Encouragement and a Wealth of Information

Karen Robbins shares her conference reflection with NCWA.

The 2011 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, was a weekend filled with dynamic speakers, great presentations, and kind caring hearts, which overflowed into blessings.  The presenters were so approachable, sitting at meal tables with the attendees, and some even arranged additional appointments.  I felt this genuine spirit throughout the entire weekend. The leaders and presenters sincerely cared about each of us, and wanted to help advance our careers.

I’d like to share some of my notes from the sessions I attended.  First, Michelle Budzilowicz, Assistant Editor at Highlights, was like the Energizer Bunny! She charged us all up with her enthusiasm, personality, and passion for Highlights!  She’s open to unsolicited submissions.  Magazine stories should be 750-800 words. They buy all rights and pay approx. $200. Crafts should be safe, and easy for children. Try to use simple things found in the home and recyclables. Holiday crafts should be submitted 9 mos. to 1 year in advance.  Payment will be approx. $30.  No queries.

Blythe Daniel, agent, gave a well organized power point presentation with a booklet of handouts.  Marketing Your Book Before and After It’s Published was packed with a timeline for authors to follow. Your publisher is going to expect you to do most of the marketing of your book.  You’ll need to develop a platform with your own website,  along with all the other social media areas available (face book, blogs, e-blasts, etc.) Blythe was dynamic and generous of her time and sharing her expertise with the attendees.

I enjoyed the session, Cultivate the Art of Public Speaking with Dennis Brooke, Cheryl Dore and Rebecca Stuhlmilller.  Here are some of the BIG points they shared. Pick a topic and zero in on the story. Practice and over practice the tough spots. Have a strong opening, three points, and tight close.  Draw your audience in. Paint a picture. Keep it simple. You’re too nervous to speak?  “You have to wear it off.”  Speak wherever you can. Get out and share your story!

Dr. Robert Cornuke, Keynote Speaker, was more than entertaining.  I’ve never liked history in my life, but his presentations and videos held me on the seat of my chair.  Dr. Cornuke is an amazing story teller, with a life adventure and mission not many would choose.  If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don’t miss it!  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

We kept hearing “self publishing is exploding!”  Wine Press actively participated in the conference and I gained a wealth of information.  I know others did too.  We were fortunate to receive information on the option of self publishing.

In closing, I must say the food was fabulous!  I’m not a big eater, and eat to live.  However, the food was healthy, delicious, and abundant.  There was food being served at nearly every break, and the meals were beyond the usual conference/banquet style. Hope to see you all next year!  Bless you in your work.


Author of over 300,000 books in print, and over 50 magazine articles written. Karen has been writing for 26 years part time, while raising her children.  She specializes in picture books, easy readers, novelties, and silly poems. Her book Big Bulletin Boards: A Cooperative Approach is still available through Amazon.  Karen is a book designer with U.S. patent, and toy designer. Karen is a right brain creative who loves stories, children, art, and photography.  Her picture book, Care For Our World,  will be releasing May 2012. She hopes it will make a difference. Karen has been an NCWA member since April, 2011.


2 thoughts on “Encouragement and a Wealth of Information

    • Thanks, Lydia. It was a joy meeting you, since I also love crafting with kids. I’m working on a new art book, Shoe Print Art. It’s such a fun way to draw anything! Bless you in your work. Karen


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