buoyancy PR comes in and we are now getting organized for our participation. We will tell you more about that when our plans firm up.
CPE is sponsored by the Christian Retail Association (CRA), the trade association for Christian bookstores, with membership also open to publishers, authors, and other industry professionals.
If the August show isn’t the right timing for you, keep an eye out for the winter show for 2023. During the year, the Munce Group, which organizes these events, adds to the schedule for the next event on its website as plans firm up.