Thursday, May 22, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Sheila Seifert of Thriving Family magazine

Briefly describe your publication:

Thriving Family is a marriage and parenting publication for families with children in the home who are 0 to 18. (The majority of the articles are directed at parents with children in the home who are 4 to 12.) The magazine is divided into features and four departments: Family Stages, Family Media, Family Faith, and Family Living. Family Stages offers short, practical, hands-on, often first person articles for parenting 0- to 3-year-olds, 4- to 7-year-olds, 8- to 12-year-olds, and 13- to 18-year olds. Family Media is often written in-house. Family Faith consists of a faith concept from a parenting perspective and faith conversations for couples. Family Living consists of 400-word articles for women, men, adoptive families, special needs families, and blended families. Our features are all marriage or parenting based.

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet 
with at the conference?

I enjoy meeting with writers who have studied Thriving Family and understand the magazine’s constraints when the author is pitching an article or presenting an idea. But if an author is new to selling his/her materials and would merely like me to show him/her how to dissect a publication to better understand Thriving Family in a way that can be applied to other magazines, I’m happy to help a writer do this. Perhaps a writer is not ready to pitch to a magazine or book editor. If so, I am happy to help the person walk through a trial editor meeting where I coach the author on the types of things to say and what to bring. Writers should merely tell me when they first meet with me that this will be a sample writer/editor meeting. The author doesn’t even have to bring a manuscript.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment 
with you?

An author can relax, tell me where s/he feels his/her manuscript would fit in Thriving Family, let me see the manuscript, and then be prepared to listen. But, for those who don’t have a manuscript to pitch, it’s OK to set an appointment to just get practice speaking with an editor. I was a freelance writer for over a decade before becoming an editor, so I do understand a writers’ learning curve. I am happy to help writers wherever they are in their development, and I might be able to suggest next steps for them.

Anything you would like to add?

I am at this conference to meet writers so here is what I’d tell them: If you have a parenting manuscript that you feel would fit in Thriving Family, talk to me about it. If you don’t have a manuscript, but have an idea, talk to me about it. In our Family Stages area, we are in constant need of short (150- to 200-word) first person parenting stories that demonstrate a great way to parent a child through something in a way that other parents can repeat. If you’re a parent or can interview a parent, you are welcome to tell me about some of the things that have worked for you or others. If I find your tip, advice, or story unique, I will ask you to write it up. This is a great way to break into the magazine and hone your skills as a writer. But if you don’t have a manuscript and don’t have an idea, you can still talk to me. In this case, you can tell me about your writing journey and together we can brainstorm next steps.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Jesse Florea of Clubhouse and Clubhouse, Jr. Magazines

Briefly describe your publication.

Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse and Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. are long-running, award-winning children’s publications from Focus on the Family. Clubhouse is geared for children 8-to-12, while Jr. is for 3- to 7-year-olds. Both are four-color, monthly magazines that reach over 125,000 kids all over the world.

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

Somebody who’s passionate about children. I sort of view my job as being a children’s pastor. We want to provide Biblically based, entertaining stories that help kids build a foundation in Christ. Plus, as the longest running children’s ministry at Focus on the Family, we want to bring families together. To that end, we like to feature recipes, crafts and activities—in addition to all the great fiction, factoids and Bible stories.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment with you?

Grab an issue of the magazine (I’ll bring plenty for those who are interested) or go to our websites at or Get a feel for the style and kinds of stories we do. At the same time, the best advice is to just be yourself. Some of the best ideas have come just by talking with conferees, discovering their passions and then figuring out how they can contribute to the magazines.

Anything you would like to add?

Sign up to speak with as many faculty members as you can. That’s the best part of a conference. Meet people, ask questions, learn. (Of course, do your homework before the meeting, so you don’t sit down and say, “So what do you do?”) Don’t be nervous. Have a sense of humor. Conferences are overwhelming for editors, too. So be willing to laugh and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Nancy Lohr, Acquisitions Editor, JourneyForth

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.
JourneyForth seeks to provide well-written, biblically sound books with a conservative Christian worldview. Our desire is to encourage believers to become more Christlike in their thinking, to grow in their service to God, and to represent Christ well before the world. Our catalog includes novels and biographies for the pre-college market as well as Bible studies and Christian living titles for teens and adults. Writers can read first pages of our books on our website.

How can a person best prepare for appointments with editors?
Study the writers guidelines for the companies represented by the editors. That is the first step toward making a good match between your manuscript and the right publisher. If you don’t have material to submit but have questions for the editor, craft those questions before your appointment so that you learn the most you can in the time allotted.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?
I’d love to meet writers who have the same goals for their writing that we have for our publications (biblically sound books with a conservative Christian worldview). This writer may have a manuscript that is ready to submit on the spot or he or she may need to do some revising first. This writer understands the collaborative nature of publisher and is eager and able to participate in the process.

Anything you would like to add?

I love to be wowed by a proposal or a pitch that is spot-on for our company. Authors who do their homework are the authors who wow.


On the Web: 

Monday, May 19, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Sherri Langton of Bible Advocate and Now What?

Briefly describe your publication.
We actually have two publications. Bible Advocate is a denominational magazine published by the Church of God (Seventh Day) and is in its 151st year. Now What? is an e-zine that features personal experience stories about a problem/crisis that either led someone to God or deepened her faith in Christ.

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

I hope to meet writers who are open to what God wants to say through them and willing to learn from editors. In the past month we've accepted new work from writers who followed my suggestions to tailor their work for our publication.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment with you?

It's cliché, but read the publication and know what we're looking for.

Anything you would like to add?

I like to help and encourage writers who may just need some advice and direction for their writing, so don't feel shy about making an appointment to see me. I'm a writer too and understand both sides of the desk.

On the Web:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Gloria Penwell of AMG Publishers

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.

In 1980, AMG Publishers, Inc. was launched by AMG International, Inc. to minister through the written Word. Since its inception, AMG Publishers has become a leader in the Christian publishing with the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, award-winning youth fiction, exhaustive reference, multiple Bible studies and Patriotic literature. AMG Publishers publishes under the imprints AMG PublishersTM, Living Ink BooksTM and God and Country PressTM. Our products can be found in many languages all over the world.
AMG Publishers is a wholly owned subsidiary of AMG International. Profits from AMG Publishers are invested in the ministries of AMG International.

How can a person best prepare for appointments with editors?

The most important thing an author can do is research what a publisher is looking for. They should make sure that what they're presenting is something the publisher is looking for. Their query should be short, concise and well-written.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at WTP?

I am looking for well-written and edited Bible studies.

On the Web: AMG Publishers

Thursday, May 15, 2014

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

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.

Tyndale House Publishers’ mission is to minister to the spiritual needs of people through literature consistent with biblical principles. In terms of fiction, this means publishing fiction with a mission. Whenever our acquisitions team is looking over a manuscript and/or proposal, we’re always asking ourselves “What is the ministry value behind the story? What does this story provide to the reader?” Whether hope, reassurance, healing or something else entirely, we look to publish fiction that is distinctive, entertaining, hopeful, purposeful, and thoughtful; fiction with a greater purpose.

How can a person best prepare for an appointment 
with you?

I see these appointments as a conversation. A one sheet with your proposal is helpful but mainly come with your questions. My goal at any writer’s conference is to  be as helpful to each individual’s specific needs as possible as they continue their publishing journey.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with 
at the conference?

I do not have any specific writer ‘type’ in mind, but as I’ve said above, I look at writer’s conference as a learning experience for both faculty and writers so the more prepared the writers are with their specifics needs and questions in mind, the better I am able to help them in the appointment time allotted.

Anything you would like to add about or specific needs?

I’m looking forward to meeting with many writers at the conference. If you’re looking for more on Tyndale fiction, stop by our new fiction blog and say hello,

On the Web:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Jeremiah Zeiset of Life Sentence Publishing

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.

We’re a Christian publishing company that works with authors one-on-one. The personal touch results in an enjoyable and mission-accomplishing experience. As a Christian publisher, we’re in the business of sharing the gospel via great books, and that goal changes how we do everything. Our vision is to see lives changed by God through the message of your book. A combination of print and ebooks broadens our reach, and imprints including traditional and hybrid publishing ensure we can help you reach your goal.

How can a person best prepare for an appointment with you?

Each author and manuscript is unique. We'll explore what opportunities exist for your book based on genre, who you are and what you do, and what a publisher can do for you. Come with questions you have regarding editing, publishing, and marketing. Come prepared to answer questions with regards to research you did before writing your book, what you do outside of writing, and what you'd really enjoy doing that would help market your book.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

We help Christian authors share the gospel, draw readers closer to Christ, and serve the Lord through books. We're hoping to meet authors with the same goals.

Anything you would like to add about or specific needs?

I'm looking forward to meeting with like-minded, mission-minded authors!

On the Web:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interviews: Rowena Kuo, Fiction Aquisitions, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent. 

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is a royalty-paying publisher of fiction and non-fiction books. We aim to produce divinely inspired fiction that appeals to that wide swath of readers who may believe in God but not necessarily have an intimate relationship with Him. Our aim is to present fiction and nonfiction overlaid with God’s truth. In fiction, we prefer to see great stories with powerful themes. 

How can a person best prepare for appointments with editors?

I suggest bringing a business card and, at the very least, the first chapter. Think about what goals you have for your writing and how you want to achieve those goals. You only have a few minutes to make an impact, and it is best to make yourself memorable in some way. 

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference? 

Although bringing your full manuscript to the conference is not needed, a writer should have a finished manuscript ready to send by email if it is requested. I enjoy authors who are engaging, passionate, and able to take constructive criticism. More and more, authors will be asked to participate in the marketing of the book, and a compelling personality is a bonus in improving book sales. 

Anything you would like to add? 

While at the conference, attend as many of the classes you can, and get the recordings of other classes you wanted but could not attend. Network with other conferees, exchange business cards, and build your platform. Develop your social media outlets as these will be the venues for future marketing.

On the Web:

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Monday, May 12, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Pam and Bill Farrel, Evening Speakers and Daytime Teachers

Pam and Bill Farrel share about their respective continuing classes and the evening sessions 
they co-teach.

Pam Farrel
Writing Nonfiction Books and More

Give us a snapshot of your continuing class.

Strong writing + a strong relationship with the reader = a strong writing future for you. Learn the nuts and bolts of practical skills to sharpen and hone your nonfiction writing, so publishers and, more importantly, readers will love what you write. These tips will refine your writing by enhancing key ingredients that make a writer valued by the industry and treasured by your audience. Our ministry is “Love-Wise” and we live at the intersection of love and wisdom, and my nonfiction session uses the wisdom of sharp writing skills to help a reader fall in love with your writing!

What is the most important thing a student can learn from your four-day class?

You will learn the practical, “hands on” skills to be a nonfiction writer.  You will also gather the tools to get that first book written, and /or learn how to hone your skills so each book written is done better, faster, and in a manner that you actually LOVE writing book after book! You will also acquire the abilities to parlay those same skills in any nonfiction writing you do for blogs, magazines, newspapers, curriculum, etc.

Is there anything an attendee can do to prepare themselves prior to the conference?

Come rested! Come prayed up! Come with comfortable shoes! Come with your Bible! Come ready to share your heart, vision and purpose! Come ready to write!

Anything you would like to add?

Come with a servant’s heart. Don’t worry about trying to MAKE connections happen instead come looking for ways you can be a blessing to other writers, the faculty and those God places along your path. Writing is servant’s work, so come looking for how you can help others and allow God to then bless and help you.

Bill Farrel
       Establishing a Biblically Solid Platform 
for Your Writing

Give us a snapshot of your continuing class.

Learn to study God’s Word to glean His truth and application to today’s lives in order to write biblically accurate manuscripts across all platforms—books, magazines, blogs, social media, etc.

In this intensive, we will explore ways to build the CORE of our message. This is for the writer who wants a solid, healthy Biblical foundation. Jesus said, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Any writing, therefore, that reflects God’s truth in an accurate and skillful way will change people’s lives and set people free.

What is the most important thing a student can learn from your four-day class?

To harness the power of God’s word in our writing we must strengthen our abilities to discover the Context, Observations, Relevance and Empowerment that is inherent in the Word of God. We will explore ways to establish our CORE in four sessions. I have spent my life as both a pastor and a writer and communicator, and it is our joy and responsibility to handle God’s Word with care and accuracy so lives are changed and people come to know the Living Word, and the Author of all life.

Evening Sessions 
by the Farrels

Best Decisions a Writer Can Make: Pick Up Your P.E.N. to Change Your Life and the World. We will share honestly, authentically, and transparently, so the audience can see into the life of a writer and the writing lifestyle both personally and professionally. By using the PEN acrostic, each participant will
leave with the tools to Decide to Be:   

Partners with God

So that the world is left a better place because he or she decided to “pick up a PEN” and write!

On the Web:

Friday, May 9, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Ann Byle, Agent with Credo Communications

Why is an agent important in today’s publishing environment?
An agent is important for several reasons. First is that many publishers prefer to work with agents instead of directly with writers. Second is that having an agent allows the writer to concentrate on writing, not on finding and negotiating with a publisher. Third, an agent acts as neutral ground between writer and publisher should there be issues with deadline, rewrites, title, cover, publicity, whatever; the agent negotiates between the two. Fourth, an agent acts as gatekeeper between publishers looking for the best work, and authors who need more work before presenting to a publisher. Fifth, an agent encourages the writer to try new things, rework the proposal, fix a novel or nonfiction book, and to cry a little and then get back to work.

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?
I'm hoping to meet writers who understand the business of writing—what a proposal looks like, the publishing process, professionalism; who has a good understanding of the craft of writing; who has a completed novel/proposal; who has a long view of his or her writing career, and is eager to start or continue that career; who understands the need for reaching his or her audience.

What would you like us to know about your agency?

We are a small agency that concentrates on our clients, offering both professional advice and personal feel to our work.

 Anything you would like to add?

We represent both fiction and nonfiction clients; will look at debut authors; will look at authors in a wide range of topics and interests from popular fiction to academic titles.

       On the web:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Kelli Gilmore, Editor of Magazines for Girls

Briefly describe your publication.

I am the managing editor of two publications: SHINE brightly and Sparkle Magazine. Both are Christian monthly publications for girls ranging from 7 years to 14 years. 

The mission of SHINE brightly is to bring girls into a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. We want to encourage girls to look more like Christ by reaching outside themselves to serve the needs of others. It is a monthly publication from September-May. We accept fiction stories, non-fiction articles, poems, quizzes, interviews, and other realistic pieces that will help girls see how Christian beliefs apply to everyday life. 

The mission of Sparkle is to help girls discover who God is and how He works in His world and their lives. We want to show girls how to Sparkle Jesus' light into the world.  This is a monthly publication from October-March. We accept fiction stories, non-fiction articles, poems, interviews, quizzes, and other articles that present the Christian life realistically and cause young readers to see how God's Word applies to their daily lives. 

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

I am hoping to meet a writer who has a passion for girls everywhere to meet Jesus. I am looking for writers who are well written and can communicate big ideas in simple and realistic ways so girls can understand how to apply their faith to their life. We are always in need of new author submissions for stories and articles.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment with you?

Bring your questions! I will try to answer them the best I can. If you have any questions specifically regarding writing for girls or a younger audience, that is where most of my experience lies. 

Anything you would like to add?

I'm just excited to see what the Write-to-Publish Conference is all about! 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WTP Faculty Interview: Miranda Gardner of Discovery House

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.

Discovery House is a nonprofit publishing house affiliated with RBC Ministries, the Our Daily Bread devotional folks. The goal of Discovery House is to publish books that feed the soul with the Word of God. We publish nonfiction books of general interest to evangelical Christians. See for a complete list of books and other products.

How can a person best prepare for an appointment 
with you?

Plan to relax and be yourself during the appointment. Take the opportunity to ask questions but do some research before the conference too. Visit publishers’ websites to see what kinds of books they publish. Look for books that are similar to yours and be prepared to discuss what makes yours unique. 

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with 
at the conference?

I'm interested in meeting with nonfiction writers. Discovery House publishes devotional books, Bible study materials and some reference books, books about the spiritual life, personal growth books, and books that address contemporary issues that believers face. We're also looking to expand into teen devotionals.  

Anything you would like to add about or specific needs?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cherie Burbach, Poet: My Soul Is From a Different Place

Cherie Burbach, poet, is my guest today. She has just released a new book of poetry and is answering some questions the new work and herself.

Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

My mother says I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil (ha!) but ­I’ve actually been writing in some professional capacity for over 25 years, first in marketing (proposals, sales letters, press releases) and then as a full-time freelance writer.

I’m Wisconsin born and raised and love God, the Packers, and cheese (of course.) Watching football is a weekly fall through winter tradition.

Tell us about your book.  What do you hope readers take away from it?

My Soul Is From a Different Place is my sixth poetry book. The vibe of the poetry has grown and matured since my very first book, The Difference Now. And yet, it still reflects the same hope and spirit that all my poetry has in common.
It’s always my hope that people find what they need to in my poetry. Some people resonate to my poetry because they share a similar background to me. Others enjoy the empowerment feel to it. Everyone is different, so I’d like people who read my work to appreciate it for their own reasons.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

So many! Recently I stumbled on The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro and couldn’t put it down. The author describes the techniques used to create fake classics and it was really quite involved and fascinating!
Another favorite, Oxford: Son of Elizabeth I, by Paul Streitz. It’s about the theory that Shakespeare was not only “not Shakespeare” but a Tudor prince. This book was very convincing and presented evidence in a completely new way.

Favorite authors?
Again… so, so many. Favorite overall is probably Elinor Lipman. Just adore her writing style. But I like to many authors from different time periods and for different reasons.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Painting (mixed media and acrylics), cooking for my husband, playing with my crazy Schnoodle, crocheting, and making glass sculptures.

Advice for other writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. Listen to feedback but trust your gut.

Where can we learn more about you?
My website contains lots of info, some FAQs, fun facts, and an about me page that should provide more info about me than you wanted to know!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for hosting me! Many blessings to you and your readers!

Cherie Burbach is a writer, poet, and mixed media artist. Her latest poetry book is My Soul Is From a Different Place. She's written for, NBC/Universal, Happen Magazine, Philips Lifeline, and more. Visit her website,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Ben Wolf of Splickety Magazine

Briefly describe your publication.

Splickety Magazine is your source for high-quality flash fiction in a variety of genres. If you like to read but don't have time, try Splickety. You can enjoy our stories, always 1,000 words or less, and get your flash fic fix without the time commitment of a novel. And if you do have time to read, you'll be impressed with the quality of the stories contained within. 

What type of a writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

I'm hoping to meet writers who are experts in their genre or genres of choice who are either looking to write me some great flash fiction stories for our magazines or are looking to improve their craft by working one-on-one with a professional freelance editor. I love writers who take chances with their work, as flash fiction is one of the best genres for experimenting. I also have a special place in my heart for spec fic authors and action/adventure authors, so it's always a pleasure to meet with them as well.

How can someone best prepare for an appointment with you?

If you're coming to show me some of your awesome flash fiction, bring me the flash fiction piece itself and nothing else. I also offer flash critiques on novels, poems, nonfiction pieces, novellas, and short stories--basically I'll look at the first page or two and offer substantive feedback on what I think could be improved, if anything. If you're looking to hire me as an editor bring the piece you want edited (computer versions are fine) and I'll look that over and may even be able to provide you with a quote on the spot.

Anything you would like to add?

I believe in the writer's mission, passion, and purpose because I'm a writer too. I'm chasing similar dreams to most everyone in attendance at the conference, whether they're further along than I am or not as far. I think we can all learn from each other. I remember at the 2013 WTP conference a young writer's opening to her novel was absolutely captivating--it inspired me to improve my own craft. I hope to have that effect on writers in attendance at Write-to-Publish 2014, whether it's through appointments, through the classes I'm teaching, through my freelance editing, or through just getting to know attendees personally and talking about where to go from here. Come and talk to me. I'm dangerous, but not to you. I love talking to people, so come talk to me.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Write-to-Publish Faculty: Susan Baganz from Prism Book Group

Give us a snapshot of the company you represent.
Prism Book Group originally opened as a small e-book publisher in the Fall 2011 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. The Inspired imprint is part of the ACFW approved publishers.
Our primary goal at Prism Book Group is to provide readers with books that inspire—healing, hope, and happiness. Books that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you sigh.
Prism Book Group is owned by Joan Alley. Prior to opening Prism Book Group, Joan spent eight years in the romance publishing field as both an author and editor. Personal growth inspired Joan to step away from her established career and seek a new path. Her wealth of experience backs her newfound dedication to promote stories that focus on moving readers, heart and soul.

How can a person best prepare for an appointment with you?

Love your story and believe in it. We used to be open to any submissions but now we are closed and this is your one shot for me to consider taking a look at your story. You don’t have to be perfect. Take a deep breath. I’m human and don’t bite. The best pitch I ever received at a conference was a gal who told me her story as if she was telling me about something that happened to her best friend.  I was beginning to think it really happened. She’s got her second book coming out this summer with us.

What type of writer are you hoping to meet with at the conference?

You can come and meet with me even if you don’t have a book you are ready to pitch. If you have questions about writing, or editing or following your calling as a writer, I would love to talk and pray with you. We are also raising the bar with our expectations for marketing. While we will help, we want to know you believe in your book enough to do what it takes to help it do well. Let me see that you blog and are involved in social networking of some kind.

Anything you would like to add about or specific needs?

I love romance and that’s all I contract. I would especially love to see some great Regencies and romantic comedies. But historical, contemporary and romantic suspense are also welcome. Give me a great story with a happily-ever-after and I’ll be tickled raspberry.

Our web site is
My personal website is and I can be found on Facebook at and my fan page at and on twitter @susanbaganz.