ACP Membership Meeting

2024 ACP Membership Meeting

Thursday-Friday, May 30-31, 2024


Download Meeting Handouts

These handouts are available for download for all participants.

Recruiting Diverse Talent as Authors and Editors

What Are the Best Ways to Use Writing and AI


Friday's Large Group Session

Dr. Mark Gray's Presentation in PDF Format

Catholics and Media Coming Out of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This presentation explored CARA’s recent research on Catholic media use and how this was amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. This heightened use of media seems to carry over even as Catholics have returned to more “normal” pre-pandemic patterns of parish and religious activity.

Speaker

Mark M. Gray is the Director of CARA Catholic Polls (CCP) and a Senior Research Associate at CARA. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science and a M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of California, Irvine. He has worked at CARA for 21 years and primarily does surveys of lay Catholics for CARA. He is also a faculty member at Georgetown University where he teaches in the Liberal Studies program.


Breakout Sessions

DESIGN TRACK

Dive into Generative AI technology’s effect on the legal issues most impacting publishers: copyright, privacy, and more. Discover how AI-generated content challenges traditional notions of ownership and privacy, and explore the implications for publishers, authors, and readers alike. We will examine pending cases, discuss research into use of AI tools, and offer insights into emerging legal frameworks. As publishers seeking to utilize Generative AI while being cognizant of the related intellectual property issues, this session will serve as a starting point for your organization’s understanding the ongoing legal and technological innovation.

Speaker: Craig Gipson, Flagler Law Group

Craig Gipson represents publishers and distributors of Christian media in the Bend, Oregon office of Flagler Law Group. Since joining the firm in 2011, Craig focuses his practice on intellectual property, rights issues, and data privacy matters affecting Christian publishers. More recently, he has presented to multiple publishing industry associations on the topic of generative AI’s legal implications for the publishing industry. Previously, Craig began his legal career practicing education law at Brackett & Ellis in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas in 2005 and The University of Texas School of Law in 2008. When not working with Christian publishers, Craig enjoys being outdoors with his wife and two sons.

Do you have a vocation? Of course you do. The question is does and how does your work as a book designer fit help you fulfill your vocation.

  • Vocation appears at the intersection of Talent Street and Opportunity Avenue. It is part of Jesus’ big idea for our role in making the world more like the way God would have it.
  • Your vocation is at the service of the vocation of others. Who are they? How does your design help them with their vocations?
  • What are the daily disciplines or practices of the spirituality of your work?

 Bring to the session one book that you have designed or admire greatly and be prepared to say why. The facilitator will bring samples as well. The session will be followed immediately by a session on Non-Fiction Development Editing by the same presenter.

Speaker: Greg Pierce

Greg Pierce, author of Spirituality @ Work and The World as It Should Be. He is a former president of the National Center for the Laity and long-time member of ACP. Has been involved in the design of over 300 titles published by ACTA Publications over the past 40 years, working with several great book designers including Patricia Lynch and Andrea Reider.

The Book Design as Branding Workshop will equip book designers and marketers to incorporate branding strategies in the book design process. This workshop explores the connection between branding, book design, and publishing, and highlights three benefits of incorporating a branding mindset in the book design process: connection, consistency, and creative control. Participants will gain actionable strategies to integrate branding principles into every stage of book design, from pre-design brainstorming to post-publication marketing iterations.

Speaker: Emma Elzinga

Emma Elzinga is the founder of Inksplatter Design, a book-focused studio providing strategic design solutions for authors and publishing houses. An experienced designer with a creative approach, Emma is drawn to the intersection of visual art and storytelling and specializes in designs that uniquely highlight the written word. Learn more about her book design studio at www.inksplatterdesign.com, or view her personal portfolio at www.emmaelzinga.com.

EDITORIAL SESSIONS

Here are three questions to address when dealing with an author (whether first-time or long-term):

  • Whom is the proposed book for? How to get the author (and editors, designers, and marketing directors) to be as specific as possible in identifying its intended audience early on.
  • Who will actually buy the book to give it to the ultimate reader? Is it a gift book? A programmatic book? A parish (or other institution) handout book? A book intended to be purchased directly by the intended reader?
  • What is the author trying to persuade the reader to do or believe? Is it persuasive? Why? How?

Three recent ACTA non-fiction books will be used as examples. Samples of these books will be supplied for the session or can be purchased at www.actapublications.com:

  • Such Dizzy Natural Happiness: A Long Loving Look at the Lord’s Prayer by Patrick Hannon
  • Less Helping Them/More Healing You: The Transcendent Gift of an Ancient Spiritual Practice by Jean P. Kelly
  • The Mole at Vatican Council II: The True Story of “Xavier Rynne” by Richard Zmuda

Speaker
Greg Pierce
Greg Pierce is currently the owner, CEO, editor, and publisher of ACTA Publications in Chicago. He has edited and published over 300 books and written 10 books of his own, including The World as It Should Be, The Mass Is Never Ended, and Reveille for a New Generation. He also spent 50 years as a community organizer, volunteer leader, and consultant with the Industrial Areas Foundation.

Because of his experience with my his own children and their friends, one of his passions is working with young adults between 20-40, mentoring them as they choose and pursue their careers and helping them learn to write persuasively and get their writing published.

 

This session should help identify practices for recruiting talent and skills to look for. This session may appeal to editors, editorial leaders, and authors.
Speakers
Greg Pierce (see above session for biography)
Shannon Wimp Schmidt, author
Shannon Wimp Schmidt is the Content Director for TENx10 Youth Ministry Collaboration, co-host of the Plaid Skirts and Basic Black podcast, and award-winning co-author of Fat Luther, Slim Pickin’s: A Black Catholic Celebration of Faith, Tradition, and Diversity (Ave Maria Press, 2022). A veteran pastoral minister, Shannon holds a bachelor’s degree in Theology from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Catholic Theological Union. She also serves on the Board of Catholics United for Black Lives, a not-for-profit working for racial justice. Shannon lives in Chicagoland with her long-suffering husband, Eric, and their four beautiful children.

This session should appeal to editors and marketers. This session should address how can you parse what is a good use of AI in writing, when AI is helpful and not helpful, how to use AI well for translations, and talk about the practical implications of basic intellectual property concerns.

Speaker

Karina Fabian, Catholic Writers Guild
Karina Fabian is a versatile author who seamlessly weaves her faith into her science fiction and fantasy stories. From nuns in space to dragon detectives protecting the world from evil magic, her imaginative narratives draw readers into captivating worlds while maintaining a strong Catholic ethos. Adept in both noir and humor, she moves from one to the other as the stories take her. One of the founders of the Catholic Writers’ Guild, Karina currently serves as its president to take the organization to the next level. Karina also writes for Fit Small Business, sharing insights and knowledge on small business software and business development. As such, she’s familiar with AI in both writing and business. Karina is a graduate of the Orlando Improv Comedy course and occasionally takes the stage.

EXECUTIVE/MANAGEMENT SESSIONS

Explore the intersection where technology meets faith in this session on Generative AI in Christian publishing. Our discussion will delve into the implications for publishers as we examine the delicate balance between innovation and ethical responsibility. We will examine practical strategies for implementing policies and contract revisions to responsibly embrace technological advancements. As publishers seeking to navigate the combination of faith, publishing, and technology, this session will provide a broad view of this rapidly evolving topic.

Speaker: Craig Gipson, Flagler Law Group

Craig Gipson represents publishers and distributors of Christian media in the Bend, Oregon office of Flagler Law Group. Since joining the firm in 2011, Craig focuses his practice on intellectual property, rights issues, and data privacy matters affecting Christian publishers. More recently, he has presented to multiple publishing industry associations on the topic of generative AI’s legal implications for the publishing industry. Previously, Craig began his legal career practicing education law at Brackett & Ellis in Fort Worth, Texas. He graduated from The University of Texas in 2005 and The University of Texas School of Law in 2008. When not working with Christian publishers, Craig enjoys being outdoors with his wife and two sons.

This session should address how organizational culture has changed since the pandemic including the impact of remote/hybrid work environments. The session should include insights on managing different generations of workers and generational expectations. This session will be in 2 parts.

Speaker

Dr. Kathryn Scanland is an organizational process consultant who helps organizations maneuver through complex changes in leadership, strategy, or direction with finesse and compassion. She helps them design solutions that move their organization forward in ways that make organizational change sustainable.

Her introduction to Christian publishing began in the mid ‘90s as market research manager for Christianity Today. Throughout the following decades as a consultant, she worked with numerous Christian publishers and is currently the Board Chair for Baker Book House Company.

Kathryn works with a variety of purpose-driven organizations and is also an adjunct professor and instructional designer for Davenport University’s Institute for Professional Excellence. Her expertise is in strategic planning, change management, and leadership development.

MARKETING SESSIONS

Influencer marketing is more than beauty product demos and celebrity endorsements. It’s for books too! Together we’ll discuss what influencer marketing really is and how you can use it to sell books in the faith-based space. We’ll discover new ways to find influencers, different strategies, and things to be cautious of as you step into this space.

Speaker: Allie Noble

A Chicagoland native, Allie is the Senior Social Media Manager at InterVarsity Press (IVP) working to promote all titles and helping authors navigate the digital space. She holds a degree in Advertising from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Prior to joining IVP in 2019, she worked at global Public Relations agency Finn Partners before transitioning into faith-based work at her home church, Christ Church in Oak Brook, where she served in communications and digital marketing. Allie currently resides in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, 2 year-old son and 3 month-old-daughter.

This session has been cancelled.

With the ever-evolving changes to privacy, targeting, and algorithms in the digital marketing landscape, serving ads to the Catholic audience has become even more challenging for authors, publishers, and businesses. In this session, you’ll learn the best practices 5 Stones uses as a Catholic marketing agency to reach Catholic audiences across an omnichannel digital ads strategy.

Speaker
Mary Kizior, 5 Stones
Mary Kizior is a marketing strategist at 5 Stones with 10 years of experience helping Catholic publishers and other content creators build their brands, gain exposure, grow their tribe, and sell more products. Specializing in e-commerce and digital media strategy, Mary is passionate about helping the Church in its mission of evangelization. When she’s not hands-to-keyboard, Mary enjoys gardening, hiking, and traveling.


Awards and Honors

On Thursday evening, we honored the new inductees to the ACP Hall of Fame and the winners of the 2024 Excellence in Publishing Awards.