Monday, March 30, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Kelli Gilmore, Editor of SHINE brightly & Sparkle Magazine

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 believe when young girls are equipped, motivated, and passionately engaged in living out their faith in Jesus Christ they have the potential to be world changers. SHINE brightly is a monthly publication from September-May and 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. Sparkle is a monthly publication from October-March and we accept fiction stories, non-fiction articles, poems, interviews, quizzes, and other articles that present the Christian life realistically and help young girls see how God's Word applies to their daily lives. 

How can a writer break into your publication? 

While both publications are small, we love to publish new writers! The best way to break into our publication would be to follow the extensive writers' guidelines and create a unique, captivating, non-cliche piece for our readers. 

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

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

Anything else you would like to add or any specific current needs?

I am excited to meet new writers! A few of our current needs are quality fiction pieces, articles on vocation and what it means to be called by God to do something, and articles or stories about some of the tough issues girls deal with each day. Writers can find more detailed descriptions of these needs on our website (!

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Daniel Darling, Plenary Speaker

Daniel is a freelance writer and vice president for communications for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. His book titles include Teen People of the Bible; Crash Course; iFaith; Real; Activist Faith; and The Original Jesus: Replacing the Myths We’ve Created with the Savior Who Is, releasing in September. Daniel is a weekly contributor to Leadership Journal’s blog PARSE and is a featured blogger for,,, Covenant Eyes, G92, and others. A former editor and pastor, Daniel is a Write-to-Publish alumnus.

What will you be exploring in your evening sessions?

My goal is to really inspire and encourage the call of a Christian communicator. Why do we do this? How can we grow? How do we cultivate our craft while waiting for the big opportunity? What should be our ultimate aim in communicating? I'm really going to start with: should I be doing this and do I belong here? Then moving into: cultivating, growing, adapting, finding your voice, and then thinking through platform for the glory of God. 

Who would benefit from your class on teen culture?

I think anyone interested in writing for the next generation. What are teens facing, how can we be a steady spiritual guide? What mistakes do we often make in writing for teens? 

As a WTP alumnus, how has WTP helped you as a writer? 

I can't tell you the impact of WTP on my life. I walked into my first WTP many years ago, nervous and sure I didn't belong with such talented and successful writers. WTP equipped me and gave me the tools I needed to fulfill my mission as a writer. I'll never forget the life-changing content from Dr. Dennis Hensley on story-telling, writing, and craft. Also, the real-world, marketing, query-writing, and topic-hunting stuff was invaluable. Lastly, the community I formed and the contacts I made formed my writing career. To speak, now, at WTP, is such an honor. This conference made such an invaluable investment in my life. 

How can a writer best prepare to attend a conference?

He can prepare in two ways: first prepare his heart to grow and change and see his writing move to the next level and second: prepare his mind by thinking through good ideas, pitches, and ways he can leverage this conference to take the next step in his career and three (bonus round!): prepare to intentionally cultivate good relationships.

Write-to-Publish will be June 3 - 6
in the Chicago area 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Erin Taylor Young, Redbud Press

Briefly describe your publishing house.

Redbud Press is a boutique publisher focusing primarily on romance e-books in the inspirational market. Our Hometown Romance imprint publishes 45-65,000 word books with a strong sense of setting and community. While the stories can be contemporary or historical, the romance must be the primary focus. Our Timeless imprint offers well-established authors a chance to bring previously published books back to the market for a new generation of readers. Timeless stories are 45-110,000 words and need to have a very strong romantic thread, but they don’t have to fit squarely into the romance genre.

Do you publish first-time authors?

Our slots for debut authors are very limited, but yes, we do consider and publish them. The manuscript needs to be complete and of the highest quality. A book that’s part of a series—with a great hook—probably has the best chance of claiming a slot.

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

If you have a book you’d like to pitch, please bring sample chapters and a synopsis. If you simply have questions or want guidance or critique, bring whatever you’d like, and I’m happy to help any way I can.

Anything else you would like to add or any specific current needs?

Redbud Press loves stories that stay with the reader long past the book’s end. We love romance and the beauty of happily-ever-afters. We look for writers who share that vision, who are writing the books of their heart because they have a kinship with the beauty of words, the power of story, and the wonder of God’s love. 

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 - 6
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Steve Barclift, Kregel Publishing

Briefly describe your publishing house.

Our mission statement is a good starting point: "Our mission as an evangelical Christian publisher is to develop and distribute--with integrity and excellence--trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ.” We are a mid-sized publisher that is theologically conservative (more information can be found on our website: We are a traditional, royalties-paying house that publishes a wide range of books that include, among other genres, children’s books, Christian living titles, fiction, self-help, and books for pastors, teachers, and missionaries. We also have an academic line.

Do you publish first-time authors?

Yes. I’m guessing here, but probably ten to twenty percent of our titles are by first-time authors. Many of the projects I acquire at writers conferences are by first-time authors.

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

First, the author should become familiar with the list of needs I submitted to the conference; we aren’t necessarily looking for books in all areas in which we publish or have published in the past. Then I suggest that the writer peruse our website to see if the writer’s take on a subject is consistent with what we tend to publish in that subject area. Finally, the author should be able to tell me exactly what his or her book is about, because I will do very little reading during an appointment. I also will want to know about the author's potential marketing opportunities and social networking activities, if any. If a writer is meeting with me to gain an understanding of some aspect of publishing, that writer should come with specific questions in hand.

Anything else you would like to add or any specific current needs?

A departure for us, Kregel is beginning to acquire romance, so I would like to meet with anyone who has written a romance with a strong plot; we are not looking for formula romance. Historical romance seems to be working for us. Romantic suspense might be a good bet as well. And apart from romantic fiction, if an author thinks he or she probably has the best book at the conference, come talk to me—even if that book is not on the list of genres I’ve said I'm looking for. By the way, we have quite a few Canadian authors publishing with us, and I hope we will have many more.

Write-to-Publish will be held 
June 3 - 6 in the Chicago area.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Ann Byle, Agent with Credo Communications

Tell us a little about your agency, Credo Communications.

Credo Communications is a literary agency representing fiction and nonfiction authors in the Christian publishing marketplace. It's three agents have deep ties into the Christian publishing world, offer years of experience, and love to guide authors into their publishing and writing dreams.

How does a writer know if they need an agent?

A writer is ready for an agent when he or she has a completed book proposal, has written a full novel or at least three chapters of a nonfiction book, and is actively engaging with potential audiences via social media and/or public speaking.

What do you, as an agent, want to see or hear from a writer when you meet with them?

I want potential clients to know exactly who their audience is, be actively engaging with that audience, have spent time learning the craft of writing, present a unique idea in a pleasing way, and who see writing as a part of their futures.

Anything you would like to add to help writers best prepare themselves to be authors?

The best steps a writer can take are to actively learn the craft, understand and use social media, actually sit down and write, and be willing to adjust their writing and marketing strategies as needed.

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 - 6
in the Chicago area.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Rochelle Melander, Editor of The Word in Season

Briefly describe your publication.

The Word inSeason is a quarterly devotional periodical published by Augsburg Fortress publishers (ELCA-Lutheran) with a circulation of about 125,000. All writers audition with a few devotional samples and are hired to write devotions for a specific group of texts. Once you become a writer, I usually hire you about once a year. AFP buys all rights.

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

It’s helpful to see a list of where the writer has published, so I can see what sort of experience he or she brings. It’s also helpful to have a sample devotion with you. And, please, bring your questions!

Anything else you would like to add or any specific current needs?

I’m always looking for good writers who can write from a ELCA Lutheran perspective with a fresh voice. I tend to avoid writers who use a lot of jargon, write from a decision theology perspective, and are technology-averse. If you get hired to write for me, all of your devotions will be submitted on a wordpress-like site—so technology experience is a plus!

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 - 6

in the Chicago area.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dan Balow, Agent with The Steve Laube Agency

Tell us a little about your agency.

TheSteve Laube Agency was started by Steve Laube in 2004 after a career in Christian retail and working as an editor for Bethany House Publishers. Today, the agency has four agents, Steve, Karen Ball, Tamela Hancock Murray and myself who have a combined over 110 years of experience in various aspects of publishing. Altogether we serve over 200 authors.

How does a writer know if they need an agent?

In our case, the agent is the final piece of the process to get published, not the first. An aspiring author should have commitment to the craft, actively engaged in improving it, working hard on their platform and focused on making all the pieces of their career work together. In addition, they need to have written a manuscript already. The absence of any of these is a reason for an agent to decline to represent an author.

What do you, as an agent, want to see or hear from a writer when you meet with them?

That they have done their homework on what I am looking for and they can clearly articulate the basic premise of their work.

Anything you would like to add to help writers best prepare to be authors?

View it as comparable to preparing for a new career. If you want to become a teacher, you get training, you prepare and practice. You would have an idea of the opportunities for teachers in the area you live, and you are clear about the job requirements. And be sure you actually like the young people of the age group you want to teach!  Seeking to be an author is no different. 

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cheri Cowell, Independent Publishing Boot Camp and EA Books

Cheri is Owner and Publisher at EABooks, an author and speaker with four traditionally published books including Parables and Word Pictures, a Bible study by AMG, and Peace for Today: 365 Devotions by Thomas Nelson. She began her company after learning how to get her own materials into e-book format. Cheri's passion is helping others see God's Word come alive.

Cheri, give us a brief description of your continuing class at Write-to-Publish.

Independent Publishing Boot Camp: Come learn the pros and cons of this growing trend, how to evaluate your options, the basics of formatting and cover design, and how marketing your co- or self-pubed book is different.

Session 1: Evaluating Indie/Co/Self-Publishing: The Pros and Cons of Doing it Yourself

We'll learn to evaluate whether Indie publishing is a good option for you and your project, and we'll examine what it takes to be a successful indie author and what are the common causes of failure.

Session 2: Understanding the Do-it-Yourself Process:

We'll look at the various things you need to master if you're going to indie-publish, from formatting and layout to cover design, editing, ebook formats and more. We'll also examine some of the options for hiring all or parts of this process.

Session 3: Why EBook?

We'll look at this trend, examine the limitations in ebook technology, and what it takes to convert your book into an ebook for Kindle and others.

Session 4: Marketing an Indie Book

We'll look at three major components of a marketing plan: your brand, an Internet presence, and a social media plan 

What will be the biggest take-away from your class?

Hybrid Publishing (traditional + Indie Publishing) is the way things are going so why not take advantage of all publishing models, leveraging your reach to more readers.

How can someone best prepare to attend your class?

Come with a big notepad because we will cover it all and you will want to take a lot of notes so you will be prepared to run with the knowledge when the conference ends.

Anything you would like to add?

Having traditonally published (with a new traditionally pubed book coming out in 2016), self-published with a traditional self-publisher, and now owning my own hybrid-Indie publishing company, I can help you navigate all of the options available to you so you can make the best choice for you and your message.

Tell us a little about EA Books. 

Whether your vision is e-books, print, or audiobooks, we can help you expand your reach with the message God gave you." In 2014 EABooks published 25 titles, expanding the reach of God's messengers into the world. Make an appointment with me to learn how EABooks can also make your publishing dreams come true. 

What is EABooks Publishing looking for:

Fiction–all sub-genres
Bible Study

Monday, March 16, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Twila Belk, Teacher of the How to Get Published Continuing Class

Twila Belk is a writer and speaker, who has written or co-written six books and contributed to many others. Since June of 2007 she has worked with veteran author Cecil Murphey, as his executive assistant, event coordinator and PR person. She is a Christian communicator with a goal of taking important truths and making them easy to understand.

Give a brief description of your continuing class and is there anything that makes it unique?

“How to Get Published” is for beginners and those wanting to learn more about what it takes to get published. We’ll discuss the basics such as terminology, key people in the publishing process, resources for writers, how to format and submit manuscripts, focusing ideas, writing query letters, industry etiquette, getting connected, and more.

What makes it unique is that I haven’t forgotten the feeling of cluelessness I had as I sat in a similar class at WTP in 1998. I was so confused and had a hard time understanding the lingo and other publishing-related things. I was afraid to ask questions because I didn’t want to appear as clueless as I was. Because I remember my beginnings (and the many mistakes I’ve made since then), I can teach with an empathetic heart. I want to guide you and get you on the path to publication. And I want you to know that I’m open to answering your questions, no matter how stupid you think they are. It’s a safe environment.

What will be the biggest take-away from your class?

You’ll know what your next step is.

How can someone best prepare to attend your class?

Prayer is great preparation. Not that you need it because you’re going to have me as a teacher, but because you want to be open to all God has for you at WTP. Come with an expectant heart, knowing that you’re there for a reason. You might think you’re there to learn about writing, but God might have something entirely different in store for you that will blow you away. And prepare yourself to be overwhelmed. You’ll take in a lot of information while you’re there, and it’ll be hard to process it all at once. If you know ahead of time to expect that, it’ll be easier to make it through the week.

Anything you would like to add?

The connections you make at WTP have the potential to change the course of your life. I speak from experience. It was at that first conference in 1998 that I met a man by the name of Cecil Murphey. My life has never been the same. (I have stories to tell! Just ask.) Take the time to connect. Have fun. Be yourself. Be prayerful. Be confident. And see what God does. I guarantee you’ll be blessed and amazed.

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Susan King, Continuing Class Teacher and Upper Room Devotional Rep

Susan King will be teaching the It's All About Style: Achieving Excellence in Writing Continuing Class at Write-to-Publish (June 3-6) and having appointments with conferees interested in writing for The Upper Room, a daily devotional.

Susan King has been with The Upper Room magazine for 20 years. She has also taught English at Lipscomb University (Nashville, TN) for 20 years and functions as a seminar facilitator in leadership and group dynamics. Formerly, she taught English and feature-writing classes at Biola University and Abilene Christian University, served as book editor and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, and wrote magazine features as a freelance writer.

Give a brief description of your continuing class.

This class is a crash course in crafting your writing to be tight, clear, and direct—a pleasure to read.  Beyond that, in the span of the class each attendee will apply those techniques to producing a meditation to submit to The Upper Room magazine.

How can someone best prepare to attend your class?

Attendees can best prepare by bringing with them any hard-copy or electronic devotionals, short blogs, or journaling-on-scripture that they've written and get ready to listen FAST.

Upper Room Publications

The Upper Room:

The only type of writing that The Upper Room magazine publishes is devotionals.

I don't officially represent any magazine except for The Upper Room. However, I can answer limited general questions about our other magazines—and I know where to direct writers for more information.

Brief descriptions of our other publications:

Alive Now:

a thematic, bi-monthly magazine that seeks to nourish people who are hungry for a sacred way of living. This four-color, 48-page publication of The Upper Room speaks to the opportunities and challenges of following Christ in the modern world. Scripture and prayer are two foundational cornerstones of content. They accept freelance theme-based writing that is submitted either by mail or electronically and strive to represent the widest possible diversity (theological, geographical, denominational, racial, cultural) among their writers.


a thematic, 48-page devotional magazine for children ages 6-12, published by The Upper Room®. The magazine is published 11 times per year (January/February being a combined issue) and includes short stories, non-fiction articles, puzzles, games, poems, recipes, etc.


devotional lifestyle magazine designed just for youth. It is written by teenagers and by adults who work with and care about teens. devozine's purpose is to help young people 14-19 years old develop a lifelong practice of spending time with God and of reflecting on what God is doing in their lives.


a thematic, quarterly journal. Its mission is to promote informed, committed spiritual growth by exploring how God’s life and human lives are being woven together in the world. Weavings seeks to thread together some of the unraveled ends of Christian life—personal formation and social transformation, individual renewal and church renewal, prayer and ministry, contemplation and mission. Only a small percentage of this magazine is freelance written.

How can a person best prepare for an appointment with you or appointments in general?

Fifteen minutes is very short so the conferees need to make the best possible use of their time.  For our magazine, this means that the conferee needs to bring an actual devotional.  Even one that was submitted to us and was rejected can result in helpful feedback. Just be sure the writer reads it over beforehand so it's still fresh in his/her mind.

What to NOT do in an appointment:  

1. Recounting to me a summary of your writing background or the genesis of a particular devotional.  Let the particular devotional(s) speak for itself.

2. Showing me something that illustrates your writing but isn't a devotional (and is 4 or 5 times longer than a devotional so we wouldn't even have time to cut it down).

Upper Room Publications:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Jim Hart, Agent for Hartline Literary

 Tell us about your agency and whom do you hope to meet with at WTP?

Hartline Literary is a well respected agency that was established in 1992 by Joyce Hart, who at that time was already well experienced and connected in the industry. We represent both fiction and non-fiction for the CBA market, as well as selected general market titles. As a group – agents and our author/clients – we really enjoy our relationships with one another. We value working as a team toward our common and shared goals.

I’m hoping to meet fiction and non-fiction authors at WTP. For fiction I’m hoping to meet writers of women’s fiction -  romance and any sub-genre – contemporary, suspense, historical, etc.  Humor is always good. I’m also hoping to see some thrillers, sci-fi and speculative proposals, but not titles targeted just for YA, teens, or children. For non-fiction I’m looking forward to seeing church growth and Christian living work. Non-fiction authors with a platform such as speakers and ministry leaders will be of most interest.

How does a writer know if they need an agent?

When their manuscript is complete and they feel it’s ready to be presented to publishers. But often an agent can be of help before the manuscript is complete. We can review a proposal, or offer advice on how to write a proposal, and then begin to plan with the writer the next steps in their publishing journey. Some writers have already obtained a publishing contract, and as they progress in their career realize that they need a professional to represent their interests and to help them obtain a stronger presence in the market.

What do you, as an agent, want to see or hear from a writer when you meet with them?

Honesty, passion and exceptional creativity.

Anything you would like to add to help writers best prepare to be authors?

Writers need to develop a competitive edge by 1) outstanding writing skills, 2) an appropriate author platform and 3) knowledge of the industry. Write constantly, submit content to magazines and blog, and constantly research the publishing industry.

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Jim Watkins: Nonfiction Book Writing Class; Representative for Wesleyan Publishing, ACW & Light from the Word

Jim Watkins will be teaching the Writing Nonfiction Books Continuing Class. He is an author, speaker and Associate Acquisition Editor for Wesleyan Publishing House (WPH) and Editorial Advisor for ACW Press.

In addition to teaching he is representing WPH, ACW and Light From the Word, a daily devotional. He will be available for appointments with conferees to discuss their interest in these publishing opportunities.

Thanks, Jim for filling us in on your class and your appointments.

Give a brief description of your continuing class.

We will be looking at the best-selling author of Ecclesiastes' principles for taking your book from concept to contract: reflect, research, reorganize, reword and retail. 

What will be the biggest take-away from your class?

I'll provide 40 years of experience in publishing as an author and editor to provide practical tips on writing, preparing a proposal, marketing your finished book and any other questions anyone may have. And we will laugh a lot! (My "brand" is "hope and humor," so expect a lot of that.)

How can someone best prepare to attend your class?

Come with a teachable spirit and be prepared to take a ton of notes on practical tips to get published.

Anything you would like to add?

If you're trying to decide between my class and another, buy my book--Communicate to Change Lives--and go to the other class.

Publication and Publishing House Info:

 Briefly describe your house or publication.

Wesleyan Publishing House (WPH) is best described as conservative Methodism with an emphasis in helping readers lead a holy, Christlike life. It's a traditional royalty publisher. (WPH pays you.)

ACW Press is a full-service independent publisher that provides the highest quality at lowest price for cover design and interior, editing, ISBN and print-on-demand or traditional printing. (You pay ACW Press, but you own all work)

Any specific needs you would like to share?

WPH is looking for books that help readers lead a holy, Christlike life. (No memoirs, devotional books, fiction or children books)

Light from the Word is a daily devotional magazine for devos 250-300 words

ACW Press publishes any genre which are not contrary to Christian faith, so publishes both "Christian" and general market

How can a person best prepare for an appointment with you or appointments in general?

Have an amazing "elevator pitch" (describe your book in 25 words or less; if you can't your book needs focus). Have a well-thought-out proposal. (Here is a sample of proposal: )

Anything else you would like to add?

Review WPH's writers' guidelines before an appointment ( ). I love working with writers, so don't let title "editor" frighten you!

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area.

Monday, March 9, 2015

WTP Faculty Interview: DiAnn Mills, Fiction Instructor

DiAnn Mills will be teaching the continuing class for those interested in writing fiction. Her class is titled: The Dance of Character and Plot. She has answered some questions below.
Thanks, DiAnn.

About DiAnn:

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

Give a brief description of your continuing class.

Writing is an adventure, an exploration of what a character will do to accomplish a goal. I want writers to know their characters as close friends—to laugh, cry, celebrate, identify, and share the happenings of their lives in an entertaining story. This continuing class will challenge the writer to reach deep to expand novel-writing techniques. The writer will learn the art of fiction and the hows and whys of applying advanced characterization to story in a hands-on environment.

What will be the biggest take-away from your class?

The writer will learn various techniques to master characterization and deepen plot. 

How can someone best prepare to attend your class?

Concentrate on a character that will not let you go. Jot down specifics about the character and bring those to class. Have your laptop available or a means of note-taking. This class is for the serious novelist no matter the level of writing. 

Anything you would like to add? 

We’ll work through lots of handouts. In short: Story is a blend of The Dance of Character and Plot. Let the Dance begin.

On the Web:

Write-to-Publish will be held June 3 – 6

in the Chicago area.