Friday, February 29, 2008


I received a letter from a magazine publisher yesterday who, among other things, was responding to a comment I'd made in a recent publication about how many periodicals were not accepting freelance submissions. It apparently was a topic he felt passionate about. I'm not going to reveal his name or the name of the periodical--only to say it was one of the better denomionational magazines--but I am going to quote much of the letter because it's a message we really need to hear. I also think it is one most editors would agree with. It's long, but I guarantee you'll go away with a much better idea of what publishers expect from you.

"I cannot speak for other periodicals, but I can share this publisher's perspective on why publisher friendliness is diminishing toward freelancers. Many writers simply do not show respect to publishers, publisher's needs--and their own writing craft.

As writer's guidelines go, ours are pretty straightforward and readily available. We don't ask much, yet from the vast majority of material we receive, you'd think our guidelines didn't even exist. Author's flagrantly submit more material more frequently than we request. They inquire by e-mail submissions (and snail mail submissions without an accompanying SASE) even though our guidelines clearly state these submissions will not be acknowledged unless accepted for publication. They frequently e-mail simple questions that are clearly addresses in our guidelines. Manuscript mechanics? Forget it--most authors don't even attempt to comply. Most distressing, however, is that most of the material received is not--even remotely--suitable for our magazine.

Couple this with some 'attitudes' and it's no wonder publisherd have 'had it' with freelancers. Authors who deem their work more valuable than the publisher does and then, on their own, attempt to change acceptance terms and compensation on the acceptance form do not ingratiate themselves to publishers. Neither do authors who attribute 'staff writer' status to themselves just becasue they have been published in a particular magazine a few times and then throw a hissy fit when they go unpublished in that magazine for awhile. Clearly, these 'professionals' don't help themselves or others engaged in the trade.

It seems sometimes from the voluminous material we receive that the biggest assumption many freelancers make is that all they have to do is come up with storylines, put words on paper and broadcast them to as many publishers as quickly and conveniently as possible. Don't bother to write well, don't research the market and pick a target or two--no, just throw words together and shotgun it out--just do it enough and some publisher will most likely pick it up. After all, it's a numbers game--isn't it?

Scattergun distribution has always been a problem for freelance publishers but it has escalated exponentially with the advent of desktop publishing and email. They are the frrelancer's boon--and the publisher's bane. Never has it been easier (and cheaper) for a freelancer to produce and distribute their work. There can be little or no involvement with paper, envelopes, repeated photocopying, stamps, or trips to the post office--just type it up, designate a bunch of publishers--and shoot it off. Oh, and don't bother with a cover letter--this is email--no courtesy or formality required.

I could go on and on--but I think you get the picture. Our patience with freelancers is wearing thin also. Our staff has neither the time--nor the desire--to process the plethora of irrelevant, poorly written material routinely submitted to us by freelancers who usually don't have the respect for their craft and the courtesy to us to research our needs.

Why don't freelancers get it? Why don't they understand that gaining a publisher's acceptance is little different from courting someone romantically or interviewing for a job? Each requires manners, politeness, presentability--and research--in order to be successful. Each is a potential relationship where first impressions count--and count big. Why don't they get it?

Freelancers have been our lifeblood for 55+years. That's not going to change--at least not anytime soon. But we are going to get tougher. More material is going to be returned for resubmission--more material is going to be tossed without review. Our guidelines will be expanded and tightened and enforced more stringently. Perhaps this is an incorrect approach--but freelancers have brought it upon themselves. If you have other ideas I'm open to considering them."


If you're an aspiring writer and want to get a writers conference in your
inbox, consider joining The Writers View. It's free. It's amazing. And,
seriously, you'll learn everything you'd learn at a writer's conference
(sans meeting cool people face to face), only you don't have to pay airfare.

How they work: Each Monday and Thursday a panelist poses a question about
the publishing industry, the craft of writing, or anything related to the
writing journey. These panelists are agents, editors, writers who are well
known in the Christian writing industry. Then, panelists and members write
posts about the question raised. I still learn new things every week. It's a
moderated loop, so there's no blatant self promotion. Word counts are
limited to 250 per post.

For beginning to intermediate writers, the group to join is TWV 2. Click
here .

For advanced, published writers, join The Writers View. Click here

You will be asked to fill out an application that you then send to the
group's leadership. You'll receive an email letting you know whether you've
been accepted.


Where do you find answers to your marketing questions about writing for the Christian market? What if you could ask me any question about marketing then listen for the answer?

I've been writing for the last 40+ years, and for the last 23 years, I've been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide." As marketing columnist for Christian Communicator, Advanced Christian Writer and Oregon Christian Writers, I am considered the leading authority on the Christian market. I travel the nation speaking at many writer's conferences.

As you know, in the last few weeks, the latest edition of the 2008 Christian Writer's Market Guide is available.

I'm telling you this because Terry Whalin has convinced me to be grilled on marketing questions on the Christian market during a LIVE 70-minute telewebcast on Wednesday, March 5th!

* * * Here's My Small Request * * *

Rather than have the "content" come out of my head (or Terry's head) for the March 5th 2008 telewebcast at 4 p.m. PDT / 7:00 p.m. EDT, I decided to let you ask me a question.

So, if you could ask me ANY question you wanted about marketing for the Christian writer, what would your question be?

Here's your chance to ask me directly and get registered for our call on Wednesday, March 5, 2008 (starts promptly according to

Go to the link below:

* * * Get FREE "On Marketing" chapter from my book "Getting Published" * * *
You will receive a full chapter from "Getting Published." It's FREE if you ask a question and register for this telewebcast.

Go to the link below:

After your question gets submitted, you'll find out how to get phone access and webcast access to Terry Whalin and me for our LIVE telewebcast, March 5, 2008.

Sally Stuart

ps. If you can't make the time of the call, please go ahead and sign up anyway. The entire teleseminar will be recorded and EVERYONE who signs up will receive an email with the replay link. Also if you sign up, you will be able to download the FREE marketing chapter right away.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Marlene Bagnull, successful writer and director for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference, and the Colorado Christian Writers' Conference, will be leading two smaller workshops in March.

* The March 14-15 seminar will be held at the Carlisle Inn in Sugarcreek OH.

* The March 29 seminar will be held at Grace Community Church in Allentown PA.

They are expecting about 50 participants at each seminar.

For details and to register contact:
Marlene Bagnull, Litt.D., Director
Write His Answer Ministries
610-626-6833 ~
Colorado Christian Writers Conference ~ May 14-17, 2008
Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference ~ August 7-9,2008


I want to say a word about meeting deadlines. As writers, dealing with and meeting deadlines is just a part of the business. But I’m afraid that often we tend to treat them too casually--just ask any editor. In reality, we should regard those deadlines as a commitment.
Over the years I’ve only missed a few deadlines—and always because of circumstances beyond my control. The first one was a book deadline that coincided with my mother’s death. Although I knew there was a good reason for missing the deadline—and that my editor would surely understand—I also knew that I had a responsibility to inform my editor as soon as I knew I was going to miss it. It’s best not to wait until the deadline is upon you, or already past, which puts the editor in a position where they have to scramble to make the resulting adjustments.
I was reminded of all this when my husband fell off a ladder a year and a half ago and came away with 9 rib fractures and 6 pelvic fractures. Although being there and caring for his needs during the next several weeks meant I was going to be hard pressed to meet upcoming deadlines, I never totally abandoned my concern for meeting them as soon as it was at all possible. I felt strongly the responsibility to meet that commitment and let my editor know I would be late—asking when the latest was that I could submit and not put her behind schedule.
I’d like to remind all of us how important it is to meet those deadlines. The wheels of publication—both with books and periodicals—run like a train. If even one writer misses a deadline it throws the whole train off the tracks. With magazines it may mean that the publication will have to substitute another piece for the one you didn’t produce in time—and may give the editor pause before giving you another assignment. With books, it is even more serious. Because all the steps of the publishing process are based on you meeting your deadline, being late often means that your project goes to the end of the line (often meaning they won’t meet your projected publication date), and you may even lose the interest and attention of the editor who has championed your book from the beginning. The writer who doesn’t pay close attention to deadlines is destined to lose the interest and respect of their editors.


I was asked if I outline a book before writing it.I don't recall that I have ever actually outlined a book, but my preparation to write a (nonfiction) book does actually create a loose outline of sorts. When I get an idea for a book I start collecting ideas and resources in a file folder. when that file gets too full, I sit down and divide the contents into a number of folders representing the various aspects of the book--which eventually become the various chapters. I then continue to fill each of the new folders with additional ideas and resources. Before I'm ready to write, I review the contents of each chapter folder to be sure it is a broad enough aspect of the topic to deserve its own chapter (if not I incorporate it into another chapter or drop it)--or is it too broad and need to be broken down into
additional chapters? I'm looking for balance at this point. Once that balance
is achieved, I can sit down and write up the chapters using the content of the
folder as a guide. However, I do think in neat little boxes--or in a linear
fashion--so I don't require a formal outline. Whether you do or don't need an
outline is a decision you need to make after a personal assessment of how
your brain works and whether the result is publishable. Cec is right that
whether or not you get published is the ultimate test of how successful your
method is. I've seen a lot of those manuscripts, too, that would have benefited
from an outline. It really comes down to you understanding how you work best.


Women Alive! has changed their name to Come to the Fire. Their new Web adress is:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


A new writing friend and publicist alerted me to this new Website: Think of it as Amazon cleaned up. The company was apparently started by some Chrisitan business men who wanted to offer books on a family-friendly site. All the books have gone through a screening process so they are sure there is nothing in them that would be offensive to families or children. They carry Christian books, but also general ones--a wide variety of titles. The added bonus is that they will donate 5% of your purchase to a charity of your choosing. The site also contains other information of interest. Be sure to check out their blog (accessible from the Website). The reason you haven't heard about them is that the site just launched last November.


The following list was compiled from an online survey of educators in 2007. Children's book writers (or would-be writers)would do well to make a point to read all of these.

1.Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
2. Were the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
4. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
5. Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
6. I Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
7. Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
8. Oh! The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
9. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
10. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
11. Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
12. Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
13. The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss
14. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
15. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
16. The Mitten by Jan Brett
17. Crunching Carrots, Not Candy by Judy Slack
18. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willlems
19. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
20. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
21. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
22. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
23. Corduroy by Don Freeman
24. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
25. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
26. Tacky the Penquin by Helen Lester
27. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
28. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
29. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
30. Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type Doreen Cronin
31. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
32. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
33. Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park
34. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
35. Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
36. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
37. Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
38. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
39. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone
40. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
41. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
42. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
43. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
44. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
45. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
46. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
47. Olivia by Ian Falconer
48. The BFG by Roald Dahl
49. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
50. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
51. The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss
52. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
53. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
54. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
55. Bark, George by Jules Feiffer
56. Bunnicula by James Howe
57. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
58. Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom DeLuise
59. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
60. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
61. Frederick by Leo Lionni
62. Frindle by Andrew Clements
63. Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
64. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
65. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
66. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
67. Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
68. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
69. I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt
70. Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino
71. Jan Brett’s books
72. Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr.
73. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
74. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
75. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
76. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
77. My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
78. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
79. No David! by David Shannon
80. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
81. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
82. Stephanie's Ponytail by Robert Munsch
83. Swimmy by Leo Lionni
84. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
85. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
86. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
87. The Empty Pot by Demi
88. The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop
89. The Giver by Lois Lowr
90. The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
91. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
92. The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
93. The Last Holiday Concert by Andrew Clements
94. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
95. The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau
96. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
97. The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack
98. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
99. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
100. The Wide-Mouthed Frog: A Pop-Up Book by Keith Faulkner


If you would like to learn how to make your presentations dynamic, engaging, interesting, and effective, then you will want to register for Presentation Revolution, a professional training E-Seminar taught by internationally renowned Scott Schwertly of Ethos3 Communications.

ECPA is hosting a series of four online E-Seminars on this important topic. All you need is a computer, phone line, and internet connection to participate in these 75 minute sessions. You may choose to register for one, all, or any combination of sessions. Pricing is $99 per session or $299 for all four.

•March 11, 2008, 12 noon – 1:15 EST
SESSION 1: Presentation Revolution - Content
Covers the essentials of how to build a blueprint for presentation greatness. This includes practical tips on how to prepare for a presentation, write with clarity, and build and maintain trust through public speaking. All in all, it provides the essential tips and tools that will help you plan the right way for your next presentation.

•March 18, 2008, 12 noon – 1:15 EST
SESSION 2: Presentation Revolution - Design
Tired of bullet points and PowerPoint templates, but don't how to improve your presentation? Learn the laws of simplicity as it relates to presentation design and five different styles and approaches that you can mix and match the next time you build a presentation. Plus, you will become equipped with all the resources that you need to design a visually captivating presentation.

•March 25, 2008, 12 noon – 1:15 EST
SESSION 3: Presentation Revolution - Delivery
Do you fear public speaking or struggle to find creative ways to open or close a talk? This session includes techniques on how to conquer your anxiety, win your audience, and use non-verbal techniques to your advantage.

•April 1, 2008, 12 noon – 1:15 EST
SESSION 4: Storytelling
Stories create emotions. Emotions create motivation. Motivation creates action. Action creates results. The good news! We are all storytellers. Your grandparents have a story. Your parents have a story. Your company even has a story. You have a story. Learn how to tell your story.

Register online as soon as possible. If you are concerned about missing a particular session, you will have the opportunity to make it up. Plus, all registrants will receive printed training materials after the webinar.

For more information, visit the ECPA web site ( contact Michael.

Michael Covington, Information & Education Director
Evangelical Christian Publishers Association
480-966-3998 ext. 209

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


The Copyright Office has launched an interactive Website aimed at middle-school children. The goal of “Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright” is to explain U.S. copyright law. Although it is intended for young people it will also help new writers (or confused writers) better understand copyright and how it applies to them. Go to:, and click on “Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright.”

Another change at the Copyright Office has to do with the cost of a basic registration online. Previously they charged $45 for each registration submitted by mail, but now charge only $35 if you register online. For additional information, go to:, and to:

One more important change at the Copyright Office is the launch of a new records search system. If you need to find out the copyright status or history of a certain title, this powerful new system will give you access to 20 million digital records. It will allow you to search by title, name, keyword, and registration or document number. This should also be a big help in finding competing titles when you are writing a new book. For a tutorial on searching the new system, go to:


If you struggle with organization issues—and what writer doesn’t—you might find help at one of these Websites: (will help you organize too much stuff online); (great ideas for organizing your calendar); (organizing finances, family, home, work, and self); (helps reduce the frustration); (decluttering and de-stressing the everyday); and (includes organizing your travel).


I got to thinking the other day about sitting on the fence. When I make an important decision, I think about it deeply. I go over all the angles. Sometimes, I'm still weighing the pros and con when I realize it's too late. I sat on the fence so long I missed my chance to make a choice.

Then I got to thinking about the people who have come to our Chautauqua writers' conference over the past twenty-three years. Many of them have told me they'd been thinking of coming for a long time. They'd been fence-sitting—wishing and dreaming, but bogged down in the pros and cons. Maybe the time investment was too much, or the cost seemed prohibitive. No matter why they'd been fence-sitting, when they finally decided to invest in themselves, they discovered that they'd made a choice that would change their writing lives forever.

I've met a lot of wonderful writers at Chautauqua. Some of the ones who chose to hop off the fence and join us are now familiar names: Kristi Holl, Sneed B. Collard III, Linda Oatman High, Lisa Moser, and Sharon Creech, to name just a few.

This week, I'm looking for ten people who need a push to get them off the fence. People who've been hungering to come to Chautauqua but let something hold them back. People whose writing careers are poised, waiting for a boost from our world-class faculty of children's writers, illustrators, and editors. People who would benefit from the inspiration and affirmation they can only get from fellow children's literature lovers.

Kent, how does all this relate to sitting on the fence? And what's this about ten free airline tickets? The other day, a longtime friend and supporter came up with a great offer: I will give you some of my airline miles for your writers workshop, and I'll get some friends to do the same. So, it's simple: Get off the fence this week and get a free roundtrip air ticket to the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua.

An airline ticket won't make coming to Chautauqua less of a time commitment. And it surely will not erase the fears or self-doubt that writers feel when making an investment in themselves.

But maybe it will bring you to join us July 12-19, 2008.


PS: If you don't know just how much Chautauqua might mean to your career, ask someone who can give you objective answers to your questions (that would not be me). I'll give you the names of some folks who have attended, and you can chat with them and see if this is your time to get off the fence.

The Highlights Foundation
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 253-1192


Long-time editor at Teach Kids!, Elsie Lippy, retired the end of 2007. The magazine has also changed format. Yolanda Derstine is senior editor of TeachKids! essentials, a monthly newsletter that is part of a replacement package for Teach Kids! magazine. She welcomes submissions of up to 300 words on anything related to children’s ministry whether in the church or in the neighborhood. Submissions may be sent by e-mail (only) to Put TKE submission in the subject line. No payment is given for articles; however this is a great opportunity for writers getting started or for experienced writers who love children. Submissions will not be acknowledged unless they are scheduled to be used.


Dear Writer,

Hello! I pray you are well. I’m writing to share some exciting news with you. Standard Publishing is adding a new title to its program book offerings! The working title of this book is Holiday Programs for the Church. It is 64 pages and will include material for 10 holidays:

New Year’s
Martin Luther King Day
Sanctity of Life
Mother’s Day
Memorial Day
Father’s Day
Independence Day (Patriotic)
Promotion Sunday
Pastor Appreciation

Beginning this March and going through April 15, I will be accepting manuscripts for the new Holiday program book and the two Easter program books.

The program book writers’ guidelines have been revised. They are attached here for your convenience. You can also find them at . If you submit material, please be sure to read and follow the new guidelines.

All manuscripts are submitted on speculation. However, from time to time I may assign some writing. If you would like to be considered for assignments, please send me a quick e-mail letting me know. My address is .

Thank you for your time. I hope we can work together soon!

Elaina Meyers
Program Book Editor


Have you ever wanted to find out more about your personality and the natural tendancies of those around you? Do you want to hold the keys to resolving relationship dynamics in your life? Are you ready to bring this information to your workplace, church, classroom or home?

Then the Personality Training Workshop in Henderson, Nevada on April 14-16 is for you! The training will takeplace at the beautiful Homewood Suites by Hilton at 10450 S. Eastern Avenue in Henderson. For hotel reservations you may call 702 450-1045. Be sure to tell the agent that you are coming in for the CLASServices Personality Training Workshop.

There are only 25 spots available in each Personality Training Workshop. Register now to ensure your spot in this training. I know you will be glad you did,

Alumni Registration Discount
Have you attended our Personality Training Workshop in the past? Refresh your personality training skill by taking the Personality Training Workshop as a refresher course. The discounted registration for alumni is just $200.00. Maybe this would be a great time for your to become a Certified Personality Trainer!

Monday, February 25, 2008


Please change the listed e-mail contact for the InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship Fall Conference to:


Earlier this month CBA launched the CBA Industry Blog at Updated with posts from CBA staff as well as other professionals in the industry, the blog contains important information relating to the Christian Retail Channel. The CBA Industry Blog provides a forum and acts as a resource for the industry to come together for fresh ideas, trends, solutions, take-aways, and more.


Zondervan, a world leader in Christian communications, has teamed up with bestselling author Bryan Davis to release its first young adult (YA) suspense series, Echoes from the Edge, an all new, thrilling, fantasy epic. The first book of the series, Beyond the Reflection’s Edge, will be released in May 2008, in time for the popular summer reading season.


WaterBrook author, Megachurch pastor, debuts at #3 with One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life, by Kerry and Chris Shook (WaterBrook Press/Random House, February 2008). This title will appear at #3 for the second week in a row on the New York Times Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous Best Sellers list on Sunday, March 2, 2008.

Fasting (Charisma House), the latest book by pastor and author Jentezen Franklin, was ranked at number 15 on the New York Times’ best-seller list in the hardcover advice category for February 24, 2008.


Judson Press children’s title selected for top 100 award. Judson Press’ Jordan’s Hair by Ed and Sonya Spruill has been selected as one of the top 100 products of the year in “The Best You Can Be” award program, which honors products that can truly make a difference in the lives of children, parents, or teachers.

The Best You Can Be Foundation is dedicated to supporting parents and teachers to inspire children to reach their highest potential. For more, visit


Now available are two stand alone spaces for writers needing a quiet place to work during the day in the Portland, Oregon area. Both spaces sit away from the residence on two acres off Hall Blvd in theTigard/Metzger area and look out over landscaped gardens and oak trees. A small stream meanders through the property. Both are furnished, well-lit and airy; each is approximately 120 square feet. Kitchen and bathroom facilities are available in the main house. Rent is to be determined, but will be in the $350-400 range. Off street parking is available. For details, contact Tony Tycer, 10655 SW Hall Blvd., Tigard, Oregon 97223. Call for an appointment to view: 503/297-1990.


In 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out on the first Americanoverland expedition to the Pacific Coast. More than two centuries later, EPAinvites you to follow their journey of discovery to the banks of Portland'sColumbia River (where we've arranged much nicer accommodations than Lewisand Clark enjoyed).

EPA 2008 will be held in Portland, Ore., May 7-9. Keynote speakers include international evangelist Luis Palau, and Donald Miller, best-selling authorof "Blue Like Jazz." Musical guests include Paul Baloche (author of "Openthe Eyes of My Heart") and singer-songwriter Scott Kripayne, plus the return of last year's favorites: Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Of course, workshops are the heart of any EPA convention, and this year's lineup won't disappoint. You'll learn to speed up your production workflow,bridge the gulf between editors and designers, massage bad copy, find theheart of your stories, build better writers in just five minutes, balancebusiness and ministry, using blogging to extend your publication's reach, keep yourself fresh, find untold stories and much more. In all, you'll have 42 workshops to choose from.

We'll be following the same schedule as last year, starting with dinner Wednesday evening and closing with a final awards banquet Friday night. But don't feel that you have to jet home at the crack of dawn on Saturday. You'll be in a beautiful part of the country during a beautiful time of theyear, so you might just want to stick around to enjoy the Portland Saturday Market or to shop at Powell's, the world's biggest bookstore. You'll find more information on our Web site (, where youcan also register on-line.

See you in Portland!--Doug Trouten, Executive Director Evangelical Press Association, P.O. Box 28129, Crystal, MN 55428. Voice: 763-535-4793;

Sunday, February 24, 2008


MICHAEL Gerson to keynote Dinner for Christian Journalists

Michael Gerson, former White House speech writer for George W. Bush, will speak at the closing dinner for the World Journalism Institute’s New York City journalism course on Friday, May 30, at the Harvard Club of New York. Gerson, known as the architect of some of President Bush’s most memorable speeches and now author of the bestselling book, Heroic Conservatism, is a columnist for the Washington Post and fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.The World Journalism Institute is one of the nation’s premier independent schools of journalism attracting Christian teachers, speakers and students from major media outlets and colleges from around the country. Located in New York City, WJI holds it annual college-level, eight- week course in early summer. This year the course will run from May 11 to July 5 with three weeks of residency in New York City. In 2008, the focus of the course will be on the so-called “new media” which stresses the need for the aspiring journalists to be competent in pod-casting, internet reporting, blogging, photo- and video-journalism, as well as print journalism.

Teachers will include Dr. William Edgar (Westminster Theological Seminary), Dr. Robert Jackson (The King’s College), William Mattox (USA Today Board of Contributors), Dr. Michael Longinow (Biola University), Dr. Bob Carey (Gardner-Webb University), Russell Pulliam (Indianapolis Star), David Leeson (Dallas Morning News), Mark Tapscott (Washington Examiner), Robert Case (WJI), and John McCandlish Phillips (formerly, New York Times).Luncheon speakers this year include Richard Ostling (formerly, Associated Press), Richard John Neuhaus (First Things), Hendrik Hertzberg (The New Yorker), Alicia Colon (New York Sun), John Wilson (New York Post), Andree Seu (World magazine), Todd Starnes (FOX News), and Susan Moeller (The Leader, Bergen County, N.J.)College students who are Christian and pursuing a career in journalism are encouraged to apply at

Graduates of the course will have the opportunity to compete for paid newsroom internships.
For more information:Kimberly CollinsWorld Journalism Institute;


Coming up with a basic plot is nothing too remarkable. What makes the story worth reading is the characters. So where do they come from?

For me, it's always been from within myself. I write primarily about teenage boys, so I need to reconnect with myself at that age. But even if I were writing about a talking bear or an animated steam shovel, I'd still want to infuse that character with my own angst or joy or confusion or anger—something I know because I've experienced it.

I have a few tactics for reconnecting with my teenage self. Most of us have a point in our childhood that still holds fairly intense emotions—probably a time of real turmoil and life changes. When you focus on that point—writing from the viewpoint of a character at that age—you might find that your stories have greater emotional resonance.

This tip comes from a workshop given by Rich at the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua. If you'd like to learn from Rich in person, join us for the 2008 workshop. Find out more at

Rich Wallace is the author of four acclaimed novels for young adults: Playing Without the Ball, Wrestling Sturbridge, Shots on Goal, and Restless. He has also authored a short-story collection called Losing Is Not an Option, and a series of sports novels for middle-grade readers called Winning Season. His columns, profiles, and other features have been published in Highlights, Track and Field News, Runner's World, and other publications. Rich is a former senior editor at Highlights. His fifth and most recent YA novel, One Good Punch (Knopf), was released in October 2007.

The Highlights Foundation, 814 Court StreetHonesdale, PA 18431. Phone: (570) 253-1192. E-mail:

Saturday, February 16, 2008


A verse story or set of poems for children of any age, to 300 words. Entries may take any poetic form--story, haiku, limerick, song, and so on--and can be serious or funny. Winners will be selected based on quality of verse and appeal to young readers.Entries must be received by Feb 29, 2008. Entry fee is $13, which includes an 8-month subscription to Children's Writer. Winners will be announced in the July 2008 issue.Prizes: $250 for 1st place plus publication in Children's Writer, $100 for 2nd place, and $50 for 3rd & 4th places.Send to: Children's Writer, Poetry Contest, 93 Long Ridge Road, West Redding, CT 06896

Friday, February 15, 2008


Save $20 off your next WOW workshop! Whether you want to learn the basics, have a flair for fiction or need strong feedback on a work in progress, you'll find your perfect course at From novel writing to travel writing and everything in between, WOW offers one-on-one, professional instruction to help you reach your goals!Plus, sign up now and you'll save $20 off your February or March workshop. Just enter coupon code WD215 when you register to receive this exclusive discount. Courses currently offered include…
Fundamentals of Fiction Writing
Focus on the Short Story
Creativity & Expression
Focus on the Novel
Advanced Novel Writers' Workshop
Essentials of Science Fiction/Fantasy Writing
And many more!If fiction isn't your favorite, be sure to explore all the other great workshops we have starting this February and March. Don't miss this chance to save $20 off your enrollment. Sign up now at!


I just learned that FaithWalk Publishing has a new address: 101 Washington PMB 305, Grand Haven MI 49417.


It has recently come to my attention that some of you are having trouble paying for your market guides online. I have given you the Website to go to right on your invoice. You need to go to the site listed there--not to my regular Website (no access from there). Also, when you type in the Website it needs to be in all lower case. I didn't realize that when I typed the Website in all caps on the invoice. Well, you learn something every day. By the way, it is time to pay for your guide if you got it automatically in January. Thanks.


$20 Early Bird Registration Discount ends in only two weeks - March 1, 2008!

REGISTER TODAY!The Act One Seminar: Screenwriting and the Business of Hollywoodis coming to Phoenix, Arizona!

What: Act One, Inc. presents Act One Seminars - intensive, practical workshops for aspiring and professional writers and entrepreneurs who are serious about their Christian faith and who dream of creating culture that respects and enriches a global audience. These two-day seminars offer a fun, fast-paced overview of our renowned Writing and Executive Programs, taught by Hollywood professionals.

Topics include - For everyone: • Finding Your Story• Film Structure• Pitching• Visual Writing• The Business of Hollywood/Next Steps• Christianity and Culture• Truth in Film• The Hollywood Mission Field Writing Track:• Character & Dialogue• Outlines & Treatments• Industry Standard Formatting Business Track:• Who Does What?: From Best Boy to Executive Producer• Introduction to the Marketplace & Commercial Creativity• Optioning a Winning Script or Other Source Material

Dates: Friday and Saturday, April 11-12, 2008 Location: Scottsdale Christian Church 7934 E Oak St Scottsdale, AZ 85257

Scheduled To Appear: Writer/Executive Producer Dean Batali (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, That 70’s Show) Writers Chris & Kathy Riley (After The Truth, 25 To Life, The Hollywood Standard) Producer/Director Monica Jimenez-Grillo(The New Detectives, FBI Files) Writer Leslie Kreiner Wilson (Frankie Laine, Mississippi Son, Faking It)

Registration: $195 - (includes study materials, Saturday lunch and Hollywood Insider Event) $175 - Early Birds (before March 1st), Students (with ID), and Groups (10 or more) $10 - Hollywood Insider Event onlyAct One, Inc. is proud to partner with our co-sponsor, Scottsdale Christian Churchand additional sponsor Pepperdine University

SPACE IS LIMITED - Visit to register online NOW!

Thursday, February 14, 2008


April: Orange County Christian Writers Fellowship Spring Writers Day; Orange County CA;

April: Biola Media Conference; LaMirada CA; 866-334-2266; .

April 4-5: Called to Write; Girard KS;;

April 5: American Christian Writers Baltimore MD Conference; 1-800-21-WRITE; acwRITERS@AOL.CO;

April 11-12: Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference; Bettendorf IA; 563-332-1622;;

April 12: American Christian Writers Indianapolis IN Conference; 1-800-21-WRITE;;

April 12: Minnesota Christian Writers Guild Spring Seminar; Minneapolis/St. Paul;

April 16-18: Journalism Through the Eyes of Faith; St. Paul MN; 651-638-6149;;

April 17-19: Delaware Christian Writers Conference; Newark DE; 302-834-4910;;

April 18-19: American Christian Writers Fort Wayne Conference; 1-800-21-WRITE;;

April 19: WFCA Writers Conference; Milwaukee WI; 414-355-5202;;

April 19: Mercer One-Day Workshop; 724-475-3239 or 724-253-2635;, or; .


ECPA Proceeds to Judgment In Digital Rights Lawsuit--ECPA Seeks Order to Remove Infringing Titles

Phoenix, AZ—The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), on behalf of a coalition of its member publishers, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in London in October 2007 against a UK-based website, The suit asks that the court prohibit the site from continuing to post nearly 130 Christian works without permission. ECPA has asked the court this week to award a victory to ECPA by default.

The site, operated by Andrew Amue, has provided Christian books for download for almost seven years without acquiring the necessary licenses from the publishers. Amue first offered product downloads for free, then started charging a membership fee. ECPA and the publishers repeatedly demanded for Amue to respect the copyright of the works; however, Amue refused to secure the necessary license or to remove the content from his website.

Working with a UK-based lawyer, the ECPA team was able to shut down through its Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2004. However, Amue found a new ISP and re-launched the website a short time later. “We realized quickly that this website would continue to pop up somewhere else,” says ECPA President Mark Kuyper. “It was like a digital ‘whack-a-mole’ arcade game.”

In 2006, ECPA and the publishing coalition, comprised of Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Baker Publishing Group, Tyndale, Moody, Logos Software, and IVP UK, began preparing legal action to prove Amue’s copyright infringement. The coalition is represented by Brian Flagler of the Flagler Law Group in the US and Martyn Bailey of Forbes Anderson Free in the UK. In light of Amue’s failure to respond to the allegations, ECPA has asked the court to award a victory by default.

“This lawsuit represents a clear and strong statement to would-be online infringers that blatant copyright infringement will not be tolerated by the ECPA community,” says Flagler. “The publishers in this case took great efforts to amicably resolve this infringement with Mr. Amue, but his continued actions made obvious that he intended to profit from his infringement with utter disregard for copyright. As the stewards of these works, many important theological research materials, the publishers chose to take action.”

“This case sets an important precedent in digital rights protection,” says Greg Thornton, Vice President of Publications, Moody Publishers. “And it will continue to be a significant issue as we move toward more and more digital content.”

CONTACT:Mark Kuyper, President & CEO, ECPA480-966-3998,

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Just a reminder that I'm still offering the discounted automatic orders on the market guide (see "Market Guide Discount Offer" below). At this point the automatic orders are going for $19.99--(although I still get a cheaper one from time to time if you hit it just right). I mentioned below that I would be opening up the offer to a different venue today, but since I'm going on vacation for a week on Sunday, I'll be waiting until I get back to do that. That will give you bloggers a longer opportunity for the lower prices. Just realize that you'll have to wait until February 25th to get a response from me. Please let your writing friends or group know about the blog and the offer.


Blogging and Presentations Among Upcoming Topics

Phoenix, AZ—The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association has seen a tremendous interest and growth in its E-Seminars. On February 19, Joe Wikert, Executive Vice-President and Publisher of the Trade/Professional books division of John Wiley & Sons, and a long-time blogger within the publishing industry, will present “Hands-On Blogging: Tools for Implementation and Strategies to Optimize Your Blog’s Effectiveness.”

The second E-Seminar is a series called “Presentation Revolution” and will run for four consecutive Tuesdays in late March and early April. Taught by Scott Schwertley, founder of Ethos3 Communications, the sessions will cover content, design, delivery, and storytelling. Participants can pick and choose of the four sessions or audit all four.

The E-Seminar format has been popular with ECPA members who appreciate the real-time, online presentations. Actual websites, blogs, and presentations will be visited to maximize the effectiveness and educational value.

“Our E-Seminars are a convenient and cost effective way to provide focused training to our members,” says Michael Covington, ECPA Information & Education Director. “All you need is a phone line and computer with internet access. Participants are able to see, hear, and participate in the entire presentation from the convenience of their own computer.”

The Blogging E-Seminar happens on February 19, 2008, at 12 pm (noon) Eastern Time. Registration deadline is February 18, and the fee is $99 per person. All participants will receive a complimentary copy of the book, "The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing and Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly" by David Meerman Scott.

The Presentation E-Seminars happen on March 11, 18, 25 and April 1, 2008, at 12 pm (noon) to 1:15 pm Eastern Time. The four sessions will be repeated quarterly for those not able to participate on these dates. The fee is $99 per session or $299 for all four sessions. A detailed training manual will also be given to all participants.

For more information, visit the ECPA website,, or contact Michael Covington, ECPA Information & Education Director, at 480-966-3998, ext. 209 or


For those who write for children and teens--

Children's Book Week will be May 12-18 this year. In past years, Children's Book Week has been held in November.

Now is the time to schedule visits to schools and libraries for this event. For more information see


Snake Nation Press, 110 W. Force St., Valdosta GA 31601. (229)244-0752. Website: Novellas to 50,000 words, or short story collection to 200 pgs. (published or unpublished). Deadline: April 30. Entry fee: $20. Prize: $1,000 and publication. Guidelines on Website.


Eighth annual Retailers Choice Awards nominations open

Christian retailers will soon be selecting the best books, music and other resources of the year.

Suppliers have until Feb. 29 to nominate products for the eighth annual Retailers Choice Awards sponsored by Christian Retailing magazine.

Since its launch, the Retailers Choice Awards program has been increasingly acknowledged in the Christian products industry as an important way of recognizing some of the most significant new life-changing materials available.

The 2008 program sees the addition of three new categories, in recognition of the continuing changes in Christian retailing. Prizes for the best Catholic/Liturgical, Church Supplies and Vacation Bible School products introduced last year will be presented among a total of 31 categories.

Among the other categories in which the best new releases of 2007 will be chosen are audio, Bibles, general fiction, relationships, youth/teen, accessories/apparel, wall d├ęcor and Spanish.

Christian retail store owners and staff will vote for the products they most appreciated being able to make available to customers last year based on their ability to speak to people’s hearts and emotions, to open people’s minds to new ways of thinking and to encourage and affirm Christ-like thinking.

The winners will be announced at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Fla., in July.
Suppliers can nominate products for $50 each through Feb. 29. Further information is available at, or by contacting Christian Retailing Managing Editor Christine D. Johnson at 407-333-0600, ext. 2682 or at

For further information contact:
Christine D. Johnson
Managing Editor, Christian Retailing magazine
Tel: 407-333-0600, ext. 2682

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


*I heard two genres mentioned by editors that currently seem to carry the kiss of death. They are "Memoirs" and anything with "Lit" attached (such as Chick-lit, Mom-lit, etc.)

* Keynote speaker, Bob Hostetler, dealt with the question, "What does the Lord require of you?" His answer--just three things: READ--PRAY--WRITE. For reading he recommended that we develop a reading plan for the year--reading a wide diversity of material. For prayer, he suggested praying God's Word back to Him and posting this note over our desk, "Have you prayed about this?" And under Writing he reminded us that talking about writing is not writing and learning to write is not writing. A quote: "People who want to be writers don't become writers. You write because you have to." Paul Collins.

* Stephanie Broene, fiction editor at Tyndale House, is looking for women's fiction, historical (19th century with strong romance), but no more fantasy for now.

* Sue Brower, fiction editor at Zondervan, is open to contemporary women's fiction, historical (little for now), a little romance; best known for suspense (but not looking for suspense authors right now). Fiction is growing at Zondervan, now doing 25 titles per year. Wants 80,000 words for a full-length novel.

* Luke Hinrichs, developmental editor at Bethany House, is open to adult fiction, contemporary and contemporary suspense, historical (19th century American), historical romance, a few supernatural thrillers. Story has to trump all. Does 120 books a year.

* All the fiction editors agreed that they were not interested if you present a book saying it's fiction about (an issue). Issues-orented fiction rarely works. The most important thing is that the book is well written. Look at the Best Seller list to see what's selling well.


e-Press-Online, Inc. ( is now accepting submissions for category romance, which must contain strong elements of crime, suspense, and/or fantasy woven within the romance thread. The story should contain no more than three viewpoint characters and be written in first person, or a tight third person. Sensuality level should be light and meaningful to the storyline. ePress-Online is open to, but may choose not to publish graphic language, sexual content, or violence. Such elements will be considered in the context of the story. For guidelines, go to:


Knoxville Writers’ Guild, PO Box 2565, Knoxville TN 37901-2565. Website: For unpublished novels, 40,000 words or more. Deadline: between February 1 and April 30. Entry fee: $25. Prizes: $1,000 and publication. Guidelines on Website.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Partridge Hill Media is launching two online publications - Simple Gifts ( Magazine and NAVIGO Magazine ( While neither publication is religiously focused, they do have a distinctly Christian ethos.

They are also seeking submissions from Catholic homeschooling mothers (or dads, or grandparents) for a book they are compiling which will take a look at a "day in the life" of each contributor, their favourite resources, organisational tips, and devotions. They hope to have that out by the beginning of next school year. Contact Nissa Gadbois,
Partridge Hill Media Media for Life


Shannon Hill, editor, has been promoted to senior editor, fiction. Shannon has headed the WaterBrook fiction and children’s publishing programs since June of 2005. She joined the WaterBrook team in October 2004, bringing wide experience in acquiring and developing fiction, nonfiction, and books for young readers. While at WaterBrook, she has discovered and grown new authors in commercial fiction categories such as Amish romance and fantasy, and also “genre-hybrid” books like the first comedic superhero novel to explore Christian themes.

Jessica Barnes has been promoted to associate editor. She’s been with WaterBrook Press for three and half years. Jessica is the go-to girl for WaterBrook editorial and a great starting point for any questions, concerns, or inquiries regarding o ur team, authors, and/or books.


I think most of you are aware of the offer I have to sign up to get the market guide automatically every year, and freeze the price at the current level. Currently that is at $34.99, plus postage. However, I'm going to make a very special offer to my blog readers. Because I lose some off my automatic list every year due to death, health problems, financial difficulties, no longer writing, or whatever, I'm going to let you sign up to take over one of the lower prices these cancellations held. Those prices range from $16.95 to 29.99, plus postage. This will be on a first come, first serve basis. I will start with those at $16.95 and move up as each has been filled.

All I need from you is an e-mail ( saying you want to be added to the automatic list on this special, and send the following information: name, mailing address, phone number, and whether you have the 2008 edition or want me to send one. I will e-mail you back letting you know at what amount you will be paying, and you can accept or reject the offer at that point. I'll keep this offer open until all the slots are filled, but will be making the offer to another group starting on Wednesday. So--let me hear from you soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I just heard from the editor at Pathway Press that they are downsizing and cutting way back on their publishing program, so want to be deleted from future editions of the market guide. Do not send any future submissions to this company.


The National Writers Assn., 3140 S. Peoria #295, Aurora CO 80014. (303)841-0246. Website: Deadline: April 1. Entry fee: $35. Prizes $500, $250, $150. Details and entry form on Website.


This information comes from agent David A. Womack: "As a one-man agency, I limit the number of books I can handle during any time. In addition to mostly nonfiction books, I accept some fiction if it’s pretty much ready for submission. I do no children’s or poetry books. I don’t have a Website because it would generate more beginners than I can answer. My present listings bring in new contacts every day. If an author does not address me or my agency directly, I delete the query without reading it. I open no attachments from strangers. Also I prefer to work by e-mail whenever possible." David handles both Evangelical and Catholic books.


Mailing address for Vintage Romance Publishing should be PO Box 1165, Ladson SC 29456-1165. However, they prefer you submit the following by e-mail ( a detailed query, which should include a brief biography, at least two paragraphs about the book, and publishing credits, if any. Also include the first chapter of the book. They accept submissions in these categories: historical inspirational romance (70,000-90,000 words); inspirational nonfiction (55,000-75,000 words); and multicultural/interracial fiction (70,000-90,000 words.) Dawn Carrington, editor-in-chief.

Friday, February 8, 2008


Literary Contest/Fiction, University of Tulsa, 600 S. College Ave., Tulsa OK 74104. (618)631-3080. E-mail: Website: Quality prose and fiction by emerging writers of contemporary literature, unpublished. Deadline: between January 1 and April 30. Entry fee: $20. Prizes: $2,000 and publication; $1,000 and publication.


A very prolific writing friend who does a lot of freelancing to magazines sends along a reminder about postage. When the 1st class rate for up to one once went to .41 cents, the amount for the second, third ounce, etc. dropped to 17 cents. Too many writers are just using two or more .41 cent stamps--losing .24 cents or more on each submission. Since postage can be one of your highest expenditures, it pays to get those .17 cent stamps.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


The Festival of Faith & Writing is a biennial gathering of readers and writers hosted by Calvin College (Michigan). At the Festival, their goal is to provide a vibrant community where people come together to discuss, celebrate, and explore the ways in which faith is represented in literature and how it plays out in our world today. Festival 2008 will take place at Calvin College on April 17-19, 2008. We hope you'll be able to join us. Speakers include: Francine Rivers, Lucy Shaw, and James Schaap. Details on Website:


University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Dr., Athens GA 30602. Website: For collections of short fiction, 200-275 pgs. Prize: $1,000, plus publication under royalty book contract. Entry fee: $20. Deadline: between April 1 and May 31 (postmark). Guidelines on Website.


For the worst opening line to a novel (you make it up). Deadline: April 15. Website: Rules on Website.


Question: If I employ my 17-year old child, what withholding, etc. is required?

Whether a parent who employs his or her child in a family business must withhold FICA and pay FUTA taxes will depend on the age of the teenager, the amount of income the teenager earns and the type of business.

FICA and FUTA taxes
A child under age 18 working for a parent is not subject to FICA so long as the parent's business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership in which each partner is a parent of the child (if there are additional partners, the taxes must be withheld). FUTA does not have to be paid until the child reaches age 21. These rules apply to a child's services in a trade or business.
If the child's services are for other than a trade or business, such as domestic work in the parent's private home, FICA and FUTA taxes do not apply until the child reaches 21.
The rules are also different if the child is employed by a corporation controlled by his or her parent. In this case, FICA and FUTA taxes must be paid.
Federal income taxes
Federal income taxes should be withheld, regardless of the age of the child, unless the child is subject to an exemption. Students are not automatically exempt, though. The teenager has to show that he or she expects no federal income tax liability for the current tax year and that the teenager had no income tax liability the prior tax year either. Additionally, the teenager cannot claim an exemption from withholding if he or she can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return, has more than $250 unearned income, and has income from both earned and unearned sources totaling more than $800.
Bona fide employee
Remember also, that whenever a parent employs his or her child, the child must be a bona fide employee, and the employer-employee relationship must be established or the IRS will not allow the business expense deduction for the child's wages or salary. To establish a standard employer-employee relationship, the parent should assign regular duties and hours to the child, and the pay must be reasonable with the industry norm for the work. Too generous pay will be disallowed by the IRS.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Random House Inc., 1745 Broadway, 9th Fl., New York NY 10019. Website: Contemporary and historical fiction manuscripts, 96-160 pgs., for ages 9-12. Submit between April 1 and June 30. Prizes: $1,500, book contract, and $7,500 advance.


Discipleship Journal is interested in articles on the following topics: (1) a teaching article on a specific topic, such as materialism, forgiveness, etc.; (2) a teaching article on a specific scripture passage highlighting an Old Testament Character; (3) teaching from an epistle that deals with applying the truth to everyday life; or (4). a how-to article that helps with improving your devotional life or witnessing in the workplace. Open to queries, even from first-time authors (no unsolicited manuscripts). Details on their Website: DiscipleshipJournal/WritersGuidelines.


Ken Stephens, B & H Publishing Group president, retired on January 15th after leading the trade publishing division of the parent company (LifeWay Chrisitan Resouces) for the last 11 years. Prior to working at B & H, Stephens had a long career with Thomas Nelson.


Following are some of the comments I heard from editors at the Writing for the Soul Conference in Colorado Springs last week:

* As larger general publishers buy out Christian publishers, there is greater emphasis on the bottom line. Those publishers demand an increase in profitability every year (10-15%). That is true even if last year's sales included a Purpose Driven Life or Prayer of Jabez--pushing that increase out of reach, and penalizing the publisher for that kind of success.

* The consolidation of publishers makes it harder for writers because there are fewer places to pitch their books.

* Because these Christian companies are under the larger parent companies, they can afford to offer bigger advances--but smaller Christian companies can't compete.

* There's a huge amount of online publishing going on, but it represents only a small percentage of all sales.

* When it comes to the content of a book, Christian publishers say if they can't sell 50% of a book they publish through a Christian bookstore, it's not worth it to publish the book. If the content contains elements (such as unacceptable language or too explicit material) the Christian bookstores will refuse to carry the book. That conservatism in Christian bookstores is not likely to change.

* Now there is a greater emphasis on frontlist sales--as opposed to backlist. (Frontlist titles are in their first year of sales, backlist are older titles.) The difference is that although bookstores might order one or two copies of a backlist book, they typically will order frontlist titles in much larger quantities.

* Christian publishers used to have 20% frontlist titles and 80% backlist titles. It has now shifted to 40% frontlist and 60% backlist. In contrast, general publishers generally have 60% frontlist and 40% backlist.

* More later. Lots of news to share.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, 1324 S. 10th Street, Raymondville, TX, 78580. 956-642-6319. E-mail: Web site: Writes marketing plans for book proposals, phone consults, full publicity campaigns before or after your book launches, booking speaker events, author branding, blog tours, and more. Contact: Kathy Carlton Willis.


This agency was added to the guide this year because they told me they did not charge any fees. However, I've just heard from a writer who submitted to them and was told he must send a $375 evaluation fee. It is acceptable for an agency to charge a client for legitimate office expenses--such as long distance phone calls or photocopying manuscripts or proposals--but it is not acceptable practice to charge evaluation or processing fees. I suggest you cross out this agency in your guide.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Explore mystical realms, meet tricksters and heroes, and learn how to turn the world's rich treasure of folklore and myth into stories and books that sell.

Almost every children's magazine and book company publishes retellings. In fact, because they combine the sharing of other cultures with the sharing of universal truths, they've become a staple in children's literature. Parents and grandparents love to read them. Teachers and librarians love to introduce them to students. And kids love to enjoy them on their own.

You may not know it, but many authors enter the children's literature field with retellings. And many of the best writers mine the gemstones of myth and folklore for their most successful books. Books such as Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted (Cinderella), Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (Rapunzel), and Nancy Farmer's Newbery honor book Sea of Trolls (Norse myth) represent some of the best works in this genre. Successful picture book authors such as Robert Sans Souci, Aaron Shepard, and John Steptoe have also delved into the treasure trove of myth for work such as The Talking Eggs (Southern folktale), The Sea King's Daughter (Russian legend), and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters (African folktale).

With sixty books in print—ten of those collections of folklore and myth—professional writer, editor, and folklorist Josepha Sherman is the perfect mentor to guide you toward producing successful retellings. Josepha has taught writing and folklore at conferences and workshops across North America. From April 3—6, Josepha will be sharing her wealth of knowledge with an intimate group of writers in the inspiring setting of the home of the Founders of Highlights for Children.

Take a closer look at Josepha Sherman's work at
Get complete information about Retelling Folktales and Myth at
The Highlights Foundation, 814 Court St., Honesdale, PA 18431. Phone: (570) 253-1192. E-mail:


On March 1st, Christian filmmakers across the country will participate in an exciting and challenging event -- a 24-hour film contest. Organized by members of Christian, an online discussion and networking tool for Christian filmmakers, the contest will be sponsored and promoted by several noteworthy organizations and will offer a prize of $500 to the winning entry.

The contest will begin at 6:00 AM on March 1 with the publication of a list of "security elements," three of which must be included in every film submission. This will verify that the film was produced within the 24-hour time limit. Each entry must be uploaded to YouTube and the link given to the judges by the contest deadline of 6:00 AM on March 2. Membership in Christian is not required.Nathaniel Bluedorn, administrator of Christian and the driving force behind the 24-hour film contest, explains, "Christian is a growing network of faith-based filmmakers. We started in August and have more than 250 members now. We're doing this contest to energize filmmakers and incite interest in filmmaking. More importantly, we want to expand networking among Christian filmmakers."

Christian boasts an international membership of Christian filmmakers at all skill levels from hopeful to veteran, specializing in every aspect of film production.More details on the contest, including a complete list of the official rules, can be found at

Christian is the outgrowth of a Google Group which was originally conceived as a means for maintaining contact among alumni of the 2005 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival. Launched on August 22, 2007, Christian has rapidly grown to include 273 members at the time of this writing. The site is focused on facilitating discussion and building relationships among Christian filmmakers without excluding anyone on the basis of gender, race, or denomination.Website: Contact: