Friday, May 13, 2005

Applause for Innovation

I’m always looking for innovation in the marketplace.  Some times an innovator will fail but other times they will catch the new wave in the market.  As you read in print magazines and Internet publications (such as Publisher’s Lunch which is free) along with books and newspapers, I’d encourage you to look for innovation and study how it came into the market.

An increasing number of magazines and book imprints and other areas of publishing are targeting a particular group or niche of the marketplace.  Publishers will continue to look for broad-based books—but writers make a key mistake when they don’t identify and target a particular group. Of course, you have to make sure you select a large enough group that a publisher will be interested in also going after that target. Otherwise you will face rejection for your idea (another of the many reasons that ideas are rejected).

Stephen Strang, the publisher at Strang Communications has a diverse ministry of magazines and books. For many years, I’ve known Stephen and admired his innovation. One area of the market which I haven’t seen targeted is the church bookstore market.  Particularly among the larger churches but in some cases among the smaller churches, they are starting their own bookstores. With the intense competition from “big box” stores like Barnes and Noble or Borders along with Sam’s Club and other places where Christian books are sold (even Target), it is no secret the number of Christian bookstores continues to decline. It’s a competitive tough business.

Now Strang has targeted the church bookstore with a forthcoming magazine plus with a new convention for these church bookstore managers. You can learn more about it at www.churchbookstore.com. From my view it’s an idea that has potential for strong success. Of course, it’s too early to tell in some ways. I applaud the innovation.

How are you reaching out to a new market or new area today for your writing life? Are you crafting a short story to send to a magazine? What about trying to write a nonfiction magazine article or query letter? Are you toying with a nonfiction book proposal? Some of those innovations might be a turning point in your career.

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