Monday, February 29, 2016


No Kill Date 

Contact: Erin Taylor Young
(405) 923-1655

Redbud Press becomes Serenade Books

Redbud Press is changing its name to Serenade Books in order to more clearly define its brand in the marketplace. The Oklahoma-based Christian publishing company was established in 2014 and specializes in sweet romance. 

Managing Director Lacy Williams said, “I’m excited about the name change and the new logo design. It clearly delineates who we are as publishers of novels that celebrate the pure harmony of faith and romance, and of stories that uplift the spirit and heart. We are focusing our publishing plan on series, on novels that work together to create overarching lines that will continue to delight our readers.”

According to Williams, the name change won’t alter how the company operates in the marketplace and stressed that Serenade Books will continue to publish the highest quality romance books from authors whom readers love and trust.

Going forward, readers will see new cover designs that better reflect Serenade’s emphasis on series books. “We’re not changing the way we do business,” Williams said, "or the quality of books we acquire. We’ve always had an interest in doing series. The name change is an opportunity to better reflect those interests in our branding.”

For more information, contact Erin Taylor Young at 

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Generally speaking, you can use the names of real people in your writing, as long as those people are celebrities, politicians, well-known sports figures, or the like. In other words, public figures, as opposed to private figures. In fiction, for example, you could have a well-known person do a “walk on” in your story, as long as you do not portray that person in a negative light, or doing something that would be completely out of character. If referring to a well-known person in nonfiction, you need to portray him/her within the context of history—doing only what he/she did or is doing. You can't have them doing things they never did. Best not to use real names of private individuals in fiction or nonfiction. If your use is in doubt, it is best to check with a lawyer before moving ahead to publication. Go to:

Friday, February 26, 2016


Manuscript preparation follows specific guidelines when submitting to periodicals: (1) Print on good quality white paper (no colored paper or type colors). (2) In the upper left-hand corner, type your name, address, phone number, email, and Website, if you have one. In the upper right hand corner indicate number of words, what rights are offered, a copyright notice, and “Pix on Request,” if applicable. (3) Type your title just above the middle of the page, drop 3 lines and type your byline, drop 6 more lines to start the text. (4) Leave ample margins: one inch at the top and right side, one and a half inch on the left side, and one to one-and-a-half inch at the bottom. (5) Create a header that will go at the top of each page, except the first: “Your last name/key word from the title” on the left, and “Page ___” on the right. (6) Double-space the text, unless the publisher's guidelines indicate otherwise. (7) Indent all paragraphs consistently 5-10 spaces (do not leave an extra line between paragraphs). (8) Many editors prefer that you use sub-heads when writing articles. (9) Most periodicals now prefer all submissions be sent by email, although some will accept the submission on a CD or flash drive. (9) Print on one side of the page only. Check the guidelines for each different periodical you submit to and send exactly what they require. For more detailed instructions on manuscript preparation, go to:


Thursday, February 25, 2016


Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never us a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday (American)  equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbaric.  --George Orwell


The opening portion of an article, story, chapter, or other type of writing. Its purpose is to catch the reader's attention so they will keep reading. It typically serves as an introduction to the topic or the story, and varies in length from a few sentences to several paragraphs. Writers need to recognize the importance of a good lead. The first reader will be the editor, and if the lead does not capture the editor's interest and attention, you are not likely to sell the piece. When studying publications before submitting to them, one thing you want to check is the kinds of leads that publication typically uses in their articles. For some it might be an anecdotal lead, a quotation, a survey lead, a question, a comparison, or any of several other possibilities.

Often an appropriate lead is difficult to come up with, so in some cases you may need to skip the lead (or start with a weaker lead), write the rest of the piece, and then come back to write or rewrite the lead after you know exactly the path your article or story has taken. In any case, an effective lead typically needs to be written and rewritten until it shines. The exception may be the lead for a news article, which simply needs to include the who, what, where, when, why, and how. For a list of different types of leads, with examples, go to:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”


Biography of a famous person written specifically to be of interest to children. Often the book focuses on their childhood or early life, if any of that information is available. These
 books must be filled with action and dialogue—not a narration of the facts or events. Bring to life the
person being featured and the time in which they lived. The audience for such books is children 6-12
years. Typical length is 1,000 words for 6-7-year-olds; 10,000-25,000 words for 8-12-year-olds; and
over 30,000 or more for those 13 and older.

Monday, February 22, 2016


THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #1 in Relationships and #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #3 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith and #12 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #4 in Family and #7 in Relationships.
  • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #4 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • AMERICA'S ORIGINAL SIN by Jim Wallis (Brazos Press) is #5 in Race and Civil Rights.
  • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #5 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • FRESH STARTby Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #8 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • YOU AND ME FOREVER by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan (Claire Love Publishing) is #10 in Relationships.
  • THE WAIT by DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good with Tim Vandehey (Howard Books) is #11 in Advice, How-To & Misc.


    Gilbert Morris died suddenly, but peacefully, at his home in Gulf Shores, Ala., on Thursday February 18th. He was 86. Over the last 40 years, he was the author of more than 230 novels to youth and adults that sold nearly 7 million copies worldwide. “He was the grandfather of Christian historical fiction,” said his long-time agent, Greg Johnson, of WordServe Literary. “Hundreds of novelists can trace their creative and inspirational roots back to Gilbert’s books. As late as last week we were talking about new projects he wanted to get started. He was a great friend, wonderful man of faith, and as devoted to his family as any man could be.”  Gilbert was a former pastor and college professor who took up writing in his forties at a time when Christian fiction was just beginning. He was preceeded in death by his wife Johnnie and his son Alan, who he co-wrote several novels with. He has many grandchildren and two daughters who survive. His daughter Lynn Morris who still writes fiction for FaithWords. Memorial services are pending.

    Sunday, February 21, 2016


    You can find ideas everywhere. (1) You need to become idea-oriented—watching for ideas everywhere you go. (2) Start looking at every person, event, word, anecdote, etc., as potential grist for the mill. (3) Watch people. (4) Eavesdrop on stranger's conversations. (5) Read newspapers. (6) Always look for new experiences, visit new places, meet new people—talk to them. (6) Push yourself outside your comfort zone. (7) Eat in new restaurants. Vacation in new spots. Try new activities. (8) Investigate topics that interest you. (9) Dig deeper. (10) Look at an everyday situation and ask “What if?” (11) Brainstorm ideas with creative friends. A caution: don't talk out your ideas. They tend to dissipate and you risk losing your enthusiasm. Write them down first. For a list of idea sources, go to:

    Friday, February 19, 2016


    Being a good writer is 3 percent talent, 97 percent not being distracted by the Internet.


    Workspace set aside in an author's home where they do their writing and research. Although having a separate room set aside as an office might be the preferred arrangement, having any place set aside for the same purpose can work as well, especially when most writers now use laptop computers which give much more flexibility in determining a writing space. But even with a laptop, a writer will also need somewhere to keep their printer, paper supply, postage meter, shredder, market guides and how-to or reference books, office supplies, and related office paraphernalia. Having such a dedicated space is often helpful for writers to be psychologically prepared to go to work when they enter that space. Be sure your space is well lighted and someplace you like to go. Each writer will need to decide where their space will be and how much space they will actually require to work effectively. For photos of home offices, go to:

    Thursday, February 18, 2016


    Setting some specific goals to help you achieve success at a more measured rate. Set your goals based on your level of writing expertise, the areas where you know you need help (such as grammar, plotting, research, etc.), on the type of writing that interests you, and whatever other factors come into play. For example, you may want to set goals in a number of specific areas, such as: hours of creative writing per day/week/month; time reading/analyzing target markets; time researching in the library or on the Internet; time sending out submissions; time reading how-to materials; etc. None of us have time to do everything we would like, so concentrate on those areas that are most important to where you are right now. Do not shortchange yourself in the writing and marketing areas if you want to succeed. The length of time set for each task is not as important as actually following through on it. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish in even 10-30 minutes a day of consistent writing time. You may find it helpful to write your goals in a journal or on a wall chart, and then track the time actually spent in each area. For a goal-setting worksheet that may be helpful as you plan, go to:

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016


    In-depth coverage of a subject, usually focusing on a person, an event, a process, an organization, a movement, a trend or issue; written to explain, encourage, help, analyze, challenge,
    motivate, warn, or entertain as well as to inform. Focuses on one topic or main idea. In a magazine, the feature article is often the lead article for the particular issue and will cover an issue of prime importance to the readers of that magazine. Keep title under six words, if possible, but don't promise more than you can deliver. The ending needs to be satisfying, but not necessarily happy. Because feature articles typically require more time and research, they tend to be assigned and pay at a higher rate than other articles. If you query about a potential feature article, in most cases the editor will give you a firm assignment—as opposed to having you write it on speculation. This is especially true if you have written for the magazine previously, they are familiar with your writing, and have confidence that you will meet their needs. For more on feature articles, go to:

    Tuesday, February 16, 2016


    A writer's relationship with his editors. It's important to nurture relationships with editors. They are your gateway to publication. Attend conferences where you can meet with editors face to face, and never pass up an opportunity to speak with one directly. Although nothing may come of those contacts immediately, editors will be checking you out and as the relationship grows, so will an editor's knowledge of your topics and writing ability. An editor's goal is to meet the needs of his readers, so what he is looking for in writers are those who can help him meet those needs. For that reason, they will be seeking writers who share their interest and concern for their specific readership. Before approaching an editor in person or even submitting a query, proposal, or manuscript, be sure you understand who that editor's readers are, and the kinds of material they are looking for. Even if you never meet an editor in person, you can build a strong relationship by continuing to submit material closely aligned with the publisher's needs. The more you know about the needs and concerns of a specific readership, and the more you strive to meet those needs, the more likely you are to sell to that periodical or book publisher. Always go the extra mile in responding to editors. Send a thank you note when they have spent time meeting with you—in person or on the phone, or when they accept your submission. The bottom line is that an editor always takes notice of the writer who consistently sends submissions closely targeted to the needs of his readership. If you are selling books, here's help for you:


    • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith and #13 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #7 in Family.
    • THE WAIT by DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good with Tim Vandehey (Howard Books) is #9 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #10 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.

    Saturday, February 13, 2016


    Before a book goes to press, the author is allowed to dedicate the book to anyone of their choice. The dedication is usually a line or two, but could be longer if desired, as it typically is included on a separate page. The book could be dedicated to someone involved in the writing of the book or who has a connection to the subject (such as an agent or editor), or could simply be to a friend or relative of the author. The dedication can be sent with the initial submission of the manuscript or added later in the publishing process when requested by the publisher. If you plan to send it later, make the editor aware you want to include one, before they get to final layout. For a few different ways to do book dedications, go to: And if you prefer something funny, see these examples:

    Thursday, February 11, 2016


    “I really think that if there’s any one enemy to human creativity, especially creative writing, it’s self-consciousness.”
    —Andre Dubus III


    The development of the unique image and attributes of a character in fiction or drama. This process needs to create a character that is authentic and believable, while at the same time is growing and changing in some ways as the plot develops. As the character helps develop the plot, the plot must help develop the character. Characterization will include such things as a physical description, how the character dresses, personality traits, personal history, interaction with friends and family, vocation and avocation, and the like. One way to help in characterization, at least for the main characters, is to prepare a life history including the background and life experiences that make the character who he or she is. Most of this will never be revealed in the story, but will be used by the author to make who the character is more authentic. That life history will account for how the character acts and reacts within the context of the plot. If an editor or readers say your characters are “flat,” it means you need to flesh them out to have them come across as real people—that's characterization. For a step-by-step plan for building good characterization, go to:

    Wednesday, February 10, 2016


    A paragraph or two summarizing your background and experience qualifying you to write your book. Although you will want to maintain a full resume that includes your education, jobs held with the kind of work you did, volunteer positions, writing credits, etc.—including the dates—you will also need to work up a bio sketch. If a brief bio is needed to accompany an article, then you will need to pare it down to what will be important to the readers of that publication—such as your related experience or how you came to write the piece. Depending on the diversity of your writing, you may have to develop more than one full resume or bio sketch—each focusing on a different aspect of your experience or background. Write your bio in third person. Be honest. Emphasize the best you have done. Keep it succinct. Include your Web presence. Include awards won if they are pertinent to the book. For a sample template for a full bio sketch, go to:

    Tuesday, February 9, 2016


    The rights transferred when making an outright sale of a manuscript to a periodical. Author has no further control over it. Generally speaking, it is not advisable to sell all rights, so it's a good idea to avoid submitting to those publications. There are a few exceptions. If you are writing things like curriculum or writing something targeted to a very specific publication, you will often be asked to give them all rights. In those cases, where there will often be no further market for the material anyway, there is not a problem letting them have all rights. Additional exceptions might include those publications that pay especially well—making the sale worthwhile—or those top publications you would like to add to your list of writing credits—especially if they fall within your area of expertise. Publications can no longer buy all rights from you unless they indicate it in writing. The term all rights is not used in relation to book sales. When you sell a book, the rights you are selling are spelled out in the book contract—and are negotiable. For more on selling your rights, go to:


    THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #3 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
  • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #7 in Family.

  • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #10 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


    Sunday, February 7, 2016


    Writing articles specifically for the Web. There are a number of differences between writing for print and writing for the Web. (1) First, you must know who the readers are who frequent particular Websites. (2) Your text needs to include key words and concepts. (3) Think short. A 2,000-3,000 word article in a magazine may only be 300-700 words on the Web. Use shorter sentences and paragraphs. (4) Use heads and subheads. (5) Narrow your focus for the shorter space. (6) Put your main message on the opening screen. (7) Add hyperlinks. For more, go to:

    Friday, February 5, 2016


    “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”   —E.L. Doctorow


    The standard language of a particular country or locality. It would be the language of the person in the street—not necessarily what is taught in the schools for that locale. If your writing includes characters who are likely to be speaking in the local vernacular, you will want to include enough of it to flavor the story, but too much slows down the action and is hard to read. When using it, never assume you can duplicate the vernacular accurately when you are not familiar with it. It’s always best to have someone familiar with the vernacular read your material to be sure you have portrayed it accurately. The advent of cell phones and texting is creating a new vernacular for today's teens and young adults. Vernacular would also include slang, or even the way people in a particular profession speak to each other. For much more on vernacular, go to:

    Thursday, February 4, 2016


    A manuscript an editor didn’t specifically ask to see. Some publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, but many do not anymore. Always check a publisher's writers' guidelines before sending an unsolicited manuscript. That is true whether you are submitting by mail or email. If you send an unsolicited manuscript to a publisher who has indicated he will not accept them, the manuscript will likely be ignored (if by email), returned without being read, or even discarded if sent by mail.

    Even those publishers still open to unsolicited manuscripts are likely to simply add them to a slush pile that waits ignored until someone on the editorial staff has time to read them. Some book publishers have an entry-level employee read through the unsolicited manuscripts and pass any with promise along to the editor.

    In most cases it's best to approach editors with a query letter or book proposal (check guidelines for preference) and if they ask to see your manuscript, be sure your cover letter and the outside of the envelope or subject line on your email indicates that it is a “Requested Manuscript.” For a list of book publishers who do accept unsolicited manuscripts, go to:

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016


    “We [writers] must know that we can never escape the common misery and that our only justification, if indeed there is a justification, is to speak up, insofar as we can, for those who cannot do so.”
    —Albert Camus


    The category of people a periodical or book is targeting as potential readers. Every periodical has a specific target audience, such as preschoolers, parents, senior adults, teenagers, etc. As a writer, it is critical that you understand what the target audience is for any publication you write for, as well as knowing enough about that audience to write to their needs or interests. To ignore the target audience means you are unlikely to sell to that periodical.

    When writing a book, a common mistake is doing so without a specific target audience in mind. Before starting a book, be sure you have that target audience clearly in mind and gear the content of the book to their interests. One of the questions a publisher will ask upfront is who you see as your target audience. You want to be able to identify a very specific target. Never say “All Christians,” or “All women,” or “All children.” Such statements will result in a swift rejection. A publisher wants to know what specific group of people they can market the book (and their advertising) to—who is going to buy your book? For example: parents of teenagers, pastors, children 8-12 years, college students, etc. For help in defining your target audience, go to:

    Monday, February 1, 2016


    • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #5 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith and #13 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #7 in Family.
    • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #10 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


    Warner Press announces that Joe Allison is retiring from his position as editorial director, discipleship resources and curriculum. In this role, Rev. Allison was responsible for overseeing the editorial development of curriculum, periodicals and discipleship resources. Rev. Allison is retiring from a career of nearly 45 years in spent Christian publishing. He was first hired by Warner Press in 1971.


    David C Cook is pleased to announce that after 13 years with Standard Publishing, Lindsay Black has joined Cook as publisher of traditional children’s resources. David C Cook recently acquired Standard Publishing and will continue Standard’s legacy of Bible-based, high-quality Sunday school curriculum under Black’s leadership. Black will be publisher of Standard’s HeartShaper children’s curriculum and the Encounter curriculum for teens. She will also be publisher of Gospel Light’s traditional children’s resources, which David C Cook acquired in the fall of 2015