Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Visit to the General Lew Wallace (Author of Ben-Hur) Study & Museum

A few weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to Crawfordsville, Indiana, my husband's hometown. Crawfordsville is in the north central part of the state and the home of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. Wallace is the author of Ben-Hur, which was published in 1880, was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the book has never gone out-of-print. There have been four movie versions, the latest released in theaters last month. The most memorable of these films may be the one produced in 1959 with Charlton Heston in the famous chariot race. An updated version of the book was released in July, written by Carol Wallace, the great-great-granddaughter of Lew Wallace.

Wallace was born in 1927 in Brookville, Indiana, but spent most of his early years in Covington. He moved to Crawfordsville in 1853, after his marriage to Susan Elston Wallace and the birth of their son, Henry Lane. He was an attorney, author, solider in the Mexican-American War and an officer in the Civil War. He was appointed United States Minister to Turkey by President Garfield. He was a diverse man. In addition to being an author of seven books, he was a painter, and a maker of violins. He built his study to write and create between 1895 and 1899.

There is also a building nearby called the carriage house, where you begin your tour and view a short video of Wallace’s life. You will also meet the staff, a great source of information and hospitality. They will escort you to the study for a tour.

Until November there is also an exhibit of The Golden Age of Indiana Literature. Some of the authors included, in addition to Wallace, are Booth Tarkington, Theodore Dreiser and Gene Stratton-Porter, to name a few.  

I highly recommend this visit if you are in the vicinity. Here is the website so you can explore more about Lew Wallace and Ben-Hur.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

National Coloring Book Day

I received my first coloring book for adults this past Christmas. I have been swept away with the colors and the enjoyment it brings. I seem to come alive when I color.

I have been given or purchased other coloring books since Christmas, new pencils, crayons and pens in which to experiment. I have taken them to a church retreat and had a table full of other colorists join me. People relaxed, opened up and talked about themselves while we colored. I think they felt at ease because everyone was coloring and they were not the center of attention. It was great to color with others, although I have to admit I would rather color alone; I become distracted when I color with others and I am a pretty serious colorist.

I have put all my books and supplies in a bag that I keep next to the living room couch, just like those who keep their crocheting or knitting close at hand. 

I have also purchased The Inspire Bible (Tyndale House) a Bible, not just to read, but to journal and color inside. I have attended a Bible journaling/coloring workshop sponsored by Tyndale House. Check out the workshops here.

If you haven’t tried to color, why not give it a try today in observance of National Coloring Book Day.

Are you a colorist? What do you like to color?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Michelle Burke, Acquisitions and Development Editor, B&H Kids

Tell us about B&H Publishing.

B&H Kids is a trade imprint of LifeWay. We publish children's fiction, non-fiction, and full-text Bibles and offer numerous options for readers from toddler age to teens.

What type of writer do you hope to meet with during the conference?

I'd like to meet with writers who have unique ways of relating faith-based messages to our readers. Knowledge of the market is helpful, as well as clean, concise proposals with solid writing.

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

To prepare for an appointment, a writer can come with a manuscript in hand and be able to tell me the felt need of the work, the audience it was written for, and why it's needed in the market. I welcome specific questions on how to improve the work as well. 

Read more about B&H Publishing.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dr. Rob Currie, Author, WTP Alum & Elective Course Instructor

Give us a snapshot of your Thursday afternoon elective class, “Promote Your Book with Endorsements.”

Strong recommendations for your book play a critical role in publication and book sales. Learn how to get great blurbs for your book cover and how to get people to review or blog about your book. Discover who to approach and how to persuade those busy people to help you. I’ll share the secrets of how I got best-selling authors to endorse my books. I’ve used these techniques for my fiction, nonfiction, and creative fiction books.

As a WTP alum, how can a writer best prepare for this conference?

First, be ready to learn. Be prepared to hear that you need to change the way you write before you get published. We’d love to get nothing but positive feedback from agents and editors, but that is unrealistic.

Second, prepare and practice your pitch. It’s harder than it initially sounds because it’s difficult to summarize your book in a sentence or two. Google “Book Pitch” and you’ll get some helpful ideas.

(Note: Check out, "Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch to Sell Manuscripts" on Thursday at 3:00 p.m.)

Third, meet and encourage other writers. Ask others what they’re working on.  Take a genuine interest in them. Do it because it’s the right thing to do and because when you offer no-strings-attached encouragement, others will often return the favor.

Read more about Rob Currie.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Jesse Florea, Plenary Speaker and Focus on the Family Editorial Director of Youth Publications

Tell us a little about your talks for the evening sessions.

Well, they won't be boring. :-) We serve an awesome, creative, loving God. In the evening sessions, I'll share a bit of the His-story of my life. Based on my childhood experiences, I'm the last person who should be editing children's magazines and working at Focus on the Family. But God uses the foolish to confound the wise. Our Lord uses our past experiences to flavor and grow our writing, but we have to lean into Him and be totally transparent. I want every writer to tap into their weakness to discover God's strength. 

I'll also talk a bit about digging into the craft and being obedient to God's call on your life as a writer. We need to finish what we start and walk through doors that He opens. I can't tell you how many times I've been to a conference, met a writer with a fantastic idea, given an assignment on spec and have never seen a thing. Obedience and discipline aren't fun words, but they definitely lead to success as a writer.

Finally, I'll talk about why the Christian writer is so important at this time in history. The world needs what we're writing about. It needs God, because it has lost so much. So we need to write the truth in a way that the world can hear it, understand it and wrestle with it.

We'll laugh a little bit, too. I have a lot of embarrassing stories and "how-not-to" get things done. I really appreciate this opportunity that Lin has given me. My talks aren't for children's writers; they're geared to all writers.

Give us a quick overview of Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines.

Clubhouse magazine is the longest running children's ministry at Focus on the Family. Next February we'll celebrate our 30th year of publishing. We're a monthly, 32-page magazine for boys and girls ages 8-12. A couple years ago, we rebranded the magazine as Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse—so now we have exclusive Odyssey content in the magazine every month. Next year is Odyssey's 30th anniversary as well.

Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine is for kids ages 3-7. We do more puzzles and developmental stuff in Jr. Most parents and kids go through the magazine together, whereas, parents just give Clubhouse to their children to read. Jr. started in 1988.

Both magazines feature great fiction, personality stories, crafts, recipes, quizzes and Christian content (i.e. Bible stories, Christian worldview, biblical archaeology, etc.) We love featuring ordinary kids doing extraordinary things for God. Jr. also publishes poetry. Our readers are active participants in the magazines. We get hundreds of letters a month. We also match thousands of pen pals through our pen pal program in Clubhouse. And our art and illustrations can't be beat. Basically, I love my job and picture myself more of a children's pastor to 125,000 kids than a magazine editor.

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

Just be ready to be real. I don't care about a polished pitch. I mainly want to know what you're excited about and your area of expertise. Some of the best one-on-ones have been meetings where I've gotten to know a writer and then made an assignment based on what they're passionate about. I also love connecting writers with Thriving Family and other areas of Focus on the Family.

Of course, actual preparation isn't a bad thing. Pick up a sample of the magazines. Check out our websites. Know the style and voice and types of stories we're looking for. We need writers to fit into our box, instead of trying to make us fit into yours. (In other words, I'm not going to publish your middle grade novel as a serialized fiction story in the magazine.) I rely heavily on people who meet with me at writers' conferences to fill the pages of Club and Jr. In fact, I can pick up any issue and tell you where I met each writer. So like the Bible says, "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid." And make all the appointments you can with the faculty. I truly think it's the most important part of any conference.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11

in the Chicago area.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cindy Sproles, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and Christian Devotions

Tell us a little about Lighthouse Publishing and Christian Devotions and what you will be looking for at WTP. 

LighthousePublishing of the Carolinas is a small publishing house, traditional. We are NOT a self-publisher. You cannot pay us a penny to publish your book.

I represent SonRiseDevotionals and am looking for a devotional that offers a deeper dig into scripture yet gives us a comfortable conversational style. Devotionals are slow in the market right now, so it has to be something that brings me out of my seat.

I also represent StraightStreet Books (our non-fiction imprint), I'm looking for solid stories, church guidance, new Christian guidance. I do not want memoirs. is a daily devotional site. We have a subscriber list and send out over 30K emails per week. I am always looking for solid devotionals, not Sunday school lessons, but devotions that have a story which connects to the reader. We want a solid application and takeaway. Christian Devotions is nine years old this year and we are thrilled how God has grown this ministry. We are constantly looking for devotions. Most submissions come from women, but I'd like to see a few additional males submit work.

We also have, our inspirational and encouragement site. I'm looking for a few regular monthly contributors.

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

Make sure I am the person you need to see and have your one-sheet. I'm happy to chat with anyone who feels I might be able to help.

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Preparing for Appointments with Editors and Agents (Wednesday afternoon):

In this class we'll talk about how to prepare for your 15-minute appointments. We'll discuss what you need to bring to an appointment. How to make a one-sheet, appropriate email addresses, what to say and what not to say in your appointment. We want you to walk away feeling confident that you can manage the perfect appointment.

Writing Devotionals That Connect With Readers (Friday afternoon):

In this class we'll discuss "getting back to solid writing" in a devotion. We'll talk about the elements included in a devotion. We'll discuss the devotional market, what readers are looking for, and the "niche" devotional and is there still a place in the market for one. This class will help you delve deeper into Scripture and convey it without being preachy.  We'll discuss the importance of a devotion, strong applications, and the all important "take away."

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dan Balow and Sue Brower of Gilead Publishing, A New Christian Fiction House

Dan Balow
Gilead Publishing was founded in early 2016 by Dan Balow and Bill Giarratana, both who spent decades in the Christian publishing industry. The vision behind the company grew from a desire to see Christian fiction grow, feeling a partial solution to the decline of the category was to create a unique single-focus publisher who published nothing but fiction.

Gilead also acquired the sci-fi/fantasy titles of Enclave Publishing and formed an Enclave imprint that will continue to publish a dozen titles annually.

Plans are in place to publish 6-8 new titles under Gilead by the end of 2016 and then 40-50 titles in 2017. 

Main offices for Gilead are in Wheaton, Illinois with an editorial office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company can be found on the web at and in various social media: 

Sue Brower is Vice President of Editorial for Gilead and will be meeting with conferees at Write-to-Publish.

What are you looking for and how can a person best prepare for an appointment with you?

I hope to meet with writers who have quality fiction written from a Christian perspective and have completed manuscripts in these genres: contemporary women’s fiction, historical, suspense, mystery and romance.

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

An author can best prepare by preparing their pitch ahead of time and knowing the hook for their story. Notes are fine, but I want to have a conversation! I don’t want the author to just read a pitch to me.

Give us a snapshot of your class.

Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch to Sell Manuscripts (Thursday afternoon):

We will talk about what information needs to be communicated in a pitch and how to get to that ONE hook that encourages the editor or agent to want to know more about your story.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Rhonda Wray, Contemporary Drama Service

Tell us about Contemporary Drama Service.

We have been around as Contemporary Drama Service since 1967, when Art Zapel wrote a Christmas play on the train as he commuted to work at a Chicago advertising agency. That first play, And the Child Was Born, grew into a company offering hundreds of plays of all types for churches and schools. A year ago, our company was sold to Brooklyn Publishers. We are now part of a multi-company group with scripts for the three main performers of amateur drama: community theatre, schools, and churches. I have been with the company for 25 years because what’s not to love about reading, writing, exploring our faith, and entertaining people?

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

I would love to discover a writer who has written “a little something” for his or her church to perform. A long list of publishing credits is not necessary. What is necessary is knowing the church audience, a flair for believable dialogue, and innovative ideas.

Give us a snapshot of your Friday afternoon class, "Writing Short Drama."

Everybody say "Cheese!" Actually, don't. We will learn why cheesy drama isn't always better. We will explore new uses for sketches. Must a short drama tell the whole story? We will discuss such questions. We will learn from each other, exchanging ideas about what has worked in our own congregations. We'll discuss themes, cast sizes, and working with the pastor. I just might break out a list of my Top 10 Dramatic Writing Pet Peeves. I would love to stage an informal script reading in our group, so bring your inner ham!

Read more about Contemporary Drama Service.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Rowena Kuo, Managing Editor of Brimstone Fiction, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Tells us about Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas launched its general book publishing division in 2007. We embrace the new book publishing business model that favors eBooks and Print On Demand over long press runs and warehouse inventories. Our authors include Christy Award winners and new writers whose books found their first home with us.

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas works with Christian Devotions Ministries to produce truth-filled fiction and nonfiction books. We have one standard for judging a work: is it biblical? Not biblical as in preaching or teaching, but rather could the story, scenes, and theme be overlaid with Old and New Testament narratives?

Our characters dance, go to the bathroom, drink, celebrate at parties, and live an abundant life - just like the characters in Scripture. They also experience the pain of divorce, the despair of drug addiction, and inner turmoil that comes with walking out of an abortion clinic.

When our books project an agenda (and all stories have an agenda), they point to the goodness of God and his unfailing love, a love that is expressed most often through the lives of others. We believe there is a large market for these types of stories.

What you are looking for at WTP?

I am particularly looking for Speculative Fiction and Suspense/Thrillers. 

How can people best prepare for an appointment with you?

I would prefer conferees bring a printout of the first chapter and a one-sheet, but I will also listen to elevator pitches and discuss novel ideas.

Anything else you would like to add?

This is my ninth year at Write-to-Publish. I enjoy talking with authors at any stage of their writing careers. Feel free to come and introduce yourself!

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cyle Young, Hartline Literary and Elective Course Instructor

Tell us about Hartline Literary.

Hartline is one of the most established literary agencies serving the Christian book market and now works in the general book market as well. Over the years this has allowed us to build valuable relationships with editors, which helps us guide your work to the appropriate market.
We work with many award winning authors and seek to add both published and promising new authors to our list. Our core strength is representing inspirational fiction and non-fiction books for adults. We do NOT market children’s books, screenplays, scripts, poetry, or magazine articles. We represent most genres in inspirational or commercial fiction except science fiction and fantasy. We are now also working with Amazon through the White Glove Program to help our clients with self-publishing. 

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

Be prepared. Know your book and know why your book needs to exist. Let your writing speak for itself. Sell me on your plot and your drive to improve and excel as an author. 

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Winning Writing Contests: From Contest to Contract (Friday afternoon):

Win your way to a publishing contract and/or agency contract. Embrace contests to initiate your writing career. Create publicity and create market awareness by winning contests. Learn why you need to separate your writing passion from your contest entries, and harness your contest entries to work for you.  

100+ Tech Tools Every Author Should Know (Saturday afternoon):

The Internet provides a wealth of resources for writers. In this class we will review over 100 new and popular tech tools that will help you as a writer. Learn what a Thunderclap is and how it can help you share your book launch with the world. Gain more twitter followers through Followback programs. Create amazing graphics for book covers and social media through Canva or PicMonkey. These are just a few, come to the class and learn about many more!

 Read more about Hartline Literary.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Debra Butterfield, Editor, CrossRiver Media Group & Elective Course Instructor

Tell us about CrossRiver Media Group.

CrossRiver Media Group is a small Christian publishing company based in western Kansas. Founded in 2010 by Tamara Clymer, CrossRiver started with a dream of publishing books and other materials that would help Christian women in their daily walk with the Lord. We publish inspirational fiction--contemporary, historical, and romance--and non-fiction that includes Bible studies, Christian living, family and marriage, and devotionals.

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

Study our submission guidelines, found at and be prepared to explain how her/his manuscript fulfills our mission statement: to glorify God by providing high-quality books and materials that ignite a woman’s relationship with God and inspire her to lead a life that honors Him.

Give us a snapshot of your Friday afternoon class, “Working With Editors.”

Say the word 'editor' and writers weep and gnash their teeth. They'd rather have a root canal. "Working with Editors" outlines how the writer can take the pain out of the edit of their manuscript. The workshop covers the writer's attitude, the job of an editor, several ways the writer can help the editor, and the writer's choices in those edits. We'll discuss working with both freelance and publishing house editors.

Read more about CrossRiver Media Group.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Carol Traver, Acquisitions Editor, Tyndale House Publishing & Memoir Class Instructor

Tell us briefly about Tyndale House and what type of writer you hope to meet with.

The largest privately-held Christian publishing house in the world, Tyndale has published numerous New York Times bestsellers, including David Platt's Follow Me, Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity, Melanie Shankle's Sparkly Green Earrings, Francine Rivers’ Her Mother’s Hope, and Joel Rosenberg’s Damascus Countdown. Though perhaps best known for the bestselling Left Behind series, Tyndale produces more than 200 fiction, non-fiction, Bible and kids products a year for both the Christian (CBA) and the general (ABA) market.

I hope to meet with people who have ideas for One Year Devotionals, compelling memoirs, and unique perspectives on classic ideas.

Give us a snapshot of your class:

The Art of Memoir Writing (Thursday afternoon)

Everyone has a story to tell. In The Art of Memoir Writing, we will discuss the do’s and don’ts of this exciting yet exacting genre, what makes truly great memoirs great, and the pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. We will also talk about the collaborative process and how to make your proposal stand out to an editor.

Read more about Tyndale House.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11

in the Chicago area. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sheila Seifert: Editorial Director, Parenting, Focus on the Family & Elective Course Instructor

Tell us a about Thriving Families and

As of our June/July issue, Thriving Family magazine will be called Focus on the Family magazine. It will have a slightly new look, but will remain the same helpful and authentic marriage and parenting publication. As the names Thriving Family and are retired, the website that will eventually have the magazine's content and more is On, there is marriage, parenting, faith, pro-life, mid-life and other topics that help people deal with various life challenges.

What type of a writer do you hope to meet with at WTP?

I am hoping to meet writers who are parents at various stages of the parenting journey. I am looking for stories about how parents have dealt with parenting challenges and have come up with an active way (not just explaining or talking) of solving that problem. These solutions should be hands-on and practical, but they can be on any topic and focus on how you have parented a child, not your parenting journey. I do not care if these stories are written down. They can be pitched to me verbally at the conference. I am hopeful that I will be able to take about 10 of these ideas from the conference and start them through the editorial process with the goal of publication. (I am happy to hear about longer marriage and parenting articles, too, but my main focus will be the short "here's what I did" parenting articles.)

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Query Letters That Get an Editor's Attention (Thursday afternoon):

When I was a freelance writer, before becoming an editor, sometimes I'd spend eight hours on a query to get it just right. I learned a lot during those years about what editors wanted. Then I became an editor and realized that most of us are merely looking for a fresh slant on a topic of interest to our readers and for it to be presented with authenticity. Those who come to the query letter workshop will hear not only about the basics of setting up a query letter, but also get an insider's perspective on what a fresh slant and being authentic as a writer means.  

Writing Creative Nonfiction for Kids (Friday afternoon):

History, science, economics . . . and the Bible are nonfiction. But when writers don't use fiction techniques, what they write can read more like a textbook or be boring. In this workshop, I will give participants an idea of the fiction-writing tools available to them so they can write nonfiction that kids want to read and editors want to buy.  

Read more about Focus on the Family.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Nancy Lohr, Aquisitions Editor, JourneyForth Books and Elective Course Instructor

Tell us a little about JourneyForth Books.
JourneyForth Books publishes fiction and nonfiction that reflects a worldview based solidly on the Bible and that encourages Christians to live out their faith. The first JourneyForth book rolled off the presses in 1986 and was a middle grade novel. In our early years we continued that focus on youth novels and biographies. Over time our catalog has developed to include a wide range of stories for the youth market, Bible studies and Christian living titles for the teen and adult markets, and commentaries and ministry resources for church leaders and studious believers.

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

I recommend reading our guidelines ( to get an overview of what JourneyForth is looking for. If we seem like a good fit, then dig a little deeper by clicking on a specific book title at in order to get to the “Look Inside the Book” feature. Read some of the early pages of books that might complement yours. After you pitch your book to me, it will be helpful if you can connect your book to a segment of our catalog or to a specific book. And (perish the thought) if your book doesn’t seem to fit our line at all, then JourneyForth might not be the right publisher for you, so you should spend your appointment time with another agent or editor, and we can plan to chat over a meal instead.

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Writing Fiction for Kids (Wednesday afternoon)

We will take a broad look at the youth market including some myths and unique challenges. We will also discuss elements that can make or break a manuscript for young readers, including the opening sentence, strong dialogue, cadence, and more.
How to Read Like a Writer to Improve Your Writing 
(Thursday afternoon)

Just as athletes watch game tapes to study other athletes, writers need to analyze the work of other writers. Writers should read widely and well both for inspiration and instruction. Whether intuitively or intentionally, writers need to read with a different focus and greater awareness than the average reader does.

Anything else you would like to add?

    Come prepared for the Lord to guide your thoughts and open your heart to possibilities you’ve not considered or not considered lately. I always head home from this conference having gained a new appreciation for the ministry of the written word and my part in it.

Read more about JourneyForth.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Steve Laube of Steve Laube Agency, Enclave Publishing & Advanced Career Track Instructor

Tell us briefly about the Steve Laube Agency.

The Steve Laube Agency has been in business for over 12 years. There are four of us who represent nearly 250 clients. We represent a wide variety of books, everything from the sweet romance to systematic theology. We are a Christian organization and we work with books and authors who come from a Christian perspective. 

Can you share a little about what you will be teaching in your Advanced Career Track Continuing Class?

The title of our continuing class is "Making a Living as a Writer." A loaded topic to be sure! Making a career as a writer comes in many flavors. Much depends on the writer's personal circumstances, i.e. whether they are a full-time writer or are the main source of income for their family. Hopefully we can explore a multitude of options and opportunities to expand the work of a professional writer.

Tell us about Enclave Publishing?

I need to make sure everyone understands that Enclave is not synonymous with my work as an agent. Enclave is a separate entity and I oversee its acquisitions and set the vision for its future. My main job is the head of The Steve Laube Agency. But my love for science fiction and fantasy has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. Now I am using my efforts to make those books reflect the excellence in storytelling, from a Christian perspective, that has long been the bastion of the general market. Enclave is currently publishing 12 titles per year and I am constantly on the lookout for the next best storytellers!

Read more about Steve Laube Agency and 

Enclave Publishing.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: W. Terry Whalin, Morgan James Publishing and Elective Course Instructor

Please tell us about Morgan James Publishing.

For the sixth straight year, Publishers Weekly has named Morgan James Publishing as one of the fastest growing independent publishers (a small list). We publish about 150 books a year and about 30% of those books (or 50 titles) are Christian. The Christian books are sold into the Christian brick and mortar bookstores as well as the general market bookstores like Barnes & Noble.  I've been in publishing 20+ years and I've never seen a publisher like Morgan James. We are non-traditional in many ways that we operate, but we pay traditional royalties (monthly) and an advance. Also we can get the book into the bookstores in six to eight months, as opposed to the typical 18 to 24 months with other houses. 

In January, we published The Masked Saint (a Christian novel) based on the true life experience of author Chris Whaley. The Masked Saint movie released on January 8th in over 400 theaters in the U.S. Our novel was inside of about 80% of the Barnes & Nobles in the U.S. 

We receive over 5,000 submissions a year for those 150 books--yet I'm always looking for excellent proposals or manuscripts. We publish Christian nonfiction and fiction and even a few children's books, General Market nonfiction and fiction and children's books.  

More details about Morgan James are at: (a two page document)

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Viral Marketing on Social Networks

People in publishing talk about social media, almost like it is magic---yet it can be a huge waste of time. How do you build your social media presence without costing hours of time?  I've been on twitter since June 2009---but in the last few years, my twitter followers are growing over 100 new followers a day. I have over 170,000 followers on Twitter. I have over 4800 Facebook friends (the average person has around 300) and I have over 4,000 connections on LinkedIn. Here's the key: I spend less than 30 minutes a day on social media. What is the secret sauce for it? It is what I will be teaching in this session. You can build a large social media presence but it will take consistent work, but not loads of time.

Understanding and Negotiating Book Contracts

If you get a contract, congratulations. But now what? How do you understand it and negotiate it with the editor? I've signed over 60 book contracts with traditional publishers. For the last three and a half years, I've been negotiating contracts with authors and agents every week. It is what I do for Morgan James. This session will do away with the mystique about contracts and give you practical insights that you can use with your next contract. Come and learn from my experience.

Read more about W.Terry Whalin.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Allie Pleiter: Novelist and Elective Course Instructor on Productivity

Give us a snapshot of your Saturday afternoon class, “Chunky Methods of Productivity.”

The Chunky Method offers practical, real-world productivity advice for writers at every level. The workshop outlines a step-by-step plan to identify your unique writing “Chunk” and wield it to create a solid plan that works “even when life gets in the way.”  No matter what your writing style, The Chunky Method Handbook will help you chart an individualized path to your creative writing goals. 

What will be the greatest takeaway from your class?

Your creativity can be dependably productive if you give it a framework--and that's not as hard as you think!

Will you be taking one-on-one appointments with writers at the conference?

Yes. I would love to meet with writers who are seeking careers in popular fiction--either in category or single title formats.

Read more about Allie Pleiter & The Chunky Method

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11
in the Chicago area.