Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The best way to react to a verbal mistake,
is to acknowledge it and laugh at it with
your audience. Lose your place in your notes
or forgot what you were saying? Tell them.


Avoid professional jargon, cliches, or “Christian-eze” in your writing.


View this email with images »
Writer's Digest Annual Conference
Hello everyone,

As you've likely heard by now, the Writer's Digest Annual Conference is scheduled for July 31 – August 2 in New York. It'll be here sooner than you think, so I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting program updates—and remind you that when you register by April 1, you'll get it all at the Early-Bird discounted rate.
 We'll have five tracks of education, each with a distinct focus. Tracks include Getting Published, Platform & Promotion, The Business of Being a Writer, Craft, and—for the first time—Genre Studies. Confirmed sessions include:
  • Writing a Mystery: A Crash Course, with New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Hallie Ephron
  • From Me-More to Memoir, taught by award-winning poet and essayist Rebecca McClanahan
  • The Glorious World of Steampunk—an exciting panel discussion with award-winning novelists Pip Ballantine, Tee Morris, and Steven Harper Piziks
  • Crafting Crime Fiction, with award-winning author Jane Cleland

Additional sessions will likely be devoted to horror, romance, non-western historical fiction, YA, and more. Look for their addition to the schedule in the near future.
  Sessions in other tracks that I'm pleased to highlight include:
  • Buzz Your Book with New York Times bestseller M.J. Rose
  • Getting Discovered: Putting Your Books on Libraries' eShelves with journalist Porter Anderson
  • How to Become a Regular Contributor to Any Publication with WD Editor Jessica Strawser
  • Breaking into the Best Online Publications with award-winning author Susan Shapiro
  • Self-Publishing on a Shoestring with Amazon bestselling author G.P. Ching

That's a sampling of what's to come. I'll be providing updates over the next few months as more speakers and sessions are added. And don't forget to check out our massive, high-energy Pitch Slam, which gives you a forum in which to pitch your work to agents and editors, along with a number of other exclusive benefits.

Remember: you'll save $100 when you commit by April 1. Seats are going quickly. Make your plans today.

I hope to see you there!
Phil Sexton
Keep writing

Phil Sexton
Publisher, Writer's Digest
 Register Now! 
Conference Images


Hey--Just a heads-up that I'll be leaving tomorrow for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I have been attending this conference--one of my favorites--since the early 1970's. I'll be teaching a workshop on "Launching Your Writing Career with How-to Articles," as well as working as part of the critique team. I'm looking forward to having the chance to work with and encourage other writers.

I'll also be on the lookout for marketing information and industry changes that I can share with all of you when I get home. If any of you are planning to attend, please let me know that you're there and how you feel about the blog. Would appreciate your prayers, as well.



If you have a product or service that you want to get into
the hands of more people, there is an indispensible tool
that will work for you 24/7.
This tools allows you to send people to it and it closes the
sale for you.
This tool is the landing page and once I harnessed the power
of landing pages, my business have more than doubled.
The art of the landing page is not the page itself, but the precise
words you use to move your target market to quick action.
Tomorrow evening, I am going to share my secrets to creating
landing pages that enable you to easily expand your business
nationally and internationally and make sales around the clock.
Touch and Agree Christian Women's Business Network Presents A 90-minute Teleclass Training and Live Q&A
Make The Connection:
The 12 Must-Have Components of Creating Winning Landing Pages
(even if you don’t like technology)

Thursday, March 26th
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST
Live Q&A - 9:00 pm - 9:30 pm EST
For the FIRST TIME, I am going to lay out 12 of the must-have
components I have tested and proven to work without fail time
and time again that will shave years off of the time it will take
you to get really good at using Landing Pages to grow your business.

Can't make it live? No problem. Get registered and you will receive a
complimentary recording and the full training packet.

Dedicated to Your Success,

Ericka D. Jackson
Master Business Trainer
"The Results Accelerator"
Touch and Agree Christian Women's Business Network

Ericka D. Jackson 
7413 Six Forks Rd.
Suite 110
Raleigh, NC  27615
(919) 713-2283 


Earn your self-published book the recognition
it deserves —plus a free webinar!

Writer’s Digest is proud to present the 23rd Annual Self-Published Book Awards, the premier competition for self-published authors!

All entrants receive free access to a special 60-minute live webinar (a $79 value) presented by Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book. A brief commentary from a judge is also included with each entry.
Entrants also have the chance to win these incredible prizes:

  • $8,000 in cash
  • A feature article about you and your book for the March/April 2016 issue of Writer's Digest
  • A trip to the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference
  • A press release from Writer's Digest, to be sent, along with a copy of your book, to 10 different major publishing review houses
  • A guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, courtesy of Brian Jud & Book Marketing Works, LLC.
  • And much, much more. Too much to even list here, trust us.
    Explore all the prizes!
Writers from all genres are welcome to vie for this extraordinary prize, including writers of life stories, fiction, non-fiction, inspirational, children’s and poetry, to name just a few. See the full list of categories here.

Don’t let your book slip through the cracks. This competition is the chance to get your book into the hands of people who can help raise your book’s profile and increase your sales. Grab this opportunity, and register today!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015


 The Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) announces their latest live webinar in their Instant Writers Conference Series; Using and Understanding Point of View (POV) with Cynthia L. Simmons and host Linda Evans Shepherd.  

Linda says, “Writers need to be sure they know the difference between first person and third person. If they are not clear, if they are not sure if or when to 'head-hop' from one character to another, or if they need clear direction in picking a compelling perspective from which to tell their story, they should consider joining us for this live class.
Webinar Details:
When:  Thursday, March 26
Time:  9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm CST, 7:00 pm MST, 6:00 pm PST
Where:  Watch our live Webinar on your own computer; or sign up and you will automatically get the replay to watch on demand.
NOTE:  Students will receive handouts plus, Cynthia and Linda will be available to answer questions.
About our Presenters:

Cynthia L. Simmons is a Bible teacher, speaker, author, former homeschool mom, and host of Heart of the Matter Radio. A lover of history, she fills her presentations with lively vignettes from the past. She served as president of Christian Authors Guild and directs Atlanta Christian Writers Conference.  
Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 30 books including The Stress Cure, Pray Your Way to Personal Peace. She is the founder of AWSA and the President of Right to the Heart Ministries.  See

I'm switching to GMAIL.  You can now reach me at
THANKS - Linda Evans Shepherd

Monday, March 23, 2015


THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield) is #1 in Relationships; #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Health; #13 in Paperback Nonfiction.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
  • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #8 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Moody) is #8 in Family.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #12 in Relationships.
  • BEFORE AMEN by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson) is #13 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • FOR THE RIGHT REASONS by Sean Lowe with Nancy French (Thomas Nelson) is #14 in Relationships.

  • Sunday, March 22, 2015


    This outstanding annual writers' conference will be held at Wheaton College in Wheaton IL, a suburb of Chicago, in June. Speakers include Dr. Dennis Hensley, Daniel Darling, Karen Porter, and Cynthia Ruchti.

    Conference begins on Wednesday morning, June 3rd , and closes with a banquet on Saturday night, June 6th. Scholarship information, as well as everything else you need to know about the conference is available of their Website at Lin Johnson is director,  and if you have questions, her e-mail address is:

    This is one of the top Christian writers' conference and one you'll want to attend.


    In case you haven't heard yet, Evangel Magazine will be discontinuing publication this summer. The reason? "The demand/use of take-home papers has been in decline for many years as churches discontinue Sunday school or other such meetings." I hope this is not an indication that some of the remaining papers will follow suit. Sunday school take-home papers have always been an open market for freelancers, and one of the best for Christian short stories. Evangel  will be missed.


    Our greatest fear is making a mistake and looking foolish.
    Everyone in the audience has made similar mistakes, and
    will think no less of you if you make one.


    Use slang only in directly-quoted conversation—but, even then, sparingly.


    Q. I know that copyrights on writing run out after awhile—that is, if you use an old enough song book, you don't have to get written permission to use the songs. Likewise, if you use an old enough version of the Bible, you don't have to get written permission to quote the verses. My question is: (1) What is that length of time? and (2) Is it possible to get permission to quote from versions like the New International or New American Standard or other translations as long as you give credit?

    A. These are important questions and you are wise to seek answers to be sure you are functioning within the guidelines of the copyright law.
    Copyright length is currently the author's lifetime plus 70 years. This time period applies to books, as well as music. Even if it's in public domain and can be used without permission, you still have to give credit. Note that this length changes when there are co-authors. For exceptions to this rule, go to for specifics.
    If you are not familiar with the term public domain, it means that the written material either was never copyrighted, or that the copyright has expired; and you are free to use it without permission as long as you give credit.
    The only translation of the Bible that is already in public domain is the King James Version. You can quote from it without having to worry whether or not you need to ask permission. Be sure you always identify the version with a Bible reference, such as John 3:16 KJV.
    As far as other versions of the Bible are concerned, they are all protected much the same as any other published book. However, guidelines for quoting are somewhat different. Most versions have a blanket agreement with book publishers that they can quote up to 250 or 500 verses without having to ask permission, as long as the quoted portion does not include a certain number of consecutive verses or a complete book of the Bible. Periodicals have a similar agreement.
    In all cases it is critical that the quote is rendered exactly as written in that version, and proper credit is given. Houses that publish Bibles provide more specific guidelines on their Websites for using quotes.



    One of my projects right now is going through a box of files that contain the records and contributor’s copies for articles I sold years ago.

    First, I was surprised at how many of them there were—some I didn’t even remember having written. Then, as I read through some of them I realized that much of the information was still relevant and many of them could easily be updated and sent out as reprints. (Of course, I have to find the time to type them into my computer as most were written on a typewriter.)

    So, this is just a reminder to you that you may be overlooking a goldmine in reprints that could be sold to the many publications open to them. That’s also a possibility for out-of-print books that need only be updated to reflect the current culture or information. Just be sure that with articles you only sold first rights or one-time rights originally (if you sold all rights you can’t sell reprints without the original publisher’s permission). I’m challenging you to find at least one article in the next week that you can submit as a reprint—and submit it!

    Friday, March 20, 2015


    Join Us April 11th &12th, 2015
    Register Now >>

    Writer's Digest University is pleased to present a one-of-a-kind online event for science fiction and fantasy writers! On April 11 th and 12th, our first ever Science Fiction & Fantasy Online Writing Conference will provide expert insights from five award-winning and best-selling authors on the finer points of how to write within the science fiction and fantasy genres. Spend the weekend learning techniques for honing your craft from five different published authors*, then pitch your novel via query letter to a literary agent specifically looking for material in these genres. The agent will provide you with a personalized critique of your query - and maybe ask to see more.

    Experience the education, camaraderie, and opportunities provided by a live writing conference without ever having to leave your home! Join us for the live event and have a chance to get written feedback on your query letter from a literary agent who works with science fiction and fantasy authors. Click here to learn more!
    • At least five all-new, one-hour webinar presentations provided by award-winning and bestselling science fiction and fantasy authors*, all examining different aspects of writing novels in these genres. Each session will include an opportunity for live Q&A with the authors!
    • A critique (with written feedback) of your query letter from an agent with experience in the science fiction and fantasy genres.
    • bonus 90-minute On Demand webinar covering how to write a query letter so you're prepared when pitching your novel to agents. (A $79.99 value!)
    • The ability to network with fellow science fiction and fantasy writers via discussion boards that will be open throughout the weekend. Share ideas, and even your work if you choose.
    • Unlimited OnDemand viewing! All conference sessions will be made available for download in the week following the live presentations. Even if you can't attend every session live, you will be able to view each lecture on your own whenever you choose.
    • And more!

    *Our craft-focused conference schedule is designed to provide the kind of education that all science fiction and fantasy writers can use to take their work to the next level. The following sessions are confirmed for the event, but there may be additions announced soon.

    The Theme's the ThingPresenter: Steven Harper PiziksThis workshop covers the importance of theme in commercial science fiction and fantasy literature. We'll discuss different types of themes, how to find or create them in your own work, and use some writing exercises to uncover hidden themes.
    You've Never Been Here Before: Effectively Drawing Readers into Your Story World Presenter: Jeff GerkeThe task of a novel's opening pages is to grab the reader's attention and not let go. But when you're writing science fiction and fantasy, sometimes the world you're presenting is so strange as to almost make the reader step back in confusion. Come learn how.
    Not Your Grandmother's Speculative Fiction: Writing Convincing Societal Change in Science Fiction and FantasyPresenter: Elizabeth BearCome join Hugo Award winning writer Elizabeth Bear for a one-hour web seminar that will give you some basic techniques for recognizing your own cultural assumptions and defaults, and creating worlds and societies that do not merely replicate them.
    Writing Monsters: How to Make Your Imaginary Creatures Extraordinarily RealPresenter: Philip AthansIn this 60-minute workshop, Athans will cover where monstrous creatures come from and why readers love them, how to stage the "reveal," i.e. what to show when, how to craft a creature that appeals to the five senses, and much more. He'll provide examples from classic and contemporary fiction to illustrate each principle.
    Writing a Series: Challenges and OpportunitiesPresenter: Michael J. SullivanSeries are ubiquitous in science fiction and fantasy, offering both challenges and opportunities. In this session, we'll discuss both the craft and the business aspects of series writing. With regards to craft, we'll discuss how to give each work its own conflict and resolution, and yet still have sub-plots that span multiple volumes. When it comes to the business side, we'll discuss how best to pitch a series and what to expect if you sign on the dotted line. Of course, there will be a lot of tips for avoiding pitfalls and plenty of time for Q&A.



    Lil Copan was hired as senior acquisitions editor – general trade for Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

    Copan brings trade line development, project management, author and platform cultivation, editing, and cross-platform development to the company, having worked in acquisitions for Abingdon Press, Ave Maria Press, and Paraclete Press, among other publishing houses.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2015


            As more and more subsidy/cooperative publishers become a part of the Christian publishing scene, I am getting more and more questions about the different types of these publishers—and what the various terminology means. This month I want to give you a few definitions that will hopefully clarify some of those terms for you.

         1. royalty Publisher—also known as a Commercial Publisher, Mainstream Publisher, or Traditional Publisher. With this type of publisher, they pay all the expense of producing the finished book—the author pays nothing. These publishers are very selective, as they are footing the bill. Many of these publishers now expect you to be represented by an agent.
      2. Vanity Publisher – The author pays the full cost of publishing the book. These publishers will publish any book as long as the author is willing to pay for it. Some may offer help with editing, marketing, warehousing, and limited promotion—but don’t expect much.
    3. Subsidy Publisher – The author pays all or most of the cost of producing the books. Usually they are more selective about the books they publish. In some cases the author is responsible for the final editing and making decisions as to interior design and cover design. The books belong to the publisher and the author buys books from the publisher at an established discount. They sometimes pay royalties on the books they sell, but the author will be responsible for most or all of the distribution/sales.
    4. Co-op Publishing - The author pays part of the cost of production and the publisher pays the rest. Or, the publisher may pay the cost of production and the author pays for the promotion. There are a number of different scenarios that include a sharing of costs.
    5. Self-Publishing: The author has full responsibility for the production of the book. They must arrange for the final edit, cover design, printing, etc., finding the best prices for all these services. The author owns all the books and makes all the profit from the sales.


                                   Use the word that comes to you naturally.


    The fear of speaking is no different than the fears
    we face for any other new endeavor—such as skiing,
    cooking, acting, or driving. Practice overcomes all our fears.


    Monday, March 16, 2015


    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield) is #1 in Relationships; #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Health; #11 in Paperback Nonfiction; and #20 in E-Book Nonfiction.
    • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #8 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Moody) is #8 in Family.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
    • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #12 in Relationships.
    • BEFORE AMEN by Max Lucado (Thomas Nelson) is #13 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • FOR THE RIGHT REASONS by Sean Lowe with Nancy French (Thomas Nelson) is #14 in Relationships.
    • CHOOSING TO SEE by Mary Beth Chapman and Ellen Vaughn (Revell) is #18 in E-Book Nonfiction.


    CBA, the Association for Christian Retail, is moving to new headquarters offices with the address change effective March 16.
    The new address is:
    1365 Garden of the Gods Rd., Suite 105
    Colorado Springs, CO 80907
    Phone numbers and email remains the same.
    The actual office move will be completed by March 30.


    Today, Zondervan announced Robin Barnett as the new director of public relations for the Nonfiction Trade Team. Barnett is located in the Grand Rapids, MI offices and reports directly to the team’s vice president of marketing, Tom Dean.
    “Robin has a history of working with bestselling authors, such as Rick Warren, Mark Batterson, Shauna Niequist, Renee Swope and John Ortberg,” says Dean. “I believe that she will make an immediate impact in our interactions with authors, agents and the media.”
    In 2008, Barnett joined Zondervan as the associate public relations manager where she gained knowledge and experience with bestselling authors and top Christian agents.  For the past three years, Barnett served as Baker Publishing’s senior publicist where she was able to strengthen her experience in the field.


     David C Cook is pleased to announce that Verne Kenney has been hired as the Executive Publisher. Kenney will be assuming the responsibilities that Dan Rich held as head of David C Cook Trade Books and Media, until a long term Chief Publishing Officer is hired. “Dan and his team have built a solid and sustainable Trade Book and Media unit over the last nine years,” said Chris Doornbos, Chief Executive Office, “with Dan’s pending retirement at the end of May 2015, along with the dramatic changes and challenges in Christian publishing overall, I see this as a window of opportunity to intentionally re-visit our publishing strategy and develop a long term strategic model. Once we determine the best ‘Go Forward Strategy’ we will resume our search for a new Chief Publishing Officer.”
    Kenney is a trusted and respected colleague within the Christian publishing industry. While at Zondervan, Kenney led the team that collaborated with Randy Frazee and Max Lucado’s “The Story” campaign, which has been adopted by thousands of churches worldwide. Concurrently with his role as Executive Vice President of Sales for Zondervan, Kenney also was appointed trade book publisher and head of marketing, leading those teams on an interim basis. In addition, he ran the Spanish Vida publishing business, turning it profitable and increasing its reach significantly in subsequent years. 


    Worthy Publishing will relocate to an 11,500 square-foot space in Cool Springs, TN from their current 4,700 square-foot Brentwood office. The move is planned for May 1. Plans are also being made to expand the staff, currently at 32 employees.

    Worthy Founder and CEO Byron Williamson attributes the move to “booming” growth within the company. Contributors to this growth include the acquisition of Ideals Children’s Books as part of the WorthyKids brand and the success of the children’s book The Sparkle Box and New York Times best-seller Four Blood Moons.


    With the leadership change last fall, WaterBrook Multnomah has focused on honing their religious publishing mission and strategies, establishing the following missions and making the following changes for the company:
    “WaterBrook’s mission is to create and publish content that both intensifies and satisfies readers’ elemental hunger for a deeper relationship with God; it seeks books for an evangelical Christian that draw on experiential learning, story, self-help, and inspiration to help readers flourish in their faith.”and publish content that both intensifies and satisfies readers’ elemental hunger for a deeper relationship with God; it seeks books for an evangelical Christian that draw on experiential learning, story, self-help, and inspiration to help readers flourish in their faith.”

    “Multnomah is committed to advancing the mission of the church in proclaiming and living the Gospel around the world. It looks for life-changing, culture-defining messages from a conservative Christian perspective that challenge and inspire readers to their fullest potential.”

    In keeping with this focus, Convergent Books, an imprint dedicated to general-market nonfiction titles from diverse Christian perspectives, has been returned to parent company Penguin Random House in New York under the editorial leadership of Executive Editor Dave Kopp.

    “The Crown Publishing Group remains fully committed to its religion publishing program and we have worked to establish clear and distinct editorial missions for each of our Christian imprints,” said Senior VP & Publisher Christian Publishing Tina Constable.
     “Our recent decision to relocate Convergent to New York and to provide it with its own dedicated editorial, marketing, and publishing support team was based on our recognition that there is a segment of the Christian reading public whose needs are not fully met by more traditional Christian publishing imprints. At the same time, separating Convergent’s operations from those of WaterBrook Multnomah has the additional benefit of enabling those Colorado Springs-based imprints to focus fully on their core areas of strength and expertise in order to be able to even better serve their respective audiences. The changes announced this week will, we believe, further strengthen our ability to focus on our mission of publishing books that meet the interests of a full spectrum of readers within the theologically diverse Christian community.”
    In addition, Catholic-interest imprint, Image Books, will continue to maintain its backlist of Catholic books and publish all Image books under contract; however it will no longer acquire additional new titles. The Image Books publishing program will be discontinued as a frontlist imprint.

    As a result of these decisions, the positions of Image associate editor and publicist will be eliminated after a transition period, as will the position of VP, associate publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah, Convergent, and Image Books.





    Sunday, March 15, 2015


    One way to help avoid nervousness is to know exactly
    how you are going to open your speech, and exactly
    what you're going to say to close it out.


                            You are the mediator between man's hurts and God's answers.

    Friday, March 13, 2015


    Q. I am starting to have more success with my writing and am concerned about what I need to do—tax-wise or business-wise—to call my writing a business. At what point is my writing actually considered a business?

    A. It's probably too late to start calling your writing a business for your 2014 tax return, but now is a good time to start setting up the business and begin keeping records the IRS requires for 2015. Here are a few of the things you need to know to get started:

    The IRS will want to know if you are writing as a hobby or you consider your writing a business—the difference being that you are either doing it for fun or you have a profit motive. If you are doing it as a hobby, you can deduct the expenses associated with your writing but only up to the amount you actually made during the year.

    If you consider it a business, you can deduct most or all of your expenses, even in excess of your income; but the IRS expects you to make a profit three out of the first five years. For that reason, you need to plan your switch to the profit motive when it looks like that is likely to happen. However, you can get around that three-year requirement if you can prove you have tried hard to make a profit and have the evidence to prove it. Such evidence would include keeping detailed financial records with receipts, submitting regularly, and having the rejection slips to prove your submissions.

    Learn what the IRS considers legitimate deductions. These include such things as postage, office supplies, business travel, conference fees, and office equipment. For some of the trickier deductions, these free IRS publications help you make those calculations: Publication 535, Business Expenses; Publication 463, Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses; and Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home.

    Some possible deductions have certain limitations on them, so checking out these IRS publications is important. For example, some of the larger deductions are allowed only if you make enough income to cover them. As a self-employed writer, you may also be eligible to deduct a part of your health insurance costs, as long as you are not eligible for health coverage through your regular employer or that of your spouse.

    One of the more difficult deductions to claim is a home office. This is one you will have to hold off on until your business is well underway, and then you will need to carefully check out the guidelines and restrictions for making such a deduction.

    All of the above are federal laws. State and local laws vary from state to state, so check the laws for your city and state. Some states will require a business license, payment of state taxes, etc.

    By the time your business is in full swing and you are making significant income, you may want to hire an accountant to do your tax returns. Just keep in mind that every accountant may not be familiar with the tax laws as they relate to writing, so it helps if you can find one who does tax returns for other writers.

    Thursday, March 12, 2015


    Q. I’ve been writing on and off for years but never seem to get over the hump of actually getting anything published. Now I’ve decided I’m going to make a real effort to become a selling writer. Do you have any tips that will help me achieve success?

    A. Find a critique group to join. If there isn’t one in your area, consider starting one. If you don’t know writers in your area, post signs in large churches or Christian bookstores. You may be surprised how many closet writers are out there. It is also possible to join or start an online group. For an online group, you e-mail your manuscript or chapter to the other members; and they send back their responses and suggestions. The feedback you get from an in-person or online group can be invaluable. Even well-read people—whether they write or not—can be helpful.

    Start collecting writers guidelines and sample copies or book catalogs from periodicals and publishers you want to target with your writing. Most now have their guidelines available on their Web sites. Although it helps to see sample copies of magazines and book catalogs, you can also learn a lot by spending time studying their Web sites. Magazines often include sample articles or whole issues (read them), and book publishers list their current books. A word of caution: Never submit to a new or untapped market without thoroughly studying the guidelines and Website. Editors don’t have time to waste on writers who have not done their homework and will often toss submissions that don’t follow their guidelines.

    Learn what you need to know about rights and copyrights. Although the Copyright Law can be intimidating in its entirety, only a small portion of it applies to you as a writer. You especially need to know what rights to offer and what rights to sell when submitting a manuscript to a periodical publisher. Keep in mind that when selling a book, the rights are covered in the contract, so you don’t need to be concerned about them when submitting a book manuscript or proposal.

    Determine what age groups you want to target with your writing: young children through senior adults. Once you know what age groups, use the Christian Writers’ Market Guide to identify periodicals and book houses that target those ages. Keep in mind that every periodical has a specific, target audience, so your chances of selling increase when your manuscript is of specific interest to that age group or audience. Note that in some cases the audience will share a common interest, rather than be for a specific age group, such as a magazine for pastors.

    Make reading an important part of your preparation for writing. Read a lot of the kind of manuscripts you want to write. If you want to write for magazines, read as instructed above. If you want to write novels, read a lot of the genre you want to write. If it’s nonfiction books, then read books on the same topic to be sure you have something new or different to say. Your reading should also include how-to writing books, classics, and bestselling books in both the Christian and the general markets.

    Collect ideas for your writing. It always helps to have a notebook handy where you can jot down ideas as they come to you. Every time you have an idea for an article or a book, write it down and start collecting additional ideas or resources for that topic or plot and keep adding them to a file folder until it includes enough ideas and inspiration to start the writing project. Your notebook should also include a section of brief ideas you might develop in the future.

    Of course, this list could go on for several more columns, but I’ll end it here and add one more tip. Pray over every project to determine first if it is taking you in the direction God would have you go and then to ask His blessings on the writing and on those who might read it after publication.

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015


    “All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened.”
    —Ernest Hemingway


    In today’s tighter market, it is even more critical that you carefully study the guidelines and sample copy or book catalog of any publisher you plan to submit to. With many more writers out there competing with you in the marketplace, it is even more important that you study the publisher carefully and follow the guidelines for each one exactly. Never assume that your book is so special that you can send five sample chapters when they clearly asked for three. With something like a book proposal, it may mean that you need to tweak the proposal between submissions to better fit the next publisher you are going to approach.

    It is also important that you keep up with the changes in the industry, especially in regards to submitting electronically. Although some publishers were slow to keep up with the changes in technology, these days most publishers have a Website and correspond with their writers and potential writers through e-mail. And even if they don’t want the initial contact to be through e-mail—some actually still want a snail mail letter—many will prefer to correspond with you by e-mail over the length of your involvement with them. I've heard some new writers swear that they don't want to get involved with the Internet, but in today's publishing culture that involvement has become mandatory.

    Since most publishers now do have a Website, many of them have their guidelines available on the site, as well as a lot of information about their company and what they publish. You can learn something about their ministry or denomination, find lists of the books they have published or samples of articles from their publication. Such resources improve your chances of getting that manuscript to–the editor who can appreciate your work. It’s your job to find the right address.

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015


    Because of my long involvement with the Christian Writers’ Market Guide, I Have talked to a lot of writers about marketing over the years--and the inevitable rejections that come with it. I know how disappointing and frustrating those rejections can be. What it takes some writers a long time to learn is that rejection is just part of the publishing business. In our insecurities, we always assume the rejection is an indication that the piece is bad—or at least poorly written. While that might be the case if you have not taken the time to learn your craft, more often it is just a matter of not finding the right editor or the right publisher at the right time.

    There are many reasons for rejection, including: having already done something similar or having it in the works from another author; being overstocked with good manuscripts; having a tight budget this month or year; the piece doesn’t fit their guidelines; has the wrong slant—or the editor just had a fight with his wife that morning. Some of these reasons we can avoid—others are inevitable.


     Alexander Field, VP and Publisher of WaterBrook Multnomah, announces the following promotions and staff changes effective immediately.  Laura Barker has been promoted to Vice President, Editorial Director, WaterBrook MultnomahSusan Tjaden has been promoted to EditorKendall Davis has been promoted to Assistant EditorDebbie Mitchell has been promoted to Vice President, Director of Operations, WaterBrook Multnomah.  Beverly Rykerd has been promoted to Publicity Director, and Ginia Hairston will be joining the company on April 6 as Vice President, Director of Marketing. More


    Standard Publishing Launches New Mobile-Friendly, Consolidated Website -- Celebrate with Us
    Register Now On Our New Website ( to Win One of Our Award-Winning VBS Kits In Our 3 Kit Give-Away Drawing April 17th!

    Contact: Teresa Callahan, 513-728-6852 
    CINCINNATI, March 10, 2015 / Christian Newswire/ -- Standard Publishing's new website consolidates access to all of their true-to-the-Bible ministry resources for children, youth and adults in one easy to use, mobile-friendly place.

    "We're excited to introduce our new website with its upgraded, easy navigation design so that our ministry partners of all kinds can share information, get new ideas and make their shopping choices while on the go or collaborating in meetings," said Peter Esposito, President & CEO at Standard Publishing. "We want to be sure the full range of our resources are accessible anytime, anywhere -- whether in front of their computers at home or work, or in their churches or on the go with their tablet or phone."

    Standard Publishing anticipates continuous improvement to their online shopping experience, and sees this as the beginning of a series of innovations that will continue throughout the year as they work to meet changing shopping habits and information needs.

    "What has not changed in our 146-year history, is our relentless determination to remain the go-to partner for trustworthy Christian ministry resources for all ages," emphasized Matt Lockhart, VP/Publisher at Standard Publishing. "While we will continue to adapt the forms and delivery vehicles of products and information, we believe a changing world needs our reliable Bible-centered resources now more than ever."

    In celebration of their new website, Standard Publishing is inviting everyone to visit and register to win one of their award-winning "2015 Top Pick" VBS Kits FREE! They are giving away a total of 3 FREE KITS in a drawing April 17, 2015.

    Standard Publishing's 2015 Bible Blast to the Past VBS Program was chosen as About the Children's Department's Top Pick VBS 2015, Top Pick Music VBS 2015, and Top Pick Setting VBS 2015. A veteran children's ministry professional, Lynda Freeman of About the Children's Department chose Bible Blast to the Past out of the entire VBS field as Top Pick 2015 VBS program based on the engaging activities and lessons, service and missions emphasis, high energy music, and a new science and craft center.

    Bible Blast to the Past VBS, takes kids zooming through God's Word and back in time to discover God's everlasting love! They will discover how God's love makes a difference in every story, at every time - including right now. Kids will know what God's love is, explore God's everlasting love and serve God by loving others.

    About Standard Publishing: Standard Publishing serves churches worldwide and is recognized as a leader in true-to-the-Bible resources that educate, encourage, and enrich adults, youth, and children. The company is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information, visit or call 800-543-1353. 



    Imagine just getting into your office, logging into your email and seeing that you have a long list of emails telling you that people have registered for your event or purchased your products, programs and services.
    Learn How To Use the Precise Words to Capture the Undivided Attention of the Right People Who Will Take Action to Easily Invest in Your Tools, Techniques, Insights and Products

    Touch and Agree Christian Women's Business Network Presents
    A 90-minute Teleclass Training and Live Q&A
    Make The Connection:
    The 12 Must-Have Components of Creating Winning Landing Pages (even if you don’t like technology)

    Thursday, March 26th
    7:30 pm – 9:00 pm EST
    Live Q&A - 9:00 pm - 9:30 pm EST

    There is one simple tool that is indispensable to your business levels the playing field of business and enables you  to build the case for the value you offer on a regular basis and so much more...the Landing Page (you may sometimes hear it called a 'Sales Page.').
    Learn How to Constantly Increase The Number of People Who Connect With and Say "Yes" To Your Products and Services So You Can Free Up Your Time To Do More of The Things You Love.
    Landing pages hold the power to make building your business easy, fun and exciting again without feeling "salesy", "pushy" or like you have to chase people down to get them to pay attention to what you have to offer. This will show you how to have them eagerly pursue you.

    I have spent YEARS perfecting the art of utilizing Landing Pages to share my life's work with countless people I would otherwise never have met, increase my income, extend my brand's reach, and make money while I slept (this was a HUGE goal of mine as a single mother called to build a business).

    For the FIRST TIME, I am going to lay out 12 of the must-have components I have tested and proven to work without fail time and time again that will shave years off of the time it will take you to get really good at using Landing Pages to g row your business.

    Demystify the process of knowing exactly what to say, how to say it and how to appeal to the people who will say "Yes!" to you every time.
    Learn how to create powerful landing pages and let them become your 24/7 sales force to market your business and share your ministry message.
    Can't make it live? No problem. Get registered and you will receive a complimentary recording and the full training packet.
    Dedicated to Your Success,

    Ericka D. Jackson
    Master Business Trainer
    "The Results Accelerator"
    Touch and Agree Christian Women's Business Network Co-Founder

    Ericka D. Jackson

    7413 Six Forks Rd.
    Suite 110
    Raleigh, NC
    (919) 713-2283


    Take Our Online Writing Class
    Secrets to a Successful Writing Career

    Is God calling you to write?  

    Here is the perfect place to start or even enhance your call.

    Learn the "big picture" and key tools to establish a writing ministry/career, while building portfolio and platform. Includes how-to books, markets, social media, and other aids. How to submit writing like a pro and work with editors/agents.   

    Linda Evans Shepherd.
    When:  March 12
    Time:  9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm CST, 7:00 pm MST, 6:00 pm PST
    Where:  Live Webinar online; or sign up and you will automatically get the replay.
    Sign up:  Click HERE.
    Instructors:  Angela Breidenbach with Linda Evans Shepherd

    We have handouts plus, we will be there to answer your questions.

    About our Presenters:

    Angela Breidenbach is a captivating speaker, coach, and author. Angela serves nationally as the Christian Author Network's (CAN) president. With a volume of appearances online, television, stage, and radio Angela loves to share her knowledge to build up others. (And yes, she's Writer in the #Muse & Writer comedy duo.)

    Linda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 30 books.  She's the president of Right to the Heart, the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine, an international speaker as well as the director of Instant Writers Conference and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).