Posts Categorized: Writers Conference

The Importance of Agents in Publishing

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Over the past years the importance of an agent representing the writer has increased geometrically.  Publishing houses depend more and more on agent recommendations and those who are successful have agents that work hard to get their names in front of acquisition teams.

This year at our  2012 Mount Hermon Writers Conference, EIGHT agents will be available to registrants, more than we’ve ever had.  Many have agented for multiple years and know the ropes well.  Janet Kobobel Grant, Steve Laube, Less Stobbe, Wendy Lawton, Diane Flegal have all been in the business for a long time and have well-known writers in their stables.  Karen Ball, Barbara Scott and Joel Kneedler have been in the publishing business for years and now have started agenting.  Their experience on both sides of the court is incredible.

Where else can you have access to so many agents in a limited space? Come get to know some of the best in the business and see what God will do with your writing through the connections available to you this year.  Check us out at www.mounthermon.org/writers.  Hope to see you in March.

Liz Curtis Higgs to Keynote Writers

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Have you heard who’s speaking at our 2012 Mount Hermon Writers Conference?  Well known speaker and author, Liz Curtis Higgs, has accepted our invitation to keynote, March 30-April 3, 2012.  Learn more about her at www.lizcurtishiggs.com.

Liz will make you hold your sides with laughter, motivate you in your writing, and make you think about spiritual things in light of your projects, all in the same breath.  If she was the only thing scheduled, it would be worth it, but there’s going to be much more . . .

Since the industry has recently been affected by e-books and self-publishing on the internet, we’re going to put more of an emphasis on finding out what’s involved in this area.  Learn from Advanced e-book authors, James Scott Bell and Randy Ingermanson, some intermediate e-book gurus, and some who have just tried it recently and been successful.  We hope to hit every level of writer in the process so you know what you’re getting into if you think this is what you’d like to do. 

But we aren’t forgetting the value of our book houses and editors of magazines, either.  Check out our faculty listing on the web www.mounthermon.org/writers to see who will be here to instruct you in the traditional art of publication.  There are some great ones coming.

And this year we have EIGHT agents as well.  In the past years agents have been the avenue for most successful writers being signed to contracts.   Have you even considered this?  Do you have a project that would warrant talking with an agent?  It’s worth a try, isn’t it?  This is a great spot to have that chance for networking with industry people.

Of course, there are the other intangibles that make this conference worth it’s price . . . connecting with other writers and finding encouragement and support, gaining instruction from our 8 Major Morning Tracks and the 40 afternoon workshops, enjoying some wonderful food around tables of eight, taking a break for a soul refreshing hike on our Sequoia Trail, or meeting an editor or a friend in the Snack Shop for a good talk and some awesome homemade ice cream. 

Spring is a spectacular time of year in California, so don’t forget a camera to capture the incredible beauty of the towering redwoods, the splashes of color from the Dogwood trees, or Azaleas and Rhodedendrun bushes.  It’s one of the best places on earth at the end of March!!  Particularly if you’re from the Midwest or further East–get out of the snow and join us!

The website goes live tomorrow morning, 8:00 PTS.  We look forward to having you here!

Start Making Plans for Writers Conference

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There are only SEVEN more months before our 44th Annual Mount Hermon Writers Conference, March 30-April 3, 2012.  It’s going to be a doozey!  Is that a word?

Besides the normally wonderful parts of this conference–networking with other writers, getting to personally talk with book publishers, editors and agents–we’ll be pushing out a little, exploring alternative publishing with self-publishing, e-books etc.  Building on our past two years of instruction on marketing and doing publicity by social networking on the web, we’ll bring in experts to help you learn the how-to’s.

The need for great writing won’t be forgotten in the process, however.  You’ll have opportunity to learn from pros in the craft of writing, from Major Morning Tracks to optional hour long workshops in the afternoon.  Every level of  writer, be they beginning writer, intermediate or professional will have ample opportunity to learn a lot.

Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs

Our keynote speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs, is well known for her motivational, humorous teaching, as well as a great fiction writer with many books published.  You’ll get that extra “push” each evening, along with great worship led by Mount Hermon’s own incomparable Dave Talbott, Host of the conference.  Many say the evening sessions feed their souls like no other place on earth.

Great food in the dining room along with the awesome glory of the Redwoods and flowering trees in March will be the backdrop of an incredible experience.  Come join several hundred other writers and see what God has to teach you this year!

We’ll leave the light on for ya . . .

Rachel Williams
Director, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference

Susanna Foth Aughtmon: My First Book Came Out of Mount Hermon

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Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference is one of my favorite places on earth.  It is like Disneyland for the writer except with less rides and more editors.  You will find everything you need to know about the craft of writing here, along with insight into the writing market and the opportunity to make fantastic friends.

It is because of Mount Hermon’s unique ability to connect writer to agent and editor that after a ten year writing journey, my first book, All I Need Is Jesus and A Good Pair Of Jeans:The Tired Supergirl’s Search for Grace came out in 2009. Each time I attended the conference I came away feeling enriched, built up and excited to write.

Susanna Foth Aughtmon is a pastor’s wife and mother of three boys. She graduated from Bethany University with a BA in Social Science emphasizing psychology and early childhood education. After pursuing various careers, including starting her own organizing business, she decided to stay home as a full time mom. She assists her husband, Scott, in various ministries at Pathway Church, their church plant, in Palo Alto, California.

Writers Conference Web Binder Ready to Download

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Writers conference is only a week and a half away!  Can it really be so close?  It takes all year to plan it, and 5 days to live it. Then it’s over for another year.  But don’t let me get ahead of myself. 

I just wanted to remind those of you who will be attending our conference this year that the binder is now on the website under “Forms”.  All the outlines for all the sessions are there, as well as the faculty photos and descriptions of their workshops.  Download everything you want in your own binder and bring it with you.  Or upload everything to your laptop and bring that with you to take notes on along side the outlines.  Unless you have the special pdf software that allows you to type on pdf’s, you’ll need to take notes on something other than the outlines if you bring the binder on your computer.  This is all in the hope of being good stewards of the beautiful trees in God’s gorgeous earth.  No more wasted paper and notebooks left after conference this way.

Can’t wait to have you here on campus, learning together and networking with each other.  We’ve got the lights on, and are looking for you!

Rachel

The Digital Conference Binder is Up–No Foolin’!

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The Digital Conference Binder is now available for download for fully paid registrants.

It is recommended that you read through the information and print off only those pages that are of importance to your chosen workshops and tracks to bring to the conference. There will be a few complete sample binders in Hospitality for reference during the conference.

Or why not download the entire binder and bring your laptop to the conference. You can actually type in the workshop outlines anything you want out of the instruction in class on your battery charged computer. (Humorous aside, we lovingly call this BYOB . . . Bring Your Own Binder!)

Why Did I Go To Mount Hermon? By Pam Halter

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The leader of my writer’s group told us the Mount Hermon conference was THE conference to attend if we were serious about our writing. Many Christian writers got their start at this conference. When she attended, she heard from God so clearly about her writing and it jumpstarted her career. It was professional, the workshops were great, the setting beautiful.  I thought, yes, that’s for me!  Then she said Mount Hermon was in California and my heart sunk.  I live in New Jersey. I have a special needs daughter. We’re a single income family. How would I ever be able to do this?

It might sound a bit trite to say, well, if God wants you there, He will provide a way. But it’s true. As I was praying and wondering, someone gave me a full scholarship, including airfare, without my asking. Really! A friend remembered I wanted to attend and she told the person who offered the scholarship and they contacted me.  It took my breath away!  And a couple of friends volunteered to get my daughter on the school bus every morning.  I made my reservations and counted down the days.

Mount Hermon was everything I had been told. I learned more about the craft and business of writing, made friends, got encouragement and was even asked for my whole manuscript.  I’d like to say my career took off, but it didn’t. Not yet. God doesn’t waste anything and He confirmed my calling through the conference, so I’m persevering and waiting on His timing.

Someday, I’d like to get back out there.  In the meantime, I’m writing with confidence in what God is going to do through me.  I encourage all writers to work to attend this conference.  You will be glad you did.

Pam Halter was a home-schooling mom for nine years and has been a children’s book author since 1995. She has published picture books, articles and devotions and is trying her hand at writing YA fantasy.  Pam is a panelist on The Writer’s View 2, on staff for the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference, a member of two writer’s groups, and hosts a blog about writing fantasy. She has been a free-lance children’s book editor for three years and is the children’s editor for Fruitbearer Publishing. Pam lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters and three cats.

Don’t Miss Out on Your Free Pre-Conference Critiques!

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Any fully paid registrant may send the first 20 pages of two manuscripts or two articles, 2 children’s books or 5 poems or 3 devotionals ahead of the conference for either critiquing or editorial review. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss!

Editorial review is by an editor of your choosing to see if your project is something he/she might be interested in for their company. It does not necessarily include critiquing.

Critiquing is done by published freelance writers, with years of expertise in your area of writing, who assess your work, offering concrete observations and advice. (If you’ve never been published, you should choose critiquing instead of editorial review.)

Proper formatting and mailing instructions can be found here. The Transmittal Form is here. All submissions must be in hard copy and must be postmarked by Saturday, April 9, 2011, and/or received at Mount Hermon at the latest Tuesday, April 12th.

You should also bring along several copies of your manuscripts–there may be a second opportunity for submitting mid-conference!

Rachel Marks: 2010 True Grit Award Winner

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Mt. Hermon was the first writer’s conference I ever went to and every year I get to go, it’s like going to my home away from home. The beautiful setting, the friendships, the classes, it feeds my writer’s soul and helps me grow in my craft.

You brainstorm, you connect, and you laugh. And missing it always feels like a huge loss. I’m so thankful to all those who take the time to make the camp such an enlightening and uplifting place.

Thank you, Mt. Hermon Writer’s staff for all you’ve done! I can’t say it enough.

Rachel Marks is an award-winning artist and writer of fantasy/science-fiction for young adults. She has had several short stories published (The Sword Review, Dragons, Knights, and Angels, and AlienSkin) and is attempting to publish her first novel. She worked to start-up the Inspirational Literary E-zine Haruah: Breath of Heaven and worked as managing editor while it got it’s feet planted. She is a member of SCBWI and was privileged to be accepted to and attend Orson Scott Card’s literary boot camp. In 2010 she was awarded the Lauren Beyenhof True Grit Award at the Mount Hermon Writer’s conference.

Mentoring Clinic and Career Track Applications Due Soon

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Can you believe it? There’s less than a month till the conference!

The Mentoring Clinics are held each day during the major morning tracks, are by application only & limited to ten writers per group. The goal is to give novelists and nonfiction writers concentrated time for having their works in progress critiqued in a knowledgeable, sympathetic, but realistic manner. This is an awesome opportunity!

DEADLINE for Mentoring Track application is March 18th.

To participate in the CAREER TRACK: for Professional Writers you must complete an application and meet specific criteria. The focus of the Career Track is book publishing, marketing, and career development. DEADLINE is March 18th.

A Life-Changing Experience

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I have attended two Mt Hermon conferences and would love to attend many more. God spoke to my heart while there in ways that have changed my life. He answered prayer in amazing and faith-affirming ways and opened doors of opportunity that gave me the confidence to pursue writing.

I’ve learned much, both from workshops and continuing tracks, to the times of worship, prayer and reflection. Mt Hermon is an amazing place filled with the unmistakable spirit and presence of the Lord, a place where you can’t help but be moved and inspired. I can’t believe how much a few days at Mt Hermon has shaped me as a writer. It has been a tremendous, life-changing experience for me.

Camille is an avid Christian novelist/writer and takes her faith-inspiring fiction seriously enough to lock herself away with a computer more than her family would like. They’ve learned that Lasagne from a box is not from the devil, after all, and that duct tape can stop a surprising amount of bleeding. She is represented by Rachelle Gardner of WordServe Literary Group.

TEEN TRACK DISCOUNT for Writers Conference

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It’s a month away from Writers Conference and we are attempting to encourage more teenagers to attend.  What an incredible experience it would be for any teen who loves to write to have the privilege to learn the craft of writing in a setting like Mount Hermon!  So here’s the deal . . .

We’re offering a one time 50% discount of all conference costs for any teen who would be participating in the Teen Track.  This does not include travel or fun costs once here, but any conference charges, including tuition, housing and food.  The process would be the same for registration . . . register on-line at www.mounthermon.org/writers, and in the comment box, mark it TEEN TRACK writer, and ask for a campership form.  From there we’ll handle the working out of the details.

Do you know any teen that loves to write and just needs a little encouragement financially?  Spread the word!  You’ll be happy you did . . . and I can promise you THEY will be!

Writers Tip #6: “Write good dialogue,” she said.

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I just got a message from an excited writer eager to tell me all about the novel she’s writing.  “My greatest fear was writing the dialogue,” she wrote. “I was afraid I couldn’t make it realistic enough. But I stumbled onto a secret. I’m hiding my digital recorder in the house so I can capture real talk and copy it!”

Um… uh-uh. 

See, the aim isn’t really to write real talk.  In real talk, we say such things as: 

“Hey, guess what! I just got back from the… what’s it called? Um… oh, I hate getting old!  That place where we had your brother’s birthday deal, remember?  Over by that apple place?  Anyhoo, I thought I saw Micky there.  So funny after what happened that other time.  Last year, you know… You were there. It was so hot and windy and that funny guy who sells the….” 

No, the aim is to give the illusion of real talk while you actually accomplish something important such as moving your story forward or revealing a character or showing an incident rather than simply telling about it.  The illusion of dialogue might say something like:

“Hey, I just got back from Gray’s Farm. I thought I saw Micky, but after what happened last year, it can’t be!”

Writing good dialogue is an art. (Okay, that dialogue isn’t so good, but you get the idea.)  If you write your dialogue well, it will add great strength to your work—non-fiction as well as fiction.

Kay Marshall Strom
www.KayStrom.com
Recent Releases:
  In the Presence of the Poor: Changing the Face of India
  The Call of Zulina – Grace in Africa Trilogy Book 1
  Second-Half Adventure
  Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage
  The Voyage of Promise – Grace in Africa trilogy Book 2
Upcoming Releases:
  The Triumph of Grace – Grace in Africa trilogy Book 3 (Feb 2011)
  Faith: The Blessing of Ashish – Blessings in India trilogy Book 1 (Sept 2011)
Blog: http://www.KayStrom.wordpress.com
Twitter: http//twitter.com/kaysblab

Writer’s Tip #7: Let the Countdown Begin!

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If you’re a night owl who regularly watches David Letterman, you know his fondness for lists. So, in deference to my fellow Hoosier (yes, Dave’s from Indiana), I offer this list of reasons why all writers—even those determined to pen the great American novel—should begin by mastering the art of article writing. Drum roll, please!

5. More markets. Did you know there are 13,000 magazines regularly published in the U.S.? Some are relatively unknown, such as Fusion, Tapestry, Youth Walk, Word Alive, The Mennonite Brethren Herald—all EPA award winners. Last year 734 new magazines were launched.

4. Displays your talent. Editors constantly scan magazines looking for fresh new voices to take on book-length assignments. (My first two books were direct results of articles.)

 3. Builds your platform. When you write regularly for a certain magazine, you build a fan base…readers who look for your byline. Those people also will look for your books.

 2. Reaches a large audience. A typical magazine has a readership in the hundreds of thousands—more when you consider the pass-along rate. A first-time book author is lucky if his publisher prints 5,000 copies of his book. Just think of the people you will reach with your Christian message.

1. No agent required! In fact, agents don’t want to represent magazine writers. Why? It’s not worth their time financially. An agent typically receives 15% of anything an author makes. Do the math. You don’t have to share!

Holly G. Miller, co-author Feature and Magazine Writing

Mount Hermon Writers Conference Testimonial (Hayley Cox)

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In her third year on the teen track of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Hayley Cox has a unique perspective on the growth she has personally experienced so early in her writing career. For all the young aspiring writers out there… Hayley has some encouraging words to share.

mount hermon | lives transformed.

Three-Time Attender Kathy Boyd Fellure

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I have been blessed to attend the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference three times since 1994 and I’m looking forward to going back this April. From the beginning, the entire experience has enriched both my spiritual and writing life. God had plans for me that far exceeded my hopes.

I stepped out in faith, and followed one step behind Him. The first time I attended, I had two newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic children, nine and eleven years old. The Lord touched the hearts of two women in my CBS (Community Bible Study) group to offer to take my children into their homes for the five day conference. The second year I was able to financially help a friend attend. The third year, a friend helped me. Nothing is impossible for Him.

Through Mt. Hermon, God offers the tools to equip you, teachers to mentor, and the fellowship of believers with whom you can hone your writing skills. If you hear Him calling your name, pick up your pen and obey.

Kathy Boyd Fellure is the author of two illustrated children’s storybooks in The Blake Sisters Lake Tahoe Adventure Stories. She has written a fiction novel and numerous newspaper articles. She is the founder of Amador Fiction Writers Critique Group.

Currently, Kathy lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two stand-up comedian dogs.

Writing Tip #8: Adjust Your Expectations

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When I arrived at my first writer’s conference, I fully expected to show my writing to an editor or agent and leave with what Orson Wells, in The Muppet Movie, refers to as the “standard rich and famous contract.” Those expectations began to fade as I realized how much I needed to learn about the craft. But that was okay, because at the same time I was learning another lesson, one that is even more important than “avoid the passive voice” and “keep your point of view consistent.” I was learning how rewarding it could be to network with others at the conference.

Writing can be a lonely business. We sit at our computer, listening to the voices in our head, striving to craft a story that will keep a reader’s attention. Our spouses try to be supportive, our children learn to tolerate our funny schedules, and our friends ask if we’re going to quit our day jobs when we become successful. But no one truly understands us like another writer, or editor, or agent. When I adjusted my expectations, that first writer’s conference turned into one big family reunion. The friendships I made with fellow writers, even some agents and editors, have lasted for years, and they have blessed me as a writer and as a person.

The best advice I can give the person attending their first writer’s conference? Learn as much of the craft as you can. But don’t neglect to take the opportunity to make new friends. In the words of TV’s Monk, “You’ll thank me later.”

Dr. Richard Mabry, author of medical drama/suspense, Prescription for Trouble Series (Code Blue, Medical Error, Diagnosis Death)