Saturday, January 30, 2016


“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.”
—Willa Cather


When submitting a book proposal to an agent or publisher, you need to include sample chapters. Most often they ask for three sample chapters, but some want only one and some as many as you have written. For that reason it's important to check their writers' guidelines to determine the appropriate number for each submission. With fiction, they will usually want the first three chapters. With nonfiction, it's the first chapter, plus two more of your choice. It is recommended that one of those be the best one or the one that contains the essence of your book. The other one might be the most “risky” chapter, if there happens to be one. That means one that the agent or publisher might disagree with or question for any reason. If there are no controversial chapters, then the third chapter can be any other one you wish. For more on sending sample chapters, go to:

Friday, January 29, 2016


“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.”
—Walter Bagehot


Although some radio interviews are conducted in the radio studio, most are done with the interviewee answering questions by telephone from their home or office. Here are some tips to help make the experience more enjoyable and successful: (1) Have a glass of water handy. (2) Do the interview standing up and walking around to add liveliness to your responses. (3) Have a copy of their state map at hand so you can mention towns in their area. (4) Check their weather so you can personalize your comments. (5) Involve your listeners. Before a commercial break, tell them to get paper & pencil to write down a special tip you'll give after the break, then they will also be ready to write down info on how to get your book. (6) Be sure to contact the bookstores in the area of the station to be sure they have copies of your book available. (7) If you plan to read quotes from your book, flag them ahead of time. (8) Be prepared to get the interviewer back to your agenda if he/she gets off on an unrelated tangent. Also be aware that in some instances an interviewer will “hijack” an interview by trying to answer questions meant for you—be prepared to step in and take it back. (9) After the interview, send the host and producer each a thank you note and offer to “Let's do it again.” Here's more on radio interviews:

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


When writing nonfiction articles or books, you can add depth and authenticity to your material by quoting from authorities on your topic. This is particularly helpful if you do not have impressive credentials yourself. In some cases you may find the quotes you need in their writings, but other times you will need to seek out the authorities and ask specific questions to get the quotes you need. You may need to get permission to use the quotes from their writings, and they may charge you for them, but you don't need to pay them for the original quotes. They get their name and words in print as payment.

Monday, January 25, 2016


THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #4 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith and #10 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #7 in Family.
    IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #10 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


    A publisher's set rate by which they pay authors for their accepted submissions. Some publications pay by the page—which usually refers to the printed page—not the manuscript page. However, most paying publications pay by the word. The amount per word varies a great deal from ½ cent/word up to $1 or more a word. Often a publication will indicate a range of possible payment, such as five to ten cents per word. What that usually means is that if the piece needs a lot of editorial help, the author will get the lower rate. If the piece is well edited and ready to go, the writer will get the higher rate. If a writer is published regularly by a particular publication, the editor may begin to raise that amount per word. When submitting to a periodical, never ask what they pay. This information will almost always be found in their writers' guidelines or market guide listing. Realize, too, that there are small publications that do not pay for submissions. Instead, they may offer free copies of the issue where your work appears, or even a subscription to their magazine. For more on how magazines pay writers, go to:

    Sunday, January 24, 2016


     Writing something for an editor with the agreement that he will buy it only
    if he likes it. Typically this happens when you send a query to a publication or book publisher asking if they are interested in looking at your submission. If they agree to look at it, the letter or email indicating that will say they will look at it on speculation. That indicates they are making no promises to buy it—which they will do only if they like it and they find a place for it in their publication. Most freelancers will continue the write on speculation until they are well enough known by the editor that the editor feels comfortable enough with that writer's abilities to actually make definite assignments.

    Some more experienced writers make it a policy to never write on speculation and work only with a firm assignment.

    Saturday, January 23, 2016


    In most book contracts that you sign with a publisher, your royalties will be paid based on net receipts. That means whatever income the publisher receives, minus his costs and any deductions given to the retailers or wholesalers. In the past, and still with some larger publishers, royalties were paid on the retail price of the book. The problem with being paid based on net receipts is that the contracts do not often specify exactly what net receipts refers to. Typically, a royalty percentage is higher when the royalties are based on net, as opposed to the retail price of the book. Note, also, that in a book contract it will often indicate that if the percentage of discount given to the buyer reaches a specified high range (somewhere between 50% and 80%), that the author's royalties will be cut in half. Before signing this, be sure to ask the publisher how often they sell at these higher percentages. For more discussion on this topic, go to:

    Friday, January 22, 2016


     If a magazine goes out of business, any manuscripts they have purchased the rights to still belong to them and they are free to pass them along to or sell them to the next owner. However, if the magazine is not picked up by a new owner, the rights to those manuscripts still belong to the original buyer. If you signed a contract on the sale of those rights, it should indicate what happens to those rights, or when/how they revert to you. If you sold all rights to the piece, you cannot resell it without asking the original buyer to release those rights to you. The problem may be that it is often difficult to find out who owns the rights if the publication has gone out of business. Even if you sold only first rights, the purchaser still has the right to publish the material the first time, so you are still responsible to get permission, or get the buyer to release those rights to you. However, if you sold them only one-time rights or reprint rights, you may continue to sell it elsewhere without seeking permission from the original buyer.

    Thursday, January 21, 2016


     The amount of time, before publication, a manuscript must arrive at the editor's desk. Depending on the publication, the lead time can be anywhere from two months to one year—but for most it will be from six to twelve months. Their listings in the market guides, or their writers' guidelines, will tell you the lead time for each different publication. Keep in mind that for a bimonthly or quarterly publication the lead time will be longer than for a monthly. You will want to especially be aware of this time frame when submitting holiday or seasonal material. Many new writers show their ignorance of this time frame when they submit an article in November, expecting the publication to buy it for the Christmas issue. When you determine the lead time for a particular publication you want to submit to, try to get your submission in well before that deadline, as the early submissions have a greater chance of being accepted. For an interesting discussion on the length of lead time, go to:

    Monday, January 18, 2016


    A specialized vocabulary or group of words or terms unique to a particular group of people, or professional group of some kind. As writers, there are a number of terms that are peculiar to publishing. This book being a testament to that. It's acceptable to use that jargon with others familiar with publishing jargon, but you wouldn't want to use the same jargon with the public.

    In the same way, when writing an article or book that focuses on some topic or group that has their own jargon (but it would be unfamiliar to the average reader), as a writer you need to be careful not to use those terms without explaining them in some way.

    However, when you are writing for a specialized audience, and want to be accepted within that group, unless you do use their jargon they will likely see you as an outsider they cannot take seriously.


    • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #1 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships and #7 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
    • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
    • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • FERVENT by Priscilla Shirer (B&H) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #7 in Family.
    • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #10 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
    • THE VOW by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson (B&H Publishing) is #14 in E-Book Non-Fiction.

    Sunday, January 17, 2016


    “Writing is always a process of discovery—I never know the end, or even the events on the next page, until they happen. There’s a constant interplay between the imagining and shaping of the story.”
    —Kim Edwards


    In fiction, interior monologue is the thoughts of the character put into words, usually interspersed with that character's dialogue. It gives the reader an insight into what the character is thinking—which is often the opposite of what is actually being said. When you run across internal monologue used effectively in a book you are reading, study the technique closely and practice creating it until it works naturally and smoothly in your own writing. Interior monologue is always set off in a separate paragraph, the same as dialogue. It is usually printed in italics (underline it in your manuscript and the publisher will convert it to italics). Since each scene will be in the point of view of a single character, you don't have to indicate who is doing the thinking. The italics will indicate that it's that character's thoughts. For practical help on using internal monologue in your writing, go to:

    Friday, January 15, 2016


     Leadership Journal was first published in 1980, and over 36 years and 145 issues, the journal has championed faithfulness and effectiveness in church leaders. However, Christianity Today International recently made the difficult decision to no longer publish Leadership Journal as a print quarterly. The Winter 2016 issue will be its last.

    As announced in the final issue of Leadership Journal, Christianity Today will be launching two new initiatives to engage and equip pastors and church leaders:
    First, Christianity Today magazine is deepening its commitment to local church leaders with a new special section titled "The Local Church." This special section will include a podcast, a refreshing and reinvigorating web experience, and a special print issue of Christianity Today magazine. Readers are encouraged to subscribe and get an early look at: or read the letter from Editor, Marshall Shelley online at

    Christianity Today is also developing a new website for pastors and church leaders,, which will offer tested wisdom on the practical skills required to do ministry in today's world. This site will feature all current and archived articles from Leadership Journal as well as new daily content.

    Christianity Today is a nonprofit, global media ministry centered on Beautiful Orthodoxy-strengthening the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. Reaching over four million people monthly with various digital and print resources, the ministry equips Christians to renew their minds, serve the church, and create culture to the glory of God.

    Thursday, January 14, 2016


    An article that teaches the reader how to do something. Almost every periodical for any age group is open to how-to articles. The key to selling this kind of article is in identifying what you know well enough to tell others how to do it, and then finding the periodicals whose readers would be interested in knowing about it. Everyone knows how to do something well, but although personal experience usually dictates your topic, you can also write how-to articles based on research or interviews.
    Possible topics are endless, from how to lead a Bible study or how to grow potatoes, to how the communicate with teenagers. The secret of success is in the love of detail and the ability to provide clear and concise instructions. The key to doing how-to well is to pretend you are a novice and start from there. Find someone who knows nothing about the subject and ask them to try out your instructions. Keep in mind that depending on the topic, and the publication you are targeting, the editor may want a numbered, step-by-step guide to producing a product—often with a photo to illustrate each step—or they will prefer the information presented in the usual prose style. Studying their sample copies and guidelines should give you a clear understanding of their preferences. For a step-by-step guide to writing a how-to article, go to:

    Monday, January 11, 2016


    Warner Press and Wesleyan Publishing House to Partner in Sales
    Warner Press is pleased to announce another step in strengthening a partnership with Wesleyan Publishing House. Wesleyan Publishing House has signed an agreement where Warner Press will provide sales and representation of all Wesleyan Publishing House products and services into the trade retail channel. “We are excited to take another step in strengthening our partnership,” said Eric King, president of Warner Press and Wayne MacBeth, publisher at Wesleyan Publishing House. “Warner Press and Wesleyan Publishing House both bring a vast array of knowledge and experience to the table, and we are looking forward to other partnership opportunities into the future.”

    Saturday, January 9, 2016


    Writing the verse or sentiment for greeting cards for all occasions. Greeting card companies pay freelancers for individual card ideas, or ideas for a card line. Greeting cards fall into a number of different categories, such as baby announcements, conventional, humorous, inspirational, invitations, juvenile, religious, studio, and wedding announcements. In these different categories of cards they also need them for all the holidays, seasons, or occasions: anniversary, birthday, Christmas, congratulations, Easter, Father's Day, friendship, get well, Halloween, miss you, Mother's Day, new baby, relatives (all occasions), St. Patrick's Day, sympathy, Thanksgiving, thank you, Valentines, and wedding.

    Payment for individual ideas is typically an outright payment, not a royalty situation. If the idea is for a line of cards, it may be handled on a royalty basis. When submitting ideas by mail, put each on a separate index card or page, indicating the text that will appear on both the outside and the inside of the card. Give each idea an identifying number, plus include your contact information on each one. You can usually send several ideas at a time. With the ideas on individual cards, the publisher can select those they want and return the others. The company's writers' guidelines will tell you how many you can submit at one time, if they want them by mail or email, as well as their pay rate. If they prefer email submissions, type them up with the same information you would have on the index card and separate the ideas with a solid line across the page.

    Greeting cards are a good outlet for short poems that fit the holiday or season, however all greetings would not be poems; some are gags or one-liners, or something inspirational or religious. Visit a local card shop to get a better feel for the types of cards the different greeting card publishers prefer and submit your ideas accordingly. For more information on writing greeting cards, go to: You will find listings of greeting card markets in Writer's Market and the Christian Writers' Market Guide.

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016


    Many writers run into problems with their spouse or family after they begin writing regularly. If you spend too much time writing, it can cause resentment and negative actions and feelings against the writer. Keep in mind that your family still needs to come before your writing. Learn to create a healthy balance between the needs of your spouse or family and the pressures of the writing assignments or projects. One writer shared that when a last-minute writing assignment came up that would require long hours to complete on time, he asked his family's permission to accept the assignment. They agreed, especially after he promised to use part of the income for a family outing. Keep the family in the loop as far as what you are writing, what you have submitted, and the results—both good and bad. They can be your best cheering section, and also commiserate with you over the rejection slips.

    Monday, January 4, 2016


    THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES by Gary Chapman (Northfield/Moody) is #2 in Relationships.
  • THE POWER OF I AM by Joel Osteen (FaithWords) is #3 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith; and #6 in Advice, How-To & Misc.
  • THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES OF CHILDREN by Gary D. Chapman and Ross Campbell (Northfield) is #3 in Family and #8 in Relationships.
  • LOVE DOES by Bob Goff (Thomas Nelson) is #6 in Relationships.
  • FOR THE LOVE by Jen Hatmaker (Nelson Books) is #6 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.
  • WALK TO BEAUTIFUL by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham. (Thomas Nelson) is #7 in Family.
  • IMAGINE HEAVEN by John Burke (Baker Books) is #7 in Religion, Spirituality & Faith.


    ECPA has released the bestselling Christian titles of 2015, according to sales data from Nielsen Bookscan.  View the year's bestselling Christian titles in the following categories: Top 100, Fiction, Non-Fiction, Juvenile, Bibles, Translations, Bibles under $10, Books under $5 at
    • The year's bestselling Christian book:
      Jesus Calling
      by Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson)
    • Top Fiction title: The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn (Frontline)
    • Top Bible: Adventure Bible NIV (Zonderkidz)
    • Bibles under $10: Santa Biblia-RV (Barbour)
    • Bible Translation:  New International Version
    • Top Juvenile title: The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones (Zonderkidz)
    • Books under $5: Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliott (Revell)


    An editor who is not on anyone's payroll. Although most publications or publishers have in-house editors, smaller publications or publishers may have to hire freelance editors in order to keep up with the demand for editing skills. Freelance editors are called upon to perform various tasks, but with the advent of electronic submissions, those needs are changing. A good content editor must be very familiar with the house they are working for, and that house’s style, goals and specific needs. The content editor's duties would include determining what material needs to be included or deleted and when more might need to be added. If the freelance editor is hired as a copy editor, they deal with all the details, such as being sure the manuscript is ready to go to press; corrects the spelling, typos, and grammar; checks to be sure any facts, quotes, or references are correct, everything is in order and nothing has been lost or gotten out of order during the editing process.

    There are also freelance editors who are available for hire by individual authors. In today's competitive book market, some authors go the extra step and hire a freelance editor to make their book as ready for publication as possible. In some cases, where there is competition between two or more books at the publishing house, it is the book that takes the least amount of work that gets selected. For tips on selecting a freelance editor, go to:

    Saturday, January 2, 2016


    Today I’d like to talk about writers’ guidelines. Sometimes I think we take them too much for granted and don’t give them the time or attention they demand. Writers’ guidelines come in all lengths and formats. They certainly come with variable degrees of helpfulness.

    Some I’ve seen tell you no more than what size paper and font to use and little else of help. Others provide what amounts to a writing workshop on paper. When you find those that do offer helpful information, and they are publishers you want to write for, I encourage you to read and reread them carefully with a highlighter in hand. You might want to even use highlighters in two different colors. With one color highlight any comments that indicate this is an appropriate publisher for what you have to offer. In the other color, highlight anything that indicates the opposite—that you’re not likely to fit in there.

    When you are finished and reread the highlighted portions, you should have a pretty good idea whether this is a publisher you should pursue—or if you need to move on to another one. Don’t waste your time or theirs by trying to pursue a publisher that doesn’t fit with your talents.

    One other thing I want to say about guidelines is how important it is that you follow them. I’ve had more than one editor tell me that if a writer does not follow their guidelines they will not even consider their submission. Many of the publishers have their guidelines available right on their Website, so they are easy to access. Don’t skip this vital step in preparing to submit your material to any publisher.


    Deep River Books 2016 Writing Contest Announced
    View this email in your browser

    2016 Writing Contest is OPEN NOW - accepting entries for the next 30 days

    Deep River Books is giving away $1000 to the winning manuscript submission!

    Deep River Books is looking for the next bestselling book to publish from a new author. A $1000 cash prize will be awarded to the best manuscript. Second and third place manuscripts will be awarded prizes also. “Certificates of Merit” will be awarded to a limited number of runner-up contestants whose manuscripts are of merit but do not win the $1000 cash prize.

    Please read the rules below carefully, as some rules are new and some have changed.
    For Contest News and Updates, Follow Us Below
    Copyright © 2015 Deep River Books, LLC, All rights reserved.

    Our mailing address is:

    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences


                                            Deep River Books · 26306 Metolius Meadows Dr. · Camp Sherman, Oregon 97730 · USA