Thursday, April 30, 2015


How-to - Unless a publication is primarily inspirational, they will likely be open to how-to articles. However, not every writer is good at this kind of piece. How-to writers tend to be well-organized and logical thinkers. You need to be able to take what might be a long and confusing process for doing something and turn it into small, logical steps that will lead the reader to a successful conclusion. Most how-tos tend to be related to one (or more) of the basic human interests: self, money, health, family, leisure time, romance, job, or spirituality.

Some how-tos will be written in a Step 1, step 2, step 3 kind of format. Others simple describe the procedure in paragraph form. Often this is the preference of the editor, so know what type your target publication prefers. A how-to can be a short tip for use in a Tips Column or as a filler, or it can be a full-length article. Again the editor’s preference or magazine’s style prevails. A query is usually preferable with a longer article, but tips and fillers can be sent as complete manuscripts. Sidebars are often used with how-to to give sources for supplies, tips for success, or other material
that will be awkward in the body of the article. Some how-tos will require step-by-step photographs or sketches (find out what your target publication requires). Before submitting the piece, have someone unfamiliar with the process read the article and/or
follow the steps see if it makes sense or if you have left out critical information.

Depending on the target audience, it is best to write how-tos with the idea that your reader is not familiar with the vocabulary or technical jargon associated with the topic.When looking for ideas for how-to articles, focus on or write down all the things you know how to do. The list is likely long. Determine who might want to
know how to do each thing—that will be your target audience. Then decide which publications will reach that audience—that will be your market. Examples: How to get the most out of your Bible study; how to teach your child to pray; how to have a spiritual impact on your community; or how to make a macramé birdhouse.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


First Person or As-told-to - A first-person article is a true story you write about your own experiences. It is often called a “Guideposts story” because that magazine is known for this type of personal experience piece. An as-told-to story is one you write based on some else’s personal experience (as told to you, but written as if they were telling it). This is similar to ghost-writing, but you share in the byline. Watch the newspaper for potential story ideas and develop good interviewing skills. Example of First Person story: Your experiences working with the homeless in New York City. Example of As-Told-To Story: You writing the story of your friend working with the homeless in New York City.


"I've always said there are . . .two kinds of writers. There are architects and gardeners. The architects do blueprints before they drive the first nail, they design the entire house, where the pipes are running, and how many rooms there are going to be, how high the roof will be. But gardeners just dig a hole and plant the seed and see what comes up." George R.R. Martin

Monday, April 27, 2015


Feature Article - A Feature Article tells the story behind the news, enlarging on or interpreting the

news for the reader. This type of article calls for more in-depth research on a topic. They are often the

 lead article in a magazine, are the most in demand, and garner the highest pay. Example: An article

on whether Christian young women should participate in beauty pageants; increased violence in

 schools; new treatments for AIDS. Since these topics are often tied to current events, you must move

 quickly so your piece will be timely and someone else won’t beat you to the punch. A feature article

 usually pays more since it requires research and is so timely. At most publications, the best pay rate

is reserved for feature articles. Although feature

articles generally deal with politics, ethics, science, social issues, economics or art, it

is best if you specialize and gain a reputation in one or two of those areas. Read as

much as you can in your selected topic area, seek out and cultivate relationships with

experts in the field, and keep up with what is happening in that area of interest. Always

query before tackling a feature article. Be sure of a market and the appropriate slant.

Ideas for feature articles are everywhere, and once you start tuning in to those

potential features, you will have more ideas than you can ever follow through on.

Simply look for things that interest you—first—and will then interest your readers as

well. Some features are profiles that focus on an individual; others are stories about

situations, organizations or programs.

Feature articles are not the place to start your writing career. Learn to write

well and add a good number of credits to your resume before you tackle your first

feature. Learn all you can about this specialized type of article, while you hone your

research and interviewing skills. A feature article is written in short, declarative

sentences, with active/vivid verbs, few adjectives, and simple descriptions. Ultimately,

let the story tell itself. Examples: Stories of politicians or celebrities in the news;

stories that reflect the results of current public policies or new laws; story of what one

school is doing to curb teen violence.


        NEW TO LIST: SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY by Rachel Held Evans (Thomas Nelson) is #15
           in E-Book
  • NEW TO LIST: YOUR BEAUTIFUL HEART by Lauren Scruggs (Tyndale House) is #1 in Fashion, Manners and Customs.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #1 in Relationships; #4 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson) is #3 in Race.
  • SCARY CLOSE by Donald Miller. (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #3 in Relationships.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
  • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
  • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Health.
  • WRESTLING FOR MY LIFE by Shawn Michaels with David Thomas (Zondervan) is #8 in Sports.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #8 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
  • FOUR BLOOD MOONS by John Hagee (Worthy Publishing) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • HEAVEN IS FOR REAL by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson) is #14 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


      PDF Print E-mail
CrossBooksLogo-logoCrossBooks, a Christian self-publishing company, has announced it will close its doors, effective April 30. Since its beginnings in 2009, CrossBooks has published over 1,000 books through B&H Publishing Group, the publishing division of LifeWay Christian Resources.
CrossBooks was unique to vet its books with help from a theological review team to make sure books were consistent with LifeWay’s values.
“CrossBooks was created to respond to the needs of authors with biblical-centered editorial and promotional expertise,” says Dave Schroeder, vice president of publicity for B&H Publishing. “B&H simply decided to use resources to pursue other opportunities.”
Schroeder said authors with publishing deals or whose books have not yet been published have received refunds for services not yet completed.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Your speech will usually be just one part
of a longer program, and if you go overtime
it throws off that scheduled program.


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


Essay/Observation - An essay or observation article is simply the writer’s personal reaction to some event, situation, or topic. The essay is a form of nonfiction that many writers rarely think about. From time-to-time we need to stop and look inside ourselves for those thoughts, opinions or ideas that we can develop into an essay on a topic of universal interest. Read magazines for good samples of essays. Essays generally are short (under 1,000 words) and deal with one topic; they lack the length and structure of other articles. Examples: How you feel about abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, or homosexual rights.

Expose` - Reveals documented facts that expose some wrongdoing, injustice or foul play. Must be based on careful investigative reporting, not on hearsay or rumors, and must not be malicious. Example: Report of a local politician embezzling city funds or a Christian ministry involved in soliciting funds under false pretenses. Also might be related to some historical figure or event.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


When asked to speak, you will usually be given
 a time frame, such a 30 minutes or an hour. It is
 critical that your talk is exactly the right length.


Whenever possible, address manuscripts to an editor
by name. In some cases publishers don’t supply
editor’s names and prefer something like
“Submissions Editor” instead.


Controversy - Presents a topic of controversy and offers a balanced report showing both sides of the issue. Example: An article on whether or not illegal aliens are hurting or helping our country; a piece on whether women submitting to their husbands is biblical; or one on the pros and cons of the death penalty.

Drama-in-Life - An article that is based on a real-life dramatic event. Guideposts Magazine prints a lot of these kinds of stories. Example: Story of a man who falls into shark-infested waters to save a drowning child. Story of a woman who is kidnapped but escapes her attackers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


I had an interesting phone call awhile back from a writer who was calling to inform me of various publishers who had changed phone numbers. I already had most of those corrections, but it was the rest of our conversation that caught my attention.

When he mentioned a phone numbers that was no longer correct, I asked if he had checked the Website to see if they had a new one listed. It was then he let me know in no uncertain terms that although he had several computers that could be connected to the Internet—none of them were. He made it clear he wanted nothing to do with e-mail or the Internet. His next statement being: “If a publisher doesn’t have a phone number I can call, they’re not going to get my book.”

I’m sharing this story because it is just that attitude that will likely prevent this gentleman from every getting published. He has put his publishing future in jeopardy in a number of ways. First, there are very few publishers today who will accept a phone call from an unknown author. Next, the majority of publishers prefer an e-mail contact initially and will also expect to be able to correspond with an author by e-mail once the manuscript is accepted.

In today’s publishing world, it is the authors who know the publisher’s preferences—something they learn from the market guide or their guidelines—and follow them exactly who are going to be noticed and considered for those open magazine slots or the few publishing contracts being offered. Publishers rule.


A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

  1. What am I trying to say?
  2. What words will express it?
  3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?
  4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
    And he will probably ask himself two more:
      1.Could I put it more shortly?

      2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?”

George Orwell


Note: In some cases, more than one name has been given to a particular type of article, so you may find it listed under both names, or with a referral to another listing.

Articles - Different types

The following list is in alphabetical order for easy reference:

  1. Business Writing - One of the better paying markets is writing articles for newsletters or trade journals that focus on a particular type of business. You don’t have to be associated with the business yourself, you simply gather the information, interview those who know, and write whatever they want. Some people do business writing to supplement or support writing the things they enjoy.

It helps if you have some experience or at least some interest in the field. There are  trade journals for Christian booksellers and publishers. They use articles of interest to bookstore owners, author profiles, book reviews, and industry news. They suggest that you interview bookstore owners, find

out what topics interest them and research to find possible solutions. Business writing

can also include writing such things as brochures, pamphlets, resumes, newsletters,

and promotional materials.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Another thing that comes out of the practice
is an awareness of how long your planned
speech is going to take to deliver. So you
can adjust the time up or down as needed
ahead of time.


Do an in-depth analysis of the top periodicals
you want to write for by typing up all the key
things you need to know about them as you
read their guidelines and sample copies.


Today I'm starting a new series on article writing--a necessary step on the road to publication. I have

always encouraged writers to start with article sales. Although some people start out with aspirations

 to write a book, I think that is usually a mistake. There is much about writing that you only learn by

 doing it, and writing articles helps you put the things you have learned into practice with a quicker

 chance for feedback. You learn much about structure, organization, and simply how to put the words

on paper.


There are many types of articles, and as a writer you need to recognize and understand the different types, and not limit yourself to the obvious. When an editor says they want a feature article or survey article, you will want to know what they are talking about without having to ask.  In following blogs you will find a list of different types of articles with a simple description or explanation for each. If any of them catch your interest, seek out some books that will give you more in-depth information on that type and watch for good examples in your reading. You will find some helpful books in my bookstore at

Monday, April 20, 2015


NEW TO LIST CHASING SUNSETS by Karen Kingsbury (Howard) is #14 in Hardcover Fiction; #16 in Combined Print & E-Book Fiction; and #16 in E-Book Fiction.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield) is #1 in Relationships; #5 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Health.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • SCARY CLOSE by Donald Miller. (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #3 in Relationships.
  • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #4 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • WRESTLING FOR MY LIFE by Shawn Michaels with David Thomas (Zondervan.) is #6 in Sports.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
  • LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
  • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Moody) is #15 in Family.

  • Thursday, April 16, 2015


    Always practice your speech many time
    before delivering it. The more comfortable
    you are with the speech, the less nervous you will be.


    Set a day once a month, marking it right
    on your calendar, when you will spend
    time studying your sample copies or
    catalogs and writers’ guidelines.


    As I write this blog, I have recently attended my first major conference of the season. I always look forward to all that means for me. I just figured out that I attended my first conference over 40 years ago—and I still look forward to them with great anticipation. I love the excitement that comes when a group of writers get together—many attending for the first time. For me it includes the joy of seeing old friends, reliving fun memories from the past, and the anticipation that comes with not knowing what blessings God has in store.

    I know that I periodically talk about the importance of attending writer’s conferences, but taking that giant leap toward such an event has so much more to offer than just the instruction or potential contact with editors or agents. As I look back over all those years and all those conferences, I can’t image having lived my life without the experiences and friendships those conferences provided. To me they are a major part of building a writing career with the strong foundation they provide. I hope you don’t let another conference season go by without adding to your own foundation.



    Register now for Publish15:
    an exciting publishing convention

    Get insight, get inspired and get!

    Writers and authors, don't miss this unique publishing convention in Atlanta on June 13 and 14!

    Publish15 will bring writers together with a variety of experts, professionals and providers in the publishing industry. Our mission is to educate writers about the latest trends and topics in the field, as well as expose them to the publishing, printing and marketing options available today. 

    Special Offer! 
    Receive 20% off of ticket prices when you register at using code Writer20.

    Speakers will include literary agents, experts in publishing and marketing and more. Exhibitors from all areas of publishing will be available to speak to writers about the options available to publish, promote and sell their books.

    Attendees can choose from general admission passes to the exhibition hall or a 2-day workshop pass to attend sessions covering nearly 20 topics. 

    Sponsored By Publish15




    The Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) celebrated two milestone accomplishments: the first anniversary of the association’s digital magazine, Leading Hearts; and the Award of Merit for Christian Ministry – Digital Publication awarded by the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) April 10 at the annual EPA conference.

    Leading Hearts is a free digital publication created by AWSA’s 400 members for Christian women.


    Media Giant Bauer Publishing USA Launches Print Magazine for Christian Women
    Bauer Media Group USA Launches First-of-its-Kind Magazine: Simple Grace

    On newsstands nationwide April 10

    Contact: Nik Lashley, Editor-at-Large, 201-569-6699,; Lindsay Ferraro,

    ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., April 16, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Bauer Media Group USA, the No. 1 seller of retail magazines in the country announces the launch of a new monthly inspirational magazine, Simple Grace.

    With the tagline "your daily dose of hope," the title will be the first nationally distributed magazine to combine a monthly magazine format with a Christian devotional one.

    The 144- page digest-sized magazine will also include a media and entertainment guide and interviews with Christian celebrities, authors, artists, and influencers.

    Simple Grace will debut on newsstands nationwide on Friday, April 10, distributing 200,000 copies nationwide, at a price of $3.99.

    "After nearly two years in development, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Simple Grace," said Carol Brooks, Simple Grace editor-in-chief and 13 year Bauer veteran, who will also continue in her role as First for Women editor-in-chief. "When we asked our First for Women readers what was important in their lives, they overwhelmingly told us that their relationship with God is central for them," explains Brooks. "So we decided to create an inspirational magazine that's perfect for busy women: Simple Grace offers short devotional readings to start her day off right as well as real-life features that make perfect before-bed reads."

    The first issue features an in depth sit-down with Grammy-winner Amy Grant sharing her heartache of caring for parents with dementia, the real life tale of Susan Mellen, an innocent woman convicted of a crime she didn't commit who found freedom through faith before being released, and a heartwarming story of how an ER nurse, Tricia Seaman, stepped in to adopt the 8-year-old son of a dying patient.

    • Daily Devotional: a beautiful photo for reflection and a spiritual solution for each day of the month
    • Inspirational Now: an up-to-the-minute media guide featuring inspiring movies, TV shows, books, music and apps
    • How I Know God is Real: short stories of real women's experiences with Spirit
    • My Moment of Grace: inspirational photos sent in by readers
    "I'm confident that the combination of short daily readings, entertainment recommendations and in-depth features will earn Simple Grace a place of honor on many women's nightstands-and in their handbags as portable inspiration," said Brooks.

    Simple Grace's inaugural issue will feature advertisers including Electrolux, Zondervan and Reserveage, among others.

    The magazine's inspirational content will also extend to online at

    According to Ian Scott, publisher of the title and President of Bauer Media Sales, Inc.: "Simple Grace represents a unique opportunity for advertisers to reach a passionate, engaged reader within the context of a warm, nurturing editorial environment. There is currently no other title of this sort which is accessible to consumers at mass retail outlets, so we are truly breaking new ground with this exciting launch. We're thrilled to add Simple Grace to the Bauer portfolio of brands."

    The launch of Simple Grace is the latest initiative in Bauer Media Group's global commitment to introducing new print products to the marketplace.

    Most recently, Bauer Media Group launched monthly magazine homes+ in Australia and debuted People in Germany last month. In the U.S., Bauer launched Closer Weekly, Animal Tales, and Girls' World in late 2013. Closer was honored with a "Hottest Magazine Launch of the Year" award by Media industry Newsletter (MIN) and selected as the Readers' Choice for Hottest Celebrity/Entertainment magazine in Adweek's 2014 Hot List Awards.

    About Bauer Media Group
    Bauer Media Group is one of the most successful media companies in the world. More than 600 magazines, over 400 digital products and 50 radio and TV stations reach millions of people around the globe. It has more than 11,000 employees in 17 countries. 

    Nik Lashley
    (201) 569 6699

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015


    The writer


    April 15, 2015

    Have you entered our "Ocean of Possibility" short story contest?
    Visit our contest page to choose one of three ocean-themed quotes as inspiration for a 1,000-word fiction story.
    We can't wait to read your entry.
    The grand prize winner will receive $1,000 and publication in the August issue of The Writer. Runners-up will receive $500 and $250 for second and third places respectively.
    An entry fee of $25 will be collected for the first submission, and up to five additional stories may be submitted for $15 each on the same transaction.
    You have until April 30 at midnight to enter, so if you haven't started writing yet, get to it!

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015


    “You don't write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say.” F. Scott Fitzgerald


    Although sending e-queries/e-submissions has become a way of life for most of us, we may need to be reminded of proper e-mail etiquette:


    Sending Effective E-queries/E-submissions

    As e-queries/e-submissions continue to increase in popularity, we may need to be reminded of proper e-mail etiquette:

    1. Be sure that the publisher you are approaching is open to e-mail contacts. More are each year—but not all yet. Know whether they want the query or manuscript copied into the message or attached. Some don’t want it in the message because the material loses all its formatting. Others won’t open attachments because of the fear of viruses. The market guide or their guidelines will tell you which they want.
    2. Your subject line is also critical. You want it to reflect exactly what you are sending. It might say such things as “Article Query Enclosed,” “Requested manuscript: article title,” or “Article for Consideration.” If you are known by the editor, it might say “Article Submission from Your Name.” The important thing is to make it very clear what is included in the e-mail and/or attachment.
    3. The letter itself needs to be the same type of formal query you would send by mail. Make sure it is professional, well organized, with no misspelled words, poor grammar, or the like. Always include your full contact information—not just an e-mail address.
    4. Even though it is sent by e-mail, don’t expect an immediate response. Editors tend to handle e-mail queries/submissions in two different ways. Some may shoot back an immediate response—or at least an acknowledgment that they received it. However, others handle them in much the same way as they do hard copy submissions. They will simply print it out and put it in the same pile as other unsolicited mail or e-mail submissions. In that case you can expect to hear within their posted time limit for responses.
    5. Watch the length of your query letter. Unless there’s a good reason for it to be longer, keep your letter to one page (meaning it won’t be more than a page when the editor prints it out).
    6. And finally, don’t assume a No on this query is the end of your relationship with this editor/publication. Many writers make the mistake of trying a publication once and if they are rejected never try that one again. Editors are looking for writers who want to write for them. Writers who understand who they are, who their readers are, and who share their vision for that audience or reader. Your persistence in approaching that publisher will get their attention.


    Monday, April 13, 2015


    Every conversation with an editor will
    not result in a sale--but it will help build
    an ongoing relationship.


    Keep in mind that those who asked you to speak did so
     because they believe you have something worthwhile
    to say. Now you just need to start believing it.


    When I evaluate manuscripts for people, one of the most frustrating aspects of that I face is the fact that many writers will write whole books without knowing the basics of getting the material on paper. It’s frustrating for me that I have to send them back to start over, and I’m sure it’s even more frustrating for them to realize that much of their work has been in vain. Although you don’t have to take any particular instruction or earn any degrees to become a writer, I want to encourage you to learn as much as you can about the process before you take on any major projects.

    It’s true that you learn a lot about writing by actually doing it, but there’s a lot to be said for knowing all there is to know about how it is done correctly. With so much competition in the marketplace, it will be to your advantage to present editors with material that reflects that know-how and professionalism.

    For that reason I want to encourage you to attend conferences where you can get those basics down pretty quickly; read books on writing—both general books on how the publishing process works and books on how to write the particular type of writing you are interested in. It might be novels, devotionals, how-to books, children’s picture books, Bible studies, or poetry. These days with so much help available, there’s no excuse for entering the marketplace without the basic skills necessary to impress an editor.



    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield) is #1 in Relationships; #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Health.
    • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • SCARY CLOSE by Donald Miller. (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #3 in Relationships.
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #4 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • WRESTLING FOR MY LIFE by Shawn Michaels with David Thomas (Zondervan.) is #6 in Sports.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
    • LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
    • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Moody) is #15 in Family.

    Sunday, April 12, 2015


    As we get further into a new year with many conferences ahead to attend, I encourage you to listen carefully at those conferences for information that will keep you tuned into what is happening in the industry. I am constantly on the lookout for information that will help you in your marketing endeavors. Following is some of the inside information I picked up recently:

    * Marketing people are looking for products that are easy to sell. They don't want to have to work to sell an odd product/topic with no definable market.

    * Over 50% of all books published never earn back their advance.

    * Publishers want authors to earn back their advance within the first 18 months.

    * Publishers have to pay extra to put your book on an end cap at the bookstores. They must feel that your book is worth it.

    * If you hold out for a higher advance, that money could come out of the marketing budget for your book.

    * The high advances paid to top authors do not have an impact on a new author's advance.

    * Most publisher's don't break even until your book has sold 7,500-8,000 copies.

    * Even if you sell a lot of books yourself, it does not register on the sales count for your book. The only sales the publisher counts are those that come through bookstores.


    “If something isn't working, if you have a story that you've built and it's blocked and you can't figure it out, take your favorite scene, or your very best idea or set-piece, and cut it. It's brutal, but sometimes inevitable.” Joss Whedon

    Saturday, April 11, 2015


    I don’t recall if I’ve ever talked about writers’ guidelines in this blog before. Sometimes I think we take them too much for granted and don’t give them the time or attention they demand. Writers’ guidelines come in all lengths and formats. They certainly come with variable degrees of helpfulness.

    Some I’ve seen tell you no more than what size paper and font to use and little else of help. Others provide what amounts to a writing workshop on paper. When you find those that do offer helpful information, and they are publishers you want to write for, I encourage you to read and reread them carefully with a highlighter in hand. You might want to even use highlighters in two different colors. With one color highlight any comments that indicate this is an appropriate publisher for what you have to offer. In the other color highlight anything that indicates the opposite—that you’re not likely to fit in there.

    When you are finished and reread the highlighted portions, you should have a pretty good idea whether this is a publisher you should pursue—or if you need to move on to another one. Don’t waste your time or theirs by trying to pursue a publisher that doesn’t fit with your interests or talents.

    One other thing I want to say about guidelines is how important it is that you follow them. I’ve had more than one editor tell me that if a writer does not follow their guidelines they will not even consider their submission. Nearly all of the publishers have their guidelines available right on their Website, so they are easy to access. Don’t skip this vital step in preparing to submit your material to any publication or book publisher.


    This magazine exists so members of the body of Christ can be:

    * Energized in their walk with the Lord

    * Empowered in their worship of the Lord

    * Enlightened in their work for the Lord, and

    * Encourage in their witness about the Lord.

    Submit articles to Sharon Elliot, managing editor,

    Type "Article Submission" and your last name in the subject line.

    In e-mail, indicate which section of the magazine your article is most suited.

    Attach article as a Microsoft Word document.

    Full-length articles vary from 850-1,000 words. Shorter pieces 150-350. See guidelines on Website

    Magazine is theme-oriented.

    Thursday, April 9, 2015


    “All readers come to fiction as willing accomplices to your lies. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction.”  —Steve Almond


    will be held April 24-25, 2015
    30th Anniversary
    Contact: Antonio L. Crawford, dir.; PO Box 1458, National City CA 91951. (619) 791-5810. E-mail: Website: Held at Trinity Presbyterian Church. Consult with editors, agents, published authors. Offers special track for advanced writers and teen. Offers full scholarships. Agents & editors in attendance. Contest: WestBow Press Writing Contest. See website for list of faculty and conference details. Attendance: 200.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015


    MINNEAPOLIS, April 7, 2015 / Christian Newswire/ -- Sparkhouse, a division of Augsburg Fortress, is pleased to announce its new children's trade imprint, Sparkhouse Family. The imprint's launch list will release on August 4, 2015, and it will include three illustrated Bibles, six picture books, and eight DVDs containing animated videos.                 

    Sparkhouse, a leading provider of curriculum resources for churches, is leveraging its long-standing expertise in faith-based multimedia resources to offer parents a broad selection of products that are both faith-filled and entertaining for today's children. "The team here at sparkhouse excels in using creativity and storytelling to create inspiring, Bible-based learning. Extending those efforts into the trade market is a natural next step," says Tim Paulson, Vice President & Publisher of sparkhouse.

    The imprint launches with a variety of appealing picture books, illustrated Bibles, and animated videos. For example, the Spark Bible Stories series of picture books launches with The Story of Creation and The Story of Moses and God's Promise, richly illustrated stories perfect for reading aloud. The Holy Moly product line focuses on hilarious, accessible retellings of Bible stories that encourage kids' creative engagement with them. The line contains an illustrated Bible, a series of picture books, and an animated DVD series. The Whirl product line offers two animated video series-Whirl: Ada & Friends for ages 3-6 and Whirl: Leo & Friends for ages 7-10-that each focus on a group of kids navigating age-appropriate real-life problems using biblical values. Finally, the Connect: Becky & Todd's Bible Adventures line launches with an animated series featuring a group of preteen kids running a community theater that specializes in theatrical productions of Bible stories.

    More titles in each of these series will follow in October 2015 and February 2016, and the imprint plans to build out future lists with additional types of faith-based children's multimedia products.

    Jill Braithwaite has been hired as Director of Product Development for the Sparkhouse Family imprint. Braithwaite formerly led product development at both Capstone and Red Line Editorial.

    More details about the imprint and its launch list can be found at

    Monday, April 6, 2015


    Q. What kind of chances are Christian publishers willing to take? Would they be willing to to look at a cross-over book—maybe not a typical Christian/evangelical book—but one with a mainstream flavor and plot line?

    A. It is not at all a matter of the Christian publisher being willing to take a chance. Christian publishers generally have a mandate to publish Christian books—books that in some way reflect Christ and the Bible. It is also what the Christian bookstores and other outlets expect from them. Christian bookstores, especially, are not comfortable carrying books from a publisher they cannot trust to provide them with those books with a Christian emphasis. Since the bookstore owners can't read every book they sell, they have to depend on the publishers they deal with not to introduce books their customers would not appreciate. Once that happened, some bookstores would cease carrying any books from that publisher. If you have a book for the general market, then go to a general publisher.


    I recently did a phone consultation with a young man who self-published a book last year. He contacted me because he had only sold 1,500 copies of his book and wanted to know how to get his sales moving again. The book was well written, and the topic a popular one, but it was obvious this was a consultation that should have taken place before the book was ever published. He learned some things during our meeting that might help you as well.

    The book was hardcover with about 400 pages. However, it was printed double-spaced, so could have been done as a 200-page trade paperback. Because it was well suited as a group study book, it would have been a perfect fit for that target market if it wasn’t priced at $20.

    Of course, the biggest problem he faced is that the book is already more than a year old—too old for most book reviews, contests, radio & TV shows, etc. Promotion on a new book needs to start eight months before the book comes out. There was little I could suggest at this point. The biggest window of opportunity for promotion had already closed.


    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield) is #1 in Relationships; #6 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • GHOST BOY by Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Health.
    • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • SCARY CLOSE by Donald Miller. (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #3 in Relationships.
    • THE MYSTERY OF THE SHEMITAH by Jonathan Cahn (FrontLine) is #4 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • WRESTLING FOR MY LIFE by Shawn Michaels with David Thomas (Zondervan.) is #6 in Sports.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • KEEP IT SHUT by Karen Ehman (Zondervan) is #7 in Relationships.
    • LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
    • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Moody) is #15 in Family.

    Saturday, April 4, 2015


            At the recent Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, I picked up flyers on a number of different services being offered to writers. Perhaps one of these will be just what you're looking for:

    * Blogging Bistro: Laura Christianson offers a wide variety of services for the writer, including Website & Blog Design, Brand Identity, Content Writing & Editing, Social Media Strategy, and On-site Training & Workshops. For a free estimate: 425-244-4242,,

    * Library Insider: Public libraries are a significant, frequently overlooked market for book sales. Library Insider offers a selective database of U.S. libraries, as well as expert training to help you engage the library contacts most likely to purchase your books. For a subscription, go to: On Facebook:

    * Inspire Christian Writers, Equipping Writers to Inspire the World: A community of writers who help each other develop the craft. Provides support and encouragement through prayer, training, and feedback. Inspire critique groups meet online and in-person to provide each other with helpful feedback, encouragement, and publishing insights. Groups are arranged by location or genre and there are many to choose from. Membership is $50 per year. For additional services and details, visit their Website at:, or e-mail:

    * Christian Editor Connection: Need professional editing services, which some publishers now require before accepting your manuscript, go to: Or e-mail Kathy Ide at:

    * Book Crash: A Books for Bloggers Program. Get free books from Christian publishers to read, and in exchange, you write a fair review of each book you get. For details, go to:

    * Writers & Authors on Fire: The Podcast and Website to Inspire and Ignite Your Writing. You'll hear interviews with writers, authors, editors, agents, and publishers; monologues about writing and the craft of writing; tips on writing and how to get the most out of writers conferences; updates on the ever-changing publishing world; book reviews; reviews of writing tools; and more. For details, contact Jon Vonhof: or visit their Website at:

    PENCON 2015

                                The Christian PEN's Second Annual Editor Convention
    May 1-2 in Austin TX
    "Editing with Love"
     This is the only convention specifically for Christian editors. For details, you can go to: This is also advertised as a good place for would-be editors to hone their skills, or for writers to improve their writing skills. Several of the workshops offered would be of interest to writers as well. If you have questions, contact:


            Here are two publications specifically geared to homeschooling that are open to submissions, but don't pay.

    * The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is the trade magazine for the homeschool community. Its curriculum site,, is looking for writers. Needs writers to create educational materials for any grade and almost any subject. You don't have to be a homeschooler, or have a specific degree or background--they are looking for mastery of a subject, not specific qualifications. You also need to love to write from a Christian worldview. Offers free advertising and free membership to the entire site for your family. Contact Executive Editor Bonnie Rose Hudson at for more information and to submit ideas for consideration.

    * Molly Green Magazine is owned by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Their goal is to assist their readers and members in crafting a home-oriented lifestyle by focusing on all things HOME: HOMEsteading, HOMEkeeping, HOMEschooling, and HOMEindustry. Open to articles 800-1,300 words; blog 500-1,000 words, and e-Newsletter 400-600 words. Currently looking for articles on homesteading or home industry, but will consider articles about homekeeping or homeschooling. Email article queries to and include the words "Article Idea" in the subject line. Visit and read the digital version of the magazine at for examples of the type of articles they are looking for.