Latest Blog Posts for April 2014

Planning is Not a Dirty Word: 5 Tips to Being a More Productive Writer by Susan Sleeman, & Kudos, MoGo, & a Free Book!

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koratmember

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koratmember

Yep, It’s April 15: A Great Day to Have Author Susan Sleeman Talk About PLANNING (And we’re NOT talking about taxes!)

Feel like you’re drowning in tax advice? Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about the IRS. No, no, no! We’re going to talk about IMPORTANT stuff, like planning our novels! And that’s something all us novelists need to hear.

I’m thrilled to have Susan Sleeman with us today as she shares her five tips to being more productive as a writer. Be sure to read her bio below, but let me tell you that Susan is an award-winning and award-nominated author, so if she speaks, I think we should all be listening!

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Hello. My name is Vonda, and I am a procrastinator.

But even though I admit to being a procrastinator, being terribly unorganized, and having difficulty staying focused, that doesn’t mean I’m lazy or that I don’t get anything done.

The truth is I’ve tried goal setting, pep talks, berating myself, making schedules, setting timers, and turning off social media. But still, at the end of the day I often have little to show for all the great plans I had at the beginning of it.

I have to admit, the repeated frustration with all the real life interruptions has now encased me in procrastinator mode. I mean, why should I even try to work on that book-of-my-heart? My plans will just be interrupted anyway.

Besides, I’ve always said I couldn’t write in short segments. I’m a block-out-a-big-chunk-of-focused-time kind of writer.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Michelle Cox; Who Won The Writing Sisters’ Book? and Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Out

Michelle Cox headshotAs you can see, today is a busy day. And it’s all my fault. Last week, I completely forgot to ask for your Kudos and MoGo7000 totals! So today, in addition to an awesome interview with the multi-talented Michelle Cox, our triple duty day will also cover call-outs, and a book winner!

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First Up–Michelle Cox Shares Her Amazing Journey with Her Book, Blog, and Screenplay, Just 18 Summers®!

Yes, you read right. My brilliant friend, Michelle Cox, got a great idea, the Lord multiplied her vision, and now she has all kinds of stuff going on! Read on to hear how a simple comment from her pastor kicked off an avalanche of opportunities!

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As Christians, we are held to a higher standard. After all, we must strive to shine the light of Jesus in every situation for the sake of the gospel, regardless of what happens. It’s often a difficult standard to uphold.

A friend of mine, a Christian speaker and writer, had such an experience this past week. She was attacked publicly for something that occurred through no fault of her own. She was innocent of any wrongdoing.

It would have been easy–and even acceptable–for her to stand her ground. She could have listened to the world as it encouraged her to defend herself and stand up for her rights.

But she didn’t. Instead, she took on the image and mind of Christ, a humble servant willing to suffer loss.

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10 Tips to Finding an Agent by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers & Who Won Bethany Jett’s Book?

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers headshotToday is April Fool’s Day, but there are no tricks here at The Christian Writer’s Den! Instead, I’m thrilled to offer a treat, 10 Tips to Finding an Agent, from author-sisters (for real) Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, a drawing for their new book, AND a free book from Bethany Jett!

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Be sure to read Betsy’s and Laurie’s bio and book info below, but I’m excited to go ahead and tell you they have a new book, The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances, released a few weeks ago by Howard Books. Yay! I’ve read this book and I can say it opened my eyes to the power of God’s Word to change hearts around the world.

In celebration of their new book, Betsy and Laurie are giving away a free book AND sharing some agent secrets with us! Just leave a tip you’d like to share or a word of encouragement for the Writing Sisters, and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book. Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

And now, here are Betsy’s and Laurie’s 10 Tips to Finding an Agent. These are tips no one told them, but they’re sharing them with you today!

10 Tips to Finding an Agent 

by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers

After twenty years of writing for children we felt called to make a change. We had not needed an agent before. Twenty years ago you could still have a manuscript read by a publisher without an agent, especially in the world of children’s books. Once we had a relationship with a publishing house we didn’t feel the need. Now that we were writing an adult book, The Shepherd’s Song, and we were writing about our faith – the rules had changed. We needed an agent – but how could we find the right one?

Here are some things we learned about finding an agent on our quest to write and publish The Shepherd’s Song.

  1. Pray. Throughout the process of writing the book we prayed for the “team” and waited with expectation to see what special people God would draft for us. In our 20 years of publishing we had never had an agent. Now as we moved into writing a book for adults we needed representation. We had no idea how to find the right person. We started with prayer.
  2. Don’t count on the 15 minute pitch. Relationships take time. We don’t know very many writers who found their agents during the pitch. We didn’t. The pitches were important for us. Getting our one sheet together and honing our description of the book was valuable. Seeing the reaction across the table to the way we presented the book was also helpful.
  3. Emailing your unrequested proposal is really a long shot. Everyone is overwhelmed with email and submissions. Think about building face-to-face relationships at conferences instead.
  4. Silence means No. We looked for God to open doors and close doors. Sometimes He worked through silence. “But she said she would get back to us in 6 weeks.” It took us a while to realize that the silence was a rejection.
  5. Nos can be helpful. No is an important part of shaping your book. With every no comes a chance to improve the book.
  6. Wait for the right person. You can say “no” too. Along the path to finding an agent we had some opportunities. One agent offered to consider representing us if we changed genres and wrote something more mainstream. We had to learn to wait and be true to the work that God had given us.
  7. Don’t be desperate. God called you to write and he has a plan for your book. Being desperate makes us take control of the process and make mistakes.
  8. Others writers want to help you in the search. We found our agent at a lunch for 700 people. A writing friend who had an agent saw him coming toward the table and moved over a seat to let him sit by us. That act of generosity changed our career.
  9. Be ready – always – in every situation. We got caught a few times without sample chapters when we didn’t expect to be asked for them.
  10. Keep your eyes open. Pray and watch. You never know when that moment will come.

When we least expected it our moment came. Greg Johnson from WordServe Literary sat down at our Betsy Duffey The Shepherd Song covertable. We connected and when he asked for our sales figures we had them. When he asked to see a one sheet we had it.

He asked to read the book and we sent it the day we got home. The next Monday we signed with WordServe. Not long after that he placed The Shepherd’s Song at Howard Books. But that’s another story.

Please share what you have learned along the way –

Betsy and Laurie
www.WritingSisters.com

Friends, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book from Betsy and Laurie. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Back cover copy from The Shepherd’s Song: Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message. Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.” Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures. With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.

Bio: The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is  The Shepherd’s Song, Howard Books, March 2014. You can reach Betsy and Laurie at www.WritingSisters.com or www.facebook.com/WritingSisters. And here’s a direct Amazon link to The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances.

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Bethany Jett cover Cinderella RuleAnd Who Won Bethany Jett’s Book, The Cinderella Rule?

Congratulations goes to Maureen Hager! I’m so happy for you, Maureen!

Please contact me with your mailing address and Bethany will get your book right out to you.

And readers, I know you want your own copies to give to teen and pre-teen girls in your realm of influence, so here’s a direct Amazon link to The Cinderella: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

And if you’re a youth leader, remember, this would make a great book for your girls’ small group study.

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So that does it for another Tuesday at The Christian Writer’s Den where we encourage, educate, and promote writers. I’ll look forward to seeing you Friday. :-)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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