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.