Adria Goetz: Bringing a Millennial Perspective

by Elizabeth Griffin

Anyone who can develop and sell a book titled The Compendium of Magical Beasts: An Anatomical Study of Cryptozoology’s Most Elusive Beings has got to be incredibly imaginative, intelligent, and a bit quirky. Meet Adria Goetz from Martin Literary Management.

“The project idea—a coffee table book about the anatomy of magical creatures—was my brainchild, and I hand-picked the author and illustrator,” Adria says of the highlight thus far in her burgeoning career as a literary agent. “The author, Melissa Brinks, is a college friend of mine, and I knew her cheeky, quirky writing style would be perfect for it. And the illustrator, Lily Jones, is an incredibly talented Seattle-based artist. The whole experience has been delightful.”

This millennial brings a breath of fresh air to our Renewal with her long wish list that is as eclectic as her style seems to be. From picture books to YA to adult nonfiction, she’s willing to take a look at anything as long as it’s original and engaging.

“I love connecting with writers and editors at conferences, but I also love attending conferences because I always walk away feeling inspired and savvier because I always, always learn something new,” Adria says. “I like it when writers approach me with a question, rather than a pitch. You can pitch pretty much any agent online, but you can’t always get advice from an agent or pick their brain, which is the beauty of a conference!”

Adria lives in an old Victorian home in Tacoma with her high-school-sweetheart-who-became-her-husband in a wedding in the middle of the woods. They own two silver-furred kittens named Maple and Mulberry, and are about to begin the process of becoming licensed foster parents. She loves to paddle about in her bright yellow kayak that looks like a giant floating banana, enjoys eating and smelling anything lavender-flavored, and her favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. She admits to stress baking, and if there was any biblical moment she could have witnessed, it would be when Jesus cooked breakfast for his friends on the beach.

Adria will teach the following workshops at this year’s Renewal:

Building Your Social-Media Platform – This presentation outlines the basics of how to build an engaged social media following that will catch the eye of agents and editors. It also offers time-and-sanity saving tips that will help you maintain a sustainable and successful social media presence. Workshop attendees will come away with a tangible to-do list.

Current Picture-Book Trends – A workshop that highlights and examines current trends in the general trade picture book market, and where those trends might be heading. Hear straight from an agent’s perspective what is selling, what isn’t, some dos and don’ts, which trends are over-saturated, and how to tap into trends in your own unique way. This presentation includes many quotes from editors and other industry professionals, and shows real deals that have taken place in the last six months.

Millennials Becoming Parents: The Future of Christian Picture Books – As Christian Millennials begin their families and become parents, their priorities will shape the fiction they want to buy for their children, which will in turn shape the landscape of Christian picture books. Workshop attendees will time travel to the near future and discuss the trends of Christian picture books. This workshop is a cheat sheet to help writers write the books that agents want to represent, editors want to acquire, and most importantly: the books children want to read. This presentation includes many quotes from editors and other industry professionals, and shows real deals that have taken place in the last six months.

To learn more about Adria and see her extensive wish list, check out her website. To attend her workshops or request an appointment with her, register for the 2018 Renewal.

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

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Steve Barclift – Kregel Publications

by Elizabeth Griffin

Another veteran in the book business joins us this year at the Renewal. Steve Barclift has worked with books and authors for more than 30 years as a children’s book author and editor. He has been the managing editor at Kregel Publications since 1997.

Last year, Kregel was awarded Publisher of the Year by Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), and Steve was awarded Nonfiction Editor of the Year. He has been distinguished with several other awards during his long career, both as an author and editor.

Steve traveled from his home in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to this year’s Renewal in hopes of finding works that address a popular audience by relating the Bible to everyday life. Prominent on his wish list are works for moms and women; Bible studies or other books that relate truth to life; fiction, particularly historical; and books for young readers. Kregel is also looking for books that will help 20- and 30-something Christians and “seekers” relate to the culture around them.

It may be helpful to take a look at a few books that Steve lists as those that do well for Kregel. Two of these in the self-help category include Hope After Betrayal by Meg Wilson, which deals with a husband’s sexual addiction; and Autism’s Hidden Blessings: Discovering God’s Promises for Autistic Children and Their Families by Kelly Langston.

Fiction should be fresh, have a believable story line, and feature characters who engage life realistically and biblically. Steve lists Susie Finkbeiner’s A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression and her recent bestseller, A Song of Home: A Novel of the Swing Era, as examples of fiction that sells well, in addition to Mercy’s Rain: An Appalachian Novel and Liar’s Winter: An Appalachian Novel, both by Cindy Sproles.

Kregel is also open to historical fiction that features a romantic element. Carolyn Miller’s Regency Series is selling very well. And the publisher will also consider romantic suspense.

For the Kregel Ministry line, Steve is looking for works that facilitate the study and teaching of the Bible. These books should reflect the needs and interests of a broad evangelical audience.

Though not looking for other genres, there is always a possibility that something masterfully written in a compelling and unique style will catch Steve’s eye, so feel free to pitch it.

To sign up for an appointment with Steve, be sure to register soon for the Renewal.

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

Nick Harrison: A Friendly Face Returns to the Renewal

by Elizabeth Griffin

Nick Harrison is a familiar face at the annual Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, and we are thrilled to have him return again this year. His friendly demeanor makes him approachable and invites questions that he is highly capable of answering after many years in the book business.

Nick started out as a bookseller and then moved on to a successful 15-year stint as an editor at Harvest House. When he retired from there, he chose to begin working as an agent for WordServe Literary. Nick says, “I love this industry and hope to stay in it as long as I can.”

WordServe Literary was formed by Greg Johnson. Nick has found Greg to be a helpful mentor in his transition from editor to agent.

“The great thing about being an agent is that if I love a certain proposal and it finds rejection at one publisher, I can keep championing it to other publishers. As an editor, if I loved a proposal and it turned out not to be a good fit and had to be rejected, that was the end of my relationship with that proposal,” Nick says.

As an agent, Nick expected to represent several fiction authors, but so far he only represents one and has another under serious consideration. He also represents an author of children’s books. He has found himself taking on projects he never thought would exist, and he likes the surprises he’s encountered so far on this journey.

In addition to representing authors, Nick has authored 10 books of his own. Several of these are devotionals and prayer books that can be seen on his website and Amazon.com.

Nick’s next release is called One-Minute Prayers for Those with Cancer. It’s the book he wishes didn’t have a market.

Nick loves what he does and especially enjoys meeting new writers and helping guide them in their writing career. Be sure to say hello to him at the Renewal. He is looking for adult fiction in all genres except speculative fiction. For nonfiction, he will look at self-help, spiritual growth, social issues, women’s books, men’s books, and personal experience books if the lessons from the experience are applicable to a large segment of the population. He is not looking for children’s books, prophecy, poetry, or gift books.

Nick will teach these workshops at the Renewal:

Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Correct Them by Nick Harrison – In addition to having been an editor at Harvest House Publishers, Nick is also a writer. He understands the frustrations every writer faces. To the beginner, he can offer to show his pile of rejection slips.  To the advanced, he can offer to show his pile of rejection slips. Becoming a published writer takes time, talent, and persistence. The mistakes Nick will talk about are indeed common—and he says he has made them all.

What to Do When You Don’t Have a Platform by Nick Harrison – Writers hate the word platform, but increasingly it can make the difference between a book sale to a publisher…or rejection. While slowly building your platform, there are some things you can do to compensate for not having a platform. We’ll look at some of those ideas. (For fiction and nonfiction authors.)

Check out the rest of the workshops being offered at this year’s Renewal. To request an appointment with Nick, register soon.

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

Focus on Blythe Daniel

by Elizabeth Griffin

Bring your elevator pitch to Blythe Daniel at this year’s Renewal.

Approachable and energetic, Blythe takes a personal interest in the authors she represents. She is returning to this year’s Renewal to meet with you if you write about Christian Life, Spiritual Growth, Current Events, Inspirational/Narrative Nonfiction, Business/Leadership, Church Leadership, Marriage, Parenting, Apologetics, Social Issues, Women’s Issues, Cooking and Gift books concepts. She will consider devotionals with a unique theme and concept, and Children’s picture books and early readers with Christian concepts.

Blythe is always on the lookout for up-and-coming voices of ministry leaders, business leaders, pastors, journalists, counselors, and others who have an established organization or ministry, or are part of one. It’s important that you have an online presence and a strong platform. She wants to see what you have done, not just what you plan to do!

Blythe focuses on the placement of books with publishers, online marketing, and publicity for authors. She helps writers build the right book proposal, conducts publicity campaigns, and has placed clients in a number of major national media outlets.

Come prepared with an “elevator pitch.” In 30 seconds to two minutes tell about your idea, including what your book is about, who it’s written for, and how you are connected with your audience. Tell Blythe about your blog, podcasts, YouTube videos, publications you contribute to regularly, your speaking schedule, and your network with other writers and published authors.

Don’t have all of these? Don’t worry. If you write well and have a concept that’s unique and in her wheelhouse, the Blythe Daniel Agency is willing to take you on. Once there, you can be confident that Blythe has a proven track record of 20 years in the industry, including seven years at Thomas Nelson and working with New York Times bestselling authors John and Stasi Eldredge.

In addition to meeting with Blythe, plan to attend her workshops at the Renewal. She will be teaching:

And Exactly How Do I Sell My Book? – E-mail subscriber lists, podcasting, launch teams and what else? These are the current and proven tactics that sell books, whether you are traditionally or independently published. This workshop will explore what these items are and how to implement them in your marketing plans.

What Makes Your Book Eye-Catching to Publishers – Stellar writing, a unique and compelling idea, and your reach to the intended audience. These are the things that make your book attractive to publishers. They want you to write toward a theme that no one else is saying. How do you do this? Blythe will give examples and share how to take a topic and create an angle that will differentiate your book. Also covered will be how to write to your audience so that you are saying something that only you can offer.

Check out all the workshops being offered this year. To request an appointment with Blythe, register soon for the Renewal.

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

An Interview with Rachel Hauck, Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Renewal

by Elizabeth Griffin

EG: Tell us about yourself, Rachel. Anything you want to share is great.

RH: I am a working author, which means I live on deadline. I write a book only to rewrite the book. By the time that’s done, I’m a month away from the hard-start of the next book. Yet somehow it seems the books take forever to release! But I love my job and despite the fact I feel like an eternal college student on the quarter system, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. My husband tolerates the writer’s life well and when I’m not writing, I lead worship at our church. I also watch a lot of sports.

EG: What inspires you to write? Tell me about where and when you write, what you like to write about, etc.

RH: Good writing inspires me to write. When I’m stuck, I pick up Susan May Warren, JoJo Moyes, Kristen Hannah, or Beatriz Williams. I read books with emotion and heart. Of course, nothing beats a good prayer meeting to stir the heart creatively.

I write in my office—a lovely space built and designed by a former Pixar artist. As much as we all want to feel inspired and bubbling with creativity every day, most of us don’t. I don’t. So I head up to my office and work. No matter what. I have a goal for each day and work until I achieve it. Of course, life gets in the way and I have to make adjustments, but I do all I can to stay on track.

Most of my stories are romantic, dual time stories. I love blending the story of characters from the past with characters in the present.

EG: How did you get started writing professionally? Tell us about your journey.

RH: I always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I used to tell people I wanted to write children’s books. Then I realized the skill required to produce a good children’s book! Ha! On my first wedding anniversary the Lord prompted me to quit my job. My husband came to me a few days later and said he felt like I should quit my job. He had no idea what I was thinking or feeling. For the first time since I was 14, I wasn’t working or in school. Christian fiction was booming in those days so I read a lot. Eventually I started an epic WW II novel that was well rejected. But my “career” had started. I ended up back at work, putting a pause on writing. But in 2004 I quit for the last time to write full time. I’ve been published ever since. Praise God.

These are the workshops that Rachel will be teaching, in addition to her two plenary-session presentations:

Scene Tension Equation – Tension is what keeps the readers turning the page. Whether writing suspense or romance, the scene tension equation will help you make sure every scene is focused and on point.

The Story Equation,  2-part workshop – Are you overwhelmed after learning so many new techniques and ideas?  Are you struggling to know how to implement them into your novel and your publishing strategy?  How do you take everything you’ve learned and create a brilliant novel? New York Times and award-winning author Rachel Hauck uses the Story Equation method to give you a tool belt of how-to tools, perfect if you’re a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between. You’ll learn how to build and weave your external plot with the characters’ internal journey to create an exciting, well-paced story.  For beginning to advanced writers.

Come to this year’s Renewal to hear more about Rachel’s work and be inspired to continue the pursuit of your own writing journey!

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

Jennifer Slattery: A Way with Words

By Elizabeth Griffin

From the moment she could speak, Jennifer Slattery loved words. In fact, her mother used to beg her to be silent—just for five minutes. But Jennifer couldn’t do it. Even when disciplined by teachers for talking in class or embarrassed in Bible studies for dominating the discussion, her natural propensity for self-expression would not be dampened.

As an adult, Jennifer’s wellspring of words has become a source of healing to many women. She began Wholly Loved Ministries to teach women the truth about who they are as daughters of the King. Through stories and humor she shows women how to tune out the lies promoted on social media and modern culture, and to tune into the truth of God’s Word and their identity in Christ.

In addition to speaking fluently, Jennifer also has a freely flowing pen, and she has published five Romance novels with New Hope Publishers. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Christians Read. As managing editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she loves working with writers to help them strengthen their manuscripts and grow in their gifting.

“If you have a passion to write, God lit that spark within you, and he knows exactly what lies ahead,” Jennifer says. “In fact, he’s fully committed to perfecting all that concerns you. If we belong to Christ, we’re chosen and called to greatness. God has entrusted us with the most precious, most powerful words known to man—the gospel. At this moment, God is equipping, molding, stretching, and guiding us so he can use us to create ripples of love, peace, joy, and hope. The question is, are we complying?”

At the May 5–6 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Jennifer will entertain proposals for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. Because we’re so close to the conference, she will schedule her own appointments. You may e-mail her to request a 15-minute slot, or you can use the sign-up form at the Editor/Agent Appointment Desk.

In looking for women’s fiction, Jennifer is especially interested in manuscripts that can cross over into the general market. Though the publisher will continue to release novels with strong Christian elements, for this imprint they’re looking for stories that don’t necessarily use Scripture or refer to God but that reveal truth in more of a parable fashion, such as showing the consequences of sinful behavior. She is not interested in seeing nonfiction, children’s, YA, or overtly religious women’s fiction.

Another way you can take advantage of Jennifer’s insights in writing and promotion is by attending her workshops:

Creating Characters That Grab Your Reader – Some characters entertain us; others grab hold of us and don’t let go. A well-crafted character grabs the reader at their deepest heart level, causing them to see themselves in the character’s struggles and victories. In this discussion on abstract and concrete goals, inner lies, black moments, and character arcs, writers will learn how to take their readers from merely enjoying their stories to living them. (Emerging-writer level)

Developing and Expanding Your Reach: Ways to Build Your Author Platform – This class touches on numerous ways authors can begin to build their platform from article writing to guest blogging, speaking, and more. It discusses how a writer can go from having zero publishing credits to getting asked to write for publication. It also addresses the importance of presenting one’s best work, developing a strong critique partnership team, tweaking old articles and posts to make them fresh, and using self-publishing and compilations to gain readerships. (All levels)

At the conference, let Jennifer’s God-given gift for self-expression inspire you to develop your own way with words.

Sign up now for the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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Elizabeth Griffin has worked as a writer and editor for a monthly lifestyle newspaper elizabeth_griffin2for the past decade. She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, in addition to the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories about inspirational people. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 15 years. Her current passions are writing for an international network of church planters and her blog Follow the Dots.

Tricia Goyer: Real-Life Wonder Woman

By Elizabeth Griffin

We all know at least one Wonder Woman. Or we’ve heard of one. Because whenever a woman manages to parent more than a couple of children well, earn an income, actively minister in her church and community, and juggle a host of activities and relationships, word spreads.

With Tricia Goyer, you can multiply all of the above many times, and word has definitely spread.

To say that she is a busy mom of ten is an understatement. Her list of accomplishments and ongoing ministry is astonishing.

In summary—and I know I’m missing at least a few things—Tricia is

  • a wife;
  • homeschooling mother of ten, seven of whom are adopted;
  • grandmother of two;
  • national speaker;
  • multi-award winning author of more than 60 published novels and nonfiction books;
  • writer of more than 500 published articles;
  • active blogger on several websites;
  • mentor of teen moms in her community;
  • founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries;
  • sought-after speaker at conferences throughout the world,
  • a regular short-term missionary.

Jesus’ parable of the talents, told in Matthew 25:14–30 (esv), comes to mind when I think about Tricia. The Lord has definitely given her many abilities and gifts, and she has been faithful to use them. As she has done that, the promise “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance,” has proven true.

When recently asked how she finds time to write, Tricia responded:

Writing for me comes down to two things: (1) the choice, and (2) deadlines. I have deadlines with publishers that I have to meet, and I have to make hard choices to meet them. I often wake up early to write—like four a.m. I take my computer with me when we have appointments, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy, and I write in the waiting rooms. And I hire a babysitter for eight to ten hours a week to watch my kids so I can write.

Of course that means ignoring the laundry, ignoring the messy house, and ignoring all the things I want to watch on television. Sometimes I’m tired when I sit down to write, but once I get going the ideas excite me, and it becomes easier. The hard part is just getting started. I’ve learned over the years to just start.

That’s a good lesson for all of us: just start. Be faithful with what God has given you. Then praise him for the results.

I expect there are quite a few lessons we could learn from Tricia, and we’re blessed to have her lead two workshops at our Renewal this May:

Painless Social Media for Authors — Want to grow your followers and increase your impact as an author? Social media can be painless when you discover its true purpose and you create systems that work for you. (Intermediate and advanced levels)

Using Your Life Themes to Write Powerful Fiction – Compelling novels are filled with emotion. Not melodrama, but pain and triumph mined from the deep places of your heart. Discover the deep wells, and your story will take on new life and will touch the deep places of readers’ hearts too. (All levels)

Don’t miss meeting a real-life Wonder Woman! Sign up now for the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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Elizabeth Griffin has worked as a writer and editor for a monthly lifestyle newspaper elizabeth_griffin2for the past decade. She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, in addition to the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories about inspirational people. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 15 years. Her current passions are writing for an international network of church planters and her blog Follow the Dots.