Thank you, thank you, to everyone who entered the three-book giveaway of Love Letters from God, and thank you to my awesome publisher, Zonderkidz, for providing the books. Who won?
Listen to this video announcement to find out! Continue reading
It’s hard to believe, but on this day three years ago, a dream came true: I somehow, against all the odds, and beyond the realm of all I ever thought possible, became an author. On 26th August, 2014, my first children’s book was published, despite the fact that I gave up on the manuscript when I was half-way through.
It’s even harder to believe that this little book would become a series of five, that it would inspire another series of books, and become the catalyst for twelve more titles. But it did. And what better way to celebrate than a giveaway!
It was early on Tuesday morning when my phone beeped with an unexpected blessing. It was a little message from a children’s ministry colleague in Ohio. Kathy and I have never actually met.
‘Hi Glenys’, the message read, ‘our congregation hosts a summer literacy program in July called Camp Read-A-Lot. Each week we give books to the children to take home and keep for their own, mostly donated gently used books. This year we received a donation in memory of a local high school librarian to purchase a special book for each child. I was so excited to be able to purchase Love Letters from God from Church Source and a price that enabled us to purchase 170 copies! … I’m writing to you as I am wondering if you would be willing to share a few words of encouragement with our Camp Read-A-Lot kids…’
Wow! Would I be willing to share a few words of encouragement with the Camp Read-A-Lot kids? You bet! These children, gathered together in a United Methodist church in Ohio, are learning two of the most wonderful things in life: how to read, and how to know Jesus.
So I grabbed my phone, texted my bestie, and two hours later, we were sitting by a little lake in the sunshine, making this video… Continue reading
There’s something fun about Before & After photos. Almost always, when you see these pictures, it’s good news.
Whether it’s a friend who lost an impressive amount of weight, or someone who transformed their home or yard into something amazing, Before & After photos have the power to inspire.
So, just for fun, I’m sharing MY Before & After pictures, of the book table I set up at a recent conference.
Here’s the before…
And here’s the after… Continue reading
Interrupting this week to bring you some fabulous news…
If you are a fan of the Love Letter Series (which I do hope you are!) you will already know that the unique beauty of these books lies in the lift-the-flap love letters from God, where you can write your child’s very own name. I don’t know ANYONE, be they child or adult, who doesn’t enjoy personally addressed mail.
It’s really not too onerous to write your child’s name in each letter. But what if I told you that this could already be done for you, in a beautiful font that matches the book? What if you could easily upload a photograph of your child to go inside the cover? What if you could include a personal message, printed professionally? Drum roll please… Continue reading
One of the most marvelous things about becoming an author is what happens next. And it’s marvelous because what might happen is totally unpredictable.
Time after time in this publishing journey, I have seen the principle of Ephesians 3:20 at work in my life. And don’t you just LOVE how The Message Bible puts it?
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
Oh, yes indeed! Here’s five things I never, ever, in my wildest or craziest of dreams, could possibly imagine happening:
I don’t know what your dreams are… for yourself, or your children, or your future, but what I DO know is this:
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!
There is nothing that our great God cannot do.
So keep believing! Let the wonderful, mysterious Holy Spirit keep working quietly and deeply within you.
I know you’ve only just put your shorts and summer tops away; I know the trees are only just starting to turn orange; I know your Christmas tree is still tucked away in that big box in the attic… but the publication date of Christmas Love Letters from God is almost here! Six short days from now, in fact!
So, to celebrate, we’re giving away two brand-new, hot-off-the-press copies. It’s your chance to cross a gift off your Christmas shopping list.
If you live in the USA and don’t have a PO box, you can enter. Just fill in the contact form below and tell me which of these seven stories contained in the book might be your favorite.
My favorite is the one you’ll hear me read, right here…..
Enter the giveaway by completing the form below. (And if you want your name to be entered twice, share this post on Facebook or email to a friend, and just let me know in your comment.) I hope you win!
Congratulations! So you took the plunge, as I did, and registered for a great Writers’ Conference, like Maranatha.
Now you prepare, as thoroughly as you can. Here’s my top five tips to help make your Writers’ Conference worthwhile:
I don’t just write books; I circle them in prayer. To me, writing is praying with a keyboard….I didn’t write that book; I prayed that book.
Pray: about the right conference to attend; the right people to see; the right words to say.
2. Research. Once you have chosen the right conference, do your research thoroughly. Research the faculty and staff in attendance. What publishers or agents might be interested in your genre? If they are offering one-on-one consultations (as Maranatha does), make sure you are booked in with them. If you can only attend for one day, choose the day when they will be there. Research the workshops offered. Sign up for all that interest you.
3. Prepare. If you have paid to attend a conference, you need to be wise about your investment. The last thing you want is to return from that conference saying, I wish I’d taken this, or, if only I’d done that…
Carefully prepare your book proposal to share with publishers and agents. For my book, I used a template from Michael Hyatt:
This free nonfiction book proposal template by Karen Porter is also very useful. Once you’ve written your proposal, consider having it edited by a professional. Children’s book author Crystal Bowman edited my proposal and offers a great editing service to children’s writers.
Once you’re satisfied that your proposal is the very best it can be, print off several copies on good quality paper and be sure to attach your business card, preferably one containing your photograph. (Publishers and agents are meeting with many people. You want yours to be the face they remember).
Finally, practice, practice, practice your pitch to the professionals. You don’t want to be stumbling over your words. You only get one chance to make a first impression… make it a good one.
4. Network. Once you’re at the conference, take advantage of every opportunity to network with other attendees and professionals. Swap business cards. Learn from others. Mix and mingle. Make connections. These folks will become invaluable contacts who will support and encourage you in your publishing journey, as you do the same for them.
5. Take Notes. You are a writer…. write everything down, whether on your phone, iPad, or whatever works best for you. I personally am one of those old-fashioned writers who use those two ancient tools beginning with p. Whatever you use, take notes on what you hear. You will quickly forget all that information once you return home.
And one final piece of advice… if you do manage to get your proposal in the hands of someone who’s interested, be sure to enquire (politely) when and how you can expect to hear from them. If they tell you to contact them after a certain period of time, make sure you have their contact details. ( I didn’t do that…and it was an agonizing wait).
I just registered for Maranatha. It’s not too late… perhaps I’ll see you there! And you never know, that one book offer might just turn into five, because after all, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Ephesians 3:20
What other advice would you give to aspiring authors? What tips have worked well for you?
I’m often asked, by aspiring authors:
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer as we try to break into the publishing world?
I’m usually tempted to say, learn to speak in a British accent, (since it’s done wonders for me). But instead, my singular piece of advice for those who don’t have an agent is:
Attend a Writers’ Conference.
I personally never wanted to.
I’d heard about writers’ conferences before, but I didn’t need to go to one. I decided I could do this myself. The thought of attending a writers’ conference intimidated and overwhelmed me. I’d seen the photographs of packed stadiums, brimming with people and bustling with activity. I was shy. I didn’t need, or want, to network with lots of agents, publishers, or other writers.
But it didn’t take long for me to figure out that there were only two ways to get my manuscript into the hands of Zondervan ( which was my goal). I either needed an agent, or I had to attend a conference.
That’s when I felt God nudging me to look at the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, taking place in Muskegon, on the picturesque shore of Lake Michigan.
Not only was this conference in a beautiful setting, but it appealed to me because of its size. Although described as the largest writers’ conference in West Michigan, it was ‘small enough to be personable,’ promised excellent faculty in attendance, and was able to offer individual attention to writers through consultations with agents and editors. I plucked up courage, prayed, and registered. It was a decision I would never, ever regret.
Maranatha really did have an impressive faculty list. As I prepared for the conference, I scanned through the names, and saw that a well-known children’s author would be attending, to offer workshops, and meet one on one with writers.
I checked out her website and noticed she also offered editing and critique services. So I contacted her and before we’d even met at Maranatha, she had critiqued and edited both my proposal and the entire manuscript. I signed up to attend her workshops, registered for individual consultations with several faculty, and printed off my newly edited proposal. God had been with me every step of the way.
I was ready to attend my first writers’ conference.
My experience at Maranatha was everything it promised to be. Not once did I feel intimidated or overwhelmed. I was welcomed with genuine warmth; found fellowship with new friends; attended life-changing, informative workshops; heard inspirational testimonies; walked barefoot on the beach; and prayed with a small group of writers on a wooden balcony overlooking Lake Michigan, as God’s voice whispered through the wind and the waves.
The children’s author who had edited my work agreed to endorse my book, and most importantly, I was able to meet one on one with an editor from Zonderkidz- a ten minute consultation that would forever change my life.
She went back to Zondervan carrying my proposal. I went back home carrying my dream—a dream that was about to become reality.
Little did I know that on a beautiful fall day, in that quiet, friendly, charming atmosphere of the Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference, a new chapter of my life would begin. Little did I know….but God knows it all.
God – the giver of the writing gift; the creator of dreams; the planter of seeds; God knows it all. Writers… pick up your pens, open yourselves to the creative power of the Holy Spirit, and register.
Next week on the blog: 5 Not-to-Miss Tips To Make Your Writers’ Conference Worthwhile.
A wonderful surprise plopped onto my doorstep recently. It was four copies of Love Letters from God….in Korean.
I tore away the packaging and eagerly opened the book. Of course, I couldn’t understand a word. But on the other hand, I knew everything it said.
My Korean translator is called JongRak Hong. He diligently pored over this book and spent hours translating it into his native language.
Last year, I got an email from him. It was very polite. It went like this:
May I ask you a question? Don’t worry. It’s a very simple question.
In Acknowledgments, you say thanks to your brother Trevor.
Is he your elder brother or younger brother?
Because In Korean, there are different words for calling elder/younger brother and sister.
His message made me smile. Here was I, thinking that a computer would be translating my book, when all the while, JongRak was poring over its pages, working diligently to make sure every single word was translated correctly.
Trevor is my older brother, I told him. (The one who first saw the potential in the pages of this book, the one who is a wonderful writer himself….but I didn’t tell JongRak that.)
It was several months later when that amazing package arrived at my door. I tried to find the name of my brother, Trevor. It’s hard, but I know it’s somewhere near the top of this page:
My name looks like this:
And this is the name of God:
And while I’m turning the pages in the USA, struggling to make sense of the words, I know there’s someone on the other side of the world, perhaps a mom, or a dad, or a grandma, or a grandpa, cuddling their little Korean child on their lap, who’s also turning these pages and smiling as they read God’s love letters to them. And every word makes complete sense.
Go into all the world, Jesus told his disciples, and preach the good news to all nations. Wow…perhaps I’m a tiny part of that, and so is JongRak Hong.