What is ICRS?
I’m spending most of this week preparing for my meetings at ICRS, so I thought I’d explain it to you in case you’re wondering.
ICRS stands for International Christian Retail Show. If you’re familiar with BEA (Book Expo America), ICRS is a smaller version for the Christian publishing and retailing world. It’s a trade show, basically. The original purpose, like the original purpose of BEA, was to bring together publishers and booksellers. These trade shows eventually became large industry-wide events, bringing together people from all areas of publishing: publishers, authors, agents, booksellers, publicists, etc. There are parties, workshops, speakers, panels, readings, booksignings, and lots and lots (and LOTS) of meetings.
So ICRS is next week, in Denver (yay!) so I don’t have to get on a plane. I’ll have something like 40 meetings with editors, publishers, and even a couple of my clients. (One year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest book convention, in one week I had 90 meetings. And a lot of sausage.)
Agents typically spend considerable time gathering the projects they’re planning to pitch at ICRS, and I’m no exception. I have a killer line-up of new proposals to show, both fiction and non-fiction, and ICRS will give me a chance to hear first-hand what the editors think of them.
Unlike a writers’ conference, where editors often try to be polite and spare writers’ feelings, the editors are pretty blunt with agents when we’re pitching face-to-face. They’re usually quick with “No, that’s not for me,” or, “Hmm, that sounds interesting, tell me more.” So we come back from ICRS with a good read on how our projects were perceived, and a ton of follow-up to accomplish.
And in case you sometimes think that agents can’t possibly know how it feels when you’re trying to prepare a verbal pitch for a conference… take note: I’ll prepare verbal pitches for about 20 diferent projects. So yes, I know what it’s like!
One more thing… like BEA, the ICRS convention has been rapidly shrinking in size and importance the last few years. Several major publishers no longer exhibit at these conventions. There are always rumors that the conventions themselves are coming to an end, but they haven’t yet. Like everything else these days, they’re going to need to change with the times, but I don’t think anyone has figured out what that means.
In any case, you know where I’ll be next week! (Not sitting here in front of my computer, that’s for sure.)
Any questions about publishing industry trade shows?