Publishing Trendsetter is a production of Market Partners International and Publishing Trends.

Life in Christian Publishing


Where I come from, everyone recognizes the big names in Christian publishing. By the age of eleven, I could differentiate between companies based on the logos that filled my church library, and by seventeen, I knew which of those logos I wanted on my future business card.

I have a stack of those business cards now, that familiar logo embossed proudly next to my name. While I’m no longer starstruck by my childish perception of my company, I do have the opportunity to work on content in which I deeply believe. It seems that religious publishing lends itself to that prettily.

Religious publishing may not be every person’s first choice within the publishing world, which I can understand. A person could worry that it may be too niche and somehow pigeonhole a career. However, my experience within my company has been overwhelmingly positive, professional, and constructive. I know that I’m developing skill sets that will lay a foundation for the rest of my career, as well as building great relationships with professional mentors who are highly respected in the industry.

Also, while the work that we publish is invariably Christian in nature, my company is first and foremost a business and not a ministry.

That means that, just like any other publisher, there are expense reports to run, data to correct, books to edit, and meetings to facilitate. Though the end product may be intended to impact people via churches and ministries, the work itself is not designed to be a non-profit or an inherently religious experience – this is a business that requires all of the same acumen that its secular counterparts do.

What’s more, not everyone in my office practices a personal Christian faith. This surprised me at first, to be honest, because I thought that religious publishing would primarily attract people who self-identified as the target audience of our books. What I found instead was a group of highly intelligent, highly skilled people who are good at what they do, regardless of their personal beliefs, and the quality of work is better for it.

I love what I do and I love my company. It’s not perfect by any means, but I am proud to be a part of something that has the potential to impact the reader forever.

I think that that is publishing in its purest form, really. That’s the goal of all books ever, right? To impact a reader forever. Personally, I love being able to do that within my faith tradition.  Whether distinctly religious or distinctly secular, academic or trade, literary or low-brow, books are meant to make an impact.

Survey results: Where Do Publishing Professionals Get Their Books?

Editor’s note: This post can also be found on our parent site, Publishing Trends.

Codex’s recent reader poll shows that the Amazon-Hachette contract negotiations may be having an impact on the way the average consumer purchases books. According to Codex, 39% of their respondents are aware of the ongoing negotiations between Amazon and Hachette, and there has been a decline in consumers buying books from Amazon at a rate of 7.5%.

Since publishing professionals are not quite the average book consumer, Publishing Trends conducted a quick, informal survey on where publishing professionals get their books and whether or not that has changed over time. The Amazon-Hachette negotiations were not mentioned anywhere in the survey because we did not want to lead answers toward a particular direction. Most (20%) of the survey respondents who identified their job titles were from editorial backgrounds. The next most popular category of respondents were from literary agencies at 10.8%, and the rest ranged from production, consultants, rights, marketing, and contracts.

Of those who responded, 67.9% stated that they pay for the books that they read in their free time, and the others who get them for free receive them from a variety of sources (respondents could pick multiple choices):

ChartExport (2)

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Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/21-7/25

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, but to little fanfare without The Big Five.

The New Yorker made their digital archives are free all summer long, and here are some suggestions on where to start.

Amazon released its second quarter sales, revealing a 23% increase in sales, but a dramatic increase in losses.

Musician Jack White launched his own publisher, Third Man Books.

Rizzoli International will acquire Welcome Books.


Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/14-7/18

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

This week, Amazon launched an ebook and audiobook subscription service for Kindle called “Kindle Unlimited.”

Apple will pay $450 million in their ebook settlement.

Booksellers from the famed Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris are raising funds to start an de Selby Press, an independent Irish publisher.

Amazon struck back at France’s new law, which disallowed free shipping on already discounted books, by offering shipping for next to nothing.

Weeks after being purchased by Rowman & Littlefield, Globe Pequot laid off about 25 staffers across different departments.

Bonus videoWeird Al Yankovic restyled “Blurred Lines” into “Word Crimes,” making our inner grammarians rejoice.

Survey: Where Do You Get Your Books?

At Market Partners International, we get books mailed to us from friends in the industry, we have holds at the library, and attend book events, and buy signed copies. We just love to read. If you work in publishing, we’re willing to make an assumption that you like to read, too. You’ve probably got a to-read pile that’s up to your ceiling, or an ereader that’s almost maxed out on space. Or both!  But where do your books come from?

If you work in the publishing industry, we invite you to take this short survey about where your reading materials come from, linked here. It’s completely anonymous, and we’ll post the results here and on our sister site, Publishing Trends.  

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 7/7-7/11

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

HarperCollins is now selling print and ebooks directly through their own website.

Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books Division is joining up with romance publisher Omnific to co-publish some titles while Simon & Schuster takes over all distribution.

Amazon made an offer to Hachette authors that they will receive 100% of ebook royalties during their contract negotiations.

Wattpad acquired competitor site Red Room, a site for authors and readers to interact.

Open Road calls HarperCollins’ request for $1.1 million in damages and attorney fees “shocking” regarding Julie of the Wolves, but HarperCollins stands firm.

Book Jobs Not by the Book: Alana Heiss, Partnerships and Content at Oyster

Alana HeissAlana Heiss works on Partnerships & Content at Oyster in New York. After studying literature and philosophy at NYU, she oversaw sales and marketing into Europe for HarperCollins, then moved on to Taschen to manage sales across the east coast of the US. She’s been at Oyster since the app launched in September 2013. 

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted via Derris, the PR company Oyster employs for their public relations.


What was your first exposure to the book business and what were the most important things you gained from it?
My first foray into the business was selling books at a store in New York during undergrad at NYU. By merchandising new releases each week, curating table displays, and recommending titles to anyone who asked for it (even though I usually said “try Jonathan Franzen or Joan Didion” regardless of what they were actually looking for), I got to be very familiar with different publishers’ catalogs and the kinds of books their imprints publish. In turn, that gave me a good understanding of how publishing companies are structured and how they market titles. That was invaluable for the sales jobs that I later had at companies like HarperCollins and Taschen. And having a good working knowledge of publishers’ catalogs has been very helpful at Oyster, where we’re working with over 1,600 unique publishers.

How do you explain your current job to people?
Currently, I’m working on partnerships and content at Oyster, a New York-based startup and the first company to bring the subscription model to books. Oyster is designed specifically for mobile reading—I love how I can binge read Hemingway on my iPhone during my commute or over a drink at a bar, and enjoy that experience as much as flipping through my hard copy of The Goldfinch at home. The product, editorial, design and engineering teams created the best way to read digitally with our app (can I say “best”? I realize I’m biased here, but it’s true). Where I come in is on the content side, bringing publishers on board and thinking about creative ways to showcase their books in our app—all so we can have the strongest library out there and be the best partner for publishers to work with.

In what ways did your previous jobs or internships prepare you for what you do here?
When I started my first full-time publishing job in international sales at HarperCollins, the book world was undergoing a dramatic change. Digital reading was on the rise, foreign markets were becoming serious consumers of English-language books, and all the big publishing houses were reorganizing and going through the growing pains of an industry-wide transition. So I’ve always been thinking, what’s next for books?  What are readers reading, how are they reading, where are they reading, and why? It’s thinking through these questions and talking to other creative and thoughtful people about them that has really prepared me for the work I do at Oyster.

Also, by sending and receiving hundreds (thousands? probably more?) of work-related emails over the years, I’ve learned that you can make someone your friend for life by adding nonsense like this to professional email threads. That is crucial at Oyster, where we believe that humor and a punchline are sacred things. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/30-7/4

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

World Book Night US announced that it is ceasing operations due to high costs.

French Lawmakers passed what’s being dubbed “The Anti-Amazon Law” which forbids online booksellers to provide discounts higher than 5% to be combined with free shipping.

Barnes & Noble CEO, Mitchell S. Klipper sold close to half of his shares in the company this week.

Author Douglas Preston penned an open letter featuring signatures from many authors slamming Amazon.

Pioneer for diversity in children’s books and previous National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Walter Dean Myers died at 76

For the Love of Lit Mags

If you were to ask me to pinpoint when exactly my career in publishing and writing started, I would immediately think of a very specific room of my high school. Every day at lunch, that English classroom would turn into a small publishing house where my peers and I would read poems and short stories written by our peers and brainstorm how to collect those works into one book. I would play around with page layouts in InDesign and look at art submissions and fundraise so that we could successfully get our materials to the printer at the end of the year. Each lunchtime, I felt like I had found my calling because I was a part of my high school’s literary magazine.

While you may be most familiar with the big names like The Paris Review and Tin House, literary magazines exist everywhere, in every form and format. Especially for the myriad small publications, producing a lit mag is a labor of love. Often these publications work with shoestring budgets, limited distribution channels, and staffs that can range anywhere from one to fifty, with some members being scattered across the globe. Because of this, very few literary magazines can support fulltime employees, making my experience with literary magazines in high school a pretty accurate experience of literary magazines in the real world: in many ways, they are an extracurricular activity.

With little to no pay and sometimes big demands on one’s time and attention, why do young people participate in the literary magazine community? Can working on a lit mag further one’s career? Or is the motivation just in the passion for the work itself? I talked to five young people in the literary (and art) magazine world to get their takes. Read More »

Top 5 Publishing News Stories 6/23-6/27

number_5_orangeEvery week we recommend 5 publishing news stories that young book professionals should read to feel more connected to what’s going on in the industry. There are only 5, so even if you weren’t able to read a thing all week, these should help keep you in the know.

Hachette will buy Perseus Books Group, and in turn, Perseus’ distribution companies will be sold to Ingram.

Barnes and Noble announced this week that it will be splitting their retail and Nook businesses into two separate companies.

The FAA stated that Amazon cannot begin drone delivery service any time soon.

Open Road’s lawyers strike back against HarperCollins in the ongoing copyright case on the ebook of Julie of the Wolves.

An unnamed source from Hachette revealed some of Amazon’s demands during their ongoing contract negotiations.