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Posts Tagged ‘Marsha Hubler’

The Evening Sessions and Perks at this Year’s MCWC

Learning to write well and how to get that manuscript published is just the start of the terrific week planned for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference from Sunday, July 16th to Friday, July 21st. Besides a keynote address by Torry Martin on Sunday evening, four morning challenges, and over 40 workshops, there are numerous evening activities and perks to keep every writer’s mind churning with new ideas:

EVENING EVENTS

MONDAY: TORRY’S POTPOURRI – an organic event that will leave you talking. Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined.

TUESDAY: MASTER-piece PAINT NIGHT or TORRY’S MOVIE or FREE TIME –

Painting: a fun activity simplified so anyone can do it. Cost for the event is $20. (Dave Weiss) or A Night at the Movies: view one of Torry Martin’s latest films, “Heaven Bound.”

WEDNESDAY: PICTURES OF JESUS – Dave Weiss will present “Pictures of Jesus,” a program including storytelling, video, and five live paintings each painted in six minutes or less.

THURSDAY: WRITERS’ THEATER: another opportunity for you to shine! Bring your own work, an excerpt from a short story, memoir, novel, or a poem and trimmed to three minutes and read it to the conferees at the Writers’ Theater, a delightful program that celebrates your creativity.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES

EDITORIAL APPOINTMENTS: Private 15-minute appointments with editors and agents to show them material which may be suitable for their publications and/or to discuss ideas for stories. Sign-up sheets available at the conference. Bring professionally prepared manuscripts. Be sure to bring copies! No charge.

PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUES: a great opportunity to have your work evaluated by a published professional. You’ll receive a written evaluation of your manuscript plus a 30-minute private appointment to discuss ways to improve and/or market your piece.

Register for MCWC by June 27 and request guidelines for emailing your manuscript. $40.00 per critique.

  • Vie Herlocker–Christian living, devotionals, memoirs, fiction – any except romance (max. 6 )
  • Gloria Penwell – Bible studies (max. 4)
  • Patti Souder – Drama sketches, monologues, 10-minute plays. (Max. 6)
  • Mike Dellosso – suspense/mystery, spec fic., contemporary, and memoir. No romance, historical, or Amish. (max. 6)
  • B.J. Taylor – Inspirational short stories for Guideposts/Angels on Earth/Mysterious Ways/Chicken Soup for the Soul; Memoirs (max. 6)
  • Diane Stark – Creative nonfiction, essays, parenting articles, 1st person pieces for anthologies (max. 5)

MORNING WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Picture books with Carol Wedeven: $40 (4 sessions) OR a Teen Track with Cathy Mayfield: $25 (4 sessions)

AFTERNOON WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Poetry with Lora Zill: $25 (3 sessions)

CRITIQUE GROUPS and GENRES of INTEREST GROUPS: Opportunity for feedback from other writers. No charge. Held from Monday to Thursday at 4:30

BOOK TABLE: Features books by faculty and conferees. When registering, please indicate books you’ve written which you would like to sell.

BUDGET BOOK SALE AGAIN THIS YEAR! Too many books on your shelves? Bring them with you and donate them to our Budget Book Sale. Looking for some good books at budget prices? Check out this special sale. All proceeds go to the General Scholarship Fund.

FREEBIES: Complimentary publishers’ guidelines and sample copies to save you time and postage.

RECORDINGS: Listen to the sessions you missed or those you want to hear again (Easily loaded into your computer). 

SCHOLARSHIPS:

Shirley Brinkerhoff Memorial Scholarship – $100 grant for tuition: Awarded to a writer actively striving to hone the craft of writing who has not yet secured a publishing contract. Applications are available at montrosebible.org/writers.htm.

General Scholarship help is available according to need. Please inquire when registering.

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Don’t wait any longer to register. The classes are filling up fast! (Check out all the details at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx )

Marsha, Director

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THE 2017 MCWC FACULTY SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR CAROL WEDEVEN

Writers, do you have a picture book manuscript and you’re not sure what to do with it? Should you find an artist to do your sketches? Do you lay out the book and send a “dummy” to the publisher? Are you sure your word count is correct for the age for whom you’re writing?

Get all these questions answered at this year’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference from July 16th to the 20th. Author Carol Wedeven is moderating a morning Picture Book Work in Progress. Carol and no more than eight conferees will work on their picture book manuscripts, moving one step closer to publication. Then, in three afternoon classes (open to anyone), Carol will present the nuts and bolts of writing for children:

 Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

If you really want to write for children, dare yourself to become the child who will be your reader. We will observe, think, feel, believe like that child until you are able to see through that child’s eyes.  As soon as you connect heart to heart, you are ready to write.  It’s guaranteed.  Interactive, hands-on handouts from tears to hilarity.

Putting Characters in Place

Pushing and pulling are allowed, encouraged, expected. What words place a main character, a secondary character or a “walk-on” in just the right space within your story’s setting?  See it happen as we choose words which either pull a main character forward or push a secondary or walk-on character toward the background where they belong.  Interactive, hands-on handouts and the final aha!

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

You submit a picture book manuscript, but the editor calls it a short story. What’s the difference? Is it possible to craft one form then change it into the other? How? Using award-winning picture books, you will see, hear, experience, and understand the basic element which makes the difference between manuscripts for picture books and magazines. Interactive hands-on handouts. An eye-opener session!

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Carol Wedeven: author of 11 children’s books, curriculum, poetry, fillers, short stories, & drama scripts. Enjoys drama improvisation, plays with words, hosts a critique group, and mentors writers.

I look forward to seeing you in July!

Check out all the details at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

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The MCWC Faculty Spotlight

VIE HERLOCKER

AN EDITOR’S PET PEEVES

AFTERNOON SERIES

Writers, exactly how important is it to know whether that comma belongs there or not? Do you really need to know how to spell every word correctly in your manuscript? Won’t the editor at the publishing company “fix” my manuscript?

These questions have run through every writer’s mind. Yet, the average writer, especially newbies, often think the PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling) aren’t that important when creating a masterpiece.

My afternoon series of classes will set the record straight. Each class will be very hands on with worksheets and handouts. Everyone in attendance will learn how really important editing your own manuscript is. Here’s what you’ll be learning in my four classes:

Day One

Formatting before beginning: margins, headers, font. Setting up Word for auto indent and no space between like paragraphs.

PUGS—specifically using commas, semicolons, colons, smart quotation marks, dashes, ellipses, plurals (with attention to plural acronym—UFOs, not UFO’s), turning apostrophes the right way (Don’t worry your noggin, just listen to Mama—an apostrophe’s simply a flying comma). Hyphenation, passive constructions, etc.

Day Two

Powerful Sentence Structures: (This is my baby)-examples of poor to good sentences and then showing how reworking them moves them to outstanding. Showing the power of end-loading or front-loading the critical information to get certain reactions from the reader. This day will also work on misplaced modifiers, awkward phrasing, rule of 3, etc. Also varying sentence structures and Whacking the Weed Words and Wonkers that weaken sentences: To be words, repetitions, overused words, adjectives and adverbs, cliches, etc. How to use “search” to help clean up your manuscript.

Day Three

PUGS specific to Christian writers: formatting/punctuating Scripture, capitalization of common religious terms. Using the tools to help you find the answers if you don’t know them. (This info can be part of the Day One PUGS stuff as well.)

Day Four

Understanding the business of writing for publication. I’ve found that most writers we contract at Sonfire have no clue how a book gets from pen to published to distribution and how royalties can be figured more than one way, so 10% one way may be just as good at 20% another way. This day will also work on IEPs. Individual Escape Plans—for hopping off that train or treadmill and taking measurable steps toward their goals. Will talk about investing in yourself, both financially and with time to study/write/rewrite/repeat.

Writers, you CAN improve your own writing!

Commit all that you do to the Lord, trust Him to help you do it, and He will. Psalm 37:5

A Little About Vie

Vie Herlocker is editor for Sonfire Media, a small traditional Christian publisher, and its fiction imprint, Taberah Press, located in Galax, Virginia. She is also a freelance editor at Cornerstone-Ink Editing. She is a member of the Christian Editor Connection, Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, ACFW, and ACW.

While editing is her greatest love, Vie coauthored a book for the educational in-service market, ghostwrote a memoir, and has been published in compilation books and periodicals, including Penned from the Heart, Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester’s Soul, Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and more.

Editorial Needs

Sonfire Media publishes nonfiction “Messages that Matter.” We like Christian living and inspirational books, including distinctive memoirs. Themed devotionals are considered, but we prefer these not be 365-day books.

Taberah Press publishes fiction with “Intrigue and Inspiration.” We are looking for YA/New Adult speculative fiction that takes readers on a journey, shows them something about life, and reminds them that there is more.

Contact: vie.herlocker@sonfiremedia.com

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I’m looking forward to seeing you at this year’s conference.

To register, go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

 

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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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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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The Decision for a Free or Self-Hosted Blogging Platform, Part 1

Catlett.Don.Photo.2015MCWC.

Don Catlett

Social Media Expert

Most of us who wear corrective lenses have heard this question:  “Which is better? One or Two?” And, probably like most of us, at some point you’ve said, “I can’t tell the difference.” That same feeling of “not knowing” can be similar when trying to deciding the right blogging platform to use.

If you’ve considered starting a blog, you’ve probably run across the term self-hosted blog. Most people will tell you that a self-hosted blog is the way to go, especially if you’re looking to create a professional image.

But what is a self-hosted blog? And why do you need one if you can just start a blog for free through other services?

Allow me to explain the details of free and self-hosted blogging platforms, the pros and cons of each, and which one you should choose.

Free Blogging Platform

What is it? A free blogging platform is one that’s just that. It’s free to sign up for an account, get a domain (such as http://www.example.com), and set up your site. You can start your free blog with services like Blogger.com and WordPress.com.

The thing about a free account is your website’s files are stored or “hosted” on your blogging platform’s servers. While there can be costs involved after the initial set up, this simple fact is what differentiates a free blog from a self-hosted blog.

Self-Hosted Blogging Platform

What is it? A self-hosted blog is one that resides on your own server. Most people, however, pay a third-party to host their blog, which opens them to all the benefits of a self-hosted blog. Sites like iPage, HostGator, GoDaddy and Bluehost are among some of the popular companies that provide hosting services. Essentially, these companies rent out digital storage space to users to make running a website possible.

Blue.Sad.Smiley.FaceStill confused?

I will cover the pros and cons of both the free and the self-hosting options in a future article to help you in your decision of deciding which is better, one or two.

There’s More

Join me at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference where I will be discussing options to help you get noticed in the digital world through blogging, websites, and social media.

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(Part Two next time)

Don Catlett has been working at the crossroads of web design, photography, marketing, and social media since 1999.

Learn more by visiting his website www.clearlysee.com.

Keep on writing!

Marsha Hubler, director MCWC July 16 – 21

Plan to attend and get your manuscript ready for publication!MCWC.Duck.Welcome.Sign.on.Porch.7.22.14

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2017 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

JEANETTE LEVELLIE

levellie-jeanette-headshot

As a writer, do you struggle with managing your time every day? Does “life” get in the way? Then check out Jeanette’s suggestions to help you get that writing done while all those other responsibilities get done as well:

Jeanette’s 10 D’s of Time Management for Writers

  1. Delight yourself in the Lord

Put God first and He will collaborate with you to help you meet your goals.

  1. Do away with fear

Progress in baby steps, and ask friends cover you in prayer with each new venture.

  1. De-clutter and de-junk

Managing clutter is a huge time-eater. Give yourself permission to throw or give away. Enlist a friend’s help to de-junque.

  1. Discipline your flesh

“No” is not a four-letter word. Say it with grace and dignity to activities and people that drain you or bring out the worst in you.

  1. Divide writing and marketing time

If no one knows you, your writing lacks an audience. If you don’t write, your audience will go elsewhere. Start with a 50/50 split, then adjust as your platform grows.

  1. Delegate

Enlist family members for researching, cooking, running errands, and cleaning. Consider hiring help or trading a writing or editing job for housework or cooking.

  1. Decide what’s important

Ask God to direct your steps and to help you focus on your strengths. What do you most enjoy doing?

  1. Dance and sing—take time to play

Recreation means “to impart fresh life to; to create anew.” It’s okay to do nothing for an hour or a day. You’re more productive when you take regular times of rest.

  1. Double up

Combine two jobs you can accomplish at the same time, one which requires no brain power, such as waiting at the dr.’s office and outlining an article or book chapter.

  1. Diagram your plan

Develop a written mission statement and reasonable, measurable goals. Determine what God and you want from your writing: a few published articles, books galore, changed lives, or all of the above.

The above is an excerpt from Jeanette’s class, Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers. In addition to these and other valuable tips, we’ll explore how focus on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses to make the best use of your limited writing time.

She will also be teaching 21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block, where we’ll discover creative ways to pry your stubborn muse out of the black hole and start producing words that rock;

Writing Compelling Devotions, where you’ll learn the three major types of devotional writing and simple techniques to create devotions that stay with your reader throughout the day; and

Column Writing as a Platform Builder, where you’ll uncover the secrets of great column writing, how to develop loyal readers, and what types of columns you are best suited to write.

A Little Trivia About Jeanette:

A lively, sought-after speaker for a wide variety of groups, Jeanette is a pastor’s wife, author of four books and hundreds of articles, and a newspaper columnist. Her outgoing, nutty personality and warm teaching style makes audiences feel comfortable as they resonate with her personal—sometimes embarrassing—stories she uses as examples.

Jeanette is a mom to two grown-ups, grandma to three kids, and servant to four cats.

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