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Lynda Stear2

Guest Blog
by
Lynda A. Stear
Publisher & Editor
Living Seasons Ministry

The Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference greatly impacted my writing life last year.

I had not attended a Christian writers conference for well over a decade because my professional medical writing life took me in other directions. Not only did I catch up with what the publishing industry expects from writers today, and there have been significant changes in the past decade, but I also discovered how important social media is for a writer.

The paid critique and 15 minute appointments with agents, editors, and publishers from the industry illuminated what was expected of me as a writer. I received encouragement to seriously consider social media to establish a platform and following for a ministry. This endeavor would show a publisher my drive and professionalism with my writing endeavors.

The conference bookstore was filled with reference materials about social media which I purchased. I went home, studied the literature, and contacted a Webmaster.  Three months later, I launched Living Seasons Ministry (http://www.livingseasonsministry.com/).

An agent and editor encouraged me to continue writing my historical fiction, which I had proposed, and I am currently writing this book and have a second cozy fiction novella started. The Website is ready and waiting for the eventual marketing of my books.

What also evolved out of this new website endeavor is that other writers wanted to write for Living Seasons Ministry, so that was a bonus to what was an idea planted into my mind and heart at the last GPCWC in 2014.

Networking with other writers helped me build a new community during this season of my life since I retired several years ago.

I want to encourage you to register for the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference with great expectancy as to how God will open your eyes to Write His Word.
____________

Father, thank You for how You used and are using GPCWC to grow Lynda’s writing ministry. I love watching You work!

The registration fee increases July 1 so don’t procrastinate! You can register securely online at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/register. You will have the option to pay by credit card using PayPal or to mail a check.

Living Seasons Ministry

Living Seasons Ministry addresses seasons of life in which we find ourselves and offers Biblical solutions on how to live and serve within these seasons. An informative Website designed for a quick read or for studying lengthier in-depth articles. Audience: Christians and non-Christians, parents, singles and senior adults.

Vicki ChandlerGuest blog
by
Vicki Chandler

Confession time. The thought of marketing my picture book filled me with fear. But, I faced my fear. I read books about marketing. I got advice from other authors and editors. I took a stab at some strategies, which yielded few sales. Then, I, dissolved into tears.  I . . . I . . . I . . .

Heart EyesI’m acting like one of my former students. No wonder I’m crying over this new challenge. I’m stumbling along alone.  I need help!

The image came to mind of a little second grader during one of my cursive lessons.

“Mrs. Chandler, Bruce is crying,” reported a classmate.

Bruce had convinced himself that he’d never be able to write a cursive “T.” He’d given up.

I walked over to his desk and quietly coached him. With me standing beside him, giving him instructions, he finally wrote the elusive letter successfully because he didn’t give up.

That’s what I had done. I’d given up. What could I learn from Bruce’s experience? That there are people willing to stand by and help.

That’s what Karen Whiting’s “Develop a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book” clinic at the July 29 – August 1 Greater Phily Christian Writers Conference will do for you.

When I reluctantly enrolled in her marketing clinic, I had no idea how much she’d help me. It’s sad how discouragement can lead to low expectations, isn’t it?

Let me elevate your expectations. She took me from “no way” to “Yay!” She stood by me with:

Resources: Tools were provided that helped us understand the content and organization of a good marketing plan.

Hands-on activities: Practice sessions gave us the opportunity to build our plans.

Customized Coaching: Individualized attention was provided, along with instant feedback.

Intelligence and Insight: Karen’s ability to understand everyone’s project was astounding. She effortlessly helped each participant craft a three-sentence description of their book.

In three days, Karen helped me create a detailed marketing plan. She’s the Michelangelo of marketing. Don’t miss your chance to have her help you create your own marketing masterpiece. Spaces are limited. So don’t delay!

For more info and the application go to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics.
___________________

To learn more about Vicki’s writing and speaking ministry and her picture book for children about bullying go to
www.hearteyes.net.

questions

Why you need to come?

Banner 2015 GPCWC

  1. To learn the craft of writing. Okay, maybe you’ve been writing for many years, but there is always more to learn. Master craftsmen will teach workshops and continuing sessions that, as one conferee said, are the equivalent of a semester college course in writing. Writing a novel? Allen Arnold, the Founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction who spent 20 years in Christian publishing overseeing the development of more than 500 novels, will be with us. You won’t want to miss his continuing session, “Heart of the Storyteller,” or Tim Shoemaker’s “Take Your Fiction to the Gym,” or Eva Marie Everson’s “Fiction Practicum.” And they are just several of the 53 authors, editors, agents, and publicists serving on this year’s faculty and covering a wide range of topics and genres.
  1. To learn the craft of marketing your work to potential publishers. If you’ve gotten more than your share of rejection slips or have yet to get your first rejection (I’m sorry, it goes with the territory of being a writer), GPCWC’s “Get Published” track of six hour-long workshops will provide practical help.
  1. Face-to-face opportunities to pitch your work to editors and agents. At GPCWC you get FOUR 15-minute one-on-one appointments with the faculty of your choice if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; THREE if you come two days; TWO if you come one day. If you are among the next 15 to register you’ll receive one more free appointment. Check out our helpful charts of editorial needs and areas of expertise as well as the faculty bios.
  1. To learn the craft of marketing/promoting your published work. And yes, it’s a craft, and not one that comes naturally to most writers. I’ve often said that the reason I quit Girl Scouts is because of the stress of trying to sell cookies. Whether or not you like marketing, the fact is that you hold the key to the sales of your book. But the good news is that it’s a craft that can be learned. Suzanne and Shawn Kuhn’s six-hour continuing session, “Take Your Publishing Ministry to the Next Level,” will provide practical help and encouragement. Marketing genuis, Karen Whiting, wifll lead a clinic limited to 8 particpants on “Developing a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book.” For those who choose not to apply for Karen’s clinic, we have a “Marketing” track of six workshops. In “News Releases, Media Kits & More,” “Social Media for the Reluctant,” “Branding For People Who Are Not Cows,” and three more workshops you’ll find the help you need.
  1. Friendships with other writers. My closest friends are writers I’ve met at writers’ conferences. In amazing ways writers connect deeply with one another more quickly than I ever have in the chit-chat before and after Sunday morning worship services. And we need each other. A key verse for me that I’ve experienced and sought to follow is 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Encourage each other to build each other up” (TLB).
  1. Inspiration and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Our keynotes will challenge you not to give up. Jim Watkins will keynote on “Keeping Your Dreams Alive.” Other keynotes include “Writing Light into Darkness,” “Awakening the Writer’s Heart,” “Dreambusting,” “Breaking Fear’s Grip,” and “The Cross is the Main Thing.”
  1. Direction from the Lord. Each year, and this is my 32nd year directing GPCWC, God meets us and changes lives. He has a plan for you and for your writing. He is the One who makes the impossible possible.

So here are seven reasons you need to prayerfully consider coming to the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I could easily list many more! Partial scholarships are still available if you need financial help to come that your family, friends, or church are unable to provide. Housing is available on the campus of Cairn University, and we’ll do roommate matching to lower the cost. Speaking of cost, if you register through June 30, you’ll save $5 to $20 on the registration fee.

There’s lots more info on our website and in our 16-page brochure. Still have questions? You’re welcome to email me at mbagnull@aol.com or call 484-991-8581.

It’s taken almost a month to switch my focus from the Colorado Christian Writers Conference to the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’m definitely in the catch-up mode! It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by all that needs to get done in the next five weeks were it not for the staff working alongside me.

I’m especially excited about the chart of editorial needs our Appointment Coordinator, Barb Haley, has compiled that show the specifics of what our 5 agents and 24 editors are looking for. This is helpful info whether or not you’re able to come to the conference. Here’s a bird’s eye view of page 1 of the four-page chart:

Chart Editorial Needs

The conference website provides lots more info. For example:

Sally Apokedak1.png

Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She has been studying, reviewing, and marketing children’s books, as well as giving writing instruction for a dozen years or more. In a six-hour continuing session she will teach How to Break In with Middle Grade and Young Adult Books.

Other continuing sessions are:

  • Heart of the Storyteller with Allen Arnold
  • Master the Memoir with Marti Pieper
  • Writing Nonfiction Books that Change Lives with Jim Watkins
  • Indie Publishing with Scoti Domeij
  • Take Your Fiction to the Gym with Tim Shoemaker
  • Take Your Publishing to the Next Level with Suzanne and Shawn Kuhn
  • Fiction Practicum with Eva Marie Everson

Along with the rest of our faculty of 56 authors, editors, agents, and other professionals Sally and will meet with conferees in 15-minute one-on-one appointments. (The next 21 people who register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are entitled to FIVE free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of their choice based on availability.) Sally is interested in representing picture books, middle grade and YA books (fantasy is her favorite), nonfiction for all ages, and adult inspirational books.

Blythe Daniel 2015Blythe Daniel is a literary agent and publicist helping authors publish and market their book. She is acquiring 18 categories of nonfiction! In her workshop,How to Promote Yourself and Your Book, she will talk about how to step out of your comfort zone to sell yourself and your book wihtout feeling like you are selling your soul. In Position Yourself she will help participants undertand what makes them and their book unique and audience/publisher friendly.They will learn how to discover and meet true felt needs in a format that works. (These are just two of the 58 workshops at this year’s conference!)

Something new in The Blythe Daniel Agency for everyone – not just conferees!
Blythe says, “We want to be on the cutting edge of practices that embrace the ever-changing publishing landscape. We want to connect publishers, authors, and bloggers for more exposure to books and bloggers who play an integral part in highlighting books and films. We have put together a community of bloggers called The Blog Spot that reviews books and movies from publishers and film production companies we work with like Thomas Nelson, Tyndale House, Abingdon Press, NavPress, Exploration Films, and others. Since January, we have 70 bloggers in our network reaching over 2.5 million people!

“We have a monthly drawing for a $50 gift card to a major retailer, and those who post at least one review during the month will be eligible to enter the drawing. Each review will also be posted on The Blog Spot’s Facebook and Twitter pages to help bloggers reach a broader audience.

“We are looking for active bloggers with all sizes of platforms. If you are interested in participating in the network or having your book or film reviewed through The Blog Spot, contact Stephanie Alton: stephanie@theblythedanielagency.com. We will be reviewing books, movies, and participants in the network can decide how often they are available to review products.

“In essence we want to help get the word out about new books and movies while helping bloggers increase the traffic to their blogs. Go here to sign up!”  http://theblythedanielagency.net/the-blog-spot

If a family vacation or finances (some scholarship help is still availabile) makes it impossible for you to come to all or part of the July 29 – August 1 conference, I hope you will still visit http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com for the information you’ll discover there to help you grow your writing ministry. There are also almost a dozen free writers’ helps.

Remember His promise:

I can do everything God asks me to
with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.
Phil. 4:13 TLB

elephant


Are you facing an elephant?

More than likely your elephant, same as mine,
is something you’ve been putting off doing
because it’s just seems so big,
so beyond your capability,
so overwhelming . . .

You’d think after 31 years of directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and 19 years directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference the task would be easier. Not so!

Each year the task seems more daunting. And each year I have to remind myself that “God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn; he will never go back on his promises” (Rom. 11:29 TLB).

What has He promised you and me?

That it would be easy to follow Him? No. But He has promised always to be with us.

I’ve learned (but need to keep re-learning) that when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB). elephant cookie

I know that in His strength you and I can eat the elephant a bite at a time!


Update: July 29-August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

With 56 authors, editors, and agents on faculty the task of adding photos, bios, and editorial needs to the website did seem overwhelming. But finally, it’s done! And again I’m in awe of the faculty Father has provided and their willingness to invest hours of their time in meeting one on one with our conferees.

If you come all three days, you get four free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice; two day conferees get three appointments; those coming just one day still get two appointments.And If you’re among the next 32 to register, you’ll receive an additional free appointment. Appointment requests received through July 1 will be booked in the order you register, so obviously the sooner you register the better opportunity you have to get your top choices.

But GPCWC is about so much more than numbers and opportunities to strengthen your writing and marketing skills, to get valuable feedback on your work, to pitch to editors and agents, and to form deep friendships with others who share your passion for words and for the Lord.

GPCWC is about connecting with the Lord and learning to wait on Him for the answers He will give us. If you long for your words to make a difference in the lives of your readers, if your heart’s desire is to be encouraged and equipped to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives, you need to come to this year’s GPCWC and trust Him to make it possible!

As I consider the crises facing our nation and world, I cannnot think of a more important assignment for Christian writers than to “write His answer.” I’m praying you will accept His assignment and make plans now to join us at Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia Biblical University) July 29 – August 1, 2015.

Barb HaleyGuest Blogger
Barbara Haley

I was ten years old when I asked God to show me if He was real. The next day my sixteen-year-old sister was killed in an automobile accident. God was real. I shouldn’t have asked.

Of course, I didn’t tell anyone. Instead, I stuffed the guilt and the excruciating pain when my parents said things to me like, “You may look like her, but you’ll never be as good as her.” Or, “Comb your hair a different way; I can’t stand to look at you.”

Thirty-five years later, I finally opened up to a therapist. He sent me home to write a letter to my big sister from the point of view of a ten-year-old child.

After just a few sentences, my heart connected with the hurting little girl inside, and she began to voice her pain. Begging forgiveness from her precious older sister for causing her death. Suggesting that everyone would have been better off if only she could have died in her sister’s place that day. And finally, admitting how very much she hated God for what He’d done.

My next letter was to that sweet child—explaining to her that she didn’t cause her sister’s death and that God was not angry with her for her honest feelings and reactions. I released that child to be exactly that. A broken and confused child who desperately needed to know she was loved by God and family.

That writing changed my life and instilled in me a desire to learn how to use my life experiences to minister to others through the written word.

But I needed to learn how to write tight. To eliminate wordiness. To organize my thoughts. To connect emotionally with the reader. To stick to one point of view. To create a setting that captures the reader’s imagination and transfers them from their everyday life to an exciting new story world.

Writing conferences. This is where I’m learning the craft. Where I connect with other writers to encourage and be encouraged. Where I receive one-on-one feedback with paid critiques. And where God speaks clearly to my heart through inspiring worship and keynote speakers, informative workshops and continuing sessions, life-changing editor appointments, and most of all—the day to day rapport with fellow writers while sharing meals, waiting in line at the book table, or joining together for intimate prayer and Bible study.

Sure, you can buy books about the craft of writing. My shelves are loaded with them. But only when I began to consistently attend conferences did I really improve as a writer. I needed the immediate feedback and the hands-on practice provided in small groups led by experienced teachers. I grew in leaps and bounds as I jotted down strategies mentioned by other writers and began implementing them in my own writing. And, as I stood amazed, listening to big-name authors share their overwhelmingly deep love for God and His people, I realized just how sacred the ministry of writing is.

Let me encourage you to come and grow in your ministry as a writer at the Greater Philly Christian Writers’ Conference from July 29 – August 1. The friendships you’ll form will develop into a network of love and support in all areas of your life, and your writing friends will truly become your family. I promise.

______________

Thanks, Barbie, for sharing your heart and for managing the book table at the Colorado and Greater Philly conference. You are a blessing!

Banner 2015 GPCWC

Register now! Price increases June 1.

 

2015 CCWC Banner

Thank You, Father, for meeting us on the mountain.

CDs from 2015 Colorado conference are available.
Click here.

Joyce
Guest Blogger
Joyce Magnin

In my humble opinion there is no better place for writers to converge than at a conference. It is good for the body, mind and soul. Nay, I say it is imperative for writers to gather, all of one mind, kindred spirits, a singularity as it were of folks all looking in the same direction.

Well, I got to thinking about the words Writer’s Conference—I often think about words—and I came up with a few things that might help you decide to come to the conference or if you are already on board to feel pretty good about it. I know I do.

The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference changed my life, people. I mean it. Changed. My. Life. If it had not been for the conference, I would never have met the people who were instrumental in launching my career. I was shy at first but BAM! Success happens. Attending a conference is the best way to network, to begin to land on the radar of editors and other authors who can make a difference. Facebook is great but there ain’t nothing better than face-to-face.

So let’s look at the words Writer’s Conference and see what we can find.

WRITERS. Well stating the obvious is of course the word writer. And you know who you are. You know how many times you think, wow, that’s a great idea or I should really write a story or a book and then sadly the moment is quickly replaced by say, a screaming child or a flat tire. Well, here’s the thing, attending a writer’s conference is the one place a writer can be a writer. When that instant of inspiration or a light bulb turns on, you can simply reach out and touch another writer who would just love to talk about it with you. Even help you get it on paper. Not to mention the amazing opportunities for a WRITER to bring his or her stuff to a place and have it read by some really talented people.

Embedded in WRITERS is the word in TER, as in deter. How many times have you been deterred from writing? From starting that novel, finishing that story or submitting? Life is full of detriments to a creative life, but here’s the thing, coming to a conference will be the one place you go this year where you will not find things to deter you but things to TER you on and find your words inTEResting and help you determine where and when to submit.

Now let’s look at the word CONFERENCE. Hoki smoke Bullwinkle, lots of good stuff here. CONFER, yes! It means to grant or bestow. Here’s the thing, I hereby bestow and grant unto you the title of WRITER EXTRAORDINAIRE. And where do writers go? Conferences. That’s right.

Ah, but what if we shorten it and wind up with the word CON? Oh boy, how many times have you felt like con artist, a fraud, a person without talent, a person your family kind of humors until you walk away. Here’s the thing—we all feel that way. Even authors who have published dozens of books feel like a con sometimes. But, attending a conference will do so much to help you feel, well, bestowed upon, granted the title of writer—even if you still have a hard time wearing yourWRITER badge at home. We’ll let you take it out, polish it to a fine patina and proudly wear it.

And that brings us to the back end of the word—ENCE. As in: CONFIDENCE. Yeah we can get you some of that. But you have to come and please, whatever you do, don’t leave your words at home. Bring them. We’d love to see what you’re working on.

Some more words to consider:

AUDIENCE—Ain’t nothing wrong with having an audience or sitting in the audience and listening to some really amazing speakers. It’s good for you.

BIOLUMINESCENCE—Okay, maybe a stretch but think about it. The word simply means to make your own light and let it shine in dark places. Umm, isn’t that kind of the point?

EXCELLENCE—Personally one of my favorite words. I believe all artists, writers need to strive for excellence. And let me tell you, a conference is the best place to make some headway there.

Now I could go on but maybe you should find some of your own words. In fact why not write them down and bring them. Maybe we can find a place to display them. What’s your ENCE or TER?

Seriously, the July 29 – August 1  Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference is the place to be this summer.

___________________
Joyce Magnin is the author of nine books including two middle grade novels. Her most recent middle grade was awarded a Kirkus Starred review. She says, “I never wanted to do anything else but write and every day I wake up astonished that I get to do what I always dreamed about.” Joyce will be teaching three workshops at the 2015 conference: “Let’s Focus on Your Fiction,”  “The Sound of Your Story,” and “The Truth about Sow Don’t Tell.” She is also one of the instructors for Teens Write on Thursday, July 30. Visit Joyce’s blogs at www.joycemagnin.blogspot.com  and www.joycewritesforyoungpeople.blogspot.com.

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