Convention Time!

Convention Time!

Summer is book convention time for those of us in the publishing industry! I’ve just returned from attending the 20th Annual Religious Booksellers Trade Exhibit (RBTE) from May 31 – June 3 in St. Charles, Illinois. The Pheasant Run Resort provided a great venue for this international gathering of book industry professionals.

One of the top highlights for me was meeting Servant Books author and songwriter Chris Padgett, who signed copies of his latest book, Wholly Mary: Mother of God.

Through Chris’s enthusiasm and passion, Wholly Mary helps Our Lady come alive in fresh ways. His unique CD, The Rosary Project: A Celebration of Prayer and Song, has just been released by Servant Books and is a great companion product, and he is also the author of Spirituality You Can Live With: Stronger Faith in 30 Days, published by Servant last year. There’s just nothing like meeting an author face-to-face, sharing a meal, and being able to brainstorm future product concepts. Chris has lots of ideas, and we had a lively, engaging discussion. Keep your eyes open for more from this dynamic author.

On the flight home, I reflected on what makes for a successful convention experience. Whether you’re an author, bookseller, or publisher—or just someone who loves books, here are some ways to maximize your time at trade shows and conventions:

Five Ways to Make the Most of a Book Convention

  1. Smile: As you walk the aisles, make eye contact with the folks at the booths. These dedicated individuals put in long days on their feet, and a smile and a few friendly words can give them a boost. You might make a new connection—or a new friend.
  2. Look for trends: Keep your eyes open and notice what the competition is doing. What trends are reflected in the new titles displayed?
  3. Spend time with your coworkers: Look for opportunities to connect with those within your own company that you might not see regularly. Meals and after hours all provide a relaxed chance to get to know your fellow employees and strengthen relationships.
  4. Attend workshops: Take advantage of convention workshops and keynote speakers. This is a great way to learn more about your industry and increase your knowledge base.
  5. Pace yourself: Early mornings, fully scheduled days, and late nights come with the territory at conventions; make sure you get your rest, stay hydrated, and don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes!

What conventions are you planning to attend this season? What are some of the ways you’ve discovered to make the most of your own convention experiences? What were some of the highlights you experienced? I’d love to hear from you!

FEATURED PHOTO: Author Chris Padgett signs copies of his newest book, Wholly Mary at RBTE.


About the Author

Claudia Volkman is a director of product development for Servant Books. She and her husband, Scott, live in Florida, where she enjoys walking, knitting, and spending time with her Corgis.