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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ann Byle: "How to Get Published" Continuing Class & Agent with Credo Communications

Give us a brief description of your "How to Get Published" class.

This four-session class will help you dig deep into your idea file and come away with a list of real possibilities for articles or a book; then you'll identify the right audience and market for your idea as we search out possibilities in market guides or online; plus learn to gather information, tease out the lede, and meet the word count; and finally learn about rights, query protocol, and getting paid. 

What is Credo Communications?

Credo Communications is a literary agency representing fiction and nonfiction authors primarily in the Christian publishing market. Our agents have over three decades of publishing leadership and have placed books at all of the major Christian publishers.

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

I want to see an author who knows his or her audience, has begun to develop multiple ways to meet their readers, and has a book proposal written.

Anything else about Credo or agents?

We love what we do, and love to help guide writers on the path to publication. 

Read more about Credo Communications.

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Ginger Kolbaba, Elective Course Teacher & Parenting Acquisitions

Please share about the elective classes you are teaching:

Writing Book Proposals from a Marketing Perspective (Friday afternoon)

Sure you need to be a good writer with a great book idea, but editors look at something else when considering whether or not to publish your book: your ability to sell tons of copies of said book. This class will walk you through how to put together a great book proposal—with an eye toward spotlighting the marketing talents you bring to the project. 

Interviewing Techniques (Saturday afternoon)

What makes for a great interview? And how do you get the best information out of your interviewee--without resorting to Barbara Walters' famous "If you were a tree, what kind would you be?"? We’re going to talk about the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly nature of interviews, how to ask solid questions, why you need the fine art of discernment, how to connect with the interviewee so he or she trusts you, and anything else about interviews that you want or need to know!

Writing for Different Generations (Saturday afternoon)

All you have to do is turn on the TV and spy this year’s presidential election to see that the generations are different and that they respond to different messages. As a writer, you need to know what your message is, of course, but also how best to deliver it in a way that your audience can hear, understand, and embrace it. In this session we’ll break down the different generations (Traditionalists, Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials) so we can understand who they are and what they believe so we can write to their needs. And hey, you may also figure out why your 20 something-year-old son won’t get a job and move out of your basement.

Are you having one-on-one appointments with conferees? 

I’m acquiring parenting articles for a large Christian publishing house. Topics focus on parenting tweens (8-12), teens (13-18), adopted children, and special needs children of all ages. So I’ll take appointments for those. But also, I’m happy to meet with anyone who wants to talk about writing, editing, the freelancing life, or if they want to see photos of my goofy dog!!

How can a writer best prepare for a conference?

Come prepared to celebrate with others, grieve with others, and vow not to compare yourself and where you are in your writing journey to others. Remember Ephesians 2:10: “[You] are God’s masterpiece. He has created [you] anew in Christ Jesus, so [you] can do the good things he planned for [YOU] long ago.”

Read more about Ginger Kolbaba.

Write-to-Publish meets June 8 – 11

in the Chicago area.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Road Map for Social-media Marketing and Branding with DiAnn Mills & Edie Melson

DiAnn and Edie will be teaching this continuing class to help writers travel the promotion journey before book publication, after a contract, and after publication. Plus, learn to journey with God throughout the process.

DiAnn Mills
What expertise do each of you bring to the class?

Edie is a social media expert and an author. She knows the intricacies of social media platforms and branding.

DiAnn brings years of experience as an author plus what she has learned that works for her in social media. 

What will be the biggest takeaway from your class?

How to expertly and efficiently navigate social media in only 30 minutes a day.

Edie Melson

Who should attend?

Writers in all stages of their career will learn how to journey through the writer’s life with the proper tools to deepen their brand.

Any final comments?

Edie and DiAnn work well together to blend and teach the information needed to navigate the social media highway. 

Read more about DiAnn Mills and Edie Melson.

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Athena Dean Holtz, Co-founder, Redemption Press

Tell us about Redemption Press?

Redemption Press is what I would call the “best of both worlds.” We offer the benefits (control and profits) of independent publishing, along with the support and services of a traditional publisher. All publishing options are available a la carte as we provide a concierge approach — only what you need in the way it’s needed, insuring your book is professionally produced and distributed. We work with each author individually determining the best marketing strategy based on the author’s gifting, genre, audience, involvement, and budget. No two books are alike, so you won’t find package deals priced the same for all. Our personalized approach and customer service emphasis sets us apart from bigger publishers who crank out thousands of titles each year. Redemption Press – where your message is our mission!

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

Pray. Ask for His leading. Be ready to share your passion for the message and who you intend to reach. No question is insignificant. I’d love to help you determine the best way to reach your audience!

Can you give us a quick snapshot of the two classes you will be teaching:

“Making Your Way Through the Independent Publishing Jungle” (Thursday afternoon):

We’ll discuss the trends I’ve seen in Christian publishing over the last 30 years and the result on authors and consumers. We’ll discuss all the different options available with clear and concise descriptions of each, and discuss terms to be aware of when being presented with a contract. Sadly, there are many companies who take advantage of an author’s ignorance about the industry and how things work, so my goal is to equip those attending with the information they need to make an educated choice.

“Seven Savvy Secrets to Building a Larger Platform” (Friday afternoon):

The truth is, books don’t just sell themselves. It takes hard work to develop and expand a platform so your message reaches its intended audience. No matter how you’ve published, indie or traditional, I’ll share seven effective strategies to increase your reach and go direct to the consumer.

Learn more about Redemption Press.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Linda Taylor, Editing Yourself and Others Elective Course

Please give us an overview of your four-part elective class, “Editing Yourself and Others.”

I’ve been an editor for three decades, continue to edit as a freelancer, and teach editing in the Professional Writing Department at Taylor University. So these four sessions are well-honed to help attendees understand the various types of editing—content editing, copyediting, and proofreading (the final session is about finding jobs). Each type of editing is generally done by different people in a publishing house because each type asks different questions and requires different skills. We’ll take a look at what these various people do.

Attendees are welcome to come to one or all (they don’t necessarily build on one another). The copyediting and proofreading sessions will involve some training in working in Microsoft Word and on pdfs, so would be good to bring computers to follow along, but it’s not required.

How can a writer best prepare to attend your class?

The class will be helpful for folks who want to edit, but also for authors to understand what their editors are doing with their manuscripts! No preparation needed.

What type of a writer do you hope to meet with during the one-on-one appointment times?

I’m happy to talk with anyone who has questions about the editing process or maybe wants a quick look at the first few pages of a manuscript. I will probably be more helpful with nonfiction than fiction. I’m not acquiring anything, so just come to me if you need some advice or have some publishing questions. I can also help with advice about social media and other aspects of the publishing process.

Anything else you would like to add?

Looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones!

Read more about Linda Taylor.

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

Friday, April 1, 2016

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, Manuscript Makeovers & Elective Classes

Tells us a little about your Manuscript Makeovers Group and the benefits to conferees?

     This has become a surprise hit of WTP in the past two years.  It's a one evening event that we open to everyone, and each year more than 70 people have attended.  Those who have submitted sample manuscript pages receive them back from me fully proofread and copyedited for style, punctuation, grammar, syntax, spelling, format, and marketability. However, additionally, I select two pages from every paid entry and I put those pages on a screen up in front of the whole audience and I explain what corrections and changes I made and why they helped improve the manuscript.  Everyone in the audience gets to benefit from seeing my editing of these sample pages from novels, articles, devotions, interviews, and short stories.
(Note: These manuscripts are not the free evaluations that come with the WTP registration. These are critiqued for an additional fee. See requirements here.)

Please give us one thing from each of your classes that you hope students will walk away with.

Titles, Leads and Conclusions that Grab Readers (Wednesday afternoon):

It has been said,  "The first chapter sells the book, and the last chapter sells the next book." So, beginnings and endings must be well written. Those in my session will be given techniques for immediately grabbing readers' attention and then pleasing them with a worthy payoff at the end.

Writing and Selling Testimonies (Friday afternoon):

Whether a missionary, pastor, counselor, teacher, deacon, elder, professor, youth leader, chaplain, or lay worker, many people have incredibly inspiring stories to share about how God has impacted their lives in miraculous ways. This session will show individuals how to convert those experiences into publishable manuscripts.

Writing and Selling a Column (Friday afternoon):
City newspapers, church web sites, regional magazines, and specialty periodicals are all seeking columnists who can deliver excellent copy on a steady basis. This session will show how to come up with a marketable idea for a column, how to write it, and how to find a publisher for it.

Anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Dennis E. Hensley has a new writing book coming out in August from Bold Vision Books, titled, Finding Success with Your Dream Writing Projects.

More about Doc Hensley at his website:

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