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Come to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference!

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One of the most meaningful experiences you’ll ever have as a writer is attending writers’ conferences. The knowledge gained, the friendships made, and the encouragement received are all well worth the time, effort, and money invested in any writers conference you attend.

My attending the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, literally, changed my writing life forever.

In 2001, I met Barbara Scott, the acquisitions editor of Zonderkidz, and my Keystone Stables Series was launched, eventually becoming a best seller with over scott-barbara-photo-2017150,000 in print. After all these years, the books are still in print and selling fairly well. Thanks to the wisdom of Barbara Scott, who said, “I want this series to have a long shelf life,” that’s exactly what’s happened.

The Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA, is one of the best conferences, in my opinion, that you’ll ever attend. Of course, I’m partial since I assumed the directorship in January of 2015, attempting to continue the excellence of faculty and workshops started 27 years ago and directed by Patti Souder for 20 years.

This year’s conference from July 16th to the 21st is entitled

EQUIPPING WRITERS FOR ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE

“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book!”

(Job 19:23)

It will feature four continuing morning classes:

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA (ADVANCED FICTION) – FILM ACTOR TORRY MARTIN

WHERE DO I BEGIN?  – EDITOR BARBARA SCOTT

NONFICTION: THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT  –  AUTHOR B.J. TAYLOR

THE ART AND CRAFT OF POETRY  –  POET LORA ZILL

 as well as 45 other afternoon and evening classes or workshops. If you leave this five-day conference without learning anything, I’d say you’re not cut out to be a writer.

This year we’re also offering three work-in-progress classes (limited to 8 participants):

PICTURE BOOKS – AUTHOR CAROL WEDEVEN

POETRY BOOT CAMP – POET LORA ZILL

TEEN TRACK –  AUTHOR CATHY MAYFIELD

(Registration fees and housing rates are reduced for teens)

Do you need your manuscript privately critiqued to see if you should continue or give it up and take up crocheting? We’re able to help you with that as well, offering professional private critiques by five faculty members (for a small fee) OR freebie peer critique groups moderated by seven faculty members. So get that manuscript ready!

If you’re considering attending this conference, I recommend you register as soon as possible when registration opens in March. I expect it to fill up very quickly. Watch for all the details coming soon at www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

If you want to take a peek at what the conference looked like last year, go visit now.

Happy writing!

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

Keystone Stables Book 4

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 4

Skye has her hands full trying to help Jonathan, a stubborn deaf boy, learn to ride western when he just wants to ride English style. Then he takes off on his horse in the middle of the night and gets lost in the woods.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TFE5VI/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

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February 2, 2015

Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

Making a Pitch to an Editor at a Writers Conference

This is the third post in a short series about writers conferences and why it’s so important for writers, both newbies and experienced, to attend. In this post, we’ll discuss how important it is for writers to meet editors and agents at conferences. Most conferences offer that opportunity either as a freebie perk or a paid private critique.

I can’t begin to express how advantageous it is to sit down privately at a writers conference with an editor/agent and discuss one of your projects. Four of my book contracts and the start of a wonderful relationship with an agent came to me this way. But there’s something that every writer needs to master before you ever get to the conference and meet these special folks.

“Make that pitch.” If you’re hoping and praying the editor/agent will offer you a contract, then you need to know how to “make a pitch” to that person. The scheduled private sessions usually last only 10 to 15 minutes, so a wise conferee will practice his/her pitch ahead of time, being careful to include all the pertinent information about the project in a very short time, maybe 30 seconds to a minute.

Tell your story. The key word in this is “story.” Don’t concentrate on your voice, theme, or anything other than your storyline. The editor/agent wants to hear what your story or your nonfiction work is about. Get right to the heart of the matter. Tell your listener the genre, word count, and whether the book is finished. Make sure he/she knows if you’ve submitted the manuscript to any publishing houses and if you’re waiting for a response.

Next, move into the story, something like this: LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN is a contemporary story set in Snyder County, Pennsylvania. It’s about a married Amish woman, who falls in love with a man for whom she cleans every Saturday. It’s also about her and her husband’s beliefs, which they question when they learn some truths of the Bible about salvation and eternity in heaven with God. My readers will have a thorough understanding of the Amish culture, including shunning and pow-wowing, when they finish this first book in THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY SERIES, which will have three volumes.

Be prepared to answer questions. After your “pitch,” I recommend you stop and wait for the editor/agent to ask questions. He/she will have to read through two or three pages of your manuscript if you didn’t submit a sample of your work ahead of time, which is usually done with a paid critique. The editor/agent might say something like this: “Well, it sounds interesting but we don’t do Amish. Do you have anything else?” Sometimes when authors attend conferences, it’s hard to tell exactly what the editors/agents are looking for, even though their blurbs in the brochure might give you an overview. However, if you’ve chosen to meet with someone who isn’t interested in your work, you have one of two choices to make. Thank the editor/agent for his/her time or discuss any other ongoing projects you have that might fill his/her needs. Be professional, but be polite and always be ready to learn.

But don’t bloviate! Just remember to be as brief as possible. Remember, you only have a ten or fifteen-minute appointment, so you want to be kind and not extend your time into someone else’s scheduled slot. And remember to smile, have a positive attitude, and have a willing attitude to learn. You just might walk away with an excellent lead that will land a contract in your lap just around the writers’ bend.

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