Terry Burns

Terry Burns writes inspirational fiction and is an agent with Hartline Literary . He is one of ten agents nominated by the American Christian Fiction Writers as Agent of the Year. As a writer he has a series that began with Mysterious Ways from River Oak Publishing and the series bears that name. The second, Brothers Keeper came out Feb 1, 2006 and Shepherd's Son came out January 1, 2007. That gives him 24 books in print counting the nonfiction and short story collections. Other fiction includes Trails of the Dime Novel, a trade paperback from Echelon Press and in audio from JBS Publishing. He has published over 200 articles and short stories. A popular speaker at workshops across the country, his available works as well as a daily blog can be found at www.terryburns.net. As an agent Terry says "I'm looking for a good book, well written, aimed at a market that looks promising, and where I feel I have the contacts appropriate to be able to sell the book in that market."

Hartline Literary

By now you’ve heard that participation at ICRS, the International Christian Retailers Show (formerly the Christian Booksellers Association show), was down. The event was in Orlando, Florida, and was smaller in both the number of booths and attendees, the lowest since the ’80s. The price of travel probably had something to do with it.

A lot of business took place, though. Three agents from our agency, Joyce Hart, Diana Flegal, and myself, met with editors from various houses in a whirlwind of appointments thirty minutes apart. I left the show with a contract from Kregal on Graham Garrison’s Tribute, and I met with the editorial, sales, and publicity folks from BJU Press on one of my own titles Beyond the Smoke, a YA coming out in January. I also came away with several other working leads.

The Christy Awards led the show, and those winners have been well publicized. Having a month lead time for this column, I’ll try to concentrate more on tidbits that aren’t as widely known. We saw special screenings of a new movie from the creators of Facing the Giants entitled Fireproof. I didn’t get to one of the screenings, but everybody at ICRS was talking about what an awesome show it was. It’s set to hit the big screen September 26. I plan to see it.

For the second year in a row, the ECPA Christian Book of the Year has made history. In 2007, the award went to a novel and a woman for the first time, when Karen Kingsbury took the top prize for Ever After. This year also broke the mold in two ways: It’s the first time an audio book has won, and the first time a Bible has won. Thomas Nelson’s The Word of Promise New Testament Audio Bible beat 229 other entries from thirty-five Christian publishers. It also tied for the Retailers Choice Award for best audio book, sharing the award with Zondervan for its Inspired By . . . The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible.

At Crossings Book Club’s annual opening night ICRS reception, held on July 13 at The Peabody Orlando, Crossings editor-in-chief, Brigitte Weeks, made the surprise announcement of Bertelsmann’s sales of all of its book clubs to Najafi Companies of Phoenix, a private investment group. Not to be outdone, Zondervan created a big buzz by unveiling Symtio, a new program designed to help retailers compete in the emerging digital world. It will use store kiosks to allow consumers to buy books the way they have been buying iTunes.

The Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) gave their award for Publisher of the year to Crossway Books. The Golden Scroll for Editor of the year went to Phyllis Boultinghouse of Howard Books, Fiction Editor to Nick Harrison of Harvest House, and Member of the Year to Kathi Macias. A Lifetime Achievement award went to Florence Littauer.

More tidbits? Amazon, already the world’s largest bookstore, just bought one of its major competitors ABE Books. So the biggest kid in the playground just keeps getting bigger. David Shepherd and David Webb have left B & H. Karen Ball will be heading up fiction acquisition there.

David (Webb) said he is pleased with the role he had in fiction at B & H and plans to continue working in the industry, “going where the Lord sends me.”

Ron Benrey is joining his wife, Janet, in her literary agency. I spent time with them at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference in Portland, and he is very much enjoying his new role. He worked with her closely early on, particularly doing legal and contract work.

Speaking of the Portland conference, the attendance was excellent, and the secluded conference center was cool and refreshing. I went from there to Houston, where I am now, for the Inspirational Writers Alive, and while cool and refreshing is not in the cards, it looks to be a good workshop and will lead off with a multi-author public book signing tonight out at the Woodlands.

Charlene Patterson and Dave Long at Bethany said they were adding a new editorial assistant to their department to allow them to handle things more efficiently. Tony Collins at Lion-Hudson said that 70 percent of their fiction was American fiction with American authors. Ken Peterson said he is now the publisher for both Waterbrook and Multnomah, even though they are treated as separate entities under the Random House umbrella. And I know you join those of us at Hartline when we extend our sympathy to Chris Howard, whose dad passed away recently.

Many opinions circulate about ICRS because of attendance and the absence of a number of significant booths. Is it coming back stronger next year? Christian Book Expo will be held in Dallas March 20-22 next year, aimed at consumers rather than retailers. What role will that play? Stay tuned, folks, the only thing that is constant in this industry is change.

Beyond The Smoke
~Coming January 2009~