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Archive for the ‘Publishing journey’ Category

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July 26-29 I directed the 34th and last Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. It was exhausting yet energizing to be with over 250 conferees and faculty who are seeking to “write, edit, and publish His answer.”

As I opened my online Bible this morning, I was drawn to this verse:

I will praise you everywhere around the world,
in every nation. ~ Psalm 108:3 TLB

Wow! Today it really is possible for the words God calls us to write to reach around the world.

Friends, I want to challenge and encourage you not to miss the opportunities Father is giving us.

  • Are you writing a nonfiction book? You don’t need to wait until your manuscript is finished and published to blog excerpts from it. In fact, a blog can become the foundation for what later becomes a book.
  • Are you writing a novel? Stretch your writing skills by writing short stories for magazines or to serialize on your blog.
  • Are you journaling? Share what Father is teaching you in a blog.

Yes, even though I don’t blog as frequently as I’d like to, I am excited about the opportunities a blog provides for our words to literally reach around the world.

If what you have written is longer than the 300-500 words that is best for a blog, then I encourage you to ask Father if He wants you to go indie with a print-on-demand book and eBook. You do not need to invest thousands of dollars. A wealth of how-to information is available, and Father will provide a team of people to help you if you’ll ask Him.

Traditional publishing is, of course, an option for some. But realize that many publishers work only with literary agents. It takes time to land an agent and for the agent to land a publisher. And then it’s likely to be two years before your book is in print.

I’m not certain we have time to wait. We dare not assume that the doors to print and distribute Christian literature or to freely share our faith on the Internet will always be open.

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power for doing his will
are yours during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

Friends, let’s work while it is yet day, for the night comes when no one can work (John 9:4).
___________________

Check out my “Growing Your Writing Ministry” seminar on CD or MP3. And be watching for “Write His Answer” events in the Philly area and beyond as Father transforms the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference into more frequent and affordable learning opportunities. If you missed our last conference, CDs are available or the entire conference of over 100 sessions can be ordered as MP3 files for only $77. Click here for order form.

 

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Snow CO 2017 Terry Whalin

Guest post and photo reprinted with permission of W. Terry Whalin, faculty member at this year’s Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Terry shares a wealth of knowledge on “The Writing Life” in his blogs at terrywhalin.blogspot.com. At the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference he will teach two workshops, “Go Viral: Social Network Marketing” and “Nonfiction Book Creation from the Ground Up.”

Terry took this photo on May 19, 2017, in Estes Park, Colorado, during the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

For many years I’ve been attending conferences. My time at the recent Colorado Christian Writers Conference was unusual because in mid-May, we had over three feet of snow. It snowed for almost two solid days after we arrived at the event. Some faculty members who arrived late were stuck at the Denver airport. The snow made for an unusual and memorable event.

Some people wonder how I’ve published such a range of magazine articles and books. I’m not the best writer in the room but I am one of the most consistent. If I pitch an idea and an editor says, sounds good, send it to me. I make a little note, then go home, write the article or book and send it. Yes you have to write what the editor wants but overall I’ve found such a simple strategy works.

Just attending conferences is a financial investment of money, time and energy. In this article, I want to highlight five ways to profit from a conference.

First, listen for opportunities then take action. For example, one editor I met told me about a forthcoming series of Bible studies that his publisher will be doing. I’ve written Bible studies in the past and enjoy this type of writing. I noticed the opportunity so I made a point to email this editor and affirm in writing my interest in the project. The editor was grateful for my interest and said at the right time he would be in touch. This type of follow-up work leads to additional writing opportunities. You have to be listening for them.

Another editor at the conference has worked on a publication that I’ve never written for. It has a large circulation and I wanted to write for this publication for the exposure as much as a new writing credit. I’ve emailed the editor and we are corresponding about some ideas which I believe will lead to an assignment and eventually publication. You have to listen for the opportunities, then take action.

Advanced preparation before the event is a second way to profit from the conference. Study the faculty and see what they publish and then write pitches and book proposals. Most publications have writer’s guidelines and other information easily available online. Several writers at the recent conference brought flash drives with the electronic copy of their material. I appreciated the effort of these writers and it moved their submission to the top of my stack. I put their material into our internal system and moved it forward through the consideration process. In one case I’ve already turned in a writer’s project to my publication board and I’m hoping to get a contract for this author in a few weeks. The germ of this activity was her arrival at the conference prepared for her meetings. You can learn and mirror such actions when you attend an event.

Most conferences have a freebie table with magazines and writers guidelines. These publications are looking for freelance writers. You have to pick up the publications, read the guidelines then make your pitch or query or follow-through. This consistent action of follow-up is the third way to profit from a conference. When someone mentions an interest in your material, make sure you exchange business cards with them. Then when you get home, send them an email and follow-up.

At the conference, I met many people and came home with a large stack of business cards. I’ve been following up with writers and encouraging them to send me their proposal and/or manuscript. Yet few of them have reached out to me—and this type of situation is typical from my experience. If you reach out to the editor and take action, your actions will receive positive attention and you will get publishing opportunities. This is the fourth way to profit from a conference.

One of the reasons to attend a conference is to learn a new skill or a new area of the writing world. The fifth method to profit from a conference is to take action on these new skills. Are you learning how to write fiction or a magazine article or tap a new social network? A variety of skills are taught at conferences.

It’s easy to put away the notes and never look at them again. The writers who get published take a different course of action. They review the notes and apply it to their writing life. At the Colorado event, I taught an early bird workshop about Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (my book). I worked hard on my handout which had many additional resources and links for those who used it. Here’s my handout for your reference: http://terrylinks.com/js I encourage you to download the handout, print it and follow the extra material to profit for your own writing life. I’ll be at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and other events this year. Check my speaking schedule link to connect and I hope our paths cross later this year and I can help you one on one.

As writers we are continually learning and growing in our craft. A conference can be a huge growth area if you take a action and follow-up.
__________________
It’s not too late to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Lodging and meals on campus are still available. But don’t delay! The “procrastinator’s fee” kicks in on July 19.

 

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We are pressed on every side by troubles,
but not crushed and broken.
We are perplexed because we don’t know why
things happen as they do,
but we don’t give up and quit.
2 Corinthians 4:8 TLB

What the apostle Paul and other early followers of Christ endured – what they endure today in nations where there is no freedom of religion – certainly wouldn’t make for an appealing help wanted ad.

We have been beaten, put in jail,
faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion,
stayed awake through sleepless nights of watching,
and gone without food.
2 Corinthians 6:5 TLB

Can you imagine being with him in an inner dungeon, sitting in filth, your feet clamped in stocks, rats nibbling at your toes, and your body in agony because of the beating you just received? Would you, would I, be singing hymns to the Lord? (See Acts 16:23-26.)

What if Paul had said, “I’ve had enough! I quit!” Who would blame him?

But he didn’t quit! And we must not either.

There is a way over, through, around the obstacles if we will

P R A Y 

P E R S E V E R E

and K E E P   O U R   E Y E S   O N   J E S U S who for the joy set before Him endured the cross  (Heb. 12:2).

I am convinced that Father is allowing obstacles in order to strengthen our faith muscles for the difficult days that are ahead as our nation slips farther and farther away from Him.

I have faced one obstacle after another preparing for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I am praising God that one of the biggest obstacles has been overcome. I will be able to provide meals and lodging for late registrants and walk-ins. This is H U G E. With 47 to 71 conferees registering in the last two weeks, I’ve not known how we would feed them and find a bed for their head. But PTL that obstacle has been overcome!

So you can still register and purchase meals and lodging on campus. Although the price has increased, I am happy to offer you free of charge MP3s of my “Grow your Writing Ministry” seminar that I taught this March. The workshops include:

Grow Writing Ministry flyer without order form.pg.jpg

I am so excited about this seminar and about the new direction Father is taking GPCWC. Although the conference format is ending this year (a good reason not to miss coming), I believe the more affordable and focused events throughout the year will continue to encourage you to “write His answer.” The bottom line –

 

I’m NOT quitting or retiring!

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Barb Haley Apr 2016A Message from Barb Haley

CCWC & GPCWC Registrar &
Appointments Coordinator

Have you ever felt like giving up on your writing ministry?

Perhaps that’s why you didn’t register for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in May (well 3 FEET of snow definitely impacted registrations) or why you haven’t yet registered for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference or decided to go to any writers conference this year.

Or maybe you are SO majorly busy that you can’t imagine taking several days from your schedule for a conference—especially if you’ve attended one in the past and you’re still not published. Or maybe you just can’t justify spending the money to support a hobby you love, but that—face it—doesn’t promise any financial returns.

I’ve definitely felt the same way a LOT of times. I go to workshops and conferences, get all excited, and … nothing. Either I don’t hear from the faculty member who asked me to send my writing, or I receive a note that says I’m a strong writer, but the piece just doesn’t meet the publishing house’s needs at this moment. Oh, and P.S. (they add) Please don’t give up. I’m sure there’s another publishing house out there who will want to give your manuscript a home.

Ha. So reassuring. Right?

Not.

Well, I was there last fall when I was spending hunks of time on my first novel. What I once loved had turned to a burden. Getting published seemed to rest on my shoulders. Twitter, Facebook, website, blog, etc. Daily deadlines that did nothing to inspire me to keep writing my book.

But what was worse was realizing that if my writing was never published, I was wasting time that could be better spent in some sort of ministry related activity. So I talked to God about it.

“I don’t know what to do, Lord,” I prayed. “I thought You called me to write. The words come easy. Ideas flood my mind. But I don’t want to waste time if I’m not in Your will.”

The answer was immediate. God spoke to my spirit. “Barbie, if the novel you are working on ministers to just one person, will that be enough for all the time you’ve spent working on it?”

Tears flooded my eyes. My Father understood me. Loved me. Heard even the unspoken words of my heart.

“Of course, it would,” I answered. “But it’s not my time I’m concerned about. I love writing. I’m concerned that what I’m doing isn’t what You want me to be doing.”

Again: “If what you are doing ministers to one person, do you think that could be My plan?”

“Oh, yes, Father.”

I thought about the beta copies I’d just sent out to a dozen friends when I finally finished my novel (for the zillionth time-ha!). Many had responded with how the words had touched their hearts. How they could relate to the character’s issues and struggles in her Christian walk. How the answers God gave her spoke to them, the readers.

I thought about the seven devotionals I write each year for piddly-little money. But it’s not about the money. It’s about spreading the gospel.

And I thought about my blog. Every time I post, God seems to use the words to minister to someone. Usually just someone I already know. Not like my readership has blossomed.

But could it be that this is the very audience God desires for me to minister to? Could it be I got so excited about being called to write that I quickly assumed that meant to be in print? In the bookstores?

Or could God be calling me to reach the ones I already know with His love and encouragement? Would that be enough for me? For God?

Okay. I can’t tell you what a release I felt when the truth sank in. God had called me to write. I just needed to take the future results out of the box I’d filed them in and allow God to shape my writing future in any way He deems best. He didn’t call me to publish. He called me to write.

Then God spoke one more time to my heart. He confirmed His call so strongly I will never doubt it again.

But first, let me ask about you. Has God called you to write? Has a lack of “success” blocked you from moving forward? From attending a conference?

Fifteen years I’ve been coming, and you know, I strongly believe all these years of preparation and learning the craft of writing have enabled me to be used by God. To put His words and thoughts on paper. To share what He’s done for me, and what He wants to do for readers.

Lord Get Your NeedleSo I continue. And last year I self-published my first non-fiction book, a set of devotionals: Lord, Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams. Subtitle: The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain.

Huge sales? Nope. But many, many confirmations of God using the words to minister to His hurting children. Worth my time and effort? Definitely.

Today, the fact that we can self-publish is HUGE.  In fact, many big-name authors are going this route. Does it take work? Yes. But how exciting to know that we now have an avenue to put our words out there for others.

What did God say to me that cemented His call in my heart?

After I assured Him I was willing to write my whole life for just one person and that I knew He would be pleased, He said, “Good, because that one person is you.”

Oh, my. The love of God overpowered me. For me.

I knew my main character in the novel was much like me. In fact I’d hoped that I could share the lessons God had taught me through the character.

But what I didn’t realize was that in writing—in asking God constantly what He wanted to say to the character next—I was allowing God to speak to my life. The conflict and situations that seemed to spontaneously come to my mind for my character came from the Holy Spirit, and as I worked through them, on my character’s behalf, I worked through them for me. Deep, hidden questions. Wounds. Self-doubts. Painful honesty and surrender.

I’m a new creation because of what I experienced as I wrote. The truth I searched for on behalf of my main character has set me free on so many levels. Glory be to God!

So, before this email becomes a book, I want to encourage you to register for the July 26-29 Philly conference. Marlene says there is a small amount of scholarship money still available and she is MORE than willing to work with you on time payments. We don’t want you to miss out.

Come spend time in the presence of God. Hear His voice and allow Him to rekindle the flame under your writing ministry and passion. Join with other writers and discover that friendship and support we all crave and need. Listen and improve your writing skills. Allow God to prepare you for what He has in mind for your future. For your world of influence.

Love in Christ!

Barb Haley
2017 GPCWC Registrar/Appointments Coordinator

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

P.S. from Marlene – Thank You, Father, for speaking so powerfully to Barb and giving her the gift of words to share her story with us.

Of course, we’d love for you to register for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve extended the early registration date through JUNE 30. Plus, you’ll receive an additional free 15-minute appointment. That’s a total of five if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. But if the date and location don’t work for you (the conference is in a Philly suburb and near the east/west PA Turnpike and I95), check out the other summer conferences on the Christian Manuscript Submissions website.

And if you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Sarah Bolme, director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), is teaching the continuing session, “You Can Indie Publish and Market Your Book,” at the Philly conference. You’ll gain the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your own book affordably. Topics will include: three things to do before you publish your book; preparing your manuscript; DIY publishing; obtaining book reviews; and marketing, the essential ingredient. CDs of when Sarah taught this in May at the Colorado conference are available. You’ll find the link to order them at http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

The most important thing you need to do? Pray! And invite several friends to become part of a prayer team and to hold you accountable to do what Father is calling you to do.

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Grumbling face cropped

Have you – really? Have you suffered enough to be a really good writer?

Surprise – I’m not talking about rejection slips!

Someone has said it takes 1,000 (yes, ONE THOUSAND) rejection slips to become a writer. Been there. Done that! I’ve received over 3,000 rejection slips,  but I’ve also experienced the joy of over 1,000 acceptances.

Taylor Caldwell, the author of over 50 novels, including Tender Victory that I read as a teenager and that changed my life, said:

Rejection slips are what separate the men from the boys.  If they spur him on, and make him more determined to write acceptably and force him to learn more, then he can be sure he is a writer.  It is only a matter of time and increasing wisdom and patience.  I myself wrote for 30 years before I had a single thing published.

Yes, becoming a writer takes time, increasing wisdom, and patience. But if we want to write words that will impact lives for eternity, it takes more than just persevering through rejection slips – even 1,000 rejection slips. Far more important it takes a commitment to go and grow through the trials that are part of life.

These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. 1 Peter 1:7 TLB

March 25 I am teaching a day-long Christian Writers Workshop in Philippsburg, NJ.

The opening session is “Go & Grow, Write & Speak through the Hurts” because I truly believe our most powerful writing will result from our greatest struggles and deepest heartaches. The fact is Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him, but He has promised always to be with us. I’ll share biblical principles (click here for the free handout) for those times that test and stretch our faith and later become the focus of our writing and speaking ministry.

Other workshops include:

Discover God’s Plan for Your Ministry
Is God calling you to write an article, story, or book? Who is your audience? What are their needs? How will you reach them? Should you look for a publisher or go indie? What are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and indie publishing? Q & A

Public Speaking – Presenter Jewell Utt
Public speaking is a common fear for many writers. Learn how to prepare yourself, your talk, and the room to deliver a presentation with confidence and relevance. Techniques will include appearance, oration, content, and style.

You Can Do It!
How to indie publish affordably yet professionally. Q & A.

Think Big Because You Serve a Big God
How to cut the old tapes, stop listening to the wrong voices, and accomplish what God is calling you to do.

Although the workshops will be recorded and available for purchase through the Write His Answer bookstore, if you live in NJ or eastern PA, I want to encourage you to come March 25 for the fellowship you’ll share with other Christians who are called to write. (Yes, we have a snow date just in case. It’s April 1.) For more info and to register go to http://www.jewellutt.com/events/writersworkshop/. If you’re interested in the possibility of me teaching this day-long workshop in your area, please email me at mbagnull@aol.com.

And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.
Philippians 1:6 TLB

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Fact or fantasy?

All you have to do to be a successful writer is to sit down and write.

Well, yes, certainly you’ll never be a writer (successful or not) if you don’t write. But the days when all a writer needed to do was to write are history.

In today’s world it is essential that we master technology. Okay, we won’t master technology, but it is critical that we know the basics of how to use a computer. And that doesn’t mean just learning how to use Microsoft Word to create a professional looking manuscript that is properly formatted and has headers and page numbers. The wise and brave will learn how to use Scrivener. (Debbie Allen is teaching a 4.5 Wednesday afternoon early bird workshop on “Scrivener from 0-60: Get Comfortable, Get Writing” May 17 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the actual writing and learning how to use the great tools we now have is just part of what we need to do. I began writing on an old manual typewriter. Well I’m not as old as this antique typewriter although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. My first manuscripts for publication were created on a blue Royal with keys that got tangled when I typed too fast.

Selectric type ballThe introduction of the Selectric typewriter and that marvelous spinning ball greatly increased my productivity. And to be honest, when computers were introduced, I was not at all interested in giving up my trusted Selectric and learning something new. (I really didn’t think I was smart enough!)

Even today, when my computer is causing me grief, I admit I almost long for the good old days of a yellow legal pad and pencil!

The greatest struggle though is all the other stuff that has become essential. Yep! I mean the “building a platform” stuff. While it’s exciting to be able to write something and publish it ourselves as a blog or ebook, the challenge of finding readers is daunting.

Both the May 17-20 Colorado and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will provide help with

Blogging

     Creating a Brand

                    Marketing Plans

           Public Speaking

                       Social Media How-to

     Website Evaluation

Below is a chart of Colorado faculty members who are available for one-on-one appointments to help you grow your platform and thus your writing ministry.

chart-grow-writing-ministry2

Important: For a PDF of the above chart click here.
The links are live in the PDF version.

Father, help us to embrace today’s opportunities to reach the world with the words You’ve entrusted to us. When we feel confused and overwhelmed by all we need to learn and to do, help us to trust You. Thank You for Your promise:

Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

 

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lee-roddy-and-me-headshot

I met Lee Roddy in 1980 at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference. I don’t remember if it was my first or second writers’ conference. What I do remember is how overwhelmed (okay, scared) I felt. What made me think I had what it would take to write a book, much less to get it published? I felt ashamed that I was only a high school graduate. Yet there was that sense of call I couldn’t shake.

Lee’s Sunday night keynote felt like it was aimed directly at me. I had not signed up to take his continuing class because I wasn’t writing fiction and didn’t even read fiction. But without a doubt I know God sat me down in Lee’s class. What I learned coupled with Lee’s encouragement to put a commitment in writing to finish my book in a year so that “eternity would be different” changed my life.

Lee kept in touch with me the next year (I did finish my book in a year to the day) and in the five years that followed as I struggled to find a publisher. He always knew how to mix encouragement with the admonishment not to give up. Largely because of Lee I didn’t give up and the rest, as they say, is history.

Father, thank You for the gift of Lee’s friendship through the years. I’m so grateful to be one of his “kids.” You gave me an incredible writing papa.

Rather than telling you about Lee, let me share some of what he wrote in his foreword to Write His Answer: 

I met Marlene at a 1980 writers’ conference where I was speaking and teaching. Marlene, like many, felt God’s call on her life to write for him.

At that time, I wrote a notation in Marlene’s Bible about one of my own motivational passages, Habakkuk 2:2 and 3. There God says to “write the vision.” In the margin of Marlene’s Bible, alongside those verses, I wrote, “This was God’s promise to me as an
author. Maybe yours, too?”

Marlene was sure God had called her to write a book, so she set down her vision. That’s not uncommon. Many writers, filled with inspiration, start off strong. Then they get discouraged and quit. When they do, God’s vision for them is lost. How sad!

If it’s God’s will to write, then it’s logical that publication should eventually follow. After all, an unfinished manuscript cannot change lives. Even a finished one cannot minister in a drawer or  filing cabinet. Only in published form can a book go where you and I will never go, to people we will never meet. Only in published form can a book make a difference in eternity.

So why do many writers, feeling called to write, fall short? I believe it’s because they neglect to note the way God says he will bring the vision to pass. That involves his time element, not the writer’s. Read the Lord’s clear words: “But these things I [God] plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Hab. 2:3).

I don’t know of a single successful author in the inspirational field who hasn’t experienced doubts and discouragement. The unsuccessful are the ones who quit.

I’m praying you will not quit! Trust Father’s timing, and allow Him to use your disappointments, doubts, and discouragement to draw you closer to Him.

And 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

Lissa Halls Johnson said in her February 7, 2017 Facebook post:There are many writers who owe part of their successful writing career to a man named Lee Roddy, author of 60+ books. For many years he traveled to schools and the writers conference circuit teaching the art of writing fiction to eager students of all ages. He encouraged writers in his adult classes to consider signing a document of commitment to complete their book. He took that commitment very seriously and did not want anyone signing if they were not willing to put everything they had to fulfill that commitment.” Click here to read the rest of her tribute to Lee.

Lee lived the commitment he challenged others to make. From his August 28, 2016 Facebook post: “I celebrated my 95th birthday two days after being released from the hospital where I had been for two more weeks before that. . . . Out of the recent hours of long lonliness I felt led to finish two novels now in progress, plus other projects. Retirement is not in sight.”

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