by Kathi Macias
I just returned from the 2012 International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in Orlando. I’ve been attending these annual shows for decades, and I always come away having learned or experienced something new. This year was no exception.
One of the primary things I noticed at this year’s convention was how much smaller it is now than when I first started attending back in the late 1980s. Fewer publishers come and set up booths, and many of those who do no longer actively bring in their authors for promotional purposes. Yet the excitement and passion for the event have not diminished.
Many who have never attended ICRS or have ceased to attend ask me why I continue to do so. There are many reasons, of course, but primarily I believe it helps me keep me ear to the ground and my finger on the pulse of Christian publishing. It’s fun to connect with longtime friends I seldom see otherwise, but even more important is making new connections-not just with American publishers and bookstore owners but also with the international publishers and book buyers who come, often looking for books that will sell in their own countries.
During my two book signings this year I was privileged to meet quite a few attendees from around the world. Their excitement at the level of ministry connected to Christian books is palpable. One lady from Nigeria accepted my autographed book and then immediately asked if she could pray for me. Of course I agreed and was so blessed by her humble but powerful entreaty that God would multiply the seeds I had planted in my books to reach and touch countless others around the globe. And since my current Freedom Series is written around the theme of human trafficking, foreign publishers and book buyers immediately relate because, unlike many of us in America who tend to be insulated from some of these tough realities, those from other countries are quite familiar with the enormity of this horrific crime. In fact, when the woman who prayed for me finished, she looked up with tears in her eyes and said, “Don’t grow weary in doing well. We must honor God in all we do, and do everything we can to rescue the perishing.”
Why do I attend ICRS, and why do I encourage you to consider doing the same if the opportunity presents itself? My primary reason is to connect with brothers and sisters in Christ from around the world, to broaden my perspective on what it means to live out my faith in these last days, to keep things in proper perspective (reaching the lost and honoring Christ rather than focusing on book sales), and to be blessed and spurred on to pour myself into speaking out for Him every chance I get. In so doing, I pray to be part of those who are actively heeding the scriptural admonition to “rescue the perishing.”
Kathi Macias is a multi-award-winning author of 40 books, including Carol Award finalist Red Ink and her newest release, The Deliverer, book three in the Freedom series. A popular speaker at women’s and writers’ events, Kathi lives in Southern California with her husband, Al.