“To publish for the general market is to be a faithful Christian,” stated András Visky, Hungarian author, publisher and noted playwright. Visky addressed fifty-five publishers, editors and authors from twenty-one European countries at Media Associates International’s (MAI) Europe Publishing Forum 25-28 April 2007 in Schloss Mittersill, Austria. He and other speakers shared fresh ideas and models for publishing effective Christian literature for Europe’s majority non-Christian population.
MAI’s Forum provided opportunity for time and resource-stretched publishers to refuel, network with colleagues and exchange ideas before returning to countries where the Church is often small and struggles to gain relevancy in society.
In reaching general readers, Visky encouraged publishers to think beyond traditional failure or success to finding God in either situation. “It is better to face a failure than to live in a lukewarm way…A failure is an invitation to recreate your language, meaning and position in the world.”
Visky stressed the importance of both appreciating and involving non-Christians in publishing. His own publishing house in Romania, Koinonia, sends all its manuscripts considered for publication to fifty or sixty experts—designers, editors and scholars, both Christian and non-Christian—who are invited to provide input.
Other speakers and workshop topics included Ditmar and Elizabeth Mittelstaedt, publishers of Lydia magazine (Germany), on “Creating New Markets and Expanding Existing Ones”; Pat Alexander, co-founder of Lion Hudson Publishing (UK), on “Developing Book and Article Ideas and the Authors Who Will Write Them”; and Anna Shirochenskaya, publisher of Triad Christian Publishing (Russia), on “Keeping Prices Affordable and Your Business Alive.”
At the end of the Forum, participants took important first steps toward the creation of books and articles for the general market. Several publicly shared ideas they plan to implement in their work.
Anna Schirochenskaya, of Triad Publishing in Russia, said, “I felt God putting on my heart a new series for young people, ages sixteen to eighteen. They're asking philosophical questions about life…they're so bright and talented. It would be a shame to lose them.”
Steven Dixon, of Editions Farel in France, added, “I'd really like to launch a new brand of books geared toward young professionals. In France, they have a whole different way of experiencing life, and the Church is not speaking to them.”
Daniela Encheva, with Leah magazine in Bulgaria, promised, “I will do three things: (1) start asking braver and smarter questions, (2) not feel guilty when I take risks and (3) throw a great party to celebrate our women's magazine’s tenth anniversary!”
MAI is committed to helping Christian publishers in the Majority World produce locally-created books and articles that nurture the Church and attract readers to Christ. Since its founding in 1985, MAI has equipped local Christians in fifty-seven countries on five continents. As a result, budding writers have been developed, publishing houses have grown, periodicals have begun and books and magazines have been produced that speak to the hearts of readers in their own languages and cultural context.