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Mission Report, May 2019, Realm Makers Bookstore in Orlando and Columbus

This year so far, Realm Makers Bookstore has sold about 2,500 Christian-made fantastical books to eager readers across America.
| Jun 4, 2019 | 1 comment |

This year, fans of Christian-made fantastical novels have more proof than ever that these books can find eager readers.

To be exact, we have nearly 2,500 reasons. That’s the number of books sold by Realm Makers Bookstore at seven conferences.

(Browse the bookstore overview here. Or read my in-person reports from Fort Worth and from Cincinnati in past months.)

Last night, bookstore co-owner Scott Minor shared the latest progress. Scott and his wife–novelist Rebecca P. Minor–had just wrapped two more events, in Orlando and in Columbus, Ohio.

“Nashville and Columbus are unique,” Scott said. “They are the two events we did this spring, which we also did last spring.”

In each city this year, the bookstore doubled its 2018 sales.

This year the bookstore has found better ways to reach out to students and parents, including bigger booths and (especially) bookmarks.

“The more bookmarks we can get in people’s hands is directly proportional to how many books we end up selling,” Scott told me.

With bookmarks and more, Scott and Becky have found more ways to start conversations with families about the kinds of books they love. Plenty of parents end up finding the perfect stories for their children and teens. Or, perhaps more likely, readers are asking parents to purchase the books.

One large family, Scott said, bought $330 worth of books all in one go.

“They had already made two purchases separately before then!” he said.

More families say they want books for middle-grade readers, Scott said. Realm Makers Bookstore sells many copies to these readers, including older titles such as Wayne Thomas Batson’s The Door Within and Robert Liparulo’s The House of Dark Shadows.

“The general market has known that middle grade is big for some time,” Scott said.

For these last events, the bookstore was joined by authors Kerry Nietz in Columbus, and Catherine Jones Payne in both Orlando and Columbus.

Kerry Nietz (The DarkTrench Saga, Amish Vampires in Space) shares this:

Probably the two highlights were:

1) The lady with a math/science-oriented son who bought everything DarkTrench hoping they’d be something he’d connect with. She has a difficult time finding something he’ll read for fun and was near tears talking about it. Let’s hope he enjoys them.

2) A young man (late teens, I think) who was hovering near the DarkTrench books. When I asked him what he read, he said “graphic novels” and had already bought the Ted Dekker ones from the store. He said that too many words on the page bothered him. I was like “No worries, I’m glad you found something.” A few minutes later, he rounded the corner and saw the Amish books [Amish Vampires in Space, Amish Zombie from Space]. They went into his hand and stayed in his hand until his mom showed up to pay. I have no idea if he’ll be able to read those books or not, but he wanted them. (Those were the only copies of those I sold, but I told the stories about the books a lot.)

Once again, the big takeaway: Realm Makers Bookstore keeps finding that homeschool families alone are a great market for Christian-made novels in fantasy, sci-fi, and other fantastical genres.

“Christians read books that aren’t [labeled] ‘Christian books,” Scott said. “And they buy fantasy and science fiction for their kids.”

E. Stephen Burnett is coauthor (with Ted Turnau and Jared Moore) of The Pop Culture Parent: Helping Kids Engage Their World for Christ, which will release in spring 2020 from New Growth Press. He also explores biblical truth and fantastic stories as editor in chief of Lorehaven Magazine and writer at Speculative Faith. He has also written for Christianity Today and Christ and Pop Culture. He and his wife, Lacy, live in the Austin area and serve as members of Southern Hills Baptist Church.

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Lelia Rose Foreman

I would have loved to find a booth like yours when I was homeschooling.