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.

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Writing from Real Life

Recently editor Nick Harrison asked NCWA’s Lydia Harris to share about her writing journey. They both graciously allowed NCWA to re-post her response here.

Getting Started
About twelve years ago, I met editor Dan Penwell at the Oregon Christian Writers’ conference. I didn’t plan to write a book at that time. But when Dan looked through my notebook of clips from articles, book reviews, columns, and stories, he said, “Anyone who can get this much published could write a book.” I tucked away his encouragement and determined that someday I would.

Meanwhile, I nudged my niece, Ann Marie Stewart, to attend the Write to Publish conference in Chicago and meet Dan Penwell. She did, which led to book contracts with AMG Publishers and writing the first three Bible studies in the “Preparing My Heart” series. Both my niece and Dan Penwell encouraged me to write Bible studies for the series, so I proposed, Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting.

Accepting the Challenge
Writing a Bible study was a new genre for me. But my twelve-person prayer team and others prayed as I wrote this God-sized project. And my dear husband of 44 years (and president of my fan club) supported me throughout the writing. He picked up the slack at home by learning to use new power tools, such as the vacuum cleaner, dishwasher, and washing machine.

Setting Priorities
Through this book, I wanted to affirm grandparents in their important role, provide tools to help them become fantastic grandparents, and motivate them to be intentional about passing on a legacy of faith. At the same time, I desired to be a hands-on grandma to my four grandchildren, with another on the way.

I also wanted each day’s lesson to be fresh and exciting, not predictable. That’s why I included charts, drama, artwork, stories, resources, and creative ideas. I desired to relate to grandparents at the heart level and draw them to God. So each of the thirty lessons ends with a “grand thought” take-away and a Scripture-based prayer.

Persevering
It took eighteen months from the time I signed the contract until I held a printed copy in my hand. But prior to receiving the contract, I read books on grandparenting, interviewed dozens of grandparents, and researched grandparenting in the Bible (after all, there’s no biblical book of “grandparenting” to quickly turn to). Once I began writing the study, I wrote 30 lessons in 36 weeks. During this time, the lessons were also critiqued and tested by groups of grandparents.

I was pleased to complete the study on time, which was January 31, 2010. That year our Christmas tree didn’t come down until February.

Equipping Grandparents
Besides helping readers prepare for their grandparenting role, the six weeks of lessons also include ways to pray, model godly lives, invest in grandkids’ lives, prepare for joy and tears, and make an eternal impact. Weekends include devotions that cover the same topics. You can learn more about the study and read my grandparenting blog at www.PreparingMyHeart.net.

Reaping Rewards
When the first books arrived at our home, my husband and I knelt by the boxes and dedicated the books to God. We saw this study as a tool in God’s hands to impact future generations.

I’ve heard from groups of grandparents in Colorado and elsewhere who have completed the study. Recently, ten grandmothers in the Seattle area invited me to attend their final Bible study brunch. They wanted to thank me and share what they learned. Between them they had 54 grandchildren!

I felt humbled to hear how God worked in their lives through the study. It made all my tears and sleepless nights while writing it worthwhile. Grandma Louise, with seven grandchildren said, “It’s hard to put into words my feelings. Your Bible study has meant so much to my husband and me. I praise God for His guidance to you, and I thank you for listening to Him.”

Grandma Cammy, with two preschool grandchildren and a husband who is a pastor, wrote me this note: “My husband and I have been so excited about and committed to the whole grandpareting thing that I didn’t think I could be any more inspired. But your book has done just that—challenging me to think intentionally and to live purposefully in this new role. And you include so many wonderful, creative ideas from so many grandparents. Thank you!”

Meanwhile, I’ve been speaking on “FANtastic Grandparenting” and other topics at conferences, churches, senior living communities, and community centers. I’m being

s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to do new things. One praying friend said, “Before long, you’ll be six feet tall!”

Praising God!
My husband and I are thrilled to see what God is doing with this book. Pre-Christian grandparents and those with other beliefs are reading it. Individuals, couples, and groups are using it. I know God will continue to touch lives and bless future generations through Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting. I felt privileged to write it. To God be the glory!

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This post first appeared September 19th, 2011 on Nick Harrison’s blog. Used by kind permission.

Lydia E. Harris served on the NCWA board for five years and has taught at the Writers Renewal and other conferences. She writes devotionals, book reviews, articles, true stories, recipes, and the popular column, “A Cup of Tea with Lydia.” She has contributed to thirteen books. She is the author of Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting, a six-week Bible study for grandparents at any stage of the journey.

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Nick lives in Oregon with his wife of more than 30 years, Beverly. Nick became a Christian through the ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ during the heyday of the Jesus Movement. During that time, he and Beverly joined a Christian commune in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District. Today Nick is an editor with a major Christian publishing house and continues to write books in his spare time. Nick and Bev are the parents of three adult daughters and have three grandchildren. To read more about Nick, visit his blog.

Sell Your Fiction in a Tough Economy

This video interview with Nick Harrison, an Editor at Harvest House Publishing, was filmed at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal Conference in May of 2010. I attended a workshop taught by Nick and he had several interesting points that I thought were worthy of further discussion.

Watch the interview here to hear Nick’s thoughts on “the forty percent” of effort that an author needs to dedicate beyond the writing and the concept of a five year plan to help you set realistic expections.

Nick Harrison is an editor with a Harvest House publishing and continues to write books in his spare time. Visit his website at www.nickharrisonbooks.com

 

 

Dennis Brooke writes about Almost True Stories of Life at www.dennisbrooke.wordpress.com. He’s been a member of NCWA for three years and currently serves as Vice-President and Webmaster.