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Archive for the ‘Get your book in print’ Category

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Thirty-one  years ago I sat in a workshop with Lee Roddy at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference. I remember how my heart pounded the last morning of his workshop when he challenged us to put a commitment in writing to complete our book in a year. And then he prayed that heaven would be different because of the words we would write and publish.

I knew God had called me to write this book. I never questioned that, but I did question my ability to write it during the next year as I struggled to finish it. One friend reminded me that a year in the Lord’s sight was like a thousand years, but I knew the Lord knew that I had promised to complete it in 365 days.

And I did. I wasn’t a day late or a day early! I took “my baby” to the post office and mailed it to a publisher that had requested the entire manuscript. And then the waiting began. That editor kept it one year before finally returning it.

Over the next five years I queried 40 other publishers. Some asked to see the entire manuscript. All of them returned it, too. Frustrated, discouraged, and consumed by self-doubts I came so close so many times to giving up. Only the promises in God’s Word kept me keeping on.

“Let us not get tired of doing what is right,
for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing
if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”
Galatians 6:9 TLB

Friends babysat my kids so that I could go to the conference each year on a working scholarship. I commuted to save money, and after five years even ended up on faculty teaching a continuing session on writing for Christian periodicals. Even more amazing, several months after that fifth conference an editor I’d met with called and offered me a contract.

Of course I can’t promise that you’ll land a contract if you come to the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. His plan for you may be independent publishing – an exciting and affordable opportunity to get your book in print within months instead of years. Amy Deardon’s “Indie Publishing” continuing session of almost 6 hours will give you the tools you need to do-it-yourself. And our marketing track of six workshops will show you how to reach potential readers.

There is still time to register and to beat the July 2 price increase.

There is still time to request your free 15-minute one-on-one appointments with faculty.

There is still time to “write His answer” to men and women, boys and girls, who desperately need to know that God loves them.

The urgent question is, “How much longer will we have the freedom to print and distribute Christian literature in a nation that is becoming increasingly antagonistic to the Gospel?”

I urge you not to allow discouragement to keep you from this once-a-year opportunity to be equipped to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.

Trust Him to work out the logistics and provide the finances. Partial scholarships are still available and time payments can be arranged. You can also receive a $25 credit for anyone not on our mailing list who registers mentioning your name. Why not request some extra brochures, flyers, and even a poster to hang in your church? I am convinced there are “closet” writers in every congregation. You may find a new writing friend!

Is God calling you to “write so that heaven will be different?” Then now is the time…

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Debbie Hardy for GPGuest Post
CCWC & GPCWC
Faculty Member
Debbie Hardy

Many people with the urge to write a book have no idea what’s involved. They’ve probably told amusing stories at parties and had someone say they should write them down.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.

  1. Write what you’re passionate about.

Writing and publishing a book can take years, and if you’re not passionate about the subject, you’ll tire of it long before the process is completed.

  1. Join a writers’ group.

These are writers who assist each other to improve their manuscripts and encourage one another to keep writing. Listening to suggestions and editing your manuscript can make it better and easier to read.

  1. Puke your book out.

I know this sounds gross, but puking your book out is exactly what you need to do. When you physically “toss your cookies,” you keep puking until everything is out, and then you clean it up. Same thing with writing. Get it all out from inside you, and then clean it up.

  1. Rewrite and have your manuscript critiqued again.

You want readers to love your work, so give it to critical folks for their reaction before even thinking about publishing. And don’t become defensive when they tell you what they’d like to see changed. These are readers, just like those you hope will buy your book and tell others about it.

  1. Marketing is up to you, not the publisher.

Learn all you can about how to market your book and yourself. Even if all your friends and family members buy a copy, you’ll need to sell more. Keep learning and marketing.

How to Write a Book AND Get It Published contains 45 more steps in the writing and publishing process, many of which you hadn’t thought of! Check it out on Amazon.com.


Colorado Christian Writers Conference
, May 11-14 – Debbie is teaching “Pitching to Agents, Publishers, and TV/Radio Producers” and “Say It with Humor.”

 

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, August 3-6 – Debbie is teaching “Add Humor to Your Writing.”

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Discouraged face

Writing, rewriting, editing . . . It’s not easy to refine an idea into a publishable manuscript. And that is just the beginning! Then you need to determine  where to submit your writing and to persist in submitting again and again. It may become evident through this process that independent publishing is your best option. But how can you be certain?

Going to a writers’ conference will not only help you to gain critical knowledge about writing and publishing, it will also give you the opportunity to meet one-on-one with editors, agents, authors, and other professionals.

With FOUR free 15-minute appointments (FIVE for the first 75 who register for all three days), no conference provides more opportunities than the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. But with a faculty of over 50 at each conference, how can you be certain you’re making the best choices?

The helpful steps below will equip you for your conference experience, wherever that might be.

1. PRAY!

If you want to know what God wants you to do,
ask him, and he will gladly tell you,
for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply
of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.
James 1: 5 TLB

2. Review the 79 genres/topics on the Editorial Needs Charts that our amazing Appointments Coordinator, Barb Haley, has painstakingly compiled based on responses from our Colorado faculty.

Ed Needs p 2 NF

Sample page. Click here for a PDF of the entire 9 pages that is readable.

3. Study the bios of the editors and agents who are interested in what you are writing and study any additional info about their editorial needs that accompanies their bio. (Note: Bios of the agents and other professionals will be added to the website soon.)

4. Visit their website and carefully read their guidelines for writers.

5. Keep in mind that your best option may be to meet with an author. If you do not have a manuscript or concrete idea to discuss, we recommend that you request appointments with authors. An author can help you evaluate the readiness of your manuscript for publication. Barb has also prepared a 9-page chart of “Areas of Expertise.” 1-14. Author bios will be added to the conference website soon.

6. Consider the option of a 30-minute paid critique. Yes, Barb has also created a 9-page chart (click here) for paid critiques. For even more info, including length parameters, that there is room on the chart to provide, click here.

My paid manuscript review gave me the most thorough
and helpful manuscript review I’ve had to date
.
Clement Hanson

7. Prepare for your appointments using the tips you’ll find by clicking here.

Finally, pray some more – but not desperate “please, God” prayers. Instead surrender your work – your words – to the Lord and trust that He knows the plans He has for you and for your writing.

 
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for GOD‘s voice in everything you do,
everywhere you go; he’s the one
who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.
Proverbs 3:5-7 MSG

Stay tuned for exciting updates about the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference as the details fall into place.

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Ava PenningtonGuest post
by Ava Pennington
Co-captain, Appointment Desk

Banner 2015 GPCWC

The first time I attended a Christian writers’ conference, I was reminded of an all-you-can-eat buffet. Not just any buffet, but one whose tables overflowed with lobster and filet mignon.

That four-day conference was packed with continuing classes, workshops, resources available for purchase, and free resources, too. What amazed me most were the opportunities for appointments with acquisition editors, agents, and successful, multi-published authors.

Although I was grateful for those meetings, I was also terrified. Would I say the wrong thing and be branded as a hopeless novice? Or would I be able to make the most of each opportunity?

Here are 7 lessons I learned from those experiences as well as from my experiences on the other side of the table…

  1. Be prepared

Research the people you will meet. Learn their editorial needs or areas of expertise. Check the Faculty-at-a-Glance page or the summary spread sheet for details about the 53 authors, editors, and agents serving on the faculty of the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Preparation also includes ensuring your writing sample is the best it can be. Edit for punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling. Remember, your written work represents you!

  1. Follow directions

Follow directions regarding what and how to submit. Did you review the guidelines regarding length and format? Did the agents and editors say they were interested in your genre?

Following directions in advance of your meeting is also good practice for submissions after the conference.

  1. Don’t be surprised by differing responses.

Opinions will be as varied as the people you meet. One agent might not be interested in your work, while another will be enthusiastic. The first agent might already be representing a similar manuscript. The second agent might have recently spoken with an editor seeking books similar to yours. Don’t be surprised—or discouraged—if your appointments offer differing responses to the same manuscript.

  1. Develop a thick skin.

One of the most difficult things writers learn to do is pour themselves into their work, then listen to someone else’s critique without taking it personally.

As writers, we can be our own worst enemy if we become argumentative and defensive about our work. Remember, you don’t have to implement everything that’s suggested. But at least consider what you hear, pray about it, and compare the comments to what other objective people say (not including your mom).

One thing not to say is “God told me to write this.” The editor might be tempted to answer “God did not tell me to publish it!”

  1. Be open to God’s detours

Your heart may be set on writing a book, but an editor may tell you the content is better suited for a magazine article—or a series of articles—instead. Or maybe you wrote a picture book, only to be told that it would make a terrific story for a children’s magazine.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you must change your project. But consider and pray about what they say. Keep in mind the average book now sells 250 copies, while the circulation of some magazines can number in the tens of thousands. It’s easy to see which one will give you a greater audience.

One other thing I’ve learned in staffing the appointment desk is that God’s detours sometimes include having you meet with someone other than who you requested. Don’t despair—you may very well be pleasantly surprised. Last year at the GPCWC, one conferee was unable to meet with her first choice, but the appointment we scheduled for her turned out to be the person she needed to meet. Trust God’s sovereignty over your writing…and your meetings. He’s in control and He loves you. There’s no better combination.

  1. Follow through

You may find this next point difficult to believe. After the conference, conferees frequently fail to send manuscripts requested during an appointment. If the agent or editor asks you to send your work, do it!

During the conference, keep a list of what agents and editors ask you to send. Did they request a query? A full proposal? A complete manuscript? Send it!

Last, but not least…

  1. Enjoy your meetings!

The editors, agents, and authors you’ll meet at GPCWC are looking forward to meeting you. They’re friendly and yes, they’re human—just like you. We all have the same goal—to use our abilities to glorify God and bless His people. So enjoy your appointments!

For more information on preparing for your appointments, check out the

Appointment Preparation page of the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference website. Conference Director Marlene Bagnull has included lots of helps to assist you in having successful appointments.

While you’re at the conference, stop by and say hello. I’ll be at the Appointment Desk and will be happy to meet you and answer your questions!

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Have you ever said, “If only someone would sit beside me and help me figure this out”?

I have! All too often I am overwhelmed by the learning curve. I’d love to be able to sit in all of the clinics at the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, but I’m too busy directing the conference. The clinics aren’t recorded so I can’t listen to them after the conference. Even if they were available on CD, it wouldn’t be the same as being there and getting help with my projects and questions. And I do need help!

*~*~*~*

Karen Whiting from FB 3Develop a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book with Karen Whiting
I know I’ve not done a good job marketing my books. That’s sad. My Turn to Care – Encouragement for Caregivers of Aging Parents is a needed devotional book. For Better for Worse – Devotional Thoughts for Married Couples is also needed but it’s out of print the same as two other books I worked so hard to publish. I need to get them back in print, but what I really need first is time with Karen Whiting to develop marketing plans that will work. Vicki Chandler, a clinic participant, says, “In three days, Karen helped me create a detailed marketing plan. She’s the Michelangelo of marketing.” You can read more about Vicki’s experience in Karen’s clinic at http://bit.ly/1K0EL7z.


Get Them Coming to Your  Blog/WebsiteMegan Breedlove cr
with Megan Breedlove
I spend a lot of time on blog posts and my three websites but not near enough time on learning the secrets of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and choosing (and using) effective keywords. I need the help Megan is going to provide. See Megan’s post, “How Do I Get to Be #1 on Google?” at http://bit.ly/1KXn9fR.


Jeanette WindleHook that Editor Book Proposal Clinic
with Jeanette Windle
Writing a book proposal is not fun or easy! Although I have written proposals that have resulted in contracts, I know Jeanette’s input would strengthen my proposals. And unlike the other clinics, I’d only need to miss three workshops to attend the nonfiction or fiction clinic. Jeanette is an award-winning novelist, missions journalist, editor, and collaborative writer. She represents Kregel Publications.


Fiction Intensive
with Nancy RueNancy Rue 2014
Someday I’m going to write a novel. When I do, there is nobody’s help I would value more than Nancy’s. I’ve never forgotten the day long clinic with Nancy that I sat in on over ten years ago. Wow! Christy Distler, one of last year’s participants, says it better than I can: “Nancy has a wonderful way of connecting with each writer she works with, her feedback is honest and yet kind, and her sense of humor makes the classes not only enlightening but also a fun fellowship with other writers.”

*~*~*~*

For more information about GPCWC’s cliics and the needed application go to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics. And do it now. The deadline for applying is July 15. And if you’ve not yet registered for the conference, I encourage you to do so before the late fee (I call it “the procrastinator’s fee”) kicks in July 16.

Banner 2015 GPCWC

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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.

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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

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