Friday, April 06, 2007

Colorado Christian Writer's Conference

As some of you may know, I wrote a Christian woman's 13 week Bible study several years ago. I sent it to several of my friends for them to give me feedback and catch obvious errors. But in the meantime, the photography interest was also growing . . . so my attention was divided. Knowing I had neglected my book, I submitted it to a Christian Manuscript Service last summer (see my "The Difficult First Step" and my "Mission Accomplished Blog." )

Several things have brought this back to my attention. I was asked to be part of a committee at church to help select curriculum for women. Henry is working at self-publishing one of his books. I have received a few emails from the Christian Manuscript Service posting from companies that do self publishing for Christian books. And while I was at the NANPA Summit, this book came up in one of my portfolio interviews. The concept of self publishing has some appeal - I could go ahead and get the book out there, but there is a lot of upfront cost. Plus, you still have to make sure it gets into distribution channels so it will make it to the shelves at the Christian bookstores.

So . . . after my meditation time this morning, I got on my computer. Henry had evaluated the two emails I had gotten. He thought one of them looked OK, but he did not like the look of the other one. In my heart, I knew that I had not done all of the things on my side that should be done before self publishing - primarily submitting books directly to the publishing houses. So I started looking up the publishers that I was familiar with, hoping to find the submission guidelines. And, yes, an inner part of me is going, "You're crazy . . . you're only home a short period of time, and you're adding another major project????"

Back when I had been checking things several years ago, I had seen references to the benefits of attending Christian Writer's Conferences. I had even gone so far as to check out the websites. But we were busy doing other things at the time, schedules were already busy. But as I was checking out the publishing websites and looking at the submission information, one of the ways to submit your work is at Christian Writer Conferences. Being a web junky, (er . . um . . web researcher), I found several. There was one in Marshall, Texas, but it did not have the events I was looking for. Hum . . . there's one in Colorado, Colorado Christian Writer's Conference. One of my favorite places . . . let's check that one out. The date was convenient. Location: Estes Park-great, but the first thing that caught my eye: four free one-on-one appointments for full time attendees. I've done this kind of thing at the North American Nature Photographer's Summit three times now. I looked at who would be attending. YES! The publishers that I am interested in will be there as well as literary agents that specialize in Christian books. I'll get an email with a form of some sort to list my choices and they included wonderful instructions to be in prayer as to which ones to choose. Best of all, you get an hour with each one - much easier than the 10 minute pitch Henry made a year or so ago.

Needless to say, I could not sign up fast enough. I've chosen workshops that match the kind of Christian writing that I want to do:

Writing for a Woman's Heart - Linda Evans Shepherd
Practice Your Pitch - Kathy Pickel
Writing for the Women's Ministry Market - Amy Nappa
Great Expectations (how to create a professional proposal) - Bill Jensen
Marketing Your Speaking Ministry (one of my goals is to be a motivational Christian speaker - this one looks right on
target) - Linda Evans Shepherd
First Impressions Count - Greg Johnson
Ready (or Not) - How to know when you are ready for an agent? Judy Mikalonis

Heart to Heart Writing - Susan Osborn - will be a continuing session meeting 5 times.

As I got my photography work started with the NANPA summits and other training I attended, I was amazed and humbled how God seemed to lead me to the events at the right time and in the right order. Each event seemed to build on what I had already learned to move me to the next level on the road to being a professional nature photographer. I have all along believed that my book "Life Lessons from the Desert" was God's. If he wanted it published, then it would be . . . in His time.

I've already had some practice presenting my work to professionals in the photography world. This will be my chance to present my work to professionals in the writing field. I have the advantage of having been around the science fiction world. My husband is a published writer. I know how hard it is to break in and get a book published. But I also know a little bit about ways to present my writing work professionally. And, I do have a history of working in Women's Ministries at our congregation.

I would ask my blog readers to join me in prayer . . . I want my life and my work to glorify God. I would like to ask God's blessing and guidance on this new effort on my part to serve him as a Christian writer and photographer.


Chris said...

I am sure everything will work out fun. try to have fun along the way.

Karen said...

That's cool Mary Ann. Good luck. Maybe you could also provide for the CCWC a new website picture, since theirs is crooked :-)