Let me say, upfront, that CRT is by no stretch of the imagination a ‘retreat’, if by that you think ‘quiet’ or ‘contemplative’ – although there’s plenty to contemplate! By a very broad definition, it’s a ‘retreat’ in the sense of people withdrawing from the world ‘to a secluded place’ in order to meet with likeminded individuals. Semantics aside, what is CRT?
CRT is a two-day conference for people within the publishing industry: publishers, wholesalers and distributors, booksellers, and writers. The venue is the lovely Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick.
|Adrianne Fitzpatrick and author Eleanor Watkins|
(photograph by Merrilyn Williams)
This year was my second time attending: last year as part of the ACW team and this year representing Books to Treasure. The basic format was the same both times, starting out at 10.00 am on Day 1 with delegates visiting the exhibition hall, where they could explore the offerings from the trade. Many publishers were represented, including Tyndale House, Lion Hudson, Hodder Faith, Authentic, and Dernier Publishing. There were also a number of people, such as Biblekiosk and the Printing Charity, offering services to writers and publishers, as well as suppliers of cards and gifts.
|Amy Boucher Pye, Fiona Veitch Smith and |
Wendy Jones with some of their goodies
The exhibition hall was open twice a day. This gave delegates plenty of time to check out the various stalls, and to help themselves to the many freebies on offer, without having to miss out on any of the seminars. Limiting the exhibition opening times also meant that exhibitors were able to attend most of the seminars if they chose to – or take a well-earned rest!
The seminars themselves included fiction for the Christian market, the future of Christian publishing, the Bible (and translation), and a time for reflection and prayer.
CRT isn’t a writers’ conference, although it does include seminars relevant to writers, but the benefit of attending goes well beyond that. Where else can you talk to booksellers and find out what’s selling and what isn’t and what you can do to help promote your book? Where else can you also meet with publishers and find out what they’re looking for, discuss your project and perhaps gain an invitation to submit? Where else can you see how your writing fits into the grand scheme of publishing and book selling, whether for the Christian market or the secular?
The ACW had a strong presence at CRT, with a table in the exhibition hall showcasing the work of many of our members, as well as hosting one of the seminars. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with ACW members I met for the first time last year as well as meeting new (to me) people who attended this year. It’s amazing how meeting someone in the flesh can really enrich our online interactions.
|The ACW display|
|Adrianne Fitzpatrick, Wendy H Jones, and Merrilyn Williams |
(Mel Menzies) at the Awards Dinner
I heartily recommend CRT as a wonderful place to engage with our industry.
Adrianne Fitzpatrick has around 25 years’ experience in the publishing industry as a writer (for adults and children), editor, teacher (of writing and editing), photographer, book designer and bookseller (both new and secondhand books). She has had numerous short stories and articles published; and her first novel, Champion of the Chalet School, was published by Girls Gone By Publishers in 2014. Adrianne has worked with many authors to see their dreams of publication come true, so it’s not surprising that she has started her own publishing house, Books to Treasure, specialising in books for children.