About Mindy

I'm a sinner saved by grace who loves to write, read, eat chocolate, and drink coffee, sometimes all at the same time. Writing is my passion, hobby, therapy, and ministry.

Why We Created a Shareable Image for Each WriteTech Conference Workshop

A  shareable image was created for each workshop to be presented at our  WriteTech Conference to give our social media campaign serious wallop and an extended reach.

A one-page flier is a great place to start your conference promotion, but it’s only a starting point. There are many reasons to put the extra effort into making individual images.

WriteTech image blog

  • To draw in attendees interested in a specific topic.
  • Give each presenter some well-deserved limelight.
  • Make it easy for presenters to promote through their own social media channels.
    (hey, they’re busy creating awesome content for your conference!)
  • Images draw more shares, likes, retweets, and traffic than text-only posts.
  • Daily posting was always fresh with a new image.
  • Images double as door signs during the conference for continuity.

NCWA no longer buys newspaper ads or mailing lists, so social media is our primary publicity vehicle. Besides, social media is where all the cool people hang out all day, anyway.

Let’s face it.

Instead of #amwriting we’re actually #amFacebooking!

NCWA is blessed to have a talented Publicity Coordinator, Kim Vandel, who used Canva to create the eye-candy for our January 24, 2015 WriteTech Conference.

Canva has a lot of free “elements”  to use in creating, but if you do buy an image or element, they’re only $1 each. Canva is great because they’ve already figured out the size for you. If you want an image for a Twitter post, you pick that template, without worrying about how wide or high it’s supposed to be.

If people aren’t creative, there are pre-made images to customize, and Canva also has plenty of tutorial videos available on their site. Canva makes it pretty easy to look professional.

These are the twelve workshops we’re offering at the WriteTech conference. You can read the full workshop descriptions  on the NCWA website. You can see that the images had great reach by being shared first by NCWA on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and blogs. The reach is increased when you combine the following of each person who posts the images in their individual circles.

Cool Tools

To see these images used on Twitter, find NCWA at @NWCWriters. Dennis cloud technologyDennis Scrivener From Frantic to Fierce- To see this image displayed on Kim’s blog sidebar, go to kimvandel.com.lasting impression (1) Maria tweet like a proThese images were also pinned to the board called Writing Conferences on Pinterest.

Feel free to follow all the boards from NCWA where we hang out as The Christian Writer’s Coach.
Maria twitter 101 MSWord Uncensored-Marlene McCurley used this image on a blog post and on her Facebook fan page. Since she has an editing business and is the Editors Connection Coordinator for NCWA, she will have some wisdom and experience to share.
sandwich Blog About BookTo see this image hanging around the sidebar of a blog, visit mindypeltier.com.So You Want to Indie Publish-!-!

Lynnette Bonner posted this on her Facebook Author Page to show her followers her latest event. As a successful indie publisher, often in Amazon’s top lists, and founder of Indie Cover Design, she already has a following of readers and fellow indie publishers.

#WriteTech2015 workshop "Get Good at Goodreads and Gain a Hoard of Raving ReadersThese visuals were created and given to each presenter to use in their own social media circles. In a smaller version, they could be used on a blog sidebar or in an email signature.

These shareable images were combined with the TweetSheet Kim designed, a Twitter cheat sheet with click-to-tweets, to create a social media package that was easy and enticing to use.

Creating a shareable image for each conference workshop gives your social media campaign greater reach, makes it more attractive, and draws in people by highlighting specific topics or presenters.

And now that you’ve seen all these images, don’t you want to attend WriteTech?

Thought so.  You can register here.

 

Mindy Headshot smaller

 Mindy Peltier has a passion to conquer the digital world, despite growing up in the years before computers. Born in 1964, she is officially one of the last Baby Boomers. She’s been blogging at “In the Write Moment” since 2007 and has spent years trying to finish a historical Christian fiction novel.

She’s the president of Northwest Christian Writers Association, Director of the WriteTech conference, and is a member of Oregon Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband Scott are blessed with six kids and four grandkids.  @MindyJPeltier

 

Technology Skills Help Land WriteTech Keynoter New Job

by Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference

Ever since he taught his first web-design class at 16, Thomas Umstattd Jr. has been helping authors conquer the world of technology.

thomas collage 2And he is still proving to the Christian publishing world the value of his technology skills.

The keynote speaker for the January 24, 2015, WriteTech Conference in Kirkland, WA, has just been hired as Sales and Marketing Director for Enclave Publishing. The publishing company, based in Phoenix, Arizona, specializes in science fiction and fantasy for the Christian market.

“Umstattd has been a successful entrepreneur,” company president Steve Laube said in a recent news release. “He founded Author Media in 2008, which became one of the premier web design and technology firms for authors. He is the designer behind MyBookTable, the most popular bookstore plugin for WordPress, and he co-hosts the Novel Marketing Podcast with best-selling author James L. Rubart.”

On his blog Novel Marketing, Thomas says he is excited about his new job because of Enclave’s strong and focused brand, along with the support of passionate fans. However, he is honest about challenges the small company faces, such as a recent name change (from Marcher Lord Press), a limited budget, and never having had a marketing director before.

But Thomas already has a plan of action. He says he will clean up the company’s website, get his WordPress plug-in MyBookTable fully operational, prepare GoodReads giveaways, and set up an e-mail campaign.

Did you notice that all of those tasks require technological skills? Now you can take advantage of Thomas Umstattd’s expertise by signing up for the WriteTech Conference hosted by the Northwest Christian Writers Association (NCWA). This year’s theme is Writing and Technology: Conquering the Digital Divide. And if you register by December 2, you even get an early-bird discount.

TweetLearn from Thomas Umstattd of Author Media and Enclave Publishing at #WriteTech2015

In addition to the keynote speaker, nine other presenters will also give valuable instruction on such topics as blogging, branding, cloud technology, indie publishing, social media, and the word-processing software Scrivener and Microsoft Word, along with voice-recognition software Dragon Naturally Speaking.

Workshop presenters include Lynnette Bonner, Dennis Brooke, Maria Dykstra, Athena Dean Holtz, Marlene McCurley, Gigi Murfitt, Mindy Peltier, Kim Vandel, and James L. Rubart—yes, the same Jim Rubart who co-hosts the Novel Marketing Podcast with Thomas Umstattd Jr. What a great line-up of tech talent!

The good news is that taking advantage of such a wealth of knowledge at this value-packed one-day conference is not just science fiction or fantasy. You may well discover that it’s a writer’s dream come true.

______________________________________________

Diana Savage
Diana Savage
, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference near Seattle. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

25 Ways to Procrastinate on Your Writing

Have you ever planned to write diligently, only to get swallowed up by the Procrastination Monster? Maybe you decided to finish an article, chapter, or blog post,  but found yourself in a whirlwind of other important activities.

Procrastination pm

  1. Facebook
  2. Clean the toilet
  3. Text friends
  4. More Facebook
  5. Shop on eBay
  6. More Facebook
  7. Shop for shoes at Macys.com
  8. More Facebook
  9. Walk the dog or cat. Or if you don’t have one, buy one. Or a turtle or slug
  10. Chat with Twitter friends about the weather. Rain, rain, rain
  11. More Facebook (or Fakebook, as my pastor says)
  12. Clean your belly button. Lots of fuzz these days
  13. Practice selfies. Again and again. And…again
  14. Text your mother to say how much you love her. Add a few ideas for birthday or Christmas gifts
  15. Make a banana split. If you don’t have the ingredients, go to the furthest store in the next city for ingredients. Take a cooler though.
  16. Call a friend and tell her how you don’t have enough time to write and wonder how people crank out books every year.
  17. Make plans to TP the houses of any writers you know who meet the criteria for number 16.
  18. More Facebook
  19. Text a friend from NCWA and ask her to go to coffee
  20. Meet the above friend at the Mother Ship (Starbucks) and complain about how you don’t have time to write.
  21. Play with your new phone or tablet or other device.
  22. Wash your bed skirt. Or if you don’t have one, shop for one – even if you’re a guy and hate bed skirts.
  23. Take pictures with your new device, while texting your writer friends about how you have so little time to write.
  24. Just a wee bit more Facebook. You may miss an hour of that one person you met twenty years ago at a candle party but didn’t like because she ate all the chocolate.
  25. Go online to find a Facebook Anonymous 12-step group for people addicted to Facebook.
Tweet25 Ways to Procrastinate on Your Writing

Cherrie Herrin-Michehl pic

 

Cherrie Herrin-Michehl is a licensed mental health therapist practicing in Woodinville, WA. Her ebook “Tooshie: Defeating the Body Image Bandit” was published June 2014. The book is a collage of humor, faith, and psychology.

 

Dear Fellow Procrastinating Writers:

As Cherrie illustrates, a sense of humor comes in handy when you struggle with procrastination!

However, more often, I’ve found reasons to feel stressed, frustrated, and guilty about my procrastinating. I’ve even called myself some mean names. Wasteful, foolish, disorganized, chaotic . . . . it hasn’t been pretty.

I’ve prayed about it a lot. I recently heard Holy Spirit whisper this to me:

“You are a faithful person. You want to be faith-full and you are. So, you can stop identifying yourself as a procrastinating person. That is not your true identity. It is a bad habit that you can break out of by remembering who you really are . . . who I say you are . . . and then choosing to live true to your real identity. I say you are faithful and peaceful and grateful.”

That’s how, with God’s help, I’m beginning to realize that I DO have what it takes to stop procrastinating by choosing to change the way I think about myself. I now realize my mistake in judging myself harshly by my performance instead of living out each day in agreement with God’s perspective about who I am.

By God’s grace-enablement, the gift of supernatural capability and endowment from the Holy Spirit to all believers,

I believe I am –

FAITHFUL  – A faithful person desires and is able to be stay true to that which has been committed to them. Ephesians 1:1 (NIV)

PEACEFUL –  A peaceful person is a peacemaker. A peacemaker opposes chaos, disorder, and disunity. A peacemaker brings order, harmony, and peace to their relationships, home, finances, work, environment, and belongings.  Matthew 5:9 (NIV)
James 3:18 (NIV)

GRATEFUL – A grateful person appreciates and takes care of what they have been given, whether it’s tangible or intangible. They acknowledge their blessings and the Blesser and they live with a deeper-than-average awareness of His good Presence with them and in them.  Psalm 100:4 (NIV)   Psalm 107:22 (NIV)

Simply put, the take-away is this:

TweetYou may procrastinate, but that is not who you are.

TweetYou are not your bad habits, your bad choices, your bad experiences, nor your mistakes.

TweetYou are who God says you are. Period.  I Samuel 16:7

 

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1

Oh, amen!

Who does God say you are?

 

JJeanie pmeanie Killion, a blogger & pre-published author, shares from the overflow of her journey with Jesus. She’s found Him faithful through many “dangers, toils, and snares.”  With her writing, Jeanie strives to help others draw close to God’s throne and access the Joy of His Presence, the Peace that passes understanding, and the Hope we have in knowing Him.

 

You Have No Hero Like Lenin

In 1988, during the waning days of The Cold War, I was a young Air Force Captain attending Squadron Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. One of our guest speakers was a Soviet Union Exchange officer who espoused at length the superiority of the way of life in the USSR.

He went on at length how we could not understand his country because we had nobody in our culture like Lenin, the revolutionary who served as the first Chairman of the Soviet Union. He lectured about what an inspiration Lenin was to his people. That Lenin’s framed portrait was in a place of honor in every school classroom and office. How his statue graced the center of any respectable village. Even Lenin’s body had been preserved in a glass sarcophagus in Red Square and on exhibit for nearly three quarters of a century.

Lenin pm2

The Soviet officer said, “You Americans cannot understand the Soviet Union because you have no hero like Lenin.”

At this point another Captain enduring this talk leaned over to me and with one whispered word blew the Soviet’s argument out of the water. He said: “Elvis.” Unfortunately, Americans worship many things: celebrities, status, and in the case of some, Elvis.

But as writers who serve Christ first, do we pursue the status, fame, respect, and trappings that we believe are part of being a successful writer? Or do we pursue our calling as people of faith who seek to bring people closer to God? Some of us will have the opportunity to influence many people through our writing and speaking. For others, it may be an audience of only a few, or even one. But if we influence only one person, remember that one person matters to God. Christ said that the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to pursue that one lost sheep. That one person should also matter to us as we pursue our calling.

So let us write and speak not for our own status, or glory, or false gods like Lenin and even Elvis. Let us pursue it for Christ, the true God.

 

TweetWhether your audience is one or a thousand, write for the glory of the Lord.

 

 

Dennis Brooke

Dennis Brooke is a former USAF officer and the past President of the Northwest Christian Writers Association. He has written for Focus on the Family, Toastmasters, and Combat Crew Magazines. He tells stories at www.DennisBrooke.com

This talk was the meeting devotional at the June, 2014 NCWA Meeting. 

Inventing Story: Writing for the Market

by Kathleen Freeman, pre-published author and Critique Coordinator of NCWA

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Inventing Story                                        (Picture of early bug zapper)

Some wonderful inventions came out of WWI, the facial tissue, the zipper and the tea bag. They found an eager market, and so changed peoples’ lives. Just after that time, other items were invented—soy sausages, which have a smaller market, but have become part of the vegetarian diet around the world, and a blower to push people out of the way as trams arrived. We’ve all experienced the wonders and frustrations of a zipper and the relief of a Kleenex. The simple tea bag has stayed in use for decades.

What happened to the people blowers, safety devices designed to keep folks from being hit by trams? Certainly, Konrad Aidenauer’s invention would have saved many lives. Its problem was market. The tram companies wanted to reduce accidents, but people, those weaving in front of trams in dresses and by bike didn’t want to be blown out of the way, eggs scattering on the ground, bicycles toppling. They wanted warning, a chance to decide for themselves whether to become trolley fodder or move out of the way.

Story is the same.

We can’t have a pushy agenda, and while Aidenauer’s bug zapper, another of his inventions, was a great idea and things like it are now used with gladness, it was ahead of its time.

The market wasn’t ready.

TweetYour story may be an invention before its time and the market isn’t ready.

So, what about us, as writers? Have we invented a cool product, hoping to force it on the market despite its buggy nature or people’s inability to use it without the availability of a good battery ?

There may be a need for your bug zapper in the future. For now, if the market needs a simple thing like a tea bag, or to blow their noses into something soft and non-chafing, so be it. We can have our part in keeping the bits of tea leaves out of mouths, and catching sorrows across the globe. As for that favorite story, be patient, be hopeful, its time may be coming.

TweetWriter, be patient and hopeful, your time may be coming.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kathleen Freeman 2Kathleen Freeman is passionate about history, the way it allows people to learn from the past, and the connections it helps form. She writes articles for Vista Journal for Holy Living, Clubhouse Magazine, and is a pre-published writer of Historical and other forms of fiction.

 

 

Our Most Embarrassing Moments at a Writers Conference

Writers conferences are a great source of instruction, encouragement, and blessing to the writer, but they can also cause stress.  Writers know attending a conference can be crucial to their success.  They’re told that the agents and editors are the gatekeepers to publication and they usually have less than three minutes to get through the gate.

Shaking voices, trembling hands, and sweat-stained armpits prove writers are aware how  each encounter could fulfill or flounder publication dreams.

embarrassing moments

In the final countdown to the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal April 11-12, 2014,  with Davis Bunn, the proverbial butterflies have begun their migration to registrants.  To relieve pressure with laughter, NCWA members decided to share our worst conference experiences.

 

 

Ocieanna


Ocieanna Fleiss
– An editor from a prominent Christian publisher told me to not be afraid to write a @#$% first draft. LOL! At my first writers conference EVER! I about lost it and the very sweet, conservative older lady sitting next to me almost fell off her chair.

.

 

Roberta-Kehle

Roberta Kehle –  I used to  pick up our speakers at the airport, but often got lost going to the hotel, usually when they needed to go to the bathroom and were in misery.  Another time I was trying to get a Starbucks for an agent and had a minor parking lot mishap. They quit asking my pick-up help. Wonder why? Hmm, this might scare off attendees.

 

sonjaSonja Anderson – My most embarrassing moment related to a writing conference came after the conference. I had the opportunity to submit a manuscript to an agent and an editor from the annual Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Conference in Seattle. After I wrote a query letter to the female editor from a fancy New York publishing house, I thought I’d save time and cut and paste the letter for the male agent from Chicago.

Big mistake! Imagine my great grief and embarrassment when I looked at the letter more carefully (after hitting “send,” of course, to the male agent ), and saw that I never removed the line about hoping that the rest of her PREGNANCY went well!
Needless to say, I never heard back from that agent. Sigh.

 

LynnetteLynnette Bonner – At an NCWA conference several years ago, I sat in on a pitch session with a big-name agent. She liked what she heard and requested that I send her a proposal after the conference. Later that same day she was chatting with Jim Rubart.

I needed to talk to Jim about something so I approached and was standing off to one side as they chatted. Jim turned to me and in his gregarious way said, “Hey! How’s your day gone? Did anyone request your stuff?”

And I replied that yeah, “Actually she requested that I send her a proposal.”

To which the agent jolted back and gasped, “I didn’t request a proposal from YOU!”

Jim did a double-take between the two of us as I said, “Well, actually you did.” She then apologized profusely and admitted she remembered me. Needless to say, I never sent her a proposal.

 

Mindy HeadshotMindy Peltier – After hearing how volunteering at a conference can impact your ability to get published, I arranged to meet two editors at the airport. They were from the two Christian publishers I dreamed of writing for some day.  I’d rehearsed a line I thought was clever and would prove my passion and need for writers conferences.

Feeling brave as I deftly merged into I-5 rush hour traffic,  I said, “Writers conferences have become counterproductive for me. I’m writing less…

One editor didn’t realize the airspace was meant to be a dramatic pause before my brilliant punch line.

He began defending conferences and instructed me on my need to attend and appreciate them.  I didn’t want to interrupt.  I merged into the carpool lane. The editor in the back seat added to the defense.

Shocked, I was convinced the misunderstanding had crash-dummied my  publication dreams.  I figured my name would be passed around the editors’ circle, along with the guy who tried to pitch his book at the urinal.  I couldn’t even finish my sentence.

The punch line he missed was “… because the more conferences I go to, the worse my writing becomes.

I was trying to cleverly reveal how conferences were impacting my writing life.  I was learning about writing, but on a larger scale, I was understanding how much more I needed to learn about writing and the publishing industry.

I’ve relived that agonizing moment over and over since then, and even in my dreams, I crash before the punch line.

Every year I attend and volunteer at several  writers conferences, and I’ve even taught at a few. But, they’re still counterproductive for me, because the more writers conferences I attend, the worse my writing becomes.


If an embarrassing moment at a writers conference occurs, don’t worry, it won’t affect your publication dreams.  All of the above writers were published after their  blunders.

Brush it off and move on, but only after you send the story to us.  We’d love to use in a blog post next year.

 

TweetEmbarrassing conference moments didn’t hinder chance of publication.

TweetNCWA writers expose most embarrassing conference moments.

Don’t Worry Before a Writers Conference, PLAN!

Does the thought of attending a writers conference make you nervous?

Winston Churchill said, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”

Instead of worrying in advance, plan in advance by reading past blog posts with valuable advice on preparing for a writers conference.

TweetNervous about attending a writers conference?  Prepare, don’t worry.

Top Ten Reasons pmEdie Melson from The Write Conversation guest blogged “Top Ten Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference.”

 

Prayer Power Tool“Plug in Your Power Tool — Prayer” was written by Lydia E. Harris to provide instruction in gathering a prayer support team for your writing.

 

Terry Whalin 2Pack your proposal, not your manuscript, in your tote bag, because Terry Whalin advises that “Editors Read Book Proposals, Not Manuscripts.”

 

CWC Buy NowThe Northwest Christian Writers Association wrote a book just to relieve conference jitters and help conference attendees know exactly what to do before, during, and after a conference. Purchase on Amazon here.

TweetThe Christian Writer’s Coach book details what to do before, during, and after a writers conference.

blog button copy

And while you’re planning and preparing, don’t forget to register!

 

 

Reel in Assignments at Writers Conferences

By Lydia E. Harris, prolific writer and author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Cast your net on the other side,” Jesus told his discouraged disciples after they fished all night and caught nothing. They did—and caught more fish than their nets could hold.

Similarly, as writers, sometimes we fish and fish for assignments but catch nothing. Perhaps then we need to cast our nets on another side and attend a writers’ conference. Often the fish are biting there, and writing assignments will be pulled in. “Net”working with authors, editors, publishers, and agents often results in landing a big catch now or in the future.

TweetNetworking with authors, editors, publishers, and agents often results in landing a big catch.

Reel in Assignments

For example, when I attended an American Christian Writers’ one-day conference, I met Lin Johnson, the managing editor of Church Libraries and Advanced Christian Writer (and now also Christian Communicator). As Lin answered our questions during lunch, I asked, “What are your editorial needs?” I hooked five assignments, which I tackled and completed. The fish were biting at that conference.

Later, at the Oregon Christian Writers’ summer conference, I netted useful information for an assigned profile article about a publishing house. The publisher attended the conference, so I interviewed her there. Plus, she brought the latest issue of Christian Retailing, which featured an article with useful information and quotes for my assignment.

The Oregon conference supplied additional resources to strengthen my article. I snagged a quote from marketing expert Sally Stuart’s talk, interviewed a conferee who had recently published her book through the publishing house, and caught a quote from a Chicago writing instructor. I also cast a line to fish for slant ideas from a seasoned author. When I left, my net bulged with help and valuable information to complete the assignment.

At other conferences, I’ve netted opportunities to write for new publications and caught publishing houses’ interest in my book proposals, articles, and recipes. Another big conference catch was finding an agent.

Fish Story pm

I’ve learned that writers conferences are excellent fishing holes. Sometimes so many fish bite that our writing nets stretch to bursting. And that’s no fish story.

TweetWriters conferences are excellent fishing holes. And that’s no fish story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lydia HarrisLydia Harris, MA in Home Economics, has attended numerous writers conferenes and teaches at them.She has accumulated hundreds of bylines, contributed to 17 books, and writes a bimonthly column titled “A Cup of Tea With Lydia.”  Her five grandkids call her “Grandma Tea,” and together they develop and test recipes that are published in Focus on the Family magazines. Lydia wrote the practical and inspiring Bible study, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.

Love of Jesus and Her Job Motivate Agent Rachel Kent

Each year, NCWA member Kirk Kraft posts interviews with the agents and editors that will be speaking at the Northwest Christian Writer’s Renewal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rachel Kent


Rachel Kent is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She has more than seven years of agency experience. Rachel represents fiction and nonfiction. Her goal is to develop strong relationships with her clients and to help them to develop lasting relationships with their publishers.
 


1. What is the most important attribute you look for in a prospective new client?

I’m not sure I can pick just one! I guess being a great writer comes first, but I won’t represent a great writer who isn’t a kind, friendly person with perseverance and the ability to work well with others.

2.  Is there a particular story or genre you’ve been looking for recently & haven’t found?

I have clients writing in all the categories I like to represent, but I would like to find more romantic suspense and also nonfiction books for those in their teens, twenties, and thirties.

The nonfiction I’m looking for would be books that help those in these age groups get through life at the stages they are in for example: Surviving high school or college; dating; early years of marriage; raising children when the parents are like ships passing in the night to make ends meet; etc. The books do need to bring something fresh to these topics though and platform has to be strong.

I’m open to short romantic suspense (Love Inspired-length) and longer romantic suspense projects.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not looking at other types of projects too, though.

3. Do you have any publishing heroes or role models? Who are they?

The amazing agents at Books & Such are instructive and inspiring to me on a daily basis. Janet Kobobel Grant has really dedicated herself to helping each of us at Books & Such and she is a hero in my book!

My clients also inspire me. They all work so hard and do what they do with joy and dedication. I can see Jesus in them.

Tweet “My clients inspire me…I can see Jesus in them.”

4.  What advice can you give aspiring writers who believe they’re ready to submit work?

Please have some critique partners read your work first! It makes a difference. And ask them to look at your query letter, too. The query letter can be the gateway to your publishing career and you want it to be the best it can be so editors and agents request your project.

TweetThe query letter can be the gateway to your publishing career.

5.  What brings you the most joy in your life as an agent?

I love helping all of my clients get contracted, but there’s a special joy that comes with placing a debut author for the first time. Placing that new writer with a publishing house makes me so excited and happy.

I also love reading a brand new idea from a client. There’s so much potential in new ideas.

6.  If you could go back in time, would you choose a different career? Why or why not?

I don’t think so. I really love being a literary agent. I find joy in my job and I don’t think I would if I did something else–or it would be harder to. I also feel like I’m able to reach people with the love of Jesus through what I do. And I have some flexibility with my job so I can spend a lot of time with my daughter.

7.  What are you currently reading?

I am currently rereading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s amazing how different life is today. Laura had only a few toys growing up and Ma only had one special glass figurine to put on her homemade shelf. And there wasn’t any technology! They were happy and thankful and unselfish. I think every adult should read these books again. It’s been eye-opening and they are so good!

 

Rachel Kent CollageRachel Kent’s Workshop Description:
Chasing down the facts for a manuscript isn’t easy. We will go into detail about the research process–including tips from some of Rachel’s multi-published clients and a list of resources to help with researching for multiple kinds of projects. This class is for every writer. Research and fact checking are important for all genres.

Read More of Rachel’s wisdom from her Friday posts on  the Books & Such blog:

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Kirk-Kraft_thumb.jpgKirk Kraft has been gripped by the “Writing Monster” for many years. A husband and father of four, he’s instilled a love of reading in all his children while chasing his dream of publishing. His favorite genre for both writing and reading is epic fantasy. He has been a member of NCWA since 2008.

Pitch and Tell – Avoiding Story Stumbling

By Kathleen Freeman, Critique Coordinator for NCWA and Renewal Volunteer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

They ask about our story—editor, agent, fellow writer, the guy slicing the beef. We freeze. We panic, and what could have been a fun and meaningful conversation, and possibly begun a friendship, turns to disaster.

If someone asks what we love about our spouse, kids, or pet, we don’t panic, don’t get tongue-tied or fearful. Confidence oozes as we tell strangers and friends alike about little Lucy’s first steps carrying Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We confess that our face might be purple because we spent the last two hours helping our son write an essay.

Avoiding Story Stumbling

People don’t ask about our work to measure or judge us. Okay, some do, but they are the exception. Most ask because of burning curiosity. They want to know what fills us with the passion to neglect other things in our lives and write when we know the pitiful publication odds… let alone the chances of writing a NY Times best seller. What is our story about, and why is it so important? If we can articulate the answer in five words, thirty-two words, or 100 words of eye-sparking passion, it’s a powerful jump-start to the most flagging confidence. If we can’t, we’re not ready for a pitch—plain and simple.

TweetWe neglect other things in our lives and passionately write despite pitiful publication odds.

Unfortunately, passion, even articulated well, only goes so far. If asked about Bible verses pertaining to the deity of Christ and we’re not prepared, Bible fumbling and umming will ensue. We have to have pages marked, words highlighted. In the same way, when someone asks about our kids, pictures go a long way toward reminding us why we love them despite struggles.

Whether telling our story to the book table lady, or pitching to an editor or agent, a picture of our “baby” can help break the ice. A One Sheet, writing sample, and story proposal make a great snapshot. A One Sheet is an introduction to us and our story using artistry and character representative of our book. It’s a business card and photo rolled into one page. A transparent, gem-colored, $2.99 Rite Aid plastic folder makes a great showcase and will also hold writing samples and our proposal. Some have a place for a business card, as well.

In addition to making a great conversation starter, a folder looks professional—a step in the right direction beyond one-line zingers, elevator pitches or thirty-two word summaries. If we stumble, trip on our words, or develop rubber lips, we still look like a player.

Organization isn’t always a writer’s greatest gift. Receipts and napkins often carry our inspirations home. But failure in this can undo both preparation and passion. If our artistic, stream-lined folder is shoved in a bag among schedules, a pile of magazines, a semi-melted Hershey’s Kiss, a hairbrush, and receipts from the bookstore, our mind may feel like the chocolate is melting through it. A horror story of great proportion may ensue as we reach in and pull out our Arm and Hammer Essentials deodorant. While such a blunder might lead to a new friendship founded on mutual anti-aluminum beliefs, it’s more likely to make an editor flag down the time-keeper, eyes pleading for Calgon. No. We’re better off leaving anything extraneous in the car if we have an appointment.

Though due respect and admiration, editors and agents seek what anyone does—something excellent to read, and maybe a new friendship or two. To help him or her feel welcome and appreciated, we might do some internet research before the appointment. If we know her company switched from Prairie Romance to Steampunk Murder Mysteries, we can leave And the Bluebells Ring in our bag and dust off It Goes Whir, Thud. If horror terrifies him, we shouldn’t pitch ours. If she just lost her dog, we might be sensitive to that and not tell our story about Fido gifting the new neighbors with our bloomers.

We pitch, tell our story with proud passion, and then we’re done. Whether she wants us to send her something or not, we need to maintain an air of thankfulness. A “thank you for your time” is always appreciated. Beyond that, a no is not by any means the end of the story… unless we spin in angry circles and vanish in a puff of blue smoke.

TweetWhen we pitch, we tell our story with proud passion.

As chairs are stacked and conference attendees stare into space, smiles stiff, brains overflowing with information, we might ask the editor sitting alone if it was a good conference for him. We could ask the agent if she has a place to worship on Sunday, or offer coffee or a cup of water. Grace. Love. A bit of kindness. It may even help her move past our blunders and ask, once again, to hear our story.

It could happen.

 

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(Your next opportunity to pitch!)

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Kathleen Freeman 2Kathleen Freeman serves on the Board of Directors for the Northwest Christian Writers Association as the Critique Coordinator. She’s also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and she’s been writing and critiquing for enough years to be told she’s been around the block a few times. Her work appears in Raising Small Souls, the NCWA Newsletter, Vista Journal for Holy Living, and Clubhouse Magazine. She was the 2012 winner of the Genesis contest in the YA category, 2013 semi-finalist in the Mystery category, and the 2013 3rd place  winner of the Category 5 contest, Contemporary category. You can find her at www.findinghopeinhardtimes.com.