InterVarsity Press was honored to host their first Latino-focused publishing consultation at their offices in Westmont, IL, June 15-17. As a reflection of IVP's long-standing goal to publish books and authors of diverse backgrounds and voices, the representatives at the Latino/a Consultation included nineteen men and women from within the academy, the church, and religious non-profit world.
"We began planning this event over a year ago out of our long-standing commitment to multiethnicity and our specific desire to see and hear more Latino/a voices represented in Christian publishing," said Deborah Gonzalez, IVP's social media manager and the facilitator of the consultation. "The three days we spent together went extraordinarily well—better than we could have ever imagined. Friendships were deepened, new relationships were formed, and deep trust was built. Listening to the needs of the Latino/a community and dialoguing about the nuances between different contexts was especially valuable as we consider what kinds of books are needed and how we can better reach Latino audiences with our resources."
Noel Castellanos, CEO of CCDA, worked with Gonzalez to plan out the consultation, selecting potential participants, planning out which content to cover, and making sure to structure the meetings to gain as many insights as possible.
"I am very grateful to the staff of IVP for creating the space to bring key Latino leaders and authors together to envision the possibility of seeing more books published by Latinos, both for our communities and for the church at large," said Castellanos. "With the growing demographic of Latinos in our nation, it is imperative that we hear this emerging voice in order to be relevant in our kingdom outreach."
Throughout the week, the participants shared with leaders in editorial and marketing at IVP their personal and collective goals for publishing, how the diversity of the Latino community can impact publishing more broadly, and their own ideas and pitches for future books.
As a counterpart, representatives from IVP were able to present to the group about what to expect from publishing today, providing a series of talks on marketing, the production process, editorial, publicity, and platform.
"It was a privilege to have this group of men and women at InterVarsity Press for three days of robust conversation, deep and strategic thinking, and mission-focused challenges to us as a publishing house as together we contemplated ways to give voice to Latino and Latina authors in the years ahead," Jeff Crosby, IVP's publisher, said. "The staff at IVP came away both inspired and instructed by the participants, and we sensed a strong commitment from everyone involved to find ways to write and publish into critical concerns for churches, cultures, and the academy."
This consultation follows a history of such conferences for IVP, starting in 1999 and 2000 with African American and Asian American consultations respectively. In 2009, IVP also hosted a multiethnic publishing consultation which focused on how publishers can be more diverse in the workplace.
"Over the years Bob Fryling, when serving as our publisher, was able to secure special funding for a series of consultations that have helped us grow in key areas," said Cindy Bunch, associate publisher, editorial. "These consultations are an opportunity for us to learn more about the needs of various communities so that we can adapt our work to serve a broader constituency. Equally significantly, they are an opportunity for us to encourage and develop new voices in publishing. We are very grateful to have this latest grant for a Latino/a publishing consultation. We look forward to introducing readers to many new Latino/a voices as a result."
As Al Hsu, senior editor for IVP Books, wrote in 2014, "We at IVP sometimes describe ourselves as a 'multiethnic' publisher. What do we mean by that? It simply means that we aim for our books and authors to reflect the diversity of the global church, in all its myriad variety and vitality."