In its second year, the Fiction Readers Summit (FRS), presented by the independent Christian bookstore Baker Book House, once again attracted dozens of attendees to Grand Rapids, Mich. from Aug. 8-10 this year. Chris Jager, FRS director and fiction buyer for Baker Book House, says that the annual conference can empower authors and generate more support for the Christian fiction category.
“Our goal for Fiction Readers Summit is to bring authors and readers together,” she tells PW. “Not only do they learn from each other, but friendships are forged that will only better the community of Christian fiction.”
Karen Barnett, author of the Vintage National Parks series (WaterBrook), added: “As authors we get isolated, or we go to conferences where we talk with editors and agents—it’s quite different to hear from readers about what they like and don’t like.”
Events included Flip the Panel, in which authors asked readers questions, while traditional panel discussions included Character Building: How Authors Create People We Love (and Hate) and All the Places We’ve Been: How Authors Create Settings We Fall in Love With. Additionally, authors signed copies of their books and took photos with fans during a five-hour Selfies & Signings event on Friday, Aug. 9. Open to the public, the event attracted around 100 attendees. Baker Book’s gross fiction sales, which typically average $142 on a Friday night, totaled $3,259 for the night—a nearly 2,200% increase.
“We love that readers have a chance to not only connect with favorite authors, but also meet new ones,” says Jager. “They then have a chance to visit Baker Book House and pick up books by those authors.”
The 2020 Fiction Readers Summit is set for May 14-16 in Grand Rapids.