Thursday, April 27, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Marilyn Jansen of Worthy Publishing Group

Please describe your publishing house.

Worthy Publishing Group is a privately held, independent voice in inspirational publishing, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Worthy has four imprints: Worthy Books publishes a broad spectrum of genres, including current events, pop culture, biography, fiction, spiritual growth, and specialized Bibles; WorthyKids and its Ideals imprint create colorful, interactive children’s books, including VeggieTales and Berenstain Bears, for ages 2 to 8; Ellie Claire produces beautifully crafted journals, gifts, gift devotionals, and paper expressions; and Worthy Inspired publishes inspirational felt-need, personal growth, and devotional books. I will be representing Ellie Claire and Worthy Inspired.

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

Have a proposal ready and be prepared to sell it. Identify your audience. Tell me why the audience would need or want this book. Explain the felt need of this concept. Explain how you will help market this book. Know comparable books and be prepared to demonstrate why yours is needed, wanted, or how it will be different from those. Explain your connection to the content and/or expertise concerning the subject of this book. I have to sell your idea to a pub board so I need you to make me a believer.

Do you publish first-time authors?

We do publish first time authors. We love them and their enthusiasm. However, we expect them to do their homework and come to us prepared to do the work needed to launch their book. And it helps if they already have a social platform or are building one. 

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

We are always looking for devotionals that meet the felt needs of our market: keeping your life together when the world seems to be falling apart; how to live with joy when all you feel is loneliness, anxiety, or regret; how to be real in a fake news world; the adventure of being an empty-nester; etc.

Read more about Worthy Publishing Group.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cynthia Ruchti, WTP Worship & Devotional Leader, Speaker and Author

Give us an overview and the purpose of the worship and devotional times and what are your priorities as you go about your planning?

One of the elements that distinguishes the Write-to-Publish Conference is its commitment to Christ-centered, God-honoring instruction, relationships, and worship. Networking is important. Growing in the writing craft is important. But growing as followers of Jesus Christ--followers who are also writers--is essential. That's why every morning session (with the exception of Wednesday) and evening general session begins with a purposeful time of worship, reflection, and aligning our thoughts, ambitions, writing goals, and our very lives with the Word of God and worship. The conference is intense. All the more reason to make the times of worship "can't miss" priorities.

I'm blessed to be tasked with leading us in worship. It would be easy for a worship leader to choose songs that please the attendees or the leader. But songs chosen for their cuteness, cleverness, or popularity often stop short of what pleases our true Audience. So just as the conference itself is couched in prayer, so are the worship times. The chief question in preparing the worship sets is, "God, what would You like to hear from these voices, these hearts?"

You will be teaching a couple of elective classes. Would you give a short description of what you will cover in each?

Thinking Outside the Book (aka, Writing for Fun and Nonprofit)

The average 1500-word magazine article can reach more readers than the average book. The most wide-reaching writing may not be the best paying. Brilliant ideas rarely serve only one purpose. If you’ve hesitated to call yourself a writer because you haven’t written a book that made the New York Times bestseller list, join this elective workshop and kiss your reticence goodbye. Bring your idea and emerge with dozens of uses for it.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

We are WHOLE people. Writers can’t separate themselves from their roles as spouse, parent, friend, child, sibling, church member, citizen… And we're multi-faceted in our wholeness. How can we set ourselves up for success in our writing careers spiritually, so we're filled and ready? Mentally, so we're trained and teachable? Emotionally, so we're adequately toughened and softened? Relationally, so we're aware and approachable? Tangibly, so we're equipped and optimized? Those are the questions we'll answer together in this elective.

"The Write-to-Publish conference is one of the highlights of my year. I arrive knowing it's an atmosphere in which God is free to move and speak. What could be better?"

Read more about Cynthia Ruchti.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17

in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cindy Sproles of Christian Devotions, Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals

Please tell us about the publications you represent.

Christian Devotions Ministries ( is a website devoted to spreading the Word of God through devotions. We are pleased to help writers gain their first writing credit by publishing on our site. welcomes it's 9th year of ministry. During this time over 800 writers have been published on our site, with approximately 20 having received in house contracts from major publishers, home school publishers, and magazines. We welcome new and seasoned writers. Guidelines are posted on the Write for Us tab at

Straight StreetBooks, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, is a non-fiction imprint. We are always looking for fresh Christian Living books, solid teaching or pastoral type books, and good stories on current issues, even good biographical works. We are looking for stories that can change lives.  We do not accept memoirs.

SonRise Devotionals, as an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, wants fresh devotional books. We are looking for devotionals that dig into the heart of scripture and offer the reader a return to deeper learning. We are not against niche books but we prefer manuscripts that address life as a whole. (Think Oswald Chambers or Streams in the Desert). We prefer 60-90 day devotional. 

Who are you hoping to meet with during appointments?

I love new writers. It's always a joy to give them guidance and encouragement. But as far as manuscripts goes, I'm searching for individuals who can freshen up the old stale non-fiction world. I'd love to new approaches on how to draw closer to Christ, incorporate Him stronger into your life, and encouragement for the readers.

Could you give us a snapshot of your two classes?

Preparing for Appointments

Every writer needs to be prepared to manage those very short 15 minute appointments. In this class we will go over all you need and what you DON'T need to make the best of your 15 minutes with an editor or publisher.

Writing to Engage the Reader

This class discusses the importance of that first paragraph and first page. We discuss cliffhangers and how to incorporate the various types of cliffhangers into each chapter. We also discuss remaining true to your voice.

The Heart of a Writer

In this class we walk through various ways a writer can build their writing portfolio. We address attitude, working with an editor and publisher, learning to accept rejection and learning to accept a contract with the write heart. Today's writers feel a lot of entitlement - we discuss the "call of writing" and how you continue to strive toward the goal of publication without losing sight of what God calls you to do.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17

in the Chicago area.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Athena Dean Holtz of Redemption Press

Please tell us about Redemption Press and who you hope to meet with during appointments.

Redemption Press is what I would consider to be the “best of both worlds.” The best of independent publishing, retaining the rights, the profits and input into the finished product, along with the coaching, direction, support and representation of a traditional publisher.

I am hoping to meet with those potential authors who are considering all their options and looking for a professional product with a personal touch.

Give us a snapshot of your classes.

Using Indie Publishing to Build Toward Traditional Contracts

Over the last 30 years I have had lots of authors choose to self-publish with hands on direction and professional recommendations in order to build or expand their platform. In doing so, they develop a following and can garner enough proof of credibility to bring to the table to win the interest of a traditional publisher. We’ll talk about the most effective ways to accomplish this and pitfalls to avoid.

Content Creation to Build a Following/Advertise Your Book

In this class we will delve into a number of ways to promote and advertise your book while developing a following at the same time. From the strategy and intended audience to the different types of content, we’ll provide lots of ideas to apply to your own situation and find success.

Develop a Radio Ministry to Build Your Brand

If you’re articulate and full of energy, a communicator with a defined message to share, maybe you should consider developing a radio ministry to expand the reach of your message, and build credibility in your area. I’ll give specific examples of how I’ve done the same with exciting results.

Read more about Redemption Press.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Julie Gwinn, The Seymour Agency

Tell us about The Seymour Agency. 

Mary Sue Seymour founded The Seymour Agency. Mary Sue was one of the first agents to recognize and capitalize on the Amish fiction trend. She passed away last March after battling liver cancer. Our clients are a mix of Christian and general market, fiction and non-fiction.

How can a writer prepare for an appointment with you?

Research what I am currently acquiring at The Have a one-sheet that summarizes the book. Be prepared to discuss whether the fiction idea is a series.

Give us a snapshot of your class,

Writing a Bestselling Novel

This is a session we created after talking with several editors. It addresses the important parts of a great novel and the little-known tricks and tips that can really make a novel stand apart and elevate it among its competition.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Steve Hutson of WordWise Media Services

Please tell us about WordWise Media Services and who you hope to meet with during appointments.

WordWise evolved out of my editing service, six years ago. I'm always looking for authors with interesting works and a decent platform.

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

Complete the query form on my website (see link below) and bring it with you.

Give us a snapshot of your classes:

Understanding a Book Contract

So, after years of struggle, you’ve finally landed a deal with a publisher. Great! Should you sign it? Do you even understand it? We will look over a typical contract, line by line. What’s good, what’s bad, and what’s worth fighting for.

Before You Jump Into Self-publishing

In the brave new world of publishing, you have more choices than ever before. Are you better off to bypass the "traditional" system? Self-pub offers many empowering advantages, but "empowerment" is not always a good thing if you're not prepared to treat it like a business.

Why You’re Not Getting Published

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things your editor won't tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

Read more about WordWise Media Services and query form.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Joani & Jenni Beaver of the Positive Note Network

Please tell us about the Positive Note Network.
We are Joanie and Jenni Beaver with Positive Note Network. PNN is a multi-faceted media company dedicated to spreading positivity through multiple traditional and social media outlets. We are coming to Write-to-Publish as representatives of two of PNN's facets, Positive Note Magazine and Positive Publishing.

Positive Note Magazine is a bi-monthly magazine that carries out the mission of our company. We have everything from poems to memoirs to uplifting articles. Our writers range from newbies to experienced like Ginger Kolbaba and Twila Belk. We welcome all kinds of styles of writing and just ask that people keep it positive and Christ-centered.

Positive Publishing is a concierge publishing house that combines the best of traditional and self-publishing. We are currently working with the Choose Joy Foundation to publish a study guide (book and DVD set) and we are also publishing a murder mystery series called The Case Files of Rebecca Dalton. 

Who are you hoping to meet during
We're hoping to connect with all kinds of conferees. We're looking for magazine articles (fiction and non-fiction) and we're looking for books to publish under Positive Publishing. This is everything from a non-fiction self-help book to romantic suspense. We'll even work with children's book authors. Age doesn't matter either! Jenni is twenty and loves working with younger authors (for the magazine and publishing house).

Give us a snapshot of the classes you will teach.
Polished Promotion on a Budget is about how to promote yourself without hiring a publicist. It's all about how to leverage the assets you have on your side right now like your Facebook account or your Twitter, even your email. We'll also talk about creating a website and how to use that website to promote yourself without spending big bucks. By the end of the class we hope that people will walk away with the knowledge to start building a brand and a platform. They'll have various free options shown to them (like social media posting) but we'll also provide inexpensive paid outlets (online advertising) to get them started on this journey. That way they can approach publishers and agents with confidence knowing they have a platform on their side.

Identify and Reach Your Target Audience is exactly what it sounds like. It's about the generation gap between Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials and how to figure out how to get to ALL of them or, better yet, to figure out if you even need to reach them all. We'll be breaking down each generation, what draws their attention, how you can reach them, how you can hold their focus, and how you can get them to commit to either following you or making a purchase.

Navigating the Digital Landscape (Beginners) is for the conferees who don't know where to begin with social media or a website. They might have a Twitter with a few followers or a Facebook page with a few posts here and there but they're not sure who they're reaching or how they're doing it. We'll talk about the different social media outlets, how to use them effectively, and how to track analytics. We've made sure to label it as a beginner course, because it's the bare bones of what you'll need to know. Social media is a complicated meal, and we're just going to be cutting it into smaller bites. 

The New Face of Publishing is about where publishing is going. It'll be a little bit about traditional publishing, but more about how self-publishing is asserting its position in the industry. In this class we'll also talk more about Positive Publishing and what it does compared to what other houses are doing. We hope this class can help authors decide what route is best for them so they get the most out of their publishing experience!

About Joanie and Jenni: 

Joanie is a breast cancer survivor and a lover of all things positive. The idea for Positive Note Network was given to her years ago, but was truly conceived in her while she was battling cancer. She says during the process she felt a peace about everything, because she knew God had her back but there are people out there who don't have that. She started the company to reach those people The ones who need positivity and the ones who need Jesus. She's the creator of Positive Note Magazine and does all of the graphic work. It's her baby and she loves nurturing it and getting to know the writers who support it.

Jenni is a twenty-year-old college graduate who loves all things film. She has several short film projects under her belt and is now diving into larger, feature style projects. While she is more behind-the-scenes, she compliments Joanie's (her mom) outgoing personality well. She loves taking footage and seeing how it can come to life in the post-production phase. She's also a writer who enjoys reading and writing a good thriller.

Learn more on the web about Positive Note Network.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Dan Balow of the Steve Laube Agency

Tell us about the Steve Laube Agency and your role.

I joined the Steve Laube Agency in mid-2013 after thirty years working with and for Christian publishers. The 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 I who have combined for over 100 years of experience in various aspects of publishing. Altogether we serve over 200 authors.

Who are you hoping to meet with during appointments?

Because I decided about 18 months ago to specialize in authors of non-fiction, I am willing to meet with anyone who has a proposal for a non-fiction work.

How can someone prepare for an appointment with you?

Because we only have 15 minutes to talk, a one-sheet overview of your project would be helpful. You can always send me more information later, but for the purposes of this meeting, something explaining the basic premise of your book, about you as the author and anything else you would like to add. For non-fiction, getting to know YOU is as important as reading what you wrote. Also, getting to know me and how I think would be helpful. Maybe read a few blog posts on the agency website.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Lawrence W. Wilson, Advanced Career Track Continuing Class

Who is this class designed for and what are the requirements?

The Advanced Career Track is for writers who have already been published and want to take their writing—both craft and career—to the next level. The basic requirement is to have at least one book published or under contract, or at least 75 published manuscripts not counting reprints. Our goal is to help people move from “Wow! I just got published” to “I have a writing career” (even if it’s not full-time).

Give us a breakdown of your class.

We’ll help writers develop themselves in four areas this week. The first is finding yourself as a writer. This is about knowing yourself, your vision for your work, finding your voice, and figuring out what you want to accomplish as a writer. 

The second session helps writers navigate the publishing landscape by learning to be a professional in the writing business. This session will include a panel of agents and editors to talk about developing yourself as a writer, identifying writing opportunities, and establishing yourself in “the business.” 

The third day is about selling—selling manuscripts, selling books, monetizing your blog, and selling yourself as a writing partner. This will be a highlights session on how to make money at writing (versus simply getting published occasionally). 

Day four is devoted to craft. The writing business is, after all, about writing. This session will include ways to push yourself as a writer, and an honest (but kind!) critique of writing submitted by class volunteers. 

How can people prepare for your class?

There are a couple of things you could do. First, write a brief (50-75 words) description of yourself and your aspirations as a writer. We’ll work on that the very first day. Second—if you’re really brave!—select a brief piece of nonfiction writing (2-4 manuscript pages) that you think is really your best work. In the critique session, we’ll see if we can make it better. Other than that, come with an eager attitude and expect to learn something and make some new friends!

Tell us a little about your writing journey.

I was a pastor who always wanted to be a writer and finally found a way to do both. As a younger pastor, I wrote constantly—newsletters, curriculum, letters to the editor, you name it. I did contract writing, mostly curriculum, for about ten years. When I got the chance to work at our denominational publishing house, I jumped at it. I was really a jack of all trades there and eventually became editorial director. That helped me get a handle on all kinds of writing because we published everything from curriculum to trade books to commentaries and Bible studies. 

Though I pastored for about 20 years in all, I now freelance full-time, mostly collaborative writing (i.e., ghosting) and editing. I still do my own writing too. My fourth book released last fall, and I blog, and, yes, still do contract writing! 

Read more about Lawrence W. Wilson.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

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

Tell us briefly about Kregel Publications

Kregel Publicatons is a traditional, royalties-paying evangelical Christian publisher located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Seeing a need for solid evangelical works, the company set out in 1949 to supply resources designed to meet the spiritual needs of pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders. Today, Kregel’s backlist is comprised of more than 900 Christian titles including books on Christian education and ministry, contemporary issues, Christian living, fiction, and biblical studies, in addition to reprints of classic works. Kregel, Inc., also includes a division that publishes Spanish Christian books, Editorial Portavoz.

Of possible interest to Write-to-Publish conferees: Kregel publishes quite a few books by first-time authors each year and does not require that an author be represented by a literary agent (although most of our new books do come from literary agencies). Kregel doesn’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, but projects acquired at conferences such as Write-to-Publish are solicited—they are submitted to Kregel upon our invitation.

Who do you hope to meet with during the
appointment times?

Write to Publish is one of my favorite conferences; I’ve met many skilled and passionate writers at WTP. Types of nonfiction books that I’m particularly hoping to acquire include: Christian living; women’s issues; self-help; parenting/family/relationship; Bible studies (we prefer topical series); discipleship; and devotionals.

On the fiction side: historical; historical romance (we have a new Regency series that is doing very well for us); romantic suspense; older teen fiction. We haven’t done as well with contemporary fiction as historical, but I’d be willing to talk with authors of truly compelling contemporary fiction that deals with important issues of our day. The same is true of suspense; if it is unique and compelling, let’s talk.
I am not acquiring for our Spanish division. I also am not looking for juvenile fiction, picture books, or anything political.

How can a writer prepare for an appointment with you?

I prefer that authors know exactly what they want to pitch at me, but I’m also willing to meet to discuss less-well-developed projects (or even ideas). However, any author who wants to meet with me should have taken a good look at our website ( to know what we publish. There is a wealth of information there. I pulled much of the information I included in the “About Kregel Publications” section above nearly word for word from our website. Be sure before you meet with me that your book would be a good fit for my publishing house.

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Cindy Bunch of InterVarsity Press

Give us a brief overview
of InterVarsity Press.
InterVarsity Press is a non-fiction publisher. We publish about 50 trade or general interest books each year as well as 50 books within the IVP Academic line. Books in the latter category will be authored by professors holding PhDs and suitable for text use. In the trade area we think of our core readers as pastors, Christian leaders, and lay people who lead in their churches. We publish for small group leaders, elders, deacons, board members and so on. We publish in areas such as discipleship, spiritual formation, pastoral ministry, justice, and missions.

Who are you hoping to meet with during
the appointment times?

Authors with an established platform and audience--those who are ministering within organizations who will help support and promote their books, active speakers, teachers, pastors and so on. We are looking for books that fill niches, that take the reader deeper into an important topic, and that provide new insights into the Christian life.

How can someone prepare for an appointment with you?

Be ready to present your platform and networks. A great resource for improving your writing is William Zinsser's On Writing Well.

On the web: Intervarsity Press

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Rusty Wright, Communicating Christ to Non-Christian Audiences Continuing Class

Would you give us a brief breakdown of your class?

My junior year at Duke, I sent my abnormal psychology term paper – about a biblical therapy for anxiety – to our textbook author, a UCLA professor.  He asked permission to quote from it in his textbook revision. I visited him that summer, shared the Gospel, and he trusted Christ. The next edition of his textbook had a short portion about religion and psychotherapy, and included some of my faith story.

I began telling psych profs I was a "case" in their abnormal psychology textbook.  Many invited me to speak. By God's grace, that jumpstarted a speaking and writing ministry that has taken me around the world sharing Christ in secular settings with university students and professors, executives, diplomats, professional athletes, on TV/radio, and via print media and the Internet.

I've learned a lot – made plenty of mistakes – and am looking forward to helping you get inside nonbelievers' hearts and minds, consider how they think and feel, and learn how to sensitively relate biblical concepts to their lives so they'll enjoy it. We'll discuss connecting with skeptics and using humor successfully.  You'll get to apply all this in class to plan your own book, article, website, or other project.

What is one thing Christians do when they speak to or write for a non-Christian audience that leaves a negative message?

In this rough-and-tumble world, it is easy for believers to succumb to the temptation to view nonbelievers as adversaries – sometimes even as the "enemy" – rather than as the lost, to focus on winning an argument rather than on winning a person.  I've been there. 

When I let God help me have His attitude toward the people I'm trying to reach, it's easier to focus on speaking/writing in their emotional, psychological, and intellectual languages, finding where they itch and scratching there so I can point them to Jesus and biblical perspectives.

Who should attend your class?

Anyone interested in:

·   Writing (or speaking/broadcasting, etc.) to inspire nonbelievers and for the secular, mainstream market

·   Using humor to gain and keep attention, drive home your points, and have fun

·   Building bridges to skeptics – without compromising truth – so they enjoy reading/hearing you and want more

·   Translating Christianese into Normal HumanSpeak

·   Multiplying your reach to nonbelievers via the Internet

Find our more about Rusty at

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Write-to-Publish Faculty Interview: Allie Pleiter, Writing Fiction Continuing Class

Give a brief description of your Writing Fiction Continuing Class.

Do you dream of publishing a novel or short story? Whether you intend to publish through a traditional publisher or strike out on your own, your first priority should be quality content.  Learn the four pillars of good fiction—structure, characterization, dialogue, and point of view—and techniques for making them shine in your work.  You’ll come away with the craft essentials every writer should have in their skill set to complete a first or second manuscript.

What will be the greatest take-away from the class?

You'll come away with specific techniques to enhance the plotting, structure, characterization, dialogue, and point of view of your fiction.

Who should attend your class?

Writers starting or in the process of a first or second manuscript.

Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction working on as many as four books at a time.  The award-winning author of 30+ books, Allie brings the expertise of a sixteen-year career with nearly 1.5 million books sold.  In addition to writing, Allie regularly speaks on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her most popular topic: The Chunky Method of time management for writers. Visit her website at

Write-to-Publish meets June 14-17
in the Chicago area.