Friday, April 26, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Linda Weddle of Awana

I welcome Linda Weddle, Senior Program Specialist, for Awana to my blog. She will be teaching and meeting with writers at the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8. 

Linda, please give us a brief description of Awana for those who are not familiar with the organization.

Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Our programs offer a proven approach for evangelizing and discipling kids in the church and community. We have programs for children/youth ages 2-18 and are located in more than 100 countries. Additional information can be found on our website at

What type of writing opportunities are available with Awana?
Our biggest need is for curriculum writers. These would be freelancers who would be given specific assignments. (We are not a publishing company in that we don't take books of large group lessons that someone has written for their own Awana program.)  Recently we have hired freelancers to write from a scope and sequence for our preschool program. We have also hired freelancers to write craft ideas that go along with this program. As stated above, we have programs for ages 2-18, so needs can be targeted to specific age groups depending on our current projects.
Another type of freelancer would be one who is adept at writing marketing content and to a lesser extent, we may need social media writers.

What type of writers are you hoping to meet with at WTP?
I would like to meet writers who are willing to write from a prescribed Scope and Sequence and at the same time show creativity in what they write. A knowledge of Awana always helps, but is not absolutely necessary. A quick look at our website will provide a lot of information about our organization.

Thanks, Linda for sharing a unique writing opportunity.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dr. Don Aycock, How to Get Published Instructor

Dr. Don Aycock will be teaching the “How to Get Published” Continuing Class at the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8 in on the campus of Wheaton College, near Chicago.
He is a pastor and the author of 21 books. He has graciously answered a few questions for us about his class and the conference. Visit him at his website.

You will be teaching the “How to Get Published" Continuing Class. What is the hope you have for each of your students upon completion of the class.

First I want people who take this class to think of themselves as writers. This is about the attitude.  Then I want them to learn basic skills such as knowing how to approach the publishing process. They will learn how to take responsibility and initiative for themselves. I will show them the skills of finding publishers who want their work. By the end of the conference I want them to think, “Others have learned these skills, put them into practice, and have succeeded. I can, too.”

With your experience I’m sure you have attended many writers conferences. How would you encourage those attending for the first time?

First timers will be nervous and maybe very self-conscious. That is perfectly normal. But try to remember what brought you here—the hope, the dreams, the fire in the belly. Stretch yourself out of your comfort zone. Meet new people. Open your mind and your heart. You will likely meet people who will become your close friends. We writers are a strange lot, so you’ll be at home with people like yourself. Everyone on the staff and all the faculty want you to succeed. You will be among friends so relax, enjoy it, work hard, pray well, and expect the unusual.

What would be your advice on how to connect with God while attending a conference?

 Any sort of conference or retreat will probably take us out of our routines and comfort zones. Let that experience of being out-of-place open you up to the presence of God in new ways. For example, this experience might make you more sensitive to people who have no home, or who are refugees. Also, pray for strength and courage, both of which you need to enjoy the conference and to be a successful writer. Remember that you are God’s instrument. Let Him play a beautiful tune through you this week. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Allison J. Althoff, Today's Christian Woman Magazine

Allison J. Althoff, Associate Online Editor, Today's Christian Woman, will be at the Write-to-Publish Conference to meet with prospective writers for her publication. Welcome Allison.

Many things have changed with the process of producing a magazine. Is Today’s Christian Woman a totally online publication?

Today’s Christian Woman is both a digital and print publication. We update our website ( 5x/week, and are active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram as well. We publish a digital magazine bi-monthly, and produce a print magazine 3x/year (September/October, November/December, and March/April issues). As with all publications in media today, we’re transitioning into a “digital-first” strategy, basically attempting to invest most of our time into our web and digital production while print magazines only come out 3x/year.

What are the opportunities for freelance writers?

We’re always looking for freelance contributors to write on our blog or to produce feature articles and profiles for our website. The #1 thing we look for in contributing writers is expertise in a specific field or interest (do you have an active personal blog, do you have articles published in other publications, do you blog on a specific topic, are you engaged in digital communities like Facebook and Twitter)?, as well as a commitment to Christ that shines through in their editorial content and blog sites.

What type of writer do you look for at conferences?

Like I  mentioned above, someone who’s plugged into digital communities and is aware of current events and trends in the global church is a must. Also, women who are actively involved with and are committed to a local church body/parachurch organizations/ministries is a plus as well – we want to be sure to produce top-notch Christian content that challenges our readers to pursue counter-cultural faith in a changing world. 

Thank you, Allison.

Readers, how about you? Are you a magazine writer? Many book authors began as article writers and many continue to write both books and features for magazines.

Monday, April 15, 2013

WTP Faculty Interview: Susan Baganz of Prism Book Group

Welcome to WTP. Prism is a new publisher to the conference, so fill us in on who you are.

Prism Book Group originally opened as a small e-book publisher in the fall of 2011, by Joan Alley, an author and a editor with several years in the publishing world. She started under the name Inspired Romance Novels. After a great first year publishing sweet and inspirational romance, Inspired Romance Novels became Prism Book Group.

Prism Book Group is an independent publisher that pays royalties and does not charge fees to authors.
Our primary goal at Prism Book Group is to provide readers with books that inspire--healing, hope, and happiness. Books that make you laugh, make you cry, make you sigh.
I'm new to the Prism Book Group team as Acquisitions Editor. I am also a published author fiction as well as a soon to be published non-fiction book. So I understand both sides of this process. I'm eager to help first time authors get to publication.

What type of writers are you hoping to meet with at Write-to-Publish?

I'm specifically looking for sweet, clean romance novels and novellas. They can be Contemporary, Historical (especially Regency), Western, Comedy or Romantic Suspense. Authors can check out our website at

What are some things that writers need to remember when they approach editors at a conference?

Be prepared. Know what it is our publishing house does (check out the website) Have a one sheet and synopsis and the first three chapters if you can, just in case I ask for it. Make sure your novel is completed and in the best shape you can get it, because if I ask for you to email it to me, I really want you to do it! Believe in the calling God has placed on you and have confidence in that. Remember that editors and agents are human and our views are subjective. I don't like every best-seller out there and neither do you. If this is not the right time, or we are not the right publisher for you, or your story needs work,don't throw in the towel. Keep writing, keep learning, keep smiling and keep trying.



Friday, April 12, 2013

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Shaina Turner, Tyndale House

Over the next few weeks (in addition to my Friday postings) I will be having interviews with some of the faculty of the 2013 Write-to-Publish Conference which will be June 5-8 on the campus of Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. To view the schedule or to register go to the website.

To kick this off, I welcome Shaina Turner, Acquisitions Assistant, Fiction, Tyndale House Publishers. She has graciously answered a few questions about writing and Tyndale House.

You are representing Tyndale House, specifically looking for those who write fiction. Could you give more detail?

At Tyndale House, we look for fiction that is distinctive, entertaining, hopeful, purposeful, and thoughtful. No matter the genre, we aim to acquire literature in tune with our company’s mission statement along with excellent writing and an engaging hook.

How would you encourage writers so they can get as much from the conference as possible?

I think when many writers attend a conference, their main goal is to get published. While that’s a good goal, it shouldn’t be the main one, because it’s not likely to happen at that conference. Instead, look at it as a way to improve your craft and network with other writers and publishing professionals. Try to take at least one thing away from each class/lecture that you can use to sharpen your skills. Introduce yourself to editors and if they ask, tell them about your project; otherwise, just be content to have made connection. If you’re so focused on landing a contract, you’re likely to miss out on these important things.

Any advice on how writers can best prepare to pitch their ideas to editors who intimidate them?

Focus on portraying the hook of the story and what sets your tale apart from the other novels already within the genre; it’s all about confidence in your work. Also, remember that you’re selling yourself as an author as much as your story. How will you market yourself to potential readers? How will you connect with them? For fiction, though it’s not necessary to have a platform or audience in place, it will go a long way with an editor if you can show that you have ideas for how to build one. 



Friday, April 5, 2013

WildFire Marketing and Book Marketing Boot Camp

I welcome Rob Eagar, founder of WildFire Marketing and author of Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. He has graciously answered a few questions about his firm and how he helps writers promote their work. He also explains about the “Book Marketing Boot Camp” he will be teaching at the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8.

What is “WildFire Marketing”?

WildFire Marketing is a consulting practice that I founded to help authors, publishers, and non-profit organizations spread their message like wildfire. I've trained over 400 authors at all levels, consulted with numerous publishers, and worked with well-known non-profits across America. I'm also author of the book, "Sell Your Book Like Wildfire," which was recently published by Writer's Digest and considered the bible of book marketing.

What is the most important thing you do for authors?

All authors have the same goal, which is to sell more books.As a consultant, I teach my clients how to reach a larger audience and dramatically increase their book sales. For example, I've helped my clients produce seven New York Times bestsellers in the past two years (both fiction and non-fiction). For case studies, testimonials, and over 25 free articles, visit my website at:

What is the one piece of advice you would give to writers who haven’t yet published a book, to prepare themselves, for when they become published authors and are ready to work with Wildfire Marketing?

All readers purchase books according to the primary question, "What's in it for me?" Readers aren't concerned with what your book is about. Instead, they want to know how your book will make their life better through information, entertainment, or inspiration. Therefore, your marketing materials (book cover copy, websites, newsletters, social media, etc.) must answer the reader's ultimate question, "What's in it for me?" Otherwise, people won't see the need to buy your book. And, if you write fiction, remember that logic makes people think, but emotion makes people act (buy). So, the key to marketing fiction is to describe how the reader will feel, rather than just describing the plot.

At the Write-to-Publish Conference, June 5-8, you will be teaching a continuing class you call “Book Marketing Boot Camp.” Please give us a quick overview and the most important take-away you will have for those in the class.

I'm really excited about the Book Marketing Boot Camp, because it will be most intensive instruction I've ever offered at such a low price point. Plus, there won't be a bunch of boring lectures. Instead, I'll conduct a total of 8 hours of training over 4 days. In the mornings, I'll teach one-hour sessions on how to master critical marketing concepts, such as branding, author websites, social media, word of mouth, etc.  In the afternoons, I'll walk attendees through one-hour, hands-on exercises to help them complete important marketing tasks. Authors who attend my Book Marketing Boot Camp will leave the conference having already made significant progress towards increasing their book sales!  And, it's only $149, which is a huge bargain.