Archive for the ‘Publishing journey’ Category

Saturday was the first time I’ve driven my car in seven weeks. It felt really strange. At least I hadn’t forgotten how to drive! And I didn’t get lost finding the church where I was scheduled to pick up a box of food for my daughter. I wore a mask and was careful to social distance.

Although some states are beginning to reopen, it’s likely to be quite some time before the Philadelphia area where I live will return to normal. I’m growing impatient. I’ve never been very good at waiting, and I admit I’m anxious wondering what restrictions the new normal will require. Will I again be able to hug my grandkids? And will it be safe to hold the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference? I don’t know. I’m still waiting and praying for a clear answer.

Be still and rest in the Lord;
wait for Him and
patiently lean yourself upon Him.
Psalm 37:7 AMP

A good thing to do during any season of waiting is to learn from a master crafts- man. Cec shares valuable, bite-sized lessons such as:

* How to get beyond the amateur look;
* Why writing articles is a good place to start;
* The importance of showing and telling;
* Choosing the best words and tenses;
* Using dialog to move your story along;
* Writing from the right perspective;
* Keeping your reader happy;
* Working with publishers, editors, and agents;
* Making a living as a writer.

Special price $7. Click here to order.

“The most comprehensive and recommended resource on the market for finding a place to sell what you are writing or locating an agent, an editor, a designer, a podcast, or a writing coach.”

I purchased two boxes (40 books) for $590 for the Colorado conference. It has cost $102 to ship them back to Pennsylvania. I am unable to return them and, honestly, I can’t afford to lose what I invested. Please help me and yourself by purchasing a copy at $18 (only .75 cents more than my cost). Regular price is $24.99. Click here to order.

I highly recommend this book for everyone who writes fiction. Time-saving tips, revision-made-easy charts, short checklists, and more.

  • Create great characters
  • Maintain a compelling pace
  • Craft believing dialogue
  • Expand your creativity.

246 page hardback. Full color
Retail $19.95.
Half price special $9.97.
Click here to order.

Please note: I’m finally updating the Write His Answer bookstore – something I’ve not had time to do until the pandemic has put both conferences on hold. I’ve got far too much tied up in books (I still have loads more to add) that are doing nothing to help the huge financial loss of postponing the Colorado conference. Knowing that financially things may also be difficult for you, I’ve greatly reduced prices. Quantities are limited.

Be sure to also check out the Other Titles that include 30 books I’ve edited in addition to the 14 Ampelos Press books I’ve edited and published. Amazing. Thank You, Father, for Your Ephesians 3:20 blessings.

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Every year in the closing session of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference I encourage conferees (faculty and staff too) to make a commitment to complete in a year what they believe God is calling them to write.

It’s the challenge Lee Roddy gave his class at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference over 40 years ago. Father had nudged me to join Lee’s continuing session on writing fiction after I heard him keynote Sunday evening. I didn’t understand why since I don’t write fiction, but I’m so glad I listened.

Not only did I learn how essential it was to use fiction skills in the personal experience story I was writing, I needed Lee’s challenge to get it finished. PTL I did. Not early, but not late. A year to the day I completed the book and mailed it to a publisher who had shown interest at the conference.

And then the waiting began! And the rejection slips. But my writing papa, Lee, who is now home with the Lord, encouraged and sometimes scolded me to persevere.

How Our Family Coped with Incest was returned by 42 publishers during the next six years. The book that no one wanted to publish is my testimony to how God enabled us to care for my half-sister who came to live with us when she was not quite fourteen because her father, my step-father, had been sexually abusing her.

Finally, at the end of those six long years I met a publisher at the St. David’s conference. He called me three months after the conference to offer me a contract.

I’m convinced that if I had not responded to Lee’s challenge and kept the commitment I made in his class the book would never have been finished much less published. After being out of print about 37 years, I reprinted it last January through my indie publishing house, Ampelos Press. I also seriously doubt I’d still be writing today much less directing two Christian writers conferences.

Because Father enabled me to not give up (although I certainly came close many times), for 36 years at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, 23 years at the Colorado conference, and at the 50 plus seminars I’ve taught around the nation I’ve always given the Lee Roddy challenge.

What I’ve not done as faithfully as I intend to do, is provide the resources to help writers keep their commitment. Well, that’s not totally true. I blog, although it’s been, yikes, a month. And “Making It Happen,” a chapter from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers (Lee wrote the foreword and said “this book can change your life) is on my website along with the Goal Planning Chart below. (Click here to download it as a PDF.)

But Father is convicting me that I need to follow my own advice. Today I have made a commitment to focus on the “practical preparation” of sharpening my writing skills by making time to listen to the workshops and continuing sessions from this year’s GPCWC. I’ve spent the last two days uploading 75 MP3s (with 9 more to come) to the conference website (click here).

I want to challenge you to join me in this exciting learning opportunity. Using the honor system you can purchase sessions at $4.00 each (for 7 or more, only $3.50 each) and download them or listen to them online. You’ll also find links to the handouts, if any.

Friends, let’s commit to grow our writing ability. Let’s listen and learn so we will be better equipped to “write His answer.”

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Guest post
Stacy Lee Flury

Here we are, another year gone by and the August 8-10 Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference is now upon us. So much has transpired since last year. My book was finally written and in the editing stages. I felt excited about what God was doing. I was inspired and encouraged. Then my life changed.

By the end of summer last year, my husband and I had to declare bankruptcy on our business and house. We had to pack up sixty years of generational memories and items within a month and move them into an apartment rental that accepted two dogs and two cats. Very hard to do.

Moving day included an unexpected snowstorm as well as a 26-foot truck hitting one of our cars and ripping the whole front bumper off. By the time settlement came for the sale of the house and what little we received from it, I was left stressed and wanting to give up on everything–including my book.

My heart to write was crushed. I had no energy, will, or passion to continue. I was, in fact, overwhelmed with boxes from the move; animals in high anxiety; and a daughter who struggled with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and was very pregnant. I don’t know who cried more in those difficult and tumultuous days.

Thinking our nightmare was over, we were informed that we were going to be sued over a payout sheet that was incorrect by the mortgage company. Mind you, we had already settled and been left with basically nothing from the sale/bankruptcy of our house.

My job was far away, and we had one car between three people. Then we had an infestation of ants in our new apartment, a broken tooth with no dental insurance, and so much more. Mind you, all the time I was going through this, God was using every emotion that I was feeling.

You see, I wrote a devotional book called Turn the Tide of Emotional Turbulence: Devotions for Parents with Teens in Crisis. Never did I realize that those same emotions I traveled through as a parent would be highlighted once again in my life.  

Sometimes we want to give up, but the Lord really wants us to give in. When I finally did, the ants went moving along, our kitties and doggies were calmer, I did less crying and more praying, and we were blessed with a donated car. We will most likely get more money back from the mortgage company, and the cost of publishing my book was paid for with not one penny out of my pocket. To top it all off, my chapters are more fine-tuned to what God wanted to say.

So, if you are in a place in which you want to throw in the towel in your writing, throw yourself on the floor instead and ask God what He wants to do. He is not finished with His story in you. He could be just adding another chapter.

I want to encourage you to register for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I guarantee you will find many other aspiring writers at the conference who also have encountered thoughts of giving up. Yet, they will be there, taking a step of faith that God will see them through their writing trials.

But as for you, be strong and do not give up,
for your work will be rewarded.

2 Chronicles 15:7 NIV

Stacy Lee Flury blogs at Anchor of Promise, a support and education blog for parents with hurting and troubled teens.

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Susan King Jan 2019




Guest blog
by Susan King
Associate Editor
The Upper Room






#1 – Reach: Magazines have the potential to reach more people with your message. For instance, if you’re published in The Upper Room, with more than three million subscribers, you reach a readership that very few book writers can match.

#2 – Turnaround Time: Even today—with some publishers using print-on-demand—a book can take 18 months until its release. The average lead time for magazines is one to six months. Think about the many months required to write a book but an article may take only a few hours. And the per-word compensation for an article is astronomically higher than for the average book.

#3 – Faster Payment: Periodicals often pay upon acceptance. Even if they pay on publication, your wait is much shorter than with a book.

#4 – Writing Credits: Experience in writing for periodicals looks good to publishers of that future book. First, it tells book publishers that other editors liked your stuff—over and over again. Also, it shows your versatility in being able to write on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats. And some magazines allow you to include your book credits along with a short bio printed with your piece, so you add to your platform for plugging any book you’ve written.

#5 – Instant Feedback: Feedback comes more quickly than responses to a book. Even if your feedback is mostly flat rejections, it will do what all feedback should: help you learn, grow, improve, and be willing to adapt your writing to the requirements of a variety of outlets.

#6 – Variety: Creative people are naturally drawn to varied ideas and teem with creative ways to approach them. Writing magazine articles for many different kinds of magazines, and on many different topics, will help you avoid the feeling of slogging along through the same topic month after month as you write your book.

#7 –  Improvement of Craft: Hal Hostetler (former editor of Guideposts and Saturday Evening Post) claimed that writing devotionals was the best discipline a writer could have. In general, the shorter the piece, the harder it is to write. While most magazine articles are longer than the average devotional, they are all much shorter than a book. Thus, a final benefit to writing for periodicals is that it helps sharpen your writing skills in general.

That, in a very large nutshell, is why even a novelist or nonfiction author might consider writing magazine articles. Maybe the writer will be intrigued enough to give up the book altogether. Most likely, you will use what can be gained from writing for magazines to produce a much better book.


For over 24 years, Associate Editor Susan King has served at The Upper Room, a daily-devotional magazine that reaches millions of readers in more than 100 countries. One of her greatest joys has been representing The Upper Room every year at several of 23 different Christian writers’ conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

We’re so happy to have her on faculty at the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. She will teach the continuing session, “Making It Look Easy!” This 6-hour class will focus on achieving excellent style in any genre. Readers don’t care what you write if they can’t tolerate how it is written. Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors? In this crash course in the essential elements of good style for any genre, you will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will please readers and broadcast to editors and publishers that you are a consummate wordsmith. One of the goals of this class is to produce an excellent devotional to submit to The Upper Room magazine.

Other magazine editors on faculty at this year’s CCWC include:

  • Karen Bouchard – Editor, Power for Living
  • Debbie Hardy – Representative, ChristianDevotions.us
  • Kate Jameson – Assistant Editor, Clubhouse Jr.
  • Sherri Langton – Associate Editor, Bible Advocate, Now What? e-zine, and Churchright
  • Rick Marschall – Editor, Innovative Health Magazine
  • Linda Evans Shepherd – Publisher, Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily, e-devotional
  • Karen Whiting – representative, The Kid’s Ark

4 pics

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Guest post by Darcie Gudger and Debra Moerke

The 23rd Annual Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference (CCWC) is coming up May 15-18, and the 36th Greater Philly conference August 8-10. Some of you may wonder if a conference is right for you. You’re just toying with the idea of writing, and maybe don’t have anything prepared, or have scratched out a chapter on a napkin. Publishing lingo and writer talk are foreign. So why go? Below, CCWC alum, Deb Moerke, shares her experience of intimidated newbie to getting a contract with Tyndale. Her book releases October 8th. 

Who knows what God may do at this year’s conference?

Here is Deb’s story in her own words.

Debra Moerke

Debra Moerke, author, speaker, real estate agent

A number of Colorado Christian Writers Conferences in the Rockies had come and gone. I  wanted to attend each year but watched the opportunity pass me by. Either money or time held me back. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was more my own fear and the intimidation of finding myself with an industry of people I had never rubbed shoulders with before that kept me away. What would I say to them? How should I act?

But in 2014, my March birthday arrived and I received a call from my oldest daughter and her family.

“Happy birthday dear Grammy, happy birthday to you!” Sweet voices sang over the phone as my eight-year-old grandson followed up with, “We are sending you to the writers’ conference you have wanted to go to.”

Surprised and touched by my family’s gesture, I said, “Really? Wow! Thank you.” Now I was obligated. No more excuses.

In May of that year, the day arrived and I packed up my car, kissed my family good-by and drove to the YMCA of the Rockies. I  marked up my registration form putting an X in every box that I could. I signed up for as many workshops, appointments with agents, authors, editors, publishers, and even volunteered to help in the bookstore. I had no clue what that meant. But I planned to dive in and be useful. I hoped to saturate myself with every aspect of the conference. I would come home filled with great knowledge and direction.

That was my plan.

Within 24 hours of meeting my roommate, I joined a couple hundred people in the main auditorium for general sessions. Then stood in line pushing my tray along the cafeteria stainless steel track getting food. Life at the conference was non-stop.There were so many people! After the last session on the first night, I left the main center and walked to my mountain condo in tears. I was overwhelmed. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Who did I think I was?  I had no idea what I am doing.

I reached out to God asking him to guide me and show me what to do. I felt better knowing my roommate had not been to the conference before either and I knew I was in good company. We talked about how we loved the Lord and believed he had called us to write. We agreed to pray for each other during the conference then went to sleep.

The next morning, my roommate and I walked to breakfast. A number of other people who were attending the conference asked to join us when they noticed our conference lanyards read CCWC. Within minutes we were connecting with others who either were first timers or alumni. I began to feel better about my decision to attend the conference as I entered the main auditorium with a handful of ladies ready to worship together and hear a great speaker.

I attended the continuing course that I signed up for and took a million notes. I met with a number of publishers, editors, authors and agents for my fifteen-minute appointments, and I helped the bookstore lady straighten books and smile at people coming in to the area looking for that perfect book. Each person I met asked, “What are you writing?” That was always the question even before they asked my name. Yes, it was still a different world to me but one I was beginning to feel more comfortable being a part of. Though I was relaxing a bit, I didn’t feel I was getting the answers I needed to move forward on my story. In fact, I was getting some mixed directions. Each professional I spoke with had their own perspective and dealt with different genres and parts of the process. One would be encouraging and the next one would say they didn’t see a real need for what I was writing about. Confused, I finished my second day wanting to go to my room and reorganize all my notes.

It was my sweet roommate that gave me the best direction as we climbed into our beds exhausted and brain-dead.  She said that my story was so compelling and being that it was a true story, I needed to talk with Cindy Lambert. My new-found-friend was sincere in believing Cindy could help me.

Cindy and her husband, Dave, were stars of the conference. They were some of the main speakers. When I went to the bookstore to see if I could make an appointment with Cindy, the appointment woman just smiled at me and said, “Oh honey, she is completely booked. She has no openings.” I was crushed. It must have shown on my face because the woman at the appointment table encouraged me to keep checking back in the case a spot would open up. That is what happened. Friday evening, a 5:30 spot opened up. I was in.

I brought the one chapter I had written, and nervously sat down next to Cindy while introducing myself. Before we started to talk, I felt a connection. I knew I liked this lady and she made me feel comfortable. I told her my story. She read my chapter and didn’t quickly scan it as a few others had. Finished, she offered direction and advice. I grabbed my notebook and wrote it all down. Our fifteen minutes were over before I knew it. I was happy with our meeting. I felt a peace and that I had received some great advice. I was beginning to feel my trip was all worth it. Great worship music. Wonderful people. Professional advice from some of the best in the industry and I made some new-found writing friends. This is what I came for.

Little did I know God had bigger plans.

The next morning, just after breakfast, I was walking through the bookstore heading for the auditorium for morning worship when someone reached out and tapped my shoulder. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” the woman said. It was Cindy. Surprised she would be looking for me, I asked her why. She said she had thought about me and my story all night and couldn’t sleep. She wanted to know if I would meet her and her husband for lunch in the cafeteria after the morning workshops. I agreed having no idea what she would want to talk to me about.

I met the couple and we found a table in the back where we had some privacy. Cindy shared with me that she and her husband had been in the business for many years and had been speaking at conferences for around fifteen years. She said that many people approached them, but that she had never approached anyone about his or her writing. She also shared that though she had never done this before, she felt led to help me with my story. She didn’t want to offend me with her offer, but she wanted to come alongside as a collaborative writer to get the story out. I broke down in tears. I could never have seen that coming.

“Yes! Yes!” I cried (literally). I was overwhelmed, overjoyed, humbled.

Since that May conference in 2014, Cindy has flown out to my town to spend a number of days with me to see where the story took place and meet some of the people in my life who are a part of it.  I have attended a number of conferences, learning more and more each year. We have worked on the book together for the past three years. Today I have an amazing agent, a contract with Tyndale House Publishers who flew me out to meet with the team that will be working on my book. A release date of October 8th has been set and I believe pre-sale orders will go out on Amazon in April or May. The title is Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace.

My encouragement to each of you writers out there is…don’t give up. Pray and ask the Lord for direction. Keep going to the conference and take in all you can. You never know when that perfect opportunity will arrive where you get a tap on the shoulder from someone who believes in you and your writing and says, I want to walk this with you.

To find out more about the May 15-18, 2019, click here: Colorado Christian Writers Conference. The August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference doesn’t have mountains or elk, but it does offer the same exciting opportunity to connect with professionals who can help you get your work in print.

TCC ad 2019


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It was a solemn moment over 30 years ago when I made a commitment at the close of Lee Roddy’s continuing session at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference to complete my book in a year.

There was no question in my mind that this is what God was calling me to do. There were, however, lots of questions of whether or not I could do it – questions (and doubts) that intensified as the year wore on.

I found myself (yes I was “lost”) avoiding work on the book and instead writing short devotionals and Christian education teaching articles that I’d always been able to sell. But not now! Rejection slips landed in my mailbox seemingly before the editors even had time to read my submissions.

God bless my writing papa, Lee Roddy. “Has it occurred to you that you’re getting rejected because you’re not doing what you promised to do,” he wrote back in response to one of my “poor me” letters. Ouch!

Lee is now home with the Lord. I miss him and his stern yet necessary admonishment that kept me on track when I wanted to give up. I’m grateful he didn’t allow me to use the excuse that “a year in the Lord’s sight . . .”

About two months before the one year was up I was still a long way from finishing and still battling self-doubts. One spring day I grabbed my Bible and headed to Ridley Creek State Park. I sat down by a stream and opened my Bible. A sudden breeze tickled the pages of my Bible and then just as suddenly stopped. I felt my eyes drawn to

I want to suggest that you finish what you started to do a year ago . . . Having started the ball rolling so enthusiastically, you should carry this project through to completion just as gladly . . . Let your enthusiastic idea at the start be equalled by your realistic action now.  (2 Corinthians 8:10-11 TLB)

A year to the day I placed my completed manuscript in an envelope and mailed it to an editor who had requested to see it when it was finished.

I’d love to be able to tell you that the Lord “rewarded” me for keeping my commitment with a contact by return mail. Instead, I waited a year only to have the manuscript returned with a rejection slip. Many of you know it was 41 publishers and 6 years later when finally I met an editor at the St. David’s conference who offered me a contract two months later.

What if I had not finished the manuscript? What if I had not persevered for 6 long and discouraging years?

What if you, dear reader, are among the many writers who attend a conference where an editor requests a manuscript that you never finish or submit? (Sadly, those stats are amazingly high.)

And that brings me to the point of this blog – to what I’ve finally finished despite a ridiculous amount of obstacles. Drum roll, please.

The bios for all 40 editors, agents, authors, and other professionals at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference are finally online! It’s always a huge job but especially so this conference because of the thousands of emails that somehow got deleted  when Outlook crashed a week before I left for the Colorado conference.

Needed emails that I had filed in folders no longer exist! In fact, emails from the 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Philly and Colorado conference all disappeared while thousands of non-conference emails in other folders are still there.

It’s been exasperating, frustrating, overwhelming, discouraging . . .

But then I’m reminded that Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him. Instead, I believe He allows us to experience all the above in order to build our faith muscles.

What about you? Have your faith muscles grow weak and flabby? Are you willing to allow Him to strengthen them by your deliberate choice to “finish what you start”?

And will you prayerfully consider coming to the Philly conference? It’s a day shorter (now Thursday afternoon/evening, all day Friday, and ending at 5:30 Saturday) making it less costly in time and money. We’ve moved to a new location (Dock Mennonite Academy) just off the Lansdale exit of the North/South PA Turnpike (I-476). Lodging at the Holiday Inn five minutes away can cost as little as $40-60 a night if you request one or two roommates. And meals at the conference are going to be outstanding.

Our 16-page brochure is also finally finished and off press. I’ll be glad to mail you one if you’ll send me (mbagnull@aol.com) your USPS address.

Page 16 cover

page 1 markets

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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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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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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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