Tuesday, June 30, 2015


“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.” 
                                                                                                                                      Isaac Asimov


I don’t know why you write. I have only an idea of why do. Most people are gifted in some area or another—having an innate knack for a certain discipline.

At the risk of sounding falsely modest, I believe I was bestowed with only one gift, and that was a bent toward writing. That doesn’t mean I was brilliant at it or didn’t require a lot of training and experience. In fact, I’m one who believes that no writer ever arrives.

I fear that if I’m not growing, I’m stagnating. Thus, I'm committed to remaining a lifelong learner.

My work, and my study of the craft, have led me to conclude that there are at least five qualities shared by successfully published writers. Here's my list. I'd love to see yours.

5 Traits Published Writers Have in Common

1.   A love for reading. Writers are readers. Good writers are good readers. Great writers are great readers. Read everything you can about the craft of writing, but also read widely about virtually anything that interests you.

2.   A reverence for listening. Be curious. Listen more that you speak. You'll naturally listen carefully to colleagues and people you respect in the field, but also listen to people from all walks of life and every socio-economic level. That's where ideas come from.

3.   A devotion to learning. Commit to expanding your your knowledge everyday. Be insatiable about learning. A day without learning something new is a waste of 24 hours.

4.   An impatience with the status quo. Never believe you've arrived. If you're not growing and improving, you're falling behind.

5.   A fierce work ethic. The only way to write a book is with seat in chair. You can go to only so many writers conferences before it's time to put up or shut up. At some point, you need to do the work.

While I had a bent toward certain sports, and some people think I am instinctively funny, writing is my only gift, and so I have felt compelled to exercise it. I don't sing or dance or preach—writing is what I do.

Some say they write because they "can't not write." I know the feeling. Writers like us would write for free if we had to.
I have been asked when I knew I loved writing. I’ve never loved the writing itself. Writing is way too grueling to loveWhat I really love is being a writer, being known as a writer, and having written.

With what trait above do you most resonate? Is there one you would add? Click here to tell me in the comments section.

Jerry B. Jenkins  

Monday, June 29, 2015


  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships; and #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LIFE IS SHORT (NO PUN INTENDED) by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein (Howard Books) is #3 in Family.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Relationships.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • GHOST BOY Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Nelson Books) is #7 in Health.
  • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham (Thomas Nelson) is #8 in Family.
  • HIDING IN THE LIGHT by Rifqa Bary (WaterBrook Press/Doubleday Religious Publishing) is #9 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #10 in Relationships; #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • YOU AND ME FOREVER by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan (Claire Love Publishing) is #12 in Relationships.
  • THE THREE HEAVENS by John Hagee (Worthy) is #13 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • FLIGHT TO HEAVEN by Dale Black with Ken Gire (Bethany House) is #17 in E-Book Nonfiction.

From ECPA's Rush to Press @ecpanews.org/rush


AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) announced the winners of the 2015 Golden Scroll Awards for Publisher, Non-Fiction Editor, and Fiction Editor of the Year as well as the winners of the Golden Scroll Books of the Year contests at the 2015 Golden Scroll Awards and Banquet, Sunday, June 28th at the convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Honored for outstanding ministry partnerships with their authors, the Golden Scroll Publisher of the Year went to New Hope Publishers.  AWSA author Brenda Poinsett says of New Hope, “Their work isn’t just about publishing books; it’s about reaching men and women and boys and girls for Jesus Christ.”

Both Paul Muckley of Discovery House and Larry Weeden of Focus on the Family were named the winners of the Non-Fiction Editor of the Year. AWSA author Crystal Bowman says of Muckley, “I don’t know how he does it, but his editing is amazing.” Pam Farrel says of Weeden, “He is an affirming visionary, a godly man of both virtue and vision!”

The Fiction Editor of the Year was awarded to Andrea Doering of Revell of Baker Publishing Group.  AWSA author Lynette Eason says of Doering, “She makes each of her authors feel special, not just because we write for her house, but because she cares.”
The Book of the Year Nonfiction Award went to Gayle Roper for A Widow’s Journey, Reflections on Walking Alone from Harvest House Publishers.
Golden Scroll Merit Awards for Nonfiction were also awarded to Shelly Beach and Wanda Sanchez forLove Letters from the Edge from Kregel Publications, Elaine Helms for Prayer Without Limits, Expanding Your Relationship with God from New Hope Publishers, Marti Pieper and Moria Brown for Out of the Dust: Story of an Unlikely Missionary from ANEKO Press, and Amy Simpson for her book Anxious: Choosing Faith in a World of Worry from IVP Books.
Silver Scroll Merit Awards for Nonfiction went to Cindi McManamin for When God Sees Your Tears from Harvest House Publishers, Marti Pieper and Walker Moore for Escape the Lie, Journey to Freedom From the Orphan Heart from Randall House, and Brenda Poinsett for He Said What?!: Jesus' Amazing Words to Women from New Hope Publishers.
The Novel of the Year Award went to Eva Marie Everson for The Road to Testament from Abingdon Press.

Golden Scroll Merit Awards for Fiction were also awarded to Cynthia Ruchti for As Waters Gone By from Abingdon Press, Lynette Eason for No One to Trust from Revell of Baker Publishing Group, and Firewallby DiAnn Mills from Tyndale House Publishers.

Silver Scroll Merit Awards for Fiction went to Gayle Roper for An Unexpected Match from Harvest House Publishers, Deborah Raney for Home to Chicory Lane from Abingdon Press, and Sarah Sundin for In Perfect Time from Revell of Baker Publishing Group.

In addition, the 2015 AWSA Member of the Year Award went to Amber Weigand-Buckley who serves as editor for AWSA’s award-winning magazine, Leading Hearts. The Beyond Me Award went to Janet Perez Eckles.  The prestigious 2015 Golden Scroll Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Chonda Pierce.

Chonda Pierce served as the keynote speaker with Thelma Wells as emcee. Authors Carol Kent and AWSA founder Linda Evans Shepherd presented the awards. Chonda Pierce also performed a parody written by Martha Bolton dedicated to editors and publishers.

AWSA, the sponsor of the Golden Scroll Awards Banquet, is an outreach of Right to the Heart Ministries and consists of over 400 top ICRS women authors who both publish and speak nationally. Seewww.AWSA.com


Millennials are less likely to purchase e-books than any other age group, with 63% of 16-24 year-olds saying they have never bought one, according to a report from Deloitte.
For its Media Consumer Report 2015, Deloitte surveyed 2,000 UK consumers about their media habits. It found that 25% of 16-24 year-olds had bought an e-book in the last 24 months, compared to 38% of 25-34 year olds.
Millenials also say they are spending more time using other media, as only 14% of that group read books for more than an hour each day but 67% will watch up to an hour of short form video and 58% will spend more than an hour watching TV.
Matthew Guest, Deloitte strategy director, said: “Typically regarded as the tech-savvy generation, millennials are actually quite reluctant to read books in electronic form. However, with such an array of media content vying for the attention of Britain’s younger consumers, it is no wonder that reading books is losing out as a form of entertainment.
“With a number of influential vloggers having recently seen success in publishing, it is clear from our research that authors, publishers and retailers must do more to appeal to younger audiences in order to remain commercially relevant.”
The report found that e-readers are the least popular device across all age groups. Only 41% of households said they owned an e-book reader, but 87% had a laptop, 83% had a smartphone and 71% possessed a tablet.
Reading, however, is still a popular pastime because 80% of all respondents have purchased a book or e-book in the last year and 34% said they read now more than they did in 2010.
Of those that regularly read books, 53% suggested their friends would describe them as reading more than the average person.

Sunday, June 28, 2015


If you have good friends or relatives who will be in the audience, 
ask them to critique your presentation and report back to you afterward.


  1. Cross out words like really, very, and just.


Q. Recently I heard someone talking about “baby puppies” in relationship to writing—and how we shouldn't use them. I have no idea what they were talking about. Can you enlighten me?

A - “Baby puppies” is simply referring to the use of two words that actually say the same thing. The official name usually given to such instances is “tautology.” The reference to “baby puppies” is an example of a tautology since a puppy by definition is a baby, baby is not necessary. A few other examples would be annual birthday, blended together, cancel out, cash money, broken shards, close proximity, correspond back and forth, dead corpse, equal to one another, filled to capacity, free gift, kneel down, revert back, true facts, written down, and totally abolished. You might want to edit your own work to catch any such baby puppies, and then start your own list of them that you find in your writing or in the writing of others.  

Saturday, June 27, 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. The first thing you’ll need to do is set aside specific times to write. If you wait until you have time, it won’t happen. That means a number of things. You will need to determine where writing is going to fall in your life. It certainly does not have to be a full-time pursuit, but you do need to set aside specific blocks of time to dedicate to your writing and related activities. Mark those dates on your calendar, and honor them as you would any other appointment.

All this means that in order to have sufficient time for writing, you are going to have to give up something you are already doing. If God is calling you to write, then He may not be calling you to do some of the other activities that have taken over your time.

It will also help if you have a place set up where you can do your writing. Although you may work on a laptop—meaning you can write anywhere—it helps to have somewhere to go where you can move out of a casual setting to one where you are motivated to get down to serious writing. This will also be the place where you keep your market guide, style book, reference books, and other tools of the trade. Make it a place you enjoy being in, not one you dread to enter. Going to your special work place also serves as a signal to family members that you don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency.

Speaking of tools of the trade, it is now essential that you work on a computer. I don’t believe any periodicals or publishers will now accept hard copies of your manuscripts unless you have an electronic version as well. If you aren’t able to work on a computer, then you will likely have to hire someone to type your manuscripts into a computer, which may cost more than you’ll make on an article or short story.
The next step will be to determine what it is you are going to write. If you write nonfiction, what topics interest you and are you qualified to write about? If fiction, what genre or genres? Whatever you decide to write, it is important that you write enough of one topic or type of writing that editors and readers begin to recognize you as someone who is well qualified to write that kind of material. Building that kind of reputation leads to assignments from editors.

Once you determine what you want to write and who your potential audience will be, it’s time to start identifying which periodicals will be interested in what you have to offer. If you were planning to start with a nonfiction book, don’t. It is critical that you build a reputation in your field by writing regularly for the publications interested in your topic. An editor is going to expect you to have that body of work as preparation for doing your book.

However, if you are writing fiction, periodical credits are not that important although you could start with short stories. Use the Christian Writers’ Market Guide to identify potential markets, get their guidelines and sample copies, and spend time reading and studying them to determine how well your articles might fit there. This step is critical. Don’t skip it.

In order to stay on track, it will be important to set goals for your writing output. Although it’s interesting to see what other writers are doing in the goal department, it’s important that you set your goals based on the time you have allotted, the type of writing you are doing, and the amount of time needed for research or interviews. Stay realistic, and only up the goals when you feel certain you can meet higher ones. Mark each goal on your calendar, and work diligently to meet each one.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Q – After getting a go-ahead from an editor to submit an article, how soon will the editor expect to receive it?

A – Actually, if the go-ahead comes as a result of a query, that query should have indicated whether or not the article was finished, or how long it would take you to complete it. If no such estimate was given, then it will depend on the type of article. If it deals with a timely subject, the turn around time will be fairly short, because it needs to get out while the topic is still hot. If it is a piece that requires a lot of research or a number of interviews, the editor will understand that it will take longer than the typical article. If the editor needs it by a certain time, or a specific issue, he will likely indicate that. If the editor provides a contract for the particular article, the contract will likely indicate a deadline. If so, be sure you meet it, or it's possible it will never be published. If no deadline has been given, you can give the editor an estimate on your completion time and ask if that is acceptable. Just be sure not to agree to a deadline you know you can't realistically meet.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015


“Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” 
                                                                                                                                         Kurt Vonnegut


Q – What does it mean if an editor asks you to write an article “on speculation?”

A – It simply means that the editor is interested enough in the topic to take a look at your article, but not interested enough to commit to buying it. That means you have no guarantee that the editor will buy it. In most cases, if you get a go-ahead from the editor when you submit a query, it will be on speculation. In some cases, even if the editor contacts you to write a piece, he can also indicate it's on speculation. That way the risk is all yours. Some writer's refuse to write on speculation, but that would be your choice. Typically, if you are a new writer, you would go ahead and accept those assignments even without the guarantee, in hopes it will be the beginning of a good relationship with that editor.

Even if an editor gives you a firm assignment, he can always reject the final article. If that is the case, many editors will compensate the writer by paying them a “kill fee.” That means they will be paid to the “kill” the article. The kill fee ranges anywhere from 25% to 100% of what they would have received if the article had been published. If you have a contract with the editor concerning this article, it may make reference to the amount of the kill fee, if it comes to that. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


  1.   Spell out numbers one through nine. Never start a sentence with a numeral.


  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships; and #4 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LIFE IS SHORT (NO PUN INTENDED) by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein (Howard Books) is #3 in Family.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Relationships.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • GHOST BOY Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Nelson Books) is #7 in Health.
  • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham (Thomas Nelson) is #8 in Family.
  • HIDING IN THE LIGHT by Rifqa Bary (WaterBrook Press/Doubleday Religious Publishing) is #9 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #10 in Relationships; #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • YOU AND ME FOREVER by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan (Claire Love Publishing) is #12 in Relationships.
  • THE THREE HEAVENS by John Hagee (Worthy) is #13 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


Finding an agent can be both daunting and scary. As the pool of agents seems to grow from month to month, it is important to know how to evaluate any agent you might be considering—while that agent is evaluating you.

Most interested agents these days will offer you a contract—rather than taking you on with a handshake. Although those contracts vary from agent to agent, it is important that any agent contract you sign offer you the protections you—and the agent—need to develop a successful, working relationship. The following list will point out most of those elements. (1) It will indicate that this agent is your exclusive agent—or if some of your writings are to be exempt—will specify what is exempt. (2) It should indicate exactly what services the agent is going to provide for you—such as finding publishers for your works, negotiating contracts, keeping you informed of any activity on your projects—including sending copies of rejections, making sure your publishers abide by the terms of your contracts, accepting or rejecting offers as you decide after consultation with your agent, checking royalty statements for accuracy, and making sure payments are made on time. (3) The agent will expect you to inform them and let them deal with any problems that arise between you and the publisher. (4) The agent will expect you to inform them if a publisher shows interest in one of your projects. You should not enter into any kind of an agreement with a publisher on your own—that’s what the agent is for. Your interference at that point could jeopardize the agent’s opportunity to get the best deal for you. (5) The contract should indicate what percentage their commission will be (typically 15%). It is typical that the royalty statement will go to your agent (so they can check it for accuracy), the agent will deduct their percentage, and send you the balance. This is one reason you want an agent you can trust explicitly. (6) You want an agent who does not charge set fees, but it is typical that an agent charge for certain office expenses, such as phone calls and photocopying. The contract should specify this, require an itemized list of expenses, and put a cap on how much they can charge for such expenses without getting your permission. (7) If your agent involves a co-agent for selling such things as foreign rights, it is typical that they charge a 20% commission that they split with the co-agent. (8) And finally, you always want a clause that indicates how either of you can terminate the contract—such as with 30 or 60 days written notice.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Below are some statistics that define your adult Christian nonfiction reader:

61% are women
39% are men
77% are age 30 & up
66% are active Christians (not seekers)
12% are professing Christians
64% earn $35,000/yr. or more
50% have a college degree or higher

42% live in the south


 Read dictionaries or books about words to build your vocabulary.

Friday, June 19, 2015


“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.” Eleanor Roosevelt


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

A.  January is the time to start setting up the business and begin keeping records the IRS requires. 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.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Q – I am confused about pen names. When would I use one—and why? Then, how do I let the publisher know I want to use one?

A – There are a number of reasons: (1) If the subject is of a sensitive nature and you want to remain anonymous, or need to protect the identity of family or friends. (2) If you sell repeatedly to the same publisher, they sometimes will either ask you for a pen name or assign you one so it looks like different people are writing the articles. (3) If you are writing in different genres and prefer to use a different name for each genre to avoid confusing the readers. (4) Or, if you are a man writing in a woman's field, or vice versa.

Generally, you will want to use your own name as you build your reputation and following as a writer. If you are using a pen name on a book, it complicates things when you have an opportunity to promote the book personally. Do you do so under your own name or the pen name? It can be particularly troublesome when you are using a pen name to protect your identity or the identities of others. You never want to use a pen name unless you have a specific reason for doing so.

The next part of your question has to do with letting the editors know when you want them to use a pen name on an article or book. Generally speaking, most editors will not object to using a pen name for you as long as you have a legitimate reason to do so. However, you may find a few who won't do so because they feel it is dishonest, but that is rare.

From a logistical standpoint, when you want the publisher to use a pen name on your piece, you simply list the pen name in the byline (under the title), and put your real name in the upper, left-hand corner with your contact information. If you do so, it is also important to include a cover letter with the submission explaining exactly why you want them to use the pen name when the piece is published. Then if they accept the piece, double-check to be sure they are agreeable to using it. If it is a situation where you are protecting identities, then it will be important that you have that assurance.

The additional question that comes out of this is how the payment will be handled. The check will come to you made out to the name in the upper, left-hand corner, not to the pen name—at least in theory. It sometimes happens that the check is mistakenly made out to the pen name. In that case, you have two options: you can return the check to the publisher and ask them to reissue the check in your name, or you can let your bank know that you may receive some checks made out to the pen name. Generally, they will honor those.

Monday, June 15, 2015


  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships; and #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LIFE IS SHORT (NO PUN INTENDED) by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein (Howard Books) is #3 in Family.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #5 in Relationships.
  • BELLA'S GIFT by Rick and Karen Santorum with Elizabeth Santorum (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in E-Book Nonfiction.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE BEST YES by Lysa TerKeurst (Nelson Books/Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • GHOST BOY Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Nelson Books) is #7 in Health.
  • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham (Thomas Nelson) is #8 in Family.
  • HIDING IN THE LIGHT by Rifqa Bary (WaterBrook Press/Doubleday Religious Publishing) is #9 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #10 in Relationships; #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • CRAZY LOVE by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (David C Cook) is #11 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • YOU AND ME FOREVER by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan (Claire Love Publishing) is #12 in Relationships.
  • THE THREE HEAVENS by John Hagee (Worthy) is #13 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • HITLER IN THE CROSSHAIRS by John Woodbridge and Maurice Possley (Zondervan) is #19 in E-Book Nonfiction.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I am often amazed at how timid some writers are when it comes to making themselves known to editors they might write for. Once you identify your area of expertise—the topic or type of writing you want to be identified with—you should then identify which publications specialize in that kind of material. Even if you are writing or are planning to write books, getting your name out there in relation to your topic is a critical part of building your platform and reputation.

Once you pinpoint those publications, let them know who you are and what you can contribute to their future needs. Send a query or complete manuscript (whatever they ask for) clearly reflecting your ability to write on that topic area. Also include your background or whatever it is that qualifies you to write such material, plus ideas for additional articles. Indicate your shared interest in and understanding of their particular audience, and volunteer to write articles for them in an emergency. Most publications are looking for qualified writers they can depend on to meet their ongoing needs.

Even if you don’t get an immediate positive response from an editor, keep submitting to them and work at building that positive relationship. Some editors may be reluctant to trust you until you prove you can write appropriate material, meet their deadlines, understand their needs, etc. Persistence is often the name of the game.


“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.” Harper Lee


  1.  Avoid overusing pet words or phrases.

Thursday, June 11, 2015


  1. Never expect your family to respect what you do. Don’t even expect them to read what you have written or had published. They may only start noticing when you make enough money to impact their lives.
  2. Share with them both your acceptances and rejections. At least they will know what you’ve been up to. Celebrate the successes with your spouse and/or children. If possible, involve them in stuffing envelopes, licking stamps, etc.
  3. Maintain an established routine and schedule for your writing, and work at sticking to it. Indicate writing times right on your calendar. If you don’t honor that schedule they won’t either.
  4. Make attending writers conferences/events a regular part of your annual routine so they will recognize their importance to your writing career. Share some of the highlights of your trip when you get back.
  5. Don’t let guilt take the joy out of those trips away for speaking engagements or conferences. Getting along without you for short periods of time is good for your spouse or children. (They will learn to appreciate you more.) Keep in mind that they will survive intact and will not starve. You’re the one who will likely have to deal with the aftermath when you get home—so enjoy the time that will immeasurably benefit your writing career.
  6. Although it’s important to keep your family first, you can do that by scheduling family events and writing events so they don’t overlap. Don’t let them talk you into changing your writing schedule or upcoming event at the last minute because they want to do something different. They will only honor your writing time as much as you do.
  7. And, finally, don’t fall into the trap of putting off your writing by waiting for the ideal circumstances. I’ve watched very accomplished writers who have decided to wait to write until the kids are in school or out of school, until the kids all leave home, until they can get away by themselves for uninterrupted blocks of time, or for whatever other reason they can come up to delay the writing. As I remind writers regularly—if you keep waiting for the perfect writing scenario, you’ll end up being a waiter—not a writer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


A couple of things happened this week that reminded me that I need to share some of the personal philosophy that feeds into the development of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide. From time-to-time I hear from writers who want to know why a particular publisher or listing has been included in the latest edition.

I had an e-mail from a loyal market-guide user that suggested I shouldn’t include publishers that also published New Age or other religious philosophies that were not consistent with evangelical Christianity. I answered her query as I have often answered it in the past. It is my belief that if these publishers are open to material written from a Christian point of view (I don’t include them unless they are)—along with whatever other points of view they include—then we are missing the opportunity to spread the gospel to readers who are looking for answers. I understand that not all Christian writers are called to such a mission field or would be comfortable writing in that venue, but I know from experience that many are and they appreciate these opportunities. I am always on the lookout for opportunities to help writers be salt and light in a world searching for answers.

I also read a review of the market guide this week from a reviewer who claimed the market guide was not Christian because the Resources Section for Writers included references to general resources as well as Christian. My belief is that because the process of being or becoming a writer and honing our skills is the same for those in the Christian or general market—only the message is different—we can benefit from whatever resources are out there.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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, June 8, 2015


  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #1 in Relationships; and #4 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • JESUS CALLING by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson) is #2 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LOVE THE HOME YOU HAVE by Melissa Michaels (Harvest House) is #2 in Fashion, Manners and Customs.
  • SEARCHING FOR SUNDAY by Rachel Held Evans (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • LIFE IS SHORT (NO PUN INTENDED) by Jennifer Arnold and Bill Klein (Howard Books) is #7 in E-Book Nonfiction; #15 in Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction; and #19 in Hardcover Nonfiction.
  • NOBODY'S CUTER THAN YOU by Melanie Shankle (Tyndale House) is #9 in Relationships.
  • LOVE AND RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs (Thomas Nelson) is #11 in Relationships.
  • THE LOVE DARE by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough (B&H Books) is #12 in Relationships.
  • SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME by Ron Hall and Denver Moore with Lynn Vincent (Thomas Nelson) is #12 in Race.
  • BOUNDARIES by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Zondervan) is #12 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • GHOST BOY Martin Pistorius with Megan Lloyd Davies (Nelson Books) is #20 in E-Book Nonfiction.


The Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA®) recently announced on their website that Tyndale House Publishers (http://www.tyndale.com) author DiAnn Mills’ novel Firewall has been recognized as the Golden Quill Winner of 2015, voted #1 best book in the Inspirational category. Firewall‘s Golden Quill award will appear in the July issue of RWA Magazine, declared among all 2015 Golden Quill Contest Winners, as judged in each category by the official Contest Committee of RWA®, which acknowledges excellence in romance fiction.


Nielsen’s analysis of the US book market, presented at Book Expo America, shows that e-books have helped stabilize the industry during a time of economic upheaval - but it also reveals that e-book growth has halted for major categories such as adult fiction and adult non-fiction. But while the digital sales trajectory has dimmed for the major publishers, its overall impact on the sector remains undiminished.
Using data both from Nielsen BookScan (which tracks print book sales, but not digital sales, from sales made through retailers) and figures from its PubTrack Digital service (which collects e-book sales data from over thirty of the largest publishers in the United States), Nielsen contends that the decline in physical book unit sales (from 718m in 2010 to 635m in 2014) has been offset by the rise in e-book business (from 68m unit sold in 2010 to 223m by 2014).
E-books as a proportion of the market hit a high point in 2013 of 28%, and overall the US book market has risen at a compound annual growth rate of 2% over five years. As Nielsen puts it: “The physical CAGR = -3% has been offset by the e-books CAGR = 35%”.
In pure units sold, in 2014 858m books were sold in 2014, compared with 785m.
Nielsen also provided a five-year summary of e-book sales, based on the invoices of its major publisher clients. The stand-out figure, as reported at The Bookseller earlier this week, is that e-book volume sales fell 6% in 2014, compared to 2013. The actual numbers were 237,406,910 in 2013 against 222,985,471 in 2014, so a 6.1% drop in volume terms.
According to Nielsen the e-book curve looks something like this: “In 2010 PTD tracked 68 million unit sales . . . One year later it was over 160 million, and in 2013 unit sales equaled almost 240 million units. However in 2014 overall unit sales were down 6%. This resulted in a 2012 - 2014 CAGR of only 3%.”
Some have queried as to why the figures don’t match with the data provided earlier in the year by the Association of American Publishers, which reported e-book sales up 4.7% year-on-year to $1.58bn. The AAP bases its report on more than 1,000 US publishers, though since, like the UK, the big US publishers account for a huge proportion of the overall books market and all of the major players are included in this sample (Nielsen says it covers 85% of the e-book market), the panel is unlikely to be the reason why one measure is down, the other up.
The simpler reason is that one is based on volume, the other on value—and that in itself signals a shift in the market, and how we must now think about it. It seems likely that, as we saw in the UK, US publishers are now prepared to eschew volume market share and instead focus on value sales, i.e. higher value sales at the expense of the number of units shifted. Other reports, such as those put out by Author Earnings, have suggested the same phenomenon, but while AE sees this a a weakness, it may simply be a strategy that will become further pronounced as the big publishers move back to full agency.
There could be a number of reasons why traditional publishers are adopting this strategy:
First, they simply don’t believe Amazon when it says that lower price points guarantee greater volumes that offset the decline in price, an argument it raised during its dispute with Hachette Book Group USA last year;
Second, either way they don’t they can counter what threat there is from self-published titles by trying to price-match them - it’s a battle they can never win since their overheads will always be much greater;
Third; their own experimentation has shown that consumers are simply not as price sensitive as has been suggested. The Girl on the Train, a massive UK e-book bestseller has been priced at around £6 for much of its success;
Last, they believe a mix of print and digital remains the most helpful balance for the overall marketplace, allowing high street booksellers to survive while curbing the growth of Amazon.

There are other nuggets in the Nielsen data:
* adult fiction e-book volumes have risen massively since the turn of the decade, but since 2012 growth has slowed, andin 2014 adult fiction e-book sales fell 9%, so they are now only marginally ahead of 2012’s figure;
* but, in general fiction, romance, suspense, mystery , fantasy more than 50% of unit e-book sales are digital;
* in adult non-fiction e-book sales has “stopped” - though in reality they grew by 0.5% but are still only 15% of total sales;
* sales of juvenile e-fiction are on the rise: the last three years show a 12% CAGR, and in 2014 juvenile fiction e-book sales grew 10%;
* on average, book buyers have bought 5.3 books in the past 6 months, 45% of which are e-books. However, those who buy only eBooks buy more than twice as many as those who only buy print;
* if an e-book and print book are the same price, 32% of respondents to Nielsen’s consumer panel were more likely to buy the print book, 31% were more likely to buy digitally;
* e-books are less seasonal, this past December e-book sales were roughly 20% the size of physical sales, in November of 2014, they were roughly 33% the size of physical sales, and in October 2014, they were 40%. While print book sales peak during holiday seasons, e-books do not - and even the post Christmas surge has become less pronounced.
* people who buy print and digital spend more each month ($37.63 than those who buy just e-books $18.70);
* when asked, “Which of the following have you done in the last 6 months” 64% of respondents bought one or more books or any kind – while 10% took out a book subscription. But AmazonPrime (as well as Kindle Unlimited) are the prime movers;
* as will no doubt shortly be noted in the comments section (or on Twitter), Nielsen’s analysis tells us less about the overall e-book market in the States than we’d like, primarily because it doesn’t include sales from self-published — or non ISBN publishers — or as Hugh Howey would have it the "35%+ of the ignored/silent market". Nielsen does give some indication that it is aware of this grey sector, reckoning that 42% those who have downloaded e-books are sure they have bought a self-published book. I don’t know how useful that knowledge is, except that it perhaps indicates how widely accepted self-published writing now it (but we knew that anyway, right?). However, as with previous surveys it seems likely that our understanding of the overall e-book market would improve considerably were good data available from this sector.


As writers, dealing with and meeting deadlines is just a part of the business. But I’m afraid that often we tend to treat them too casually. In reality, we should regard each of those deadlines as a commitment.

Over the years I’ve only missed a few deadlines—and always because of circumstances beyond my control. The first one was a book deadline that coincided with my mother’s death. Although I knew there was a good reason for missing the deadline—and that my editor would surely understand—I also knew that I had a responsibility to inform my editor as soon as I knew I was going to miss it. It’s best not to wait until the deadline is upon you, or already past, which puts the editor in a position where they have to scramble to make the resulting adjustments.

I was reminded of all this when my husband fell off a ladder a few years ago and came away with 9 rib fractures and 6 pelvic fractures. Although being there and caring for his needs during the next several weeks meant I was going to be hard pressed to meet upcoming deadlines, I never totally abandoned my concern for meeting them as soon as it was at all possible. I felt strongly the responsibility to meet that commitment and let my editor know I would be late—asking when the latest I could submit and still not put her behind schedule.

I’d like to remind all of us how important it is to meet those deadlines. The wheels of publication—both with books and periodicals—run like a train. If even one writer misses a deadline it throws the whole train off the tracks. With magazines it may mean that the publication will have to substitute another piece for the one you didn’t produce in time—and may give the editor pause before giving you another assignment. With books, it is even more serious. Because all the steps of the publishing process are based on you meeting your deadline, being late often means that your project goes to the end of the line (often meaning they won’t meet your projected publication date), and you may even lose the interest and attention of the editor who has championed your book from the beginning. The writer who doesn’t pay close attention to deadlines is destined to lose the interest and respect of the editors.   

Sunday, June 7, 2015


As we move into the summer months, finding time to write always seems to be a problem. We all tend to think that if we just had the right time and the right place we could get so much writing done.
I remember when I was younger—much younger—with kids at home, that I always dreamed of going away by myself to a wonderful retreat and just writing. At one point I actually arranged such a week-long retreat alone on the Oregon coast. I packed up my typewriter and notes and settled into my cozy cabin to just write. The first day went pretty well, but by the third day I was so lonesome I could hardly concentrate on the writing. I ended up having my husband put my daughter on a bus to come and spend the week-end with me. So much for writing retreats.

All that to say that waiting for the perfect time and place to write is counterproductive. I came to realize that if I really wanted to write I could sit down even in the midst of my family chaos and just write—which is what I did.

We write because we have to. I remember a conversation I had with a former pastor’s wife who had talked for years about writing a book for pastor’s wives. After they retired, I asked her about the book. She assured me she was working on it, but had decided she’d only write when she felt inspired. I wanted to say something to her at that point, but I bit my tongue. Now, 15 years later, the book is still not finished. What I wanted to tell her is that writing—though often inspired—is not as much about inspiration as it is about discipline. Inspiration is often fleeting—it’s discipline that gets the job done. I hope your summer is productive.

Friday, June 5, 2015


“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”—Ray Bradbury


TORRANCE, Calif., June 5, 2015 / Christian Newswire/ -- Rose Publishing announced today its acquisition of Rainbow Publishers and Legacy Press. For over 30 years, Rainbow and Legacy have been award-winning industry leaders, specializing in reproducible Bible lessons, devotionals, and fiction books for children and teens. Rose Publishing will acquire over 180 children's titles from Rainbow Publishers and Legacy Press. 

"We are excited to know a trusted company like Rose Publishing will be carrying on our vision," says former Rainbow-Legacy CEO, Dan Miley, "Rose is already a leading publisher in reproducible Bible study material and shares our passion for creating easy-to-understand, Bible-based teaching material."

Rainbow Publishers develops age-appropriate, flexible teaching material, including the series Instant Bible Lessons, Five-Minute Sunday School Activities, and Favorite Bible Stories. Awarded Best in Christian Education by Christian Retailing in 2011 and winner of numerous awards (Retailer's Choice Finalist, Gold Medallion Finalist, CBA Bestseller), Rainbow Publishers produces all-in-one Bible lessons and like Rose Publishing it focuses on reproducible Bible material.

Legacy Press is best known for its God And Me and Gotta Have God series of devotionals for girls and boys; both of which are national best-sellers. Its devotions, journals, and Christian fiction books, including the "Mom's Choice" award-winner, Bill the Warthog, help kids grow in their faith.

CEO and co-founder Gretchen Goldsmith expressed her enthusiasm over the new acquisition and what it means for Rose Publishing.

"Rose Publishing was started by a public school teacher and a Sunday School teacher in 1991 with a passion to make easy-to-understand Bible material," said Ms. Goldsmith. "We've always admired the integrity of Rainbow's leadership and the quality of their reproducible teaching material. We see this acquisition as a way to combine two family-owned companies who share a joint vision for quality Christian education material."

Ms. Goldsmith added that she was eager to focus on Christian children's titles: "Although Rose has created popular kids products before, we've never had a full product line devoted just to children and teens. As a Christian educator, creating products that develop and nurture a Christian foundation in the lives of children is close to my heart," she said. "We know this line is meeting the needs of churches and parents who want practical, easy-to-use Bible curriculum. We look forward to serving children-and all who love them-as we continue to expand this product line."

Contact Amy Grace Bautista,
(310) 353-2113

For additional information on Rose Publishing, visit