Former Spy Dennis Brooke Ferrets Out Technology

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

A number of years ago, Dennis Brooke served as an Air Force missile officer. For four years he pulled duty sixty feet under the Montana prairie. He also spent a day in the skies as a spy.

“What was it like to be doing that job,” he asks, “when we thought the Cold War would last for decades to come or turn into a hot war any day?” It wasn’t until he stood on the Berlin Wall when it was coming down—just a few yards from Checkpoint Charlie—that he realized more fully why our military personnel serve their country.

Dennis has turned that experience into a topic for writing and speaking. Some of his other experiences-turned-topics include “Wooing Your Wife,” “Project Management,” and “Web 2.0.” His eclectic repertoire is revealed in the wide variety of publications he’s written for. “Until someone proves me wrong,” he says, “I’ll claim to be the only person to have been published in both Combat Crew and Focus on the Family magazines.”

DennisBrookePinablejpgWhile on the NCWA board, Dennis brought our organization into the digital age through a new database program for managing our membership and website, along with a cloud-based storage system that board members and key volunteers can access for necessary documents.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Dennis will co-lead three interactive sessions of a WriteCoach Lab especially designed for those who have questions about basic technology and also moderate a marketing panel of experts:

BYOD-Tech Essentials1) BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Tech Essentials (WriteCoach Lab, Friday, May 15, with Mindy Peltier) – Ever wonder how to make those graphic “thingies” you’re supposed to include in blog posts? Stumped trying to build an email list? Wish you knew how to use hashtags, make captions, or manage friends/followers? Nervous about uploading photos to “the cloud”? Recently changed from PC to Apple—or vice versa—and feel lost? At this BYOD Tech Essentials Lab, no question is too basic for experts Mindy Peltier and Dennis Brooke. And if they don’t know the answer, they’ll demonstrate how to search the Internet for solutions. Bring your own laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc., to gain the most from these sessions.

Market Like the Pros Panel2) “Market Like the Pros” Panel (Workshop, Friday, May 15) – Dennis Brooke will moderate a panel composed of publishing experts Carolyn McCready, Grace Fox, and James L. Rubart. You’ll learn secrets for getting your labors of love the attention they deserve. The panel will address marketing for both traditional and indie writers. Bring your questions and be ready for concrete ideas and inspiration.

Want to hear the rest of Dennis’s spy adventure? One time as an Air Force officer, he went on an Army Intelligence RC-12 spy mission. “We flew up and down the East German border all day,” he recalls. “It was very boring until we came in to land, and one of the landing-gear indicator lights that show “gear is down and locked” failed to illuminate. Fortunately, it was just a burned-out bulb, and my one day as a spy didn’t end in a crash landing.”

These days, Dennis is much more interested in the publishing contract he recently signed for his novel The Last Apostle. The book will be released January 2016.

To get your questions answered concerning technology and marketing—and perhaps even spy missions—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.

James L. Rubart Credits Wife for His Success

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

Jim Rubart’s wife, Darci, bought him a plaque that said “Future Award-Winning Author” and told him to hang it in his writing room. That was years before Jim ever believed he’d be published.

Then in 2002, Darci felt led to go on a fast. Without know why or for how long, she obeyed. Halfway through the third day, Jim sensed the Lord saying, “I’ve given you the desire and ability to write. When are you going to step into your destiny?”

Jim told Darci, “I know why you’re fasting. I’m supposed to be a novelist.”

She stared at her husband. “Wait a minute. I’m hungry for three days, and you get the answer?”

JamesLRubartPinableThree years later Jim finished his first novel and submitted it to four contacts he had in the publishing industry. Everyone rejected it. But the following spring, 2006, he attended a writers conference and made new connections.

Eventually Jim published his first novel under the byline James L. Rubart and became the best-selling and Christy-award-winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, and Memory’s Door.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Jim will lead a WriteCoach Lab and serve on a marketing panel of experts on Friday, May 15:

Discover and Sharpen Your Brand1) Discover and Sharpen Your Brand (WriteCoach Lab) – Do you know what your brand is as a writer? Need help developing it? As a best-selling author and owner of an ad agency/marketing firm, Jim Rubart will give you personalized help in defining your brand and learning specific ways you can promote it.

Market Like the Pros Panel2) “Market Like the Pros” Panel (Workshop) – Along with moderator Dennis Brooke and fellow panelists Carolyn McCready and Grace Fox, Jim will help you learn how to get your labors of love the attention they deserve. The panel will address marketing for both traditional and indie writers. Bring your questions and be ready for concrete ideas and inspiration.

Although James L. Rubart is the owner of Barefoot Marketing, a Pacific Northwest marketing and consulting firm, he gives his wife the credit for his writing success. “Darci’s talked me off the ledge so many times, she’s got a lawn chair set up out there,” he says. “It’s cliché to say it, but there’s no question I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”

To benefit from Jim’s wisdom and experience—along with his willingness to give credit where credit is due—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.

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.

Top Ten Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference!

 

NCWA welcomes Edie Melson from The Write Conversation

 

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This time of year writing conferences are gearing up, the faculty has been chosen and the websites are humming, ready to take your reservations. So why attend a writer’s conference? Is there anything to be gained? I believe the answer is a resounding, YES.

Top Ten Reasons pm(James L. Rubart teaching at the 2013 Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference)

Personally, I’ve been attending large conferences for years. And as my experience level has increased so have the benefits from attending. Here are my top ten reasons to attend a writers conference this year.

TweetEdie Melsom’s top ten reasons to attend a writers conference this year.

 

10. Relationships. Writing is all about relationships – your relationship with the reader, with the editor and with other writers.

9. Loneliness. Writing is a lonely business. We need time to socialize with others who get this crazy passion we have with words.

8. Confirmation. We all face doubts as to whether or not we really are a writer. A conference is the best place to confirm that calling and receive support from our peers.

7. Misery loves company. If you have spent any time at all as a writer, you know all about rejection. It helps to hear other people talk about their experiences and realize we all face the same thing.

6. The classes. Where else can you spend hours at a stretch learning about all the different aspects of writing?

5. Late night brainstorming sessions. Many of us keep odd hours as writers, where else can you find others ready to share a cup of coffee and discuss an idea at 2am?

4. Meet your neighbor. Okay, I admit, this one’s personal for me. But I had to go to a writer’s conference to meet my writing buddy Vonda Skelton – who lives less than 3 minutes away!

3. Hang out with the stars. We all have writers we admire and a conference where they are on staff is the perfect place to get to know them.

2. Sharpen that pitch. If you want to pitch an idea, a conference is the perfect place to try it out on other professionals before you send it to the editor.

1. Network, Network, Network. Like I said, writing is all about relationships and its human nature for an editor to prefer someone he’s met to someone he doesn’t know.

What conferences have you enjoyed the most?

(Northwest Christian Writers Renewal Conference will take place on April 11-12, 2014 at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, WA. Click here for details.)

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

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This post first appeared March 7, 2011 on The Write Conversation. Used by kind permission.

Edie Melson has years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer and the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Visit her website for writers, www.thewriteconversation.com and look for her best-selling eBook, Social Media Marketing for Writers, as well as her devotional, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle.