Ratio Christi Announces Book Imprint Partnership with Kregel Publications
Ratio Christi and Kregel Publications are pleased to announce that Ratio Christi will have an imprint partnership with Kregel for book publication.
The agreement came about when Tom Gilson, Ratio Christi’s National Field Director, was in the editing process with Kregel for his co-edited (with Carson Weitnauer) book, True Reason: Confronting the Irrationality of the New Atheism, a collaborative work of more than a dozen authors to show that Christianity, much more than atheism, can claim to be a reasonable worldview. Gilson’s chief contact at Kregel was Dennis Hillman, Kregel’s publisher, who in the course of their conversations proposed the idea of working even more closely with Ratio Christi.
Hillman and Gilson revealed their thoughts on how they brainstormed the idea and answered questions about what the partnership will encompass:
DH: We started talking to Tom about doing True Reason, and in our conversation about what he does at Ratio Christi, I realized how much Ratio Christi is doing to help students understand the Christian faith and share their faith confidently with others. We’ve worked with several other organizations on co-publishing projects, and I started thinking, “How can we work with Ratio Christi on this?”
TG: While working with Dennis and his team, I had the opportunity to visit Kregel’s headquarters in Grand Rapids, and I discovered what great people they were to work with. I was happy Dennis offered to extend the relationship.
DH: We felt True Reason was a good interaction. Tom and Carson were great editors to work with. We’re now working with Tom on another project, and we consider him part of our stable of authors.
Over the years we’ve worked with several organizations, such as Chosen People Ministries and EvanTell, Inc., where we’ve developed co-publishing relationships. The organization develops their materials—we publish and market books. We use both logos on the books, and it helps the organizations expand their brand awareness. Parker Books, geared toward African American churches and church leadership, is another one of our co-brands. When we find an organization that is energetic and passionate about reaching an identifiable group of people, that’s the kind of relationship that works well for us. These organizations are going to make an impact in reaching people for Christ, which is part of our mission statement as an evangelical Christian publisher:
“To develop and distribute—with integrity and excellence—trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ.”
Q: How will Kregel be acquiring ideas for more books from RC?
TG: We have many writers working with us at Ratio Christi, like Michael C. Sherrard, Director of our College Prep outreach. He is updating his self-published book, Relational Apologetics. That book will come out through Kregel's regular imprint in June of 2015.
DH: It certainly helps when the organization has people who are already writers! We’ve identified two ways that acquiring books might happen:
1. RC develops books at the leadership level on a needed topic. We would work jointly with RC editors in developing the book.
2. RC has someone with an idea they want to write on, and we would work directly with that person while co-branding the book with both imprints.
TG: I will be in charge of receiving the proposals from among Ratio Christi writers—I’m looking over three proposals right now—but there could be some authors outside of Ratio Christi whose books would go well under our imprint.
Q: Will the books under Kregel’s RC imprint strictly be about learning and using Christian apologetics?
TG: My next book isn’t about apologetics per se. It’s to help Christian parents address some of today’s toughest issues with their kids.
DH: The topics may not be about apologetics itself, but about issues that can be addressed through apologetics, such as cultural issues of our day and untruths being circulated about Christians. We divide our publishing line between trade books and academic books. Academic books are sold mainly through colleges, seminaries, and other academic settings. Books directly dealing with Christian apologetics would be marketed through this division, but others may be published as trade books and marketed more broadly. Tom’s book, True Reason, is really a crossover book for everyone—apologists, students, lay readers, etc.
Q: In what forms will the books be published?
DH: The books will be published in print, for the Kindle, and in other e-book formats through several channels. We’ll use distributors like Christian Book Distributors and Ingram Distribution in the U.S.; Cook Distribution in Canada; two UK distributors; and we’re affiliated with one in Australia.
Q: How are print books selling these days?
DH: It’s difficult to estimate, but based on what New York publishers are saying, roughly seventy percent of books sold are still print books, except in romance and a few other categories where digital books are more popular. Digital books haven’t worked well yet in the education and business market. Students can’t re-sell digital books, and people can’t make notes in them as easily.
Most book publishers are facing less prosperous times due to book sales being down each year a few percentage points. Reading is, for most people, a form of leisure activity, and there is plenty of competition for leisure time from social media, video games, and television.
Q: How many books might Kregel intend to put out with Ratio Christi per year, and how long does each book normally take?
DH: Ideally, I’d love to put out three or four books under the Ratio Christi imprint per year. It generally takes about a year to get a book out from the time we receive the completed manuscript, with some exceptions. We have one that we’re getting ready to publish that’s taken two years, but it’s the exception: it will be two full-color volumes totaling about 900 pages.
Q: How do you each think this partnership can work for the Kingdom, and for increasing the number of capable evangelists and apologists especially among younger generations?
DH: For most Christian young adults, going to college presents one of the first big challenges to their faith as they encounter faculty and other students or professors who are antagonistic toward Christianity. Ratio Christi is equipping students to answer questions they’ve never faced before, and to strengthen their faith in the process. Even in the 1970s when I was in college, if I said I was a Christian, there were lots of arguments thrown at me by professors who wanted to “show me reality,” a couple of whom were really antagonistic toward Christian students!
What helped me remain strong in my faith was reading great apologists like Francis Schaeffer, C.S. Lewis, and Josh McDowell. Today’s students face an even harder challenge, I think. So we want to do anything we can do to help students know that just because they go to college and get questions, they don’t have to jettison their faith if they don’t have all the answers.
I was recently pained to discover that an online magazine published an article entitled “Five Reasons Jesus Never Existed” and there were so many people that “liked” the link on social media. We really want to support Ratio Christi because its mission and our own mission connect well.
TG: We can have speakers and events, but there’s something about sitting down and reading a book that’s a different kind of learning experience. Sometimes it takes a book to express and understand a thought. The ability to read a book from beginning to end is helpful in being able to express our thoughts from beginning to end. I like the idea of partnering with a publisher that can help encourage people to be equipped as ambassadors for Christ with more than just “Google scholarship.” To have Kregel’s help in getting this accomplished is a wonderful thing.
DH: A writer once asked me, “Why should I publish a book?” I told him that the greatest thing about writing a book is that you can only be in one place at one time, but your book can be in thousands of places at once. And your message can even outlive you as an author! My staff and I are so excited in finalizing this agreement with Ratio Christi because we love to give authors a platform that takes their message to thousands of believers (and nonbelievers as well!) and that message keeps getting out for years to come.
Rick Schenker, President and CEO of Ratio Christi, is grateful to Kregel for embarking on this endeavor with RC.
For an organization that is less than four years old, Ratio Christi is becoming known as an organization that endorses good speakers, books, and other apologetics material. Kregel is well-established as a trusted publisher for over 60 years. This relationship adds tremendous value to Ratio Christi as a name that can be trusted.”
Ratio Christi is looking forward to this new partnership with Kregel, and a bright future bringing Faith and Reason back together through this imprint.
(Kregel logo used with permission. Ratio Christi will soon have its own imprint logo!)
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