2020 Schedule

*Schedule Subject to Change

Wednesday

1:30 – 5:30      Registration Opens and Bookstore opens for consignment                                                                      

2:30 – 5:30      Book Proposal Studio, Kathy Bruins & Kim de Blecourt Our pre-conference track, BOOK PROPOSAL STUDIO, is facilitated by published authors, Kathy Bruins and Kim de Blecourt. The studio is for writers in the process of preparing a book-length manuscript to present to agents or editors. Participants will work side by side with Kathy and Kim to begin preparation of a professional book proposal.

A book proposal has a specific format and must answer the questions on an editor’s mind. As an author, you must be able to answer questions such as the topic and message of your book, the take-away value, your target market, and more.

An editor wants to get right to the point. A well-written book proposal helps you to clarify your project in your own mind, so that you can clearly communicate your idea for publishing consideration. This will give you the confidence you need to show any agency or publisher you are a professional.

Attendees for this session should come with their manuscript and all the information needed to write the proposal. Attendees who register for the session will receive materials (via email) before the conference to help you pull together the necessary information for your proposal.

If you have not already and if you are interested in being a part of, make sure to register for the BOOK PROPOSAL STUDIO by sending an email to [email protected] 

Put "BOOK PROPOSAL STUDIO/Your Name" in the subject line. 

3:00 – 5:00      Pitch Studio, Bethany Jett—In this workshop, you’ll learn how to craft a perfect pitch. Whether you’re pitching a nonfiction book, a children’s series or a novel, the mechanics of the pitch are the same, and so are the results. From the introduction of the main character to the hook to the promise of the premise, Michelle will walk you through what makes a powerful, memorable pitch. She’ll also share how to make the most of those 15-minute appointments with the editor you’ve been stalking.                                     

5:30                 Dinner                                                                                                                                                                          

6:45                 Panel Discussion and Coke Floats                                                         

8:00 – 9:00      One Sheet Studio, Kathy Bruins & Kim de Blecourt

Thursday                                                           

7:30 – 8:15      Breakfast                                                                                             

9:00 – 10:00    First Time Conferees Orientation, Edwina Perkins                              

10:15 – 12:00  Opening Session Faculty & Conferees                                                 

12:10 – 1:00    Lunch                                                                                                 

1:30 – 3:45      Continuing Classes Begin

Writing & Selling Devotions for Today’s Market:  Ava PenningtonIn this continuing class, we'll look at what devotions are and the benefits of writing them. We'll discuss what you'll need to begin and look at various formats. We'll also examine the dos and don'ts of devotional writing and look at self-editing techniques with practical, hands-on exercises. Finally, we'll explore how to sell your devotions. Learn how God can use your devotional writing!

 

Lost in FictionRachel Hauck—In this continuing class, we will break down story components from the first spark of imagination to typing “The End.” Additionally, we’ll discuss: craft, branding, online presence, and career endurance.

 

Soul Care for WritersEdie Melson—All writers must have a well to draw from. If we don’t do anything but pour ourselves out, our writing suffers, and we find ourselves in the midst of frustration and burnout. In this continuing class we’ll discuss ways to care for our souls and keep the creativity flowing. We’ll also spend class time in exercises designed to help you connect deeper with the Ultimate Author. Topics covered include: the rhythm of a healthy writing life, scheduling regular creativity boosters, and how regular time with God is foundational to a healthy writing life. Also covered are: organization tips, how to deal with writer’s block and the importance of an author mission statement. And we’ll have class time set aside to begin the process of writing a mission statement of your own.

 

Writing Books for Kids Today Leslie Santamaria—Books for kids come in many shapes, sizes, and reading levels. In this lively, interactive, continuing class, we’ll examine all types of book-shaped objects for kids at different ages and grade levels to help you determine the best formats for your great ideas. An overview of the industry today will help you sort out which markets might be good avenues for your work. Then we’ll talk about how to write, edit, and market your stories to get them into the hands and hearts of children. We’ll cover: getting started, developing kid-like characters, plotting a rewarding story, writing kid-friendly dialogue, current trends, crafting nonfiction books, getting quality feedback, submitting your work, and marketing. There will even be a mock school visit presentation, with Brain Teasers and prizes. You’ll leave with plenty of handouts and a boost of inspiration to write for kids for the glory of God. 

 

Speak Up with Confidence: Turn Your Written Words into Compelling Platform Presentations: Carol Kent—How do speaking and writing connect? Both are very similar in the developmental stages—and in today’s world publishers are extremely interested in writers who have speaking platforms.  Your carefully written words have the power to transform lives—in print and in spoken form.  Carol Kent has trained thousands of Christians in communication skills through the Speak Up Conferences.  Come to this continuing class to learn how to put together an outstanding topical presentation.  You’ll discover how to develop powerful illustrations, how to gain the attention of your audience, how to deliver a message with energy and enthusiasm, and how to motivate your audience to follow through with a positive action step.  An added benefit is that Carol will share the secrets of building your speaking platform, setting appropriate fees, and she’ll reveal how to get meeting planners to invite you to come back again and again. You CAN learn how to speak up with confidence.

 

Manuscript Critique Track*: Shellie Arnold and Jan Powell—If you’ve ever attended a writers conference and thought I wish I could actually work on my current project, this track is for you. Using Word Weavers International critique group guidelines, attendees will have the opportunity to refine their current work-in-progress. Pre-conference emails will be sent explaining formatting requirements and critique procedure, for those who aren’t familiar with the WW critique method. Participants will bring six pre-printed copies each, of 4-5 submissions of 1500 words. (That’s a potential 6000-7500 words critiqued. Awesome, right?) Attendees will be placed in groups of no more than five, according to genre if possible. Space is limited and is on a first come, first served basis to those who register for the entire conference. Each participant must commit to attending every daytime session (only the evening session is optional), with the only exception being for agent/editor interviews. Come discover what you’re doing right, what needs improvement, and how to make those improvements.  * Only the first ten will be accepted and must pre-register: [email protected]

 

Writing Life-Changing Nonfiction—Training for the Called and the Curious: Lori Hatcher —Whether you suspect God is calling you to write non-fiction or you know, this continuing class will enlighten, encourage, and equip you to succeed. On Day 1 we’ll explore the questions, Am I called? What is my message? Why is this so hard? On Day 2, we’ll answer the question, I’ve written it. Now what? Day 3 will find us poised to submit – but where? And how? Day 4 will wrap it all up by tracking a book from concept to completion. Whether you write articles, blog posts, or books, this is the place to connect with other writers and hone our skills to impact our world through life-changing non-fiction.

 

4:00 – 5:00      Sign up for Editor/Agent/Publisher Appointments                                                                                                                               

5:40 – 6:30      Dinner                                                                                                 

7:00 – 9:00      General Session & Keynote, Tammy Whitehurst                                  

9: 15 – 10:00   After Hours Workshops:

Cindy Sproles: What Did They Say?—If you are new to writing and to conferences, you’ll want to know the industry lingo. What is a critique group and what a good critique is? What is the difference in traditionally published, self-publishing, and custom publishing. POD, POV, RUE. . .what are all these initials? In this class you’ll be introduced to the lingo of the industry, an important step in learning the publishing process.


Bethany Jett: Writing Together: The Art of Crafting Quality Copy with a Co-Author—In this workshop, learn the keys to creating quality copy with a co-author. Find out the secrets to writing together successfully and how to grow into better writers and better friends in the process.


Edie Melson: Pinterest Basics—Pinterest is also a valuable resource when it comes to connecting with our audience. I’ll share how to use templates to streamline pinning original content, as well as a workable schedule to help grow your reach.

 

Friday                                                                                                                     

7:40 – 8:15      Breakfast                                                                                             

8:30 – 9:00      Music, Devotional, Announcements                                                   

9:15 – 11:15    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up)

11:30 – 12:00  Keynote Address, Bob Hostetler

12:10 – 1:00    Lunch                                                                                                                   

1:30 – 2:30      Workshops:

Craig von Busek: Doing Historical Research—My mentor was a New York Times reporter and editor, who also wrote best-selling books. He taught his students: “The best writers are the best reporters. In other words, learn to do your research well.” In this class I will share how I did research for “I Am Cyrus” my biography on Harry Truman and the Zionist Movement, for “Nobody Knows: the Harry T. Burleigh Story,” and for my upcoming biography “Grant’s Triumph.”


Bethany Jett: How to Craft a Nonfiction Book Proposal that Gets Results—Your proposal is the advocate for your book. Essentially, it is you on the paper explaining why your book should be chosen for publication. Understandably, proposals are not easy and they take a lot of time, thought, and multiple drafts. In this workshop, Bethany Jett will breakdown each section of the proposal and share tips to enhance and develop each one, including: 

How to leverage your biography for the greatest impact,
The difference between influencers and endorsers and why you need them both,
Establishing a marketing plan,
Why the Market Analysis section is vital to get right,
Tips for chapter development, and more.

 

Cheri Cowell: Evaluating Your Options—In this workshop, we'll discuss traditional publishing, answer some forbidden questions, and take a look at the many options for self, independent, co-publishing, and partnership publishing. As someone with her foot in both worlds, Cheri can help you evaluate your options.


Athena Dean Holtz—Using Self Publishing to Land a Traditional Contract—Whether you are a speaker who writes or a writer who speaks, having a professionally developed book in print can help expand your reach and prove yourself to a potential traditional publisher. This strategy of self-publishing is to build numbers and create engagement that agents and editors are looking for to be viable in the competitive market. Join publishing pioneer Athena Dean Holtz, as she shares case studies, pros and cons of different publishing options, and the necessary aspects required to have a product that goes beyond your friends, family, and local influence. Come away from this two-hour workshop with a solid road map to publication that includes worksheets and a “to do” list to take the next steps towards accomplishing your ministry goals.


Ava Pennington—Kick Out the Clichés and Christianese—Whether you're writing for believers or unbelievers, learn how to kick out clichés and Christianese for more effective writing. Your editors and your readers will thank you!

 

2:45 – 3:45      Workshops:

Cindy Sproles: Stop Preaching to the Choir—Writing Christian World View into the General Market—As Christian writers we tend to preach to the choir, writing only to those in the Christian market. But what about those who do not read within the confines of the Christian Market? In this class we will discuss the importance of writing into the general market maintaining a Christian world view. Authors can write wholesome, enjoyable, and fulfilling fiction to the general market without letting the world lead them in the lie that the world won’t read. We’ll prove you can write good fiction and maintain the love of Christ, without thumping your reader on the head. It’s time to advance and put our toes in new water where the ripples can make amazing changes.


Kate Jameson: Writing for Focus on the Family— Join editor Kate Jameson for an in-depth look at the different publications at Focus on the Family, what each one is looking for, and how to get your foot in the door.


Tammy Karasek: Beta Readers, Street & Launch Teams—I have been a participant on more than 50 Launch Teams as well as lead one for an author over the last couple of years. This presentation will draw on my experience beginning with the explanation of the difference between them and when do you need any of them. I have been on some that were very successful and I will give hints and ideas on how to choose what fits for you to make your team as successful as possible.


Julie Lavender: Writing for Guideposts—Wanna write inspiring, true stories for Guideposts Magazine and have your words join other pages that have been read by millions of people for the past seventy years? Come learn tips and techniques for getting your story accepted for Guideposts Magazine and other Guideposts publications by Guideposts contributor Julie Lavender.


Mike Parker: The Art of the Interview—If you are attending this workshop, I'm making the assumption that you are somehow involved with the written word. You may be an author, a novelist, a playwright, a screenwriter, a journalist. Your name might be a household word, or you may be completely unknown to anyone outside your circle of family and friends. Perhaps you don't consider yourself to be a "real writer" (whatever that means), but you hope to be one day.  Perhaps you are an ordinary person caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and your story demands attention. Perhaps you are an expert in your field. Perhaps you just have an amazing imagination and are a natural born storyteller. For whatever reason, you have a story to tell and you’ve been given the platform to tell it. You have the potential for being interviewed and you want to make the best impression possible. Why else would you be attending this workshop? One thing I've learned from 30+ years working in the entertainment/publishing industry: Everybody has a story. Another thing I’ve learned: Not everyone knows how to tell their story effectively.  That is what this workshop is all about: Giving you the tools you need to tell your story effectively.


Karen Porter: What Makes a Nonfiction Book a Success—Dissect several bestsellers and learn what you can do to put your book on the same path. Learn where the pattern of success begins and where it leads.

 

4:00 – 5:00      Workshops:

Lori Hatcher: Writing Life-changing Nonfiction—Training for the Called and the Curious:  This workshop offers a mix of sound biblical truth, humor, and common sense to empower the most insecure writer to answer God’s call to write life-changing non-fiction. You’ll be inspired to write boldly for Him, regardless of your ability, experience, or education. We’ll talk about comparison, insecurity, and competitiveness and examine the biblical roots of each issue. We’ll walk through a three-step personal evaluation and craft a unique mission statement designed to silence the voices that imprison your writing potential.


Blythe Daniel: What’s Up In Fiction?—The age for fiction readers is trending downward. In this recent Publishers Weekly article, Christian fiction publishers share how they’re reaching fiction readers younger than 40. What does this mean for new fiction writers? What does the trend for writing to an older fiction audience look like? Literary agent Blythe Daniel compiles responses from publishers and shares them with you what publishers and agents are looking for from today’s fiction writers. This workshop will cover multiple genres of fiction and audiences to tell you what’s up and what’s not so you can make the best decisions about where and how to place your works of fiction.


Taryn Souders: Tackling Middle Grade, the Middle Child of the Book Industry—Writing books for the middle grades is a difficult challenge to take on. The age range is huge and the topics diverse, ranging from slapstick humor to death. Come and learn about developing characters, which traits to use and which to avoid, plot-driven stories vs. character-driven, pantsers vs. plotters, dialogue, and more!


Kate Jameson: Escape the Maybe Pile—Learn how to make your submission stand out from the rest with tips from editor Kate Jameson.


Rachel Hauck: Five, Six, or Maybe Seven Things You Need to Know Before Indie Publishing—Making it in publishing is never easy, especially when starting out on your own. In this workshop we'll take a look at essential elements to consider before jumping into the independent publishing waters. Things like craft, branding, social media, advertising, rights and cover art. This workshop is for those just starting out as well as established traditionally published authors.

5:40 – 6:30      Dinner                                                                                                 

7:00 – 9:00      General Session & Keynote, Carol Kent                                       

9:15 – 10:00   After Hours Workshops:

Michael Anderson: Going the Anthology Route—Anthologies are Hot! Small portable screens are changing the way we read. The single-serving quality of a short narrative is the perfect form for the digital age. Anthologies have been reborn in the e-book era and are a great way for newer authors to break onto bookshelves. They offer the reader many authors’ perspectives and styles on the same theme. In this lean energetic presentation, the ABCs of anthology writing, submissions, and story collection options are covered.  The objective is to offer writers a viable publishing alternative “when there is no novel inside you at the moment.”


Del Duduit: From Conference to Contract—Sound impossible? It’s not. But it can be done with some work. In this workshop, Del will give not only his personal experience from attending one conference, which has resulted in more than 10 book contracts in 12 months, but he also shares some helpful tips he has learned along the way.

Do what you are told: Many agents and publishers have said they will give an author a suggestion, yet the authors never act on their advice. I listened and did what I was told and have been blessed and rewarded. Find your niche: I had no idea devotions was going to be the way I was going to be used. I had a different approach, but when I listened to my agent and a publisher and followed their advice, wonderful things have happened. My original manuscript has yet to be published. Get to work: Procrastination is a negative attribute. Stay on task and focused. Get it done: Meet your obligations and deadlines. Expand your platform: There are various on-line magazines and publications that will take your work. After my first contract, I now write for five magazines which helps my platform and gets publishers and agents to notice you. No ego: Take suggestions from editors and don’t become personally attached to your work. Be flexible and willing to change. Stop making excuses: As a relative newcomer to Christian writing, I heard my share of stories from people as to why they have not pursued a book deal. If you want it to happen, it is possible – be patient, but stop making excuses. Follow up: Don’t wait too long on a call from you publisher or agent. They are busy and sometimes forget. I’ll give you subtle ways for you to stay on their radar. Sign the contract: This is not a guarantee, but if you stay focused and adhere to professional advice, you might find yourself with a pen in hand signing that book contract you have worked so hard to see come to reality.

Can you go from a conference to a contract? Of course. But it takes hard work and dedication.


Edwina Perkins: Does My Writing Offend You?— Sensitivity readers are not police of free speech or intend to be censors. They’re readers who review manuscripts for issues of bias, issues of representation, cultural inaccuracies, insensitive language, and will make suggestions to authors. This workshop will address the role of sensitivity readers and when should a writer consider acquiring one.

 

Saturday                                                  

7:40 – 8:15      Breakfast                                                                                             

8:30 – 9:00      Music, Devotional, Announcements                                                   

9:15 – 11:15    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up)

11:30 – 12:00  Keynote Address, John Herring

12:10 – 1:00    Lunch                         

1:30 – 5:00      Extended Classes:

Bethany Jett: Latest in Social Media: Creating Content & Integrated Marketing—Marketing is all about serving others. In this workshop, Bethany Jett lays the framework for successful marketing practices, including: Why it’s crucial to utilize new media and traditional media practices, How to use content marketing to your advantage without spending a lot of money, A breakdown of the “Top 8” New Media platforms, The 10 Steps of Integrated Marketing (and how to put them into practice today!), Why the GRACE campaign will bring freedom to your writing and marketing.


Bob Hostetler: Nonfiction Writing 101, 201, 301, and 401—A crash course in writing all forms of nonfiction, from newspaper and magazine to book, from a much-published author and literary agent.


Tina Yeager: Psyched Characters: Craft Fiction with Vivid Emotion—Do your protagonists and antagonists rise from their pages to captivate a reader’s imagination? Sculpting characters with psychological depth infuses your story with power. Join me for a workshop exploring realistic thoughts and behaviors from a therapist’s perspective. Discover personality types, trauma responses, and potential effects of mental health diagnoses. We’ll cover socio-cultural and background influences similar to those explored during counseling services. Learn solutions for the ethical dilemmas involved with portraying mental health disorders. How does your character respond to crisis? How does she cope with pain? Get into your character’s head and make her unforgettable. Participants receive a psychological profile tool for outlining each of their characters. I also provide a list of reliable resources to help authors obtain clinical and personal perspectives on specific circumstances. Believe it or not, some information on the internet isn’t true.


Karin Beery: All the Basics of Writing Fiction—Join Karin as she details the subjects of Understanding the difference between the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) and American Booksellers Association (ABA), Book lengths and classifications, Genres and their characteristics, Editing Resources, Point-of-View, Style Sheets, Fliers, and Comments, Editor Intrusion, The Difference Between Telling and Showing, Identifying Different Types of Telling, Passive Voice, When to Tell & What Not to Do, Characters, Plots, and Formatting.

 

1:30 – 2:30      Workshops:

Cheri Cowell: Reprints, Rights, and Rewrites; Getting Mileage out of Your Work—It takes twice as long and ten times the energy to write a new piece than to rework and resubmit that piece again and again. Learn how to get more mileage out of your work in this chock-full-of-tips-and-tricks class.


Blythe Daniel: The Promise of a Great Premise—You know you’ve got to grab the reader with your title. How? It starts with a great premise. The purpose for your writing. A premise does three things. What are they? How do you know how to craft the right premise to hook the reader? In this session, we’ll look at some of the practical tools to get you started to create and simplify your premise. Come prepared to craft your premise using examples we’ll discuss and then you’ll start working on your own. The promise of a great premise means you’ll deliver what your reader needs and gives you direction to create the uniqueness of your book. For fiction and non-fiction.

  
Edie Melson: Instagram 101—Instagram is a hot platform right now. In this class we’ll discuss how to make it work for you. Included will be practical how-tos, as well as theory to help you keep growing once you get started.

 

2:45 – 3:45      Workshops:


Tammy Karasek: How to Give & Receive Constructive Criticism—Whether you are a new writer or a seasoned one, the value of finding a critique partner or partners is an important aspect in continuing to strengthen your writing. As a new writer, they can help you fix those tell/tale signs that you are a new writer. As the seasoned writer, your partner(s) can help where something in your work is not clear, comes off harsh to the reader or just isn’t quite right. I will share tips to give a helpful critique even if you are new as well as help you be less harsh if you’re the seasoned one. And what about those tough ones? We will discuss what to do when that happens.


Athena Dean Holtz: Connecting with Consumers—We’ve all experienced the closures of Borders, Lifeway, Family and scores of independent Christian stores. Add to that the advent of the pandemic, and you’ll see creativity in connecting directly with consumers as a vital key to success for every author. You cannot expect your book to sell by itself, so let’s develop a strategy! Join independent publishing pioneer Athena Dean Holtz as she shares her 3+ decades of experience in reaching readers with a message of hope. Walk out with a plan of action!

 

Julie Lavender: Extra! Extra! Read all About it! Writing for Newspapers—Have you ever dreamed of seeing your byline on the front page of a newspaper? More than 1300 daily newspapers and other weekly ones fly off the presses in the wee hours of the morning, and your local newspaper needs fresh content with every issue! With that necessity for constant content, breaking into newspaper writing is often easier than getting other writing gigs, and you can build writing credits quickly. Find out how to write for newspapers and how to share faith-based, God-stories in the pages of a newspaper.

 

4:00 – 5:00      Workshops:

Karen Porter: Marketing & Byproducts— How to write a study guide, journal, and other accessory products that will enhance your book’s appeal. How to use these products in marketing.


Craig von Buseck: Writing for the Web—Digital media today is reaching billions of people around the world – whether it is through blogs, articles, book excerpts, tweets, video, or other forms. It’s an amazing time to be alive and to be involved in media ministry. The opportunities are seemingly endless. The world is gathering in the digital space, and it is important for the Church to be there to greet them in these various forums with the truth of God’s Word presented in a professional manner. Learn how to effectively take the Word to the World through the World Wide Web.


Carol Kent: Turning Written Words into Platform Presentations—All of us know that publishers want authors who have a “platform.”  Publishing funds are limited, so if you can speak about your article and book topics, and accept invitations that will help the public to know who you are, you will have a better chance at getting your book proposal accepted.  Come to this session to learn how to take your material and turn it into a message that can be presented in spoken form.  Learn the secrets of making an illustration come alive and learn effective delivery skills.  You can speak up with confidence! 

 

5:40 – 6:30      Dinner

6:45 – 9:00      Just Deserts Desserts & Award Ceremony

 

Sunday                                              

7:30 – 8:15      Breakfast                                                                                             

8:30 – 9:00      Music, Devotional, Announcements                                                   

9:15 – 11:15    Continuing Classes (See Thursday 1:30 for line-up)

11:30 – 12:00  Keynote Address, Bob Hostetler