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REGISTER NOW TO GET YOUR MANUSCRIPT READY FOR PUBLICATION!

Writers, have you written a short story? A column for a newspaper? How about a pretty good poem? A novel? Do you think your work is good enough for a publisher or agent to look at it?

If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, you have no idea what you’re missing. It’s one of the first and most important steps you can take to become a published writer.  There’s so much to know … and learn about the writing/publishing business.

This July 16th to the 21st at the 28th Montrose Christian Writers Conference, we have an excellent line-up of faculty members who will help you with writing skills, promotion, poetry, picture books, editing, agenting, finding a publisher, and a host of other essential information. Besides three WIPs and four Major Morning Seminars, we also are offering 43 afternoon classes to help you hone your manuscript or find that publisher:

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

 

Indie Publishing vs. Royalty Publishing. What’s New?

(Faculty Panel Discussion)

Why Drama?

Formatting before Beginning

Fiction: Character Building (Part One)

21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block

Get the Most out of the Conference

 The Art of Collaborative Writing

Fiction: Character Building (Part Two)

Conducting High Profile Interviews 

Blogging 101

Creating a Viable Stage Production

Shock the Clock: Time Management

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to  Market

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Powerful Sentence Structures

Fiction: Setting and Description

Write for your Life

Prayer in the Life of a Writer

Creative Blockbusters

Making your Fiction Matter

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Blogging 102

Format and Performance Know-how

Writing Compelling Devotions

No Market for your Book? What to Do

Putting Characters in Place

PUGS Specifics for Christian Writers

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

Graduation Time; What’s Next?

Bible Studies that Sell

Real “Artist-Ship”

Aspects of the Editing Process

Breaking into Anthologies

Social Media 101

Sharing the Fun of Drama

Column Writer as a Platform Builder

Peace in the Literary Storm

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication

Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

What’s an Edit?

Irresistible Queries and Proposals

Proofread with Excellence

Writing the Profile Piece

To check out the weekly schedule and the faculty members offering these classes, please go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

I hope to see you at Montrose in July!

Marsha, Director

 

 

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READY TO REGISTER FOR THE 2017 MCWC?

The Montrose Christian Writers Conference is pleased to announce that our new online registration system is now open. If you plan to come, especially for the Work-in-Progress Seminars, don’t delay registering. Those WIPs have enrollment limitations.

[Printed versions of the brochure and registration form are also available. Call the office (570-278-1001) to have a brochure mailed to your home address.]

To register online you will need to go to our website http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

and follow the directions below to access the online registration system. You will need to have a login which may be used now and in the future to sign up for programs at Montrose Bible Conference.

TO BEGIN:

  1. 1. Click on the LINK above to go to our web page. Find the link for online registration. When you get to the Login page, click on the button that reads “Create New Account.”
  2. The first screen is where you set up your username and password. The name and email address is for yours, not the person you are registering. Keep the username and password in a secure place and use it whenever you wish to return to update information, register for other sessions, or make a payment.
  3. When you click “next,” you will be asked for the name of the person you are registering. Listed below are those persons from your family in our database based on the address. When you are asked for the name of the person to be registered, if the person is listed in the table below, you should enter the first and last name and the birth date exactly as listed below to be connected to that person. Enter the information as shown below even if it is wrong. If the name or birth date is wrong, send an email to mbc@MontroseBible.org and ask to have the information corrected.

Name

Birthdate

  1. Once you have entered and confirmed the information, click NEXT, and you will be taken through each screen in the registration process.
  2. If you are registering more than one person, complete the registration for the first person and then click on “Add Camper.”
  3. When you have entered all the registrations, you can make payment and complete your registration(s).

If you experience any difficulties during the registration process, you will see a Contact Us button at the top of the screen that includes the technical support phone number and the camp phone number. Call if you need assistance.

We are excited about the registration process and the capabilities provided to you both to register now, to update information later, and to make payments at your convenience.

Montrose Bible Conference

mbc@MontroseBible.org

570-278-1001

www.MontroseBible.org

I look forward to seeing you there in July!

Marsha

Director

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MCWC FACULTY SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR/EDITOR B.J. TAYLOR

Writers, the brochures and online registration will be ready any day now for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference. One of the outstanding faculty members scheduled is B.J. Taylor flying all the way from California to present one of the Major Morning 4-Session Series: “The Journey to Publishing Nonfiction.”

ALL ABOUT B.J.

B.J. Taylor is a recipient of the Pacesetter Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and truly believes in never giving up. It took her eight years, but she finally succeeded in winning a spot at the Guideposts Writers Workshop in 2004. Her published work includes many stories in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and countless other publications including John Gray’s Mars and Venus in Love and Writer’s Digest. She’s the author of a memoir: Charlie Bear: What a Headstrong Rescue Dog Taught Me about Life, Love, and Second Chances. (I highly recommend this book. It’s one of my favorites!)

B.J. represents Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and Mysterious Ways magazines as well as Inspiring Voices, the self-publishing arm of Guideposts books. She can read advance manuscript submissions and will help to guide and instruct through her many years of experience as a Guideposts writer as well as offer guidance to authors who wish to publish with Inspiring Voices.

B.J. has 40 stories in print in Chicken Soup and loves to teach her easy-to-remember formula for crafting inspirational short stories that sell. If you’re serious about becoming a published author and want to learn how to craft well-written true stories, check out her book written just for you based on the successful classes she has taught for the past ten years: P MS to a T: the winning formula for writing nonfiction short stories that sell.

B.J. instructs at numerous conferences around the United States, from Washington to Florida to California. She has been a Keynote Speaker, a Mentoring Instructor, a Hands-On Nonfiction Class leader, and loves to help writers at all stages of their writing career.

HER OTHER TWO CLASSES AT MCWC:

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

B.J. Taylor will share the nuts and bolts you need to know to write a winning Guideposts story along with how to properly submit, who to submit to, what to include, and when to send it in for the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest held every other year. Thousands will enter; only 12 writers are chosen for the all-expenses paid opportunity of a lifetime. In 2014 two of the winners came from a conference where B.J. divulged her tips and tricks. Don’t miss out on the knowledge, experience, and secrets B.J. will share as a winner of a coveted spot in 2004.

Make $$$ Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

Want to know the formula for writing inspirational stories that sell? B.J. Taylor’s career includes selling four articles to Writer’s Digest, two dozen stories to Guideposts and Angels on Earth, and 40 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul, along with sales to many other publications. Numerous writers have learned B.J.’s secret formula, submitted to Chicken Soup and Guideposts, and are now published authors. Learn how to make money in your writing career.

B.J. lives in Southern California with her husband and rescue dog Charlie Bear, who writes a column for “American Pet Magazine” (with a little help from his Mom Peep).

Learn more about B.J. at http://www.bjtaylor.com. You can also sign up for her blog and newsletter right from the website.

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MCWC is just a few months away. If you’re writing nonfiction, B.J. is the one to review your work!

I hope to see you there!

Marsha

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Building your Author Platform

Literary Agent Jim Hart

 

An Author Platform?

Yes, an author platform. Any author who wants to sell books needs to build an author platform. But how?

One of the best things you can do to build you author platform is to grow an audience of subscribers to your blog. A healthy e-mail list is attractive to potential publishers.

Lack of author platform continues to become one of the top reasons we see proposals declined from a publisher.

According to a recent blog from Rob Eager e-mail is forty times more effective at “acquiring customers than all social media combined.”  That’s a bold statement. But consider that your e-mail list allows you to communicate directly to your readers. It’s more targeted than Twitter or Facebook. (BTW- I just noticed the Pope has 8.75 million Twitter followers, he should have no problem getting a book contract.)

A very effective way to grow your e-mail subscription list is to offer some free content as an enticement for a reader to subscribe to your e-mail blog. In the same blog Rob Eager addresses the myth that giving away free content could have a negative effect on current and future sales. He counters this by explaining “free content is a low-cost effective way to gain new customers.”

So what content do you have that you could format into a short, downloadable PDF?

  • An unpublished short story
  • A five-day devotion series
  • A short collection of your poetry
  • A handful of your favorite recipes that tie in with your current book or work-in-progress
  • A how-to manual for one of your hobbies

But whatever content you offer, it needs to have value to the reader. It should be something that they feel they may not be able to find elsewhere. Think about content that is unique to you as a writer.

In addition to using your blog to collect e-mail subscribers, using a site like Noisetrade is a great way to offer content to potential readers. Noisetrade originally started as a “pay what you want” site for musicians to release content. They’re also now allowing authors to offer content— everything from a complete book to a short story. With Noisetrade, the consumer can pay you a small “tip” or download for free if they so choose. But either way they have to supply you with their e-mail address.

Remember, the larger your e-mail list is the stronger your online marketing asset becomes. And that could get you a J from a publisher.

I’m looking forward to presenting a class on “Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market” at the Montrose conference this year. This class will look at marketing and promoting your book in a different light, starting with Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. We will define marketing simply as engaging with others. These are the questions that will be presented:

Why to engage?

Who to engage?

When to engage?

Where to engage?

The thought of marketing and promoting can be overwhelming. It’s my goal for writers to be encouraged to step out and let their message be heard, and starting small is okay!

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Jim will present two more classes at Montrose this July. All his classes will help writers zero in on key elements essential to getting published:

What to do if there is No Market for Your Book

This class will examine what to do with your manuscript when you are told there is no market for what you’ve just written. We will explore options such as self-publishing, re-purposing the manuscript, as well as changing direction and writing something new.

Peace in the Literary Storm

There are tools and practices that can help us deal with discouragement when it enters, or threatens to enter, our lives. As both Christians and creative people, we can be subjected to seasons of disappointment. However, it’s possible to not only survive through these seasons but to still thrive in spite of a dry spell.

In this workshop we will consider:

1) Living the dream: it could be worse; I could be a ________________(fill in the blank)

2) Faith vs. Plan B

3) Patience, trust, exercise, and other bad words

“Peace in the Literary Storm” will encourage you to dig in for the long haul and be confident in the gifts the Lord has given you.

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I look forward to seeing you at our conference July 16th to the 21st!

Marsha

Director MCWC

 

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Montrose Christian Writers Conference

July 16th – 21st

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

PATTI SOUDER

JOIN PATTI FOR HER AFTERNOON SERIES:

DRAMA THAT MATTERS

Drama offers special opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie. Join us for fun and feedback in these interactive sessions in which we’ll create and share short drama pieces.

1          WHY DRAMA?

What’s unique about drama? Why choose drama to tell your story? How does drama differ from other genres? What’s important in creating works for performance? How dodrama sketches, monologues, plays, productions, and performances differ?

2          CREATING A VIABLE STAGE PRODUCTION

Discover how to create characters, story lines, and settings that jump to life on stage. Learn about the special considerations of language, plot, venue, costumes, set design, and lighting required for different forms of drama.

3          FORMAT and PERFORMANCE KNOW-HOW

Drama offers incredible opportunities for creativity, but it’s also a collaborative craft that requires specific formatting so that directors, producers, actors, set designers, and sound and lighting engineers can work together to produce the show. Handouts on various formats.

4          SHARING THE FUN OF DRAMA

An opportunity to ask questions and to share an original short drama with classmates for fun and feedback.

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Patti Souder, former MCWC director, has written numerous articles, short stories, poems, and dramas which have appeared in The War Cry, Guideposts, Pockets and many other publications. She has also written or contributed to 14 published books and has written and directed numerous plays and musicals. Many of her drama sketches can be found at www.AlphaStarDrama.com.

Patti, an RN who earned an MA in Creative Writing, is married to Larry Souder, President of the Montrose Broadcasting Corporation, with whom she co-hosts a daily radio program. Larry and Patti have three children and six grandchildren, all of whom are joy-bringers.

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Make plans to come and get your manuscript ready for publication!

Marsha

Director

 

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The Nametag

Diane Stark

When I was eight years old, my mom “caught” me sitting on the floor in my closet with a purple pen and a spiral bound notebook. When she asked me what I was doing, I sighed and admitted, “Mom, I’ve been writing.”

When I was in fifth grade, I won the Young Author’s Fair at school. My story was terrible and slightly plagiarized, I think. At the end of the story, the villain melted because of the rain, and as his body became a glob of ooze on the ground, he groaned, “I melted because I’m so sweet.”  I stole this.  My mother used to say that to my siblings and me when we fussed about carrying in groceries while it was raining. “You’re not going to melt,” she’d say. “Only sugar cubes are that sweet.”

Plagiarizing a story from your own mother isn’t sweet at all.

Clearly, my roots as a writer are iffy at best. My childhood included lots of closet hiding, spiral-bound notebooks, and, apparently, theft of my mother’s intellectual property.

As a high school senior, I won college scholarships because of essays I’d written. But never for a second did I consider journalism as a major. Writing for a career? That was way too risky.

I majored in education and taught elementary school for a decade. I loved it, and I’d like to think I was good at it, but it didn’t feed my soul. Not like writing did.

I wrote late at night when my husband and children were sleeping. I even sent some of my stories to editors, and a few of them got published.

But I never told anyone.

I loved writing, and I didn’t want anyone to steal the joy I felt at doing it. So I kept it a secret.

Until I wanted to attend my first writers’ conference. I was nervous to tell my husband about it, but he encouraged me to go. So I did.

At the conference, they gave me a lanyard to wear. The tag read, “My name is Diane, and I am a writer.”

I gasped. What am I doing there? I’m not a writer, I thought. Not a real writer, anyway.

I put the lanyard around my neck, feeling like a liar.

That afternoon, I met with the editor of a small Christian publication. I sat across from him, my hands shaking. I handed him the stack of stories I’d brought and prepared to be embarrassed.

But instead of him saying, “These aren’t good enough,” he smiled and said, “These are terrific. Exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

“Really?” I said. “Because I’m not a real writer, you know. I’m just a mom.  I write at night when I think no one knows, but I’m pretty sure my husband has known all along.”

He chuckled. “A lot of us feel that way. We feel that struggle to be a ‘real’ writer. But have you seen your name tag?”

That editor, who is now my friend, gave me such a gift that day. He let me in on a little secret:  Becoming a writer isn’t about getting published.  It’s about writing.  It’s about doing the thing that God has called you to do.

I’m a writer, not because an editor likes my work, but because God created me to write.

Published or not, if you pick up a pen for the Kingdom, you are a writer.

Diane’s Topics for her Classes at

the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference

July 16th – 21st

Breaking into Anthologies

Diane has been published in more than 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She knows what types of stories sell to anthologies and can help others tell their personal stories in an effective, emotional way—exactly what the anthologies are looking for.

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Diane has five children and she regularly writes about her “expertise” as a parent in magazines like Focus on the Family.While she doesn’t claim to be a parenting expert, she does know that what works for her kids might work for other kids too.  She also knows that magazines will pay for these parenting tips.  Diane will teach participants how to use their own parenting “expertise” to break into parenting magazines.

Conducting High Profile Interviews

Christian magazines are always on the lookout for profile pieces about Christian celebrities. But how do writers get these interviews, and what do you ask in the interview? Diane has interviewed Christian musicians, NFL and NBA stars, as well as Christian actors and actresses. She will teach participants how to acquire high-profile interviews, what to ask during these coveted interviews, and even how to control your nerves.

Writing the Profile Piece

Profile pieces are among the most salable stories a freelancer can write. Diane will teach participants how to write this type of story after conducting an interview. Information will include choosing the best quotes from your notes, researching background information, and grabbing the readers’ attention from the start.

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Diane Stark has been a freelance writer for the last ten years. She has written for dozens of Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, The Brink, Seek, War Cry, Teachers of Vision, Faith and Friends, and 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She taught kindergarten for a decade before resigning to pursue a writing career. Diane is a bubbly, enthusiastic encourager who teaches other writers from a “Here’s What I Did” standpoint. She will motivate and equip conferees to succeed at their own writing dreams.

 

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Plan to attend MCWC this July and get your manuscript ready for publication!

Registration forms will be out within the next few weeks.

Marsha

Director

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An Author’s Guide to Editing, Part One

Loving Tips From Love2edit

Darlene Catlett, Copy Editor

 

Fifteen years ago, while working for a small Christian ministry, I stumbled into editing. Someone handed me a newsletter and asked me to proofread it for typos. I must have pointed out some things of value, because I found myself being assigned to proofread ads and other marketing materials, and finally I was asked to proofread a book. As I gained experience over time, my knowledge and skills grew, and I came to realize that I love to edit.

Is it true that writers consider writing to be the fun part and editing to be the boring part? I’ve heard that editing is the way to turn bland content into a work of art, or milk into ice cream!

As an editor, my perspective is different than yours. In order to sweeten the idea of editing, I put together a few editing tips for you. One of them may be just what you’re looking for!

  1. Let it be. Allow time in your schedule to write one day and edit the next. Or perhaps you can write in the morning and edit at night. If your deadline is too close to do either of those, at least get up out of your chair, walk away, and do something that will take your mind off your writing for a few minutes.
  2. Pretend someone else wrote it. If you have the luxury of setting your writing aside for several days, it may seem like someone else actually did write it!
  3. Round two. For larger works, edit in more than one sitting.
  4. Use highlights as you edit. Start out by highlighting everything. When a section is good to go, eliminate the highlight.
  5. Slash and save. When you edit out a thought, phrase, or illustration, save it somewhere to be used later. Create one document of slashed ideas and call it your Parking Lot.
  6. Read it out loud. Read it very quickly to see if there’s anything you stumble over. Read it slowly with slightly exaggerated expression as though you are reading it to a group of children. Read it to someone else and ask them to give you an honest critique.
  7. Don’t rely on spell check. So many mistakes slip through if you trust too much in technology to find your errors, i.e: though ≠ through ≠ thorough, my ≠ may, the ≠ they, must ≠ most.

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Please join me in one of the following workshops this July at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference to look at your writing from an editor’s perspective:

Aspects of the Editing Process

Let’s talk about what seems like top-secret information! Learn the difference between proofreading and copy editing and gain insight into the typical processes of a freelance editor and a publishing house. We’ll discover what it means to be “serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!

Proofread with Excellence (Proofreaders’ Lingo)

In this lighthearted, hands-on workshop, we’ll have fun mastering all those puzzling proofreaders’ marks. As writers, you may see these marks during the pre-publication proofing stage, in style manuals, or from an editor prior to submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher. Let’s decode some of the most useful ones together, and I’ll give you a tool that will save you time, should you have a need to use these markings in the future.

Darlene shares her joy of copy editing through various speaking events where attendees learn about her five C’s of copy-editing: to make the copy Clear, Correct, Concise, Comprehensible, and Consistent. Darlene lives by this motto: “I’m serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!”

Learn more at http://www.love2edit.com

I hope to see you at Montrose this July!

Marsha, Director

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