Month: September 2014

American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference

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What a joy to be a part of the ACFW family! The conference here in St. Louis is filled with aspiring writers and encouraging editors, agents and publishers all here to glorify God! I’m finding myself encouraging others more than anything else, which makes for a great time! Happening at the same time is the Joyce Meyers Convention, so the entire downtown area is filled with people who love the Lord! I even had the chance to give one of her staff a copy of Run, River Currents, as Joyce ministers about her abusive life.

From the moment I arrived it was as though God had a plan for everything. I have been a part of a giving attitude in every restaurant, every store and every coffee shop within a 10 block radius. I hear workers saying to each other that they have never been treated so kindly, tipped so graciously or listened to so intently as these few days. My own maid cried when I handed her a few extra dollars and a book of faith I picked up here. I hadn’t seen her need until then. I was just reacting to the gratefulness I was feeling.

Writers do make a difference, but more than that, people of faith make a difference when we allow God to shine through our actions. I know I am learning techniques and craft here, but the real lessons are coming from the heart.

Go on out today and be a blessing to someone in any little way you can. You never know where God will take your kindness.

P.S. Don’t forget you have until October 12 to sign up for my Goodreads Giveaway of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance! A “button” bracelet will be included for one lucky winner!

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2014 Hampton Roads Writers Conference Musings

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It is always fun preparing for a speaking engagement, but when an author has an opportunity to speak to other writer’s it becomes a humbling experience. I will be a speaker at this year’s Hampton Roads Writer’s Conference in Virginia Beach, VA.  The conference is put on by an all volunteer staff whose goal is to encourage new writers. We were there, sitting in those seats looking wide-eyed at the speaker. Each of us hoped we would one day have the same opportunity to see our books in bookstores and have people tell us that our work mattered.

I take it as an honor to encourage every last writer that will grace my workshops. And so it will be this coming Thursday, September 18-20 when I will work to give good and honest feedback to those who will attend one of the three workshops or the manuscript critique sessions I’ll be leading.

I’m excited to say that one particular manuscript is outstanding and should find a home at this year’s conference! I can’t wait for the chance to see how high this author will go, as the writing sings! Now THAT is what makes it all worth while.

I’ll be in the great company wonderful people, a few I have listed below.

So for those who have never had the courage to follow their dream of writing, remember, we were in your shoes. We know your trepidation. Get a thick skin and throw your work out there. It might land on someone like me, whose greatest joy is to see another writer succeed!

Bios & Blurbs & Blogs, Oh My!

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As a new author, having your book accepted for publication is only the beginning of an exciting and madcap adventure! There are so many things that will be asked of you by your publisher, your editor and your agent or marketing director. When I began the journey, little did I understand the demands that would be put on me, demands that are necessary for a novel’s success.

Because the publishing process is a team effort, everyone must play a part, including the often-times frazzled writer. The dilemma for the writer is that they want to write. They don’t necessarily want be involved in the marketing of their work. The dilemma for the publisher is that they may not have a marketing budget for an unknown author and thusly need to see an author is committed to the novel’s success.

So how does a new author prepare for publication even before their book has an agent, editor or publisher? Here are a few tips that I often share with authors during the writing conferences I teach at.

  • Here are three suggestions of documents that you can prepare in advance
    • Bio-make them varying lengths, short, medium and long. Include a bio with writing experience or clips. Have one for speaking, as well as writing.
    • Query Letter-This can be generic, but it should be good, as it shows off your writing style.
    • Synopsis-Actually, you need more than one synopsis, as different agents and editors may ask for synopsis’ of several lengths.
  • Once your work is accepted for publication, here are three items you will be asked about
    • Your platform-Do you have followers in a subject matter that pertains to your work?
    • Social Media-Are you set up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, etc.?
    • Whose work is similar to yours?-A publisher wants to know you understand your audience. They may request a list of authors whose work may be in the same genre or writing style as yours. Be prepared.

 This is just a small sample of what you may need as you get started, but I’ll giving a full workshop, complete with checklists and advice at the Hampton Roads Writer’s Conference, September 18-20, 2014 at the Westin Hotel in Virginia Beach, VA.