Kim Vandel Thrives on Plan B

Kim Vandel knows first-hand that writing isn’t for the faint of heart.

Growing up on a steady diet of Saturday morning Justice League cartoons and Sunday morning Bible stories, she later merged the two into the concept of Guardians—men and women with God-given “superpowers.” She also drew on her work experience in the field of environmental science to breathe life into her fiction’s speculative element.

As she honed her craft, she followed advice from publishing experts, built an online presence, and made great connections with editorial reps. Her efforts in pursuing publication began to pay off.

KimVandelPinableAgents and editors asked to see her manuscript. She won the 2013 Cascade Award in the Unpublished Young Adult category and was finalist in the 2012 and 2013 Mile High Scribes One-Sheet Contests. Her goal seemed within reach.

Then, without warning, she felt the call to indie publish.

“I was dismayed, to say the least,” she says. “Why would God have me pursue traditional publishing for so long if that wasn’t the goal? What was the point of dedicating myself to Plan A, if I was just going to end up settling for Plan B?”

But as she obeyed God and changed direction, she experienced tremendous freedom. The vision she had for her YA (Young Adult) series began to unfold.

Now she understands that Plan B doesn’t always mean Backup or Better than Nothing. Sometimes it means Best. All the time she’d spent in pursuit of traditional publishing hadn’t been a waste. Plan A had prepared her for Plan B.

Kim moved forward with confidence and published a novel she knew would be “a quality product, not a humiliating tribute to my ignorance that I’d end up wishing didn’t exist a few years down the road.” She is confident she can effectively market her novel instead of being angry with Amazon for not selling more than a dozen copies.

Into the Fire released on April 14, and Kim coordinated a carefully crafted social-media campaign for the book’s launch.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Kim—who is also Publicity Coordinator for NCWA—will lead a WriteCoach Lab so that you, too, can learn how to use social media to your advantage.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device): Social Media Basics (WriteCoach Lab, Friday, May 15) – Wish you knew the basics about the plethora of social media available these days? Expert Kim Vandel can help you find solutions to your challenges concerning

  • Facebook
  • Goodreads
  • Google +
  • Instagram,
  • Tumblr, &
  • Twitter.

She can also answer basic questions about Pinterest and WordPress if you’re unable to attend the BYOD sessions dedicated solely to those platforms. Bring your own laptop, netbook, tablet, or smartphone to gain the most from these sessions. (Kim can help you with Android or PC. For Apple, see BYOD expert Dennis Brooke.)

Whether you’re on Plan A, Plan B, or much farther down the alphabet, you can benefit from Kim’s expertise concerning how to harness social media to build your platform and promote your writing. Sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!


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.


The link to the WriteTech Conference on our website 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 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 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.


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

Learn to use Scrivener #writing software with @dennisbrooke. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Increase your #writing productivity with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Organize your #writing life with cloud technology. @dennisbrooke #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Capture inspiration with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters #amwriting

Turn waiting time into #writing time with on-the-go tools. @GigiMurfitt #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

#Authors, gain a horde of raving readers on @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

#Authors, learn how to boost book sales using @goodreads. @ThomasUmstattd #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Unleash the power of hashtags, lists, and more with @TreDigital. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters #amwriting

#Writers, learn how to grow your @twitter platform in 15mins/day. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Build #author credibility with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

#Authors, brand yourself with a professional media package. @RedemptionPress #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Make the most of Track Changes and Document Sharing in MS Word. @EditorMWords #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Tips and tricks from @EditorMWords to maximize communication in MS Word. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Want to #indie publish? Learn about cover design, formatting, and more w/ @lynnettebonner. #WriteTech2015 @NWCWriters

Learn what you need to know before you #indie publish. @lynnettebonner #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

#Authors, turn blog browsers into book buyers. @MindyJPeltier #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters #amwriting

Blogging strategy for published and pre-published #authors w/ @MindyJPeltier. #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Simple strategies to create a powerful @twitter profile. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Strategies to create a strong @twitter following. @TreDigital #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters #amwriting

#Writers, create a brand your readers will eat up. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

#Writers, create a brand readers will share with the masses. @jameslrubart #WriteTech2015 #conference @NWCWriters

Renewal, Referrals, and Rewards: Put in a Good Word

Written by Kim Vandel, Public Relations Coordinator for NCWA


Don’t you love it when people say nice things about you? Well, NCWA feels the same way. We love it when people invite their friends to a monthly meeting or to one of our special events, so we’ve come up with a way to thank the folks who are saying good things about us.

PrintThis year we’re rewarding people who recommend the 2014 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. If you refer a first time attendee to our conference, both you and your friend will receive a free digital copy of Lynnette Bonner’s The Unrelenting Tide. Both you and your friend may also be eligible for our grand prize drawing. (Details below.)


The grand prize will include:


Davis Bunn 4

  • Ten-page critique by our keynote speaker Davis Bunn


  • Starbucks gift card Cover_TheUnrelentingTide_200
  • Print copy of The Unrelenting Tide by Lynnette Bonner
  • Chocolate
  • Coupon for $50 off the registration fee for the 2015 Writers Renewal

And that’s just for starters! We’ll add even more goodies to the grand prize before the conference.

Of course, in the interest of keeping things fun and fair, we have to include a few rules:

  • If you refer someone, he or she must register for the 2014 Writers Renewal in order for it to count as a referral.
  • You will receive one entry in the drawing for each first time attendee you refer.
  • If you refer someone but can’t attend the conference yourself, you’re still eligible to receive a digital copy of The Unrelenting Tide.
  • To be eligible for the grand prize drawing, you must be registered for the 2014 Writers Renewal, and you must be present at the time of the drawing in order to win.
  • To receive their free digital copy of The Unrelenting Tide, participants must submit the required information by April 10, 2014.
  • Free digital copies of The Unrelenting Tide will be distributed to eligible participants after the conference.

How do you get in on this awesome giveaway? Just send the following information to Kim Vandel at

  • Your full name
  • An email address where we can contact you
  • The full name of the person you referred to the Writers Renewal (or full name of the person who referred you)

A huge thank you goes out to Davis Bunn, Judy Bodmer, Lynnette Bonner, and Dennis Brooke for their very generous donations.

The 2014 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference takes place April 11-12 at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Washington. Early bird prices expire March 4th, so what are you waiting for? Start talking!
Tweet Have something good to say? It could make you a winner.

Tweet Learn how to win a 10-page critique by bestselling author.@DavisBunn


Kim Vandel photoKim Vandel wanted to be Princess Leia when she grew up, but she’s decided that being a writer is even better than leading a rebellion against the Empire. Her current project is a YA urban fantasy set in Washington state. It features plenty of coffee but no vampires. You can find her books reviews and more at

My Muse Didn’t Show Up for Work Today

My muse didn’t show up for work today.

She didn’t even bother to call and give some lame excuse about why she couldn’t come in.

I was left sitting with my inner critic who looked pointedly at her watch then lifted an eyebrow as if to say, “You see? Completely unreliable.”

My inner critic insisted we write anyway. She always does, so I’ve become accustomed to sitting down at the computer despite my muse’s absence. I string a few words together into a sentence. Then I rewrite it a couple of times. I write another sentence and usually end up rewriting that one too.

The process feels more like chipping away at a block of ice than letting a paintbrush flow across the canvas, but I think that’s the sign of a true writer.

Writers show up for work whether their muse does or not.

The words don’t always come with graceful brushstrokes. Sometimes you have to chip away at them and force them to cooperate.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to wait for my muse in order to put words onto paper. More often than not, if I start putting the words together, my muse will decide she’s in the mood to work after all.

She’ll wander in (ignoring the ugly look from my inner critic) and read over my shoulder between sips of chai latte. She takes the flat words and awkward sentences I’ve put together, finds their potential, and breathes life into them.

So, I’m not too worried that my muse didn’t show up for work. I know she’ll get here sooner or later, and when she does, she’ll create something beautiful.

Until then, I’ll just keep chipping away.

©2012 Kim Vandel

(image courtesy Simon Howden:


This post appeared on Kim’s Blog. Reposted by kind permission.

Kim Vandel photoKim Vandel wanted to be Princess Leia when she grew up, but she’s decided that being a writer is even better than leading a rebellion against the Empire. She’s published Into the Fire and  Among the Flames. You can find her books reviews and more Kim has been a member of NCWA since 2011.

Writing Isn’t for Wimps

I survived a writers’ conference this week.

While there were some less-than-stellar moments that I’d love to erase from existence, the conference was a great experience overall, and I had the opportunity to pitch my book idea to three agents. (Mentally repeating YOLO the whole time. [“You Only Live Once”])

Writing is a perilous endeavor in so many ways. When you write, pieces of your soul bleed onto the page. You can’t help it. For those of us who blog or publish in some form, we take it one step farther and willingly open ourselves up to public rejection. It’s hard to not take rejection personally when you’re baring pieces of your soul.

Image courtesy of mrpuen at

Image courtesy of mrpuen

Facing rejection is hard enough, but writers need to risk more than just sharing our words. There are risks we need to take before we ever sit down to the computer or pick up a pen. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, writing is about life, and we can’t write about life if we’re not experiencing it.

Life is messy and unexpected.

All too often it hurts, and I don’t like pain. I want to avoid it at all costs. But if I never take any chances, then I’m going to have a hard time writing about characters who find the strength to shine in the midst of life’s darkest moments. My writing will reek of insincerity, and that guarantees rejection.

I need to make sure I’m really living, not relying on my characters to live for me. I know I have to step away from the computer once in a while and push myself to move beyond what’s comfortable because I want to be a writer and writing isn’t for wimps.

©2013 Kim Vandel



Kim Vandel photoKim Vandel wanted to be Princess Leia when she grew up, but she’s decided that being a writer is even better than leading a rebellion against the Empire. Her current project is a YA urban fantasy set in Washington state. It features plenty of coffee but no vampires. You can find her book reviews and more at Kim has been a member of NCWA since 2011.

Why You Need an eReader

NCWA blog welcomes Kim Vandel!


At the NCWA Writers Renewal this May, Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary challenged attendees to purchase an eReader if they didn’t have one yet. She pointed out that the publishing industry is going digital whether we like it or not. But if you’re still not convinced you need an eReader, let me give you a few more reasons to consider one.

  • You don’t actually have to buy an eReader! Nook, Kindle, and Kobo offer free reading apps for your computer or mobile device. Another option is Adobe Digital Editions. OverDrive is a free reading app that will let you borrow eBooks from the library.
  • You can highlight text, bookmark pages, and even make notes, and you can delete them just as easily if you change your mind. You can look up the definition of a word or search the book for a particular word or phrase. You can also explore a link such as the author’s website directly from an eBook.
  • In general, eBooks are less expensive than print books, and sometimes they’re even free. That may change in the future, but for now readers can get more for less.
  • eBooks don’t take up space on your bookshelf, and you don’t have to store them on your device if you don’t want to. You can “archive” or store books online and download them again whenever you want.
  • You can have an eBook in less than a minute. No running out to the bookstore or waiting for a book to be shipped to your home.
  • Amazon’s Kindle cloud reader will automatically sync your computer to other devices like your phone. You can read a book no matter where you are, and you don’t have to remember what page you were on. The app does the remembering for you.
  • eReaders aren’t just about books. Many newspapers and periodicals are available in electronic format.

eReaders are designed to get people buying and reading books, and that will benefit writers in the end. If you haven’t done it yet, you owe it to yourself as both a writer and a reader to take a closer look at the world of eBooks.


Free Nook Apps          Free Kindle Apps         Free Kobo Apps

Adobe Digital Editions  OverDrive Media Console


Kim Vandel is an aspiring Young Adult author and part of the NCWA social media team. She owns a Nook, uses OverDrive on a regular basis, and has a Kindle app for both her computer and her phone. You can find her at