The Christian Writers Guild, owned by novelist Jerry Jenkins, has shut down after 50 years of operation. Jenkins, who purchased the group in 2001, announced the closing at the CWG website, citing no reason but noting that students would be able to finish writing courses offered through the guild, begun as a correspondence course in the 1960s.
“I’m saddened to see the end of what was a powerful training resource for writers,” said agent Steve Laube. “One of our clients, Jan Watson, got her start as a novelist through CWG and continues to publish marvelous books with Tyndale. Jerry's vision and desire to give back to the industry have been an inspiration to us all.”
Jenkins told PW in an email that he was narrowing his focus back to his own writing and personal coaching, the latter to be done through blogging and private consultation. He has two books coming out next year, the nonfiction title The Matheny Manifesto, with St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny (Crown Archetype, Feb.), and the novel Empire's End (Worthy, May).
The Believers Group has announced that it will form a nonprofit educational arm, Believers Trust, to offer education to aspiring writers. A for-profit arm, Believers Media, will offer a menu of services across media for content creators. Believers Group is run by Dave Sheets, who was president of CWG until his resignation earlier this month.
Sheets said he and Jenkins remain friends. “I needed to take publishing services in a different direction,” he said, noting that the arrangement of services under the Believers Group umbrella was a matter of rebranding to clarify what the group offered. Earlier business iterations, including Believers Press and 1Source, will fade, he said.
“We’re trying to make it not confusing to people about what we’re doing,” he said.
Also moving to the new Believers Trust group is Julie Boynton, former marketing coordinator for CWG. In 2013, Jenkins had launched Christian Writers Guild Publishing, to provide publishing for CWG clients.