6 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid at a Writers Conference

by guest blogger Katelyn S. Bolds, web writer and social media strategist

1.  Bring snacks

Don’t make the mistake of not planning for meals. Have a little snack stashed in your attaché for a slow moment. Don’t let your stomach growl when pitching your book! Bring a granola bar or trail mix as a speedy way to subdue your hunger. Choosing protein and low-sugar options will help keep your energy levels up and prevent you from crashing in the mid-afternoon slump.6-rookie-mistakes

2.  Make goals

Attending a conference with no goals in mind is a complete waste of money. Even if your goal is “find out what my goal should be,” you should still have some in mind.

Make a list of the editors and agents you want to meet with or touch base with. Do your homework and research them online. Try to find out interests, and see if your story would fit well for them. If an agent only works with fiction, don’t try to get them to make an exception for your manuscript.

3.  Avoid burnout

Know what is the right amount of conference for you. When you start to feel overwhelmed, leave the conference. Go outside, take a nap, call your family. Skipping meals or sleep will not impress anyone, but rather give the impression that you are inexperienced and unprofessional. Everyone needs a break after a long conference, but rest assured you can recover.

Read more here about avoiding conference burnout.

4.  Network and connect

Don’t underestimate the power of connections and friendships made at conferences! Use your time between sessions to speak with those around you. Swap struggles and tips with other writers and make sure to get names and e-mails if you feel the connection has potential. Writer friends are important for support, idea generation, and later networking opportunities. Be kind and see where it might lead!

5.  Pitch perfectly

Know your story backwards and forwards. It’s hard to sell a story short and sweet, but shoot for the style of a back cover. Focus on the main plot and emotional draw. In three to five sentences, explain the mass appeal of your work and why the publisher should be interested. Be polite, but don’t waste time chatting about the weather or the conference. The agent or editor is there to hear your pitch.

6.  Follow up and follow through!

Follow up with everyone you spoke with for more than a few minutes. Send them a thank you e-mail referencing interesting conversation points you discussed and tell them it was nice to meet them. This little touch will remind them who you are and set you apart from the crowd.

Follow through with anyone who asked you to send them something. If an editor asks you to tweak your story before sending them your manuscript, don’t let pride or lack of time stand in your way. Send it to them with haste! You may find that they are willing to work with you in the future, knowing how dedicated you are to impressing them.

Now that you know the rookie mistakes to avoid at writers conferences, be sure to sign up for the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!

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katelynsbolds_headshotKatelyn S. Bolds balances work as web editor, author services extraordinaire, and freelance writer. She is married to coffee; also her husband. At times this DIY life might get a little crazy, but she takes it one day at a time. A little yoga, a lot of organization, and a holistic approach make for a Bold Life. Follow her on Twitter, (@KatelynSBolds), Facebook, and Pinterest.

 

Personal Loss Led Melissa K. Norris to Being Published

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

A decade ago, Melissa K. Norris suffered a medical emergency and deep personal loss. During recovery, she read Francine Rivers’ novel, The Scarlet Thread. That book changed Melissa’s life.

“I realized how far I’d drifted from God,” she says now. “I had been trying to break into the secular market with my writing. But then and there, I vowed that any books flowing from my hand would be dedicated to Jesus. I wanted to write something that would help turn someone back to God when they lost their way.”

MelissaKNorrisPinableThe manuscript she subsequently wrote landed her an agent. Her debut book, The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home, will be released February 2016 by Harvest House Publishers.

“Every hardship has taught me something I wouldn’t have learned if life had kept flowing along without any bumps,” she says. “God has used many more incidences to draw me closer to him. The one thing I know for certain is that no matter what horrible thing happens in life, he has the power to transform it into something good. And he does.”

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Melissa will lead a WriteCoach Lab and also co-teach a workshop:

BYOD- Deciphering Pinterest1) BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Deciphering Pinterest (WriteCoach Lab, Friday, May 15) – Would you like to learn how to use Pinterest to promote your writing? Could you benefit from some guidance in converting to a Pinterest business account, creating a branded bio, verifying your website, or taking advantage of Pinterest Goodies? Bring all your questions, along with your own device—laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc.—for on-the-spot answers from Pinterest guru Melissa K. Norris.

Driving Traffic to Your Website2) Driving Traffic to Your Website (Workshop, Saturday, May 16, with Janalyn Voigt) – Many writers have great blogs, awesome books, and beautiful websites—but no visitors. Melissa and Janalyn will share how they get thousands of visitors to their websites every month and will demonstrate logical steps, not just to build traffic, but also to engage visitors so they return. Learn why you should have an e-mail list and which service is recommended. They’ll discuss blogging as content marketing, how to boost a site in search engines, the role of social media in attracting website visitors, and their best tips on how most effectively to build website traffic. They’ll discuss what worked and what didn’t in their own attempts. Attendees will also be able to obtain discounted access to their Mailchimp tutorial.

Melissa is an author, newspaper columnist, radio-show host, blogger, homesteader, and contributor to the New Pioneer magazine, Self-Reliance Illustrated, and Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS (God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season).

Growing up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder, Melissa now enjoys her own little house in the big woods where she lives with her husband and two children in the Cascade Mountains. Her books and articles are inspired by her family’s small herd of beef cattle, her amateur barrel-racing days, and her forays into quilting and canning—“without always reading the directions first,” she cheerfully admits.

To learn from Melissa’s wisdom about the Internet, pioneering, and watching God turn tragedy into triumph, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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DianaSavageDiana 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 is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

New Publisher Miralee Ferrell Specializes in Debut Authors

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

Are you a pre-published writer with the dream of seeing your name in print?

Are you a multi-published author with out-of-print books?

Or are you a traditionally published author who wants to write in a genre that doesn’t work for your publisher?

Award-winning author Miralee Ferrell founded Mountain Brook Ink in 2014 to fill a need in the publishing industry. “We are asking the Lord to bring the authors and manuscripts that we can believe in and bless,” she says.

MiraleeFerrellPinableWhile defined as a small press, Mountain Brook Ink is not a self-publishing company. “There is no charge for authors to publish with us, other than taking care of their edit,” Miralee explains. The publisher pays for the proofreading, cover, formatting, uploading, and printing and will help authors with promotion and publicity. Authors can even purchase their print copies at cost.

Traditionally published authors can also work with Mountain Brook Ink to release their out-of-print books in e-book and paperback formats, thus realizing a higher royalty rate than they originally received.

Miralee accepts fiction in two general areas. The first is inspirational fiction in almost any genre (except children’s fiction). The second is general-market fiction. Although by definition it doesn’t have a faith thread, it must nevertheless be clean and contain no sexual content or offensive language. Learn more from Mountain Brook Ink’s submission guidelines.

As a representative for Mountain Brook Ink, Miralee Ferrell will be available to meet with authors at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. Because she is a recent addition to our slate of editors, she is handling her own appointment scheduling, and instead of meeting with conferees in group appointments, she will schedule 20-minute, one-on-one appointments for both days of the conference.

After studying what she’s interested in, you may contact Miralee through her website to set up an appointment to pitch your novel in the genres listed above. Instead of sending a proposal at that point, simply state in the comment section that you’re coming to the conference and would like to make an appointment with her.

If you haven’t yet registered for the Renewal, there’s still time. Sign up today!

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DianaSavageDiana 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 is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

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

 

Save Time, Market Better with a “TweetSheet” Cheat Sheet

by Mindy Peltier, Director of WriteTech Conference 2015

Twitter is a great way to promote author events, such as book launches, book signings, book sales, and conferences. It’s free, fast, and far-reaching. Gone are the days of buying mailing lists or newspaper ads. To easily garner social-media support from your staff or launch team create a “TweetSheet”—a Word document that’s a cheat sheet of hyper-linked tweets.

Try saying that three times.

TweetTwitter is a free, fast, and far-reaching way to promote author events.

A TweetSheet is a Twitter Cheat Sheet used for an effective social media campaign.If you have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends who have a few hundred friends, the impact on social media can be tremendous. But, you need to make it easy for people to help you market through Twitter. If you ask them to tweet, they’ll want to, but not know what to say, what hashtags to use, or which handles to use.

A TweetSheet makes sure it takes around 5 seconds to promote.

TweetSheet developed for the Twitter campaign to promote the WriteTech conference in 2015.Northwest Christian Writers Association’s amazing Publicity Coordinator, Kim Vandel, created a two-page TweetSheet for promoting our WriteTech Conference through Twitter.

She wrote two suggested tweets for each conference workshop and included hashtags, Twitter handles, and a shortened link. We chose the hashtag #WriteTech2015 for our conference. NCWA’s Twitter handle, @NWCWriters, is used in each tweet, and since all of the workshop presenters are also on Twitter, each presenter’s handle was added to the tweet that promotes the workshop that particular individual is teaching.

To create a TweetSheet, start by writing in a Word document the text of your tweets. Include relevant hashtags and handles. Then you need to use two tools: one to shorten the URL of your website and one to make each tweet a clickable link.

SHORTEN THE URLS

The link to the WriteTech Conference on our website http://nwchristianwriters.org/page-1829379 uses too much real estate in Twitter, which allows only 140 characters per tweet. Bitly is one of the tools that can be used to shorten links for Twitter.

Bitly long pm

Cut and paste the URL into the appropriate box on Bitly.com and click Shorten.

bitly short pm

The shorter link is easily used by clicking Copy. Paste the link into your environment, whether it’s Twitter or your Word document.

yellow links pmTHE CLICK-TO-TWEET TOOL

When all your tweets are completed, you’re ready for the Click to Tweet tool that creates a shortened hyperlink of your entire tweet. Then, when you click on Click Here to Tweet, all the information below that line opens up in Twitter.

clicktotweet new pm

In the box at clicktotweet.com type or paste in your tweet text, shortened link, hashtags, and Twitter handle. Click Generate New Link.

clicktotweet two new pmThis shortened link now represents all the material you typed into the box above.

CREATE THE HYPERLINK

The final step is to hyperlink the words Click Here to Tweet with the shortened link you created.

clicktotweet three pm

When you click the words above Click Here to Tweet–go ahead and try it–a dialogue box in Twitter opens and your message is ready to be tweeted. Then click Tweet.

TweetSheets can help you promote conferences, monthly meetings, book launches, and book-signing parties. Whenever you invest time in creating a cheat sheet for Twitter, your social media campaign will produce results.

TweetCreate a TweetSheet, a Twitter cheat sheet, for an effective social media campaign.

 

 

TweetSheet header

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn to use Scrivener #writing software with @dennisbrooke. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Increase your #writing productivity with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Organize your #writing life with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Capture inspiration with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Turn waiting time into #writing time with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, gain a horde of raving readers on @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, learn how to boost book sales using @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Unleash the power of hashtags, lists, and more with @TreDigital. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, learn how to grow your @twitter platform in 15mins/day. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Build #author credibility with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, brand yourself with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Make the most of Track Changes and Document Sharing in MS Word. @EditorMWords #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Tips and tricks from @EditorMWords to maximize communication in MS Word. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Want to #indie publish? Learn about cover design, formatting, and more w/ @lynnettebonner. #WriteTech2015 @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Learn what you need to know before you #indie publish. @lynnettebonner #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Authors, turn blog browsers into book buyers. @MindyJPeltier #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Blogging strategy for published and pre-published #authors w/ @MindyJPeltier. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Simple strategies to create a powerful @twitter profile. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
Strategies to create a strong @twitter following. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc #amwriting

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand your readers will eat up. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

CLICK HERE TO TWEET:
#Writers, create a brand readers will share with the masses. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters http://bit.ly/1xejrTc

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.

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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.

2 NCWA Conferences: Which Should You Attend?

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

In the next few months, you’ll have two exciting conferences to benefit from: The WriteTech Conference on January 24, 2015, and the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal the weekend of May 15–16, 2015.

Why two? Although the goal of each is to help you be a successful writer, the tools you’ll receive at each conference differ slightly.

 

WriteTech Conference with keynote speaker Thomas Umstattd Jr.

The WriteTech Conference – Dramatic changes in the publishing industry mean that introverted writers can no longer hide behind closed doors and produce reams of material in solitude while leaving the marketing—or even publishing—to others. The job description of “successful author” now includes competence in computer software and social-media platforms.

Aack! What’s a writer to do? The good news is that Thomas Umstattd Jr., the 2015 WriteTech Conference keynoter, is a whiz at helping authors master the world of technology. He and his fellow presenters will assist you with blogging, branding, and understanding cloud technology. You’ll gain a working understanding of voice recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking), word-processing software (Microsoft Word and Scrivener), and social media sites (Twitter and Goodreads) and sharpen your skills for indie publishing and producing a professional media kit.

Then look out, world! Your new skills and confidence will enable you to get your message out to its intended audience.

Angela Hunt pm

The Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference – While the 2015 Renewal will also feature some training to help you master technology, the conference will cover a lot more territory. You’ll be able to receive critiques on your material, learn important basic information if you’re a beginning writer, and pitch your current project to an editor or agent if you’re advanced enough to seek a publisher. At all levels you’ll be inspired, enriched, and informed about the writing life.

Perhaps the best part is that for two full days, you’ll be able to network with other writers who have similar goals. You’ll connect with people you already know, and you’ll also meet new friends. If you’re just beginning your journey, you can be a “Timothy” and learn from a Paul-like mentor. If you’re a little farther along in your writing journey, you can serve as a “Paul” to someone else. Maybe you’re in the position to do both. In the Christian writing community, most of us share the same goal: to advance the kingdom of God through our skills, gifts, and talents.

So, which conference should you sign up for? Both! Rest assured that we are squeezing every line in the budget in order to keep costs as low as possible for you, so now’s the time to let family and friends know that high on your holiday wish list are gifts of cash to help you with registration and other expenses.

The WriteTech Conference is only $80—and that includes lunch! (It’s even less for early birds and NCWA members.) We’ll publish registration info for the Renewal conference just as soon as we finish hard-nosed negotiations with hotels and caterers.

Consider these conferences as solid steppingstones in your writing career. We’re confident that when you see your byline in print for the first time or you land your next book contract, you’ll be glad you made these investments.

TweetWriters conferences are solid steppingstones to your writing career.

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Diana SavageDiana 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.