Children’s Author/Illustrator Shares Secrets to Publishing Success

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

ChristaPierceLast year I received an enthusiastic e-mail from our conference’s retiring program coordinator, Clint Kelly, telling me he’d found another great workshop leader to keep in mind for the 2016 Renewal. As the new director of the conference, I was all ears.

He told me that the candidate was Christa Pierce, a recent Seattle Pacific University grad. Clint said she’d found a top agent and received a contract from Harper-Collins for a two-book deal. He added that she’d accomplished it while still a senior at SPU!

The first book she wrote and illustrated for kids four to eight years old is Do You Know That I Love You? “It’s a charmer,” Clint told me. “I sat in on a session she did at the SPU library, and she is as delightful as her book. A great sense of humor and very open about her experiences, including her work now on book #2 for Harper and why, after she completes that obligation, she will seek out a smaller publishing house.”

Christa, who is from Portland, Oregon, calls herself “a lover of tea and acrylic paint—but not together.” Her BA from SPU is in Illustration, with a Creative Writing minor. Her book has been featured on the Today Show, praised by Brooke Shields, and reviewed by The New York Times.

At the 2016 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Christa will teach two workshops:

Getting Started in Children's Publishing1) Getting Started in Children’s Publishing – Through her personal story of navigating the publishing world, Christa shares her accumulated knowledge of the industry. Included: helpful writing resources, plus how to find an agent, pitch your ideas, work with an editor, survive the editing process, promote your book, and successfully negotiate a contract. Time for Q&A included.

Secrets to Effective Illustrations for Children’s Books2) Secrets to Effective Illustrations for Children’s Books – Christa shares the “crash course” that trained her in illustrating children’s books when, at the beginning of her career, she interviewed with New York publishers. She will cover world-building, telling a second story through illustrations, deadline expectations, working with an author/designer/editor, layout for publication, and the visual elements that Caldecott-award judges look for. In class, view actual sketchbooks, in-process work, and correspondence between an editor and illustrator. Time for Q&A included.

When she’s not drawing, Christa loves to go to storytelling events, speak to students about the relevancy of the arts, meet other artists, and play with her puppy, Sir Lancelot.

To attend Christa’s workshops or to request an appointment with one of this year’s seven editorial reps, sign up for the Renewal today.


Diana SavageDianaSavage, 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. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.


“Brand Humility” by Clint Kelly

Clint Kelly delighted NCWA at a recent meeting with his insightful devotional on the 5 letter word: “Brand”

Brand humility is the recognition that your readers and their needs trump your agenda. To discover what they want and what you can do for them (esteem them more highly than yourself) is brand humility in action. Place your focus there and your writing will be blessed of God.

Clint Kelly is a novelist ( and a communications specialist at Seattle Pacific University. His brand slogan is “Always an Adventure.” Clint has conducted writing workshops and keynoted for writers conferences from Salem, Oregon, to Sandy Cove, Maryland. He has been married to his lovely bride, Cheryll, for 41 years.

Writers, Readers & Book Reviews

These are small sample of numerous books written by our own NCWA writers. Have you read any of them? Consider writing a book review!


NCWA’s Lydia Harris, in her article “Break Into Print With Book Reviews” (in 2004 edition of The Write Start) stated:

Since reading takes more time than writing reviews (except for children’s picture books), write several reviews for each book. Multiple marketing allowed me to publish 55 reviews in eight different periodicals by reading 28 books. I published reviews of When Mothers Pray in five magazines, each slanted for the audience and magazine’s guidelines. Guidelines also indicate how to submit reviews. Many markets accept e-mail reviews; others prefer hard copies or disks.

Once you’ve found your markets, chosen your books, and written your reviews, you’re well on your way to publication. I agree with the seasoned author who told me: ‘Writing book reviews is a good way to break into print.’

(Lydia Harris is the author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.)


Charles Ray at “Writinghood” in his post “The Writing Life: Breaking Into Print with Book Reviews” wrote:

Writing book reviews is a good way to get your name into print. The pay is low; usually you only get to keep the books you review; but it’s a good way to build a clipping file and get your name in front of editors and the reading public.

Click here to read more.
Do you blog? Bloggers are readers! Never before have there been so many choices for books. Books in print,  ebooks, Kindles, Nooks, Kobo, GoogleBooks and even iTunes, the choices seem to be growing by the day.Some are wonderful reading! Some not so great. And some….well… one wonders what the author was thinking.Here’s where you can have an impact! There’s a new book review community especially for bloggers; Blogger’s Choice Book Reviews. Check out the guidelines and opportunities for free books!

Christian Fiction: Birth of a Genre

Christian Fiction has evolved through the years to take a prominent place in mainstream publishing. Fiction writers will want to read this article in the Library Journal written by Melanie C. Duncan.

These books are a sample of great selections by NCWA authors. Click on each book to purchase or know more about them.