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Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedA Message from Barb Haley

CCWC and GPCWC Registrar
and Appointments Coordinator

 

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

 

Perhaps that’s why haven’t yet registered for the July 26-28 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 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?

 

Sixteen 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. 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. And this May I self-published my first novel, Biz On the Go.

 

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

 

Biz AmazonToday, 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 26-28 Philly conference. Marlene 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
2018 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.

 

If you have a book manuscript you’ve been unable to place with a traditional publisher, do pray about indie publishing. Bestselling author, Dan Walsh, is teaching a continuing session on “The Brave New World of Indie Publishing” at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. After successfully publishing 13 novels the traditional way, in 2015 Dan joined a large number of fellow authors who were all starting to publish their books on their own as indies. He’s now done 5 and says he “absolutely loves it.”

 

Six other continuing sessions, 3 new learning labs on Thursday afternoon, 35 workshops, 6 keynotes, panels, and one-on-one appointments with our faculty of 40 agents, authors, editors, and other professionals make GPCWC 2018 a not-to-miss conference. And it’s not too late to register!

 

We’ve moved to Dock Mennonite Academy, just off the Lansdale exit of the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike. Lodging is only five minutes away at the Holiday Inn. We hope to see you there!

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Underwood tpewriterI’ve been writing for publication for over 40 years. So much has changed since my first devotional was published in The Secret Place in the 1970s. Well, I’m not as ancient as this old manual typewriter, although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. I had to press really hard on the keys for the letters to print clearly. And I often had to untangle the keys.

Selectric
In high school I learned QWERTY touch-typing. By the end of the year I was typing 60 wpm on a Royal electric. That was faster than most in my class, but it wasn’t until I was introduced to an IBM Selectric on my first job after high school that my speed topped 100 wpm. I loved my Selectric and was fascinated by the little typeball that spun around.

Never did I imagine how far technology would take us. Truly these are exciting days filled with opportunities for writers to reach the world.  “For such a time as this” the Lord has provided the technology to do what we could have never done in the past. Because I am so excited about indie publishing, in my latest seminar, Grow Your Writing Ministry, I devote a good portion of time to the why and the how-to. The entire seminar of approximately 5 hours is available as MP3 files along with detailed handouts for only $18.

I’ve also made it a priority to include sessions on indie publishing at the two conferences I direct.

At the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference Dan Walsh, the bestselling author of 19 novels, will teach the continuing session The Brave New World of Indie Publishing. Dan says “Five or six years ago, almost no one considered indie or self-publishing as a worthwhile path to pursue. Now all of that has changed. After successfully publishing 13 novels the traditional way, in 2015 I joined a large number of my fellow authors who were all starting to publish their books on their own as indies. I’ve done 5 now and absolutely love it. I’ll cover the ins-and-outs of the publishing world (traditional, hybrid, and indie) and explain how to succeed at indie publishing if that path is the right one for you.” (Important – The faculty and program are almost finalized for the Philly conference. Info coming soon to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.)

At the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conferencein addition to Cheri Cowell’s workshop on Evaluating Your Options (click here for Cheri’s blog)  we are also offering a continuing session on Indie Publishing. 

Bob Ruesch colorRoyHanschke_2x2x600
In the Thursday morning session you’ll discover the pitfalls, snags, and triumphs two writers experienced. Bob Ruesch used an indie publishing company. Roy Hanschke a traditional publisher.

 

 

Ken RaneyIn the next 3 sessions, Ken Raney will address formatting the interior and designing professional looking book covers, business cards, newsletters, blogs and websites, bookmarks, postcards, email signatures, ads, and more  along with accessible online resources for writers such as templates, themes, stock photography, fonts, photo-manipulation programs, etc. Ken has over 35 years of experience in graphic design, illustration, advertising, and marketing. He will provide practical and user-friendly info even for non-techies. The last session features a panel of indie authors.

Shelley Ring Jan 2018
In addition, Shelley Ring will teach a Saturday morning workshop on Back Cover Copy. If you don’t know where to start, this workshop is for you. You’ll learn how to write a short, sweet package to woo readers to buy your book. Bring your synopsis or current WIP.  Be prepared to write!

 

 

We’ve also got a track of  workshops on marketing at both conferences since whether you publish traditionally or go indie, you need to commit to work hard at spreading the word about your book.  Does this all seem beyond you? It is, in your own strength. But God . . .

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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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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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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Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

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

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

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. To take advantage of the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a faculty member for a paid critique or marketing consultation for just $25. Barb Haley, our registrar, says: “Learning in a classroom is awesome, but to have someone give specific feedback about your  writing is so valuable. There have been conferences where I’ve scheduled 3-4 of these!” Space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Your manuscript (first 7 pages and a one-sheet) or marketing questions (and more click here) must be submitted by February 1.

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.

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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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