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Archive for the ‘Get your book in print’ Category

Cheri Cowell closeup from webGuest post by
Cheri Cowell

I am an author/publisher. I began writing in 2000 with magazine articles and seven years later published my first book. Recently, I had my fourth traditionally published book release with Zondervan, but it is helping my fellow authors extend their reach through my company, EABooks Publishing, that gives me the most satisfaction. So here is my opus, The Tale of Three Authors.

Amy* was considered a successful author with two books published by traditional publishing houses. However, there was one book she’d pitched and pitched and had been unable to sell. The book represented her heart’s cry and passion and she wouldn’t rest until it was published.

Chip* was a leader in his local critique group, winning several writing awards, and the admiration of many. Yet, when he sat before editors at writers’ conferences he performed poorly and never knew how to answer the platform question. He wasn’t good at selling himself or his work, but he was a good writer with a lot to say.

Bonnie* was a retired high school English teacher who’d married her high school sweetheart. Together they’d served as missionaries around the world. Now that her husband was gone and her years waning, she’s begun to look at the legacy she was leaving. Her grandchildren loved the story she always told about a young girl in Bangladesh, the true story about a girl and her life of faith in a foreign land. Bonnie knew she didn’t have the funds most self-publishers were charging, and yet she didn’t fit the profile of the up and coming author the traditional publishers were looking to sink their money into. Was there a place for her in this publishing world?

These three writers found a place with EABooks Publishing

The same year Amy released two traditionally published books, she released the book of her passion as an e-book. She timed it perfectly to piggyback on the publicity from her traditionally pubed books. Now she knows the message of her ‘passion book’ is reaching people and making a difference.

Chip has published five books with EABooks Publishing, some as e-books and others as print-on-demand. He’s found a new outlet for his creativity, and with marketing help from EABooks he’s developed a fan base. And he’s even making a little money. His fans can’t wait for the release of his latest project—an audiobook.

It took Bonnie a long time to make her decision, but when she finally decided to go with EABooks Publishing she found the whole process empowering. When her book began selling on Amazon she sent a link to a friend, who decided to purchase hundreds of copies for the children’s home he supported. Bonnie would have been happy to sell only to her family and friends, but sharing the gospel with hundreds of needy children makes her heart sing.

This tale is still being written and has room for the stories of more authors. Come share yours with Cheri Cowell, Owner and President of EABooks Publishing, at the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. She’d love to hear about your book.

* Names and genders have been changed but these stories are true.

Note from Marlene 

I’m happy to have Cheri Cowell on the faculty of this year’s CCWC. She will teach a Wednesday early bird workshop from 4:45 – 6:00 on Evaluating Your Options. Cheri will discuss traditional publishing, answer some forbidden questions, and take a look at the many options for self-, independent and co-publishing, and partnership publishing. As someone with her foot in both worlds, Cheri can help you evaluate your options.

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Debbie Hardy for GPGuest Post by
Debbie Hardy

So, you’ve been told that you should write a book, but where do you start? And after you’ve put pen to paper or opened a Word doc, what next? How in the world do you get published?

That’s exactly where I was just a few years ago. In fact, I was so terrified of going to my first writers’ conference that I paid a friend’s way and took her with me so I wouldn’t chicken out and go back home!

Since that time, I’ve attended dozens of conferences, workshops, and seminars and learned a lot about the publishing industry. And I’ve published 3 books, I’m working on 2 others, and I have a literary agent. I’m going to share what I’ve learned at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference in May.

Come join my Wednesday, May 16, early bird workshop from 1:00 – 2:00, “How to Write a Book AND Get it Published,” and learn how you too can become a published author. We’ll talk about how to get that book to come out of you, how to not appear to be an amateur, and how to get your book into the hands of your target audience.

I’ll also give you a glossary of publishing terms, so you can understand the industry lingo and feel at home.

The CCWC conference has 8 continuing sessions, 4 hands-on clinics to have a professional work on your WIP (Work In Progress) with you (deadline for applying is April 16), and over 50 workshops (including 16 early bird workshops on Wednesday) covering anything you could want to learn about the industry.

Probably the most important feature of this conference is the opportunity to sit down one-on-one with authors, editors, agents, and publishers to discuss your writing dreams.  (Click here for info about CCWC’s appointments.) That’s how I met my agent, my publicist, and my first publisher. (If you want to know the difference between a publicist and a publisher, come to my workshop. I’ll let you in on the secret!)

See you in Estes Park, May 16-19.

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God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn;
he will never go back on his promises.
Romans 11:29 TLB

  • Do you feel called to write a nonfiction book?
  • Have you been procrastinating because you don’t feel up to the task?
  • Perhaps you’ve begun writing but now you’re feeling stuck?
  • Or maybe you’ve got a completed manuscript, but now what? Should you try and find a traditional publisher, or is indie publishing a better option?

When I finished my first book about 45 years ago (yes, I’ve been writing for a long time), indie publishing wasn’t an option. Back then it was called vanity publishing. Not only was it outrageously expensive, it “branded” the author (but not in today’s positive understanding of the word) as not being good enough to find a real publisher.

Today, because indie publishing is often the best option, the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference is offering a 6-hour continuing session on Going Indie.

Cindy Lambert Mar 2015But God’s plan for you may be traditional publishing. If so, a strong book proposal is essential to gain the attention of an agent and publisher. I highly recommend Cindy Lambert’s Nonfiction Book Proposal Clinic. Cindy is the former vice president and associate publisher of trade books with Zondervan. In addition to the six hours she will spend working with six authors on their book proposal, Cindy will meet one-on-one with each participant for 30 minutes. Click here for more information and the needed application. It is due April 16.

Proposal-writing classes have always left me feeling a bit bewildered. Each instructor had their own, different list of “musts,” “dos,” and “don’ts.”  The fog lifted for me after working with Cindy Lambert at CCWC. A delightful and caring mentor, I would have enjoyed her class under any circumstances. But as a teacher Cindy really zeroed in on: WHAT we needed to include in our proposal, WHY that information was important to an Acquisitions Editor, WHERE each section should be shown for optimum effect, HOW to dig deeply to uncover what made our writing stand out in a crowd, and, maybe most importantly, WHO are our readers?  It took my understanding of writing and publishing to a whole new level. ~ Lori Hynson – Phoenixville, PA

A pre-requisite for participating in Cindy’s clinic is her Crafting a Winning Nonfiction Book Proposal early bird workshop on Wednesday from 4:45 – 6:00. This workshop is open to everyone.

Instead of applying for Cindy’s clinic, nonfiction writers have the option to choose six workshops from the 42 offered Thursday through Saturday. In addition, you still get a 6-hour continuing session. Especially recommended for nonfiction writers is Writing Narrative Nonfiction, Your Book Launch Game Plan, or Write from the Deep.

And don’t forget CCWC’s one-on-one appointments. If you attend Thursday through Saturday you are eligible for FIVE free appointments. (The first 75 who registered get SIX.) That’s more than any other conference offers. Five of the six agents on faculty are interested in acquiring nonfiction books and more editors than I’ve got time to count. See the charts below.

Agents NF

Click here to view a 3-page full-size PDF
of all genres agents are interested in representing.

Editors Chart NF p 1.jpg

Click here to view a 5-page full-size PDF of all editorial needs.

Editors Chart NF p 2.jpg

The conference registration fee increases on tax day, April 17. You can register securely online by clicking here. If you’re waiting for your tax return, you can register now , pay a $100 deposit in the next 7 days and the balance at the conference.

Always remember to:

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him to help you do it, and he will.
Psalm 37:5 TLB

 

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I’m risking being a pest because I so believe in the value of this new conference. Plus there is now a 9th reason for you to come!

Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

9. Writers love books, and they need books! And if you register for both days, along with those who have already registered you will receive FREE the following three books that support the purpose of this conference.

New WHA cover

My Bible study for writers that addresses the struggles we face and must overcome.

Communicate Change Lives

Jim Watkins’ book that I believe every Christian writer needs to read.

CWMG 2018
The info you need to find markets for your work as well as literary agents, writers conferences and seminars, writers groups, editorial services, publicity and marketing services, and contests.

The three books sell for $44.97 on Amazon ($37.99 through the Write His Answer Bookstore), but if you register for the entire conference, you will receive them free of charge (or the equivalent value in other books we’ll have for sale).

8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of Going Indie with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. You’re too late to take advantage of a paid critique, BUT as their schedule allows, faculty will be available for free 15-minute appointments. Sign-up when you arrive.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here. Walk-ins are welcome, but please check the website for specific info on the location.

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Feb banner

Looking to overcome winter doldrums and jumpstart this year’s writing?

A brand-new conference is coming up quickly this February 9-10 (Friday/Saturday) in Lansdale, PA (just off the north/south PA Turnpike) at Towamencin Mennonite Church (Friday afternoon) and Dock Mennonite Academy (Friday evening and all day Saturday). Friday night lodging at the Holiday Inn is $89 plus tax with roommate matching available to split the cost with one, two, or three other writers.

A small but highly qualified faculty will provide three inspiring keynotes, valuable 20-minute paid critiques and marketing consultations, a “Build Your Platform Panel,” and in-depth teaching.

Sarah Bolme, teaching a 4-hour learning lab Friday afternoon on Going Indie. Sarah is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and the director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Karen Ball, teaching a 3-hour session on Taming Fiction Dragons. In her more than 30 years in publishing, Karen has built fiction lines for major publishers and worked with some of the best authors, including Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury.

Bill Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on Writing that Changes Lives. In his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with authors such as Mike Huckabee, Charles Swindoll, and Josh McDowell. He is an award-winning author of 7 books and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.

Jim Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on The Five Rs of Nonfiction. Jim is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. He has spoken across the United States and overseas.

Karen Whiting, teaching a 3-hour session on Developing a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book. Karen is a freelance writer and award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books.

Feb flyer for webFriday evening,  in addition to Bill Watkins’ keynote, Christians Are Hateful – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians, includes author interviews and a book signing. Bring your book(s) to sell and sign.

Click here for the conference flyer.

And for more info and to register click here.

Conference Bonus:

An extra bonus for conferees is to attend and participate in the Munce Christian Product Exposition (CPE) February 11-13 at Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA.

Munce, the largest association of independent Christian bookstores in North America, holds two CPEs each year, the second in Nashville, TN, in the fall.

It is a real privilege to come and interact with 100+ bookstore owners. Karen Whiting will do a special training at the CPE in how to make the most of this exciting opportunity including: 

1. There are several limited spots open to sign complimentary copies of books for retailers at the Sunday afternoon (4:30 – 5:30) author personality event. Authors need to provide 50-80 copies of their book to give retailers. This is a great opportunity to get your book in the hands of retailers who might choose to carry the book, or have you come to their store for an event. You can include your speaker one sheet, bookmarks, and other promotional materials.

2. Experience a book trade show. The exhibit floor is open on Monday and Tuesday plus there are workshops on marketing and other retail topics. You’ll see the latest in products and have the opportunity to talk to retailers and sales reps (you cannot interrupt the sales happening between retailers and sales people).

Click here for the schedule. If you’re interested in attending, email Karen at authorkarenwhiting@gmail.com.

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Discouraged face
Yes, this is not a typo! I didn’t ask if you are a  winning writer.

Of course, what writer doesn’t long to be a winner? Seriously, haven’t you dreamed of becoming a best-selling author with a HUGE following on social media and readers clamoring for your next book?

But I’ve got to be honest with you. The reality is that few writers will become best-selling authors. In fact, a large percentage will become discouraged and quit before they land a book contract.

And yes, we will whine! I know I have. I’ve argued with the Lord. “I’m simply trying to serve You with my writing,” I’ve reminded Him. “And I’ve tried really, really hard to find a publisher. I believe I’m doing what You called me to do. So why aren’t You opening the door to publication?”

During the six year period of trying to find a home for my first book the Lord frequently heard my complaints, my whining. I’m so grateful He enabled me not to give up and for the small publisher who finally took the risk and printed 1,000 copies that eventually all sold.

Back then self-publishing wasn’t an option. It was viewed as vanity publishing. Even if it had been an acceptable way to get into print, it was an option I couldn’t afford.

I believe the Lord has heard the whining and seen the tears of discouraged writers. “For such a time as this” He has provided the technology to make indie publishing possible, affordable, and respectable. No longer does it brand an author as not being good enough to find a real publisher. Instead, going indie is something even best-selling authors are choosing.

Today authors can literally reach the world through the Internet and eBooks. And now, with POD (print on demand) they no longer need to print thousands of copies (at the cost of thousands of dollars) to make the price per book affordable.

While there are reputable companies you can pay to publish your book, the cost is still more than many can afford. That’s why I’ve always advocated the “build a team” and “do-it-yourself” approach.

I am so excited about the opportunities that exist today to get our books into print and about the seminar I’m teaching this coming Saturday, September 23, in Cherry Hill, NJ, as part of the annual Stay Focused Christian Writers Retreat. It’s packed with encouragement and practical info and includes 18 pages of handouts. I’ll be teaching:

Go & Grow, Write & Speak through the Hurts – Our most powerful writing, both nonfiction and fiction, will grow out of our life experiences. I’ll share biblical principles for those times that test and stretch our faith and later become the focus of our writing and speaking ministry.

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?

You Can Do It! – How to indie publish affordably yet professionally.  Learn why thousands of authors are choosing to go indie to publish books of all genres. More importantly, learn how you can join them and do it too.

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.

The retreat is being held at the Holiday Inn, 2175 Marlton Pike West, Cherry Hill, NJ, beginning Thursday evening, September 21. I’ll teach the above workshops from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, September 23. For more info and to register go to https://stayfocusedwritersretreat.com/keynote-speakers/.  I hope to see you there!

stay Focused retreat

 

 

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clock

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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