Networking Your Way to Publication

I’ve been researching the business end of the publishing industry for over two years on the Web. There’s thousands of sites out there for every aspect of our business. There are a couple of ways I’ve seen people get signed for a series of novels.

My first example is reviewer Michelle Sutton. She’s reviewed every book she can get her hands on, and networked with authors. In the process, she’s learned the craft, and her first novel is due out August of this year.

My second example is a fellow I’ve never met. I’m told he’d Googled a variety of Indie Presses, using a variety of search parameters. Since the trend toward corporate outsourcing and the growth of the Web, there are more specialty niche houses than ever before. Forget the hardcopy of Writer’s Market or the Christian Writers' Market Guide—they're outdated by the time they go to press. Real-time data is where it’s at. Writer’s Market does have a subscription site, but it only lists a fraction of the Indies out there; Sally Stuart now has a blog attached to her site where she updates information as it arrives.

The major Christian houses have all been bought up by the Industry giants. As staffing and personnel change, so will market demands. In a few years, Christian and Biblical spec-fic manuscripts will finally have a real shot.

Becky Miller of the CSFF Blog Tour and A Christian Worldview of Fiction had the idea of supplementing the Christy Awards, which do not have a spec-fic category. This is a great idea, and another meaningful way we can make our presence felt by industry experts. If we can prove that there’s money to be made writing what we write, the middle-men (publishers and booksellers), will want their share of the pie. Becky has also given us Latest in Spec, a monthly newsletter about Christian speculative fiction. And, while I seem to be on the topic of Becky Miller (unintended, but everywhere I looked for Becky's links, I found more and more good stuff) . . . at the beginning of January she started a series on her blog called: Book Buzz. Definitely worth reading; she just posted part 8 today.

Remember the old adage it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. You definitely must learn the craft, and critique groups are a great tool for that. Crit a piece, then read critiques by other members to see what you missed.
I’ve got a signature quote that reads: If the pen is mightier than the sword, the Web is a writer’s whetstone. It’s a gift from the Editor-In-Chief. Use it for His glory.

Frank Creed

Avoid "Cloverfield"

I just finished watching "Cloverfield" at the theater, and I'm furious. That's money and an hour and a half of my life that I will never get back. I think that this may be the worst movie that I ever paid full price to see (knocking "The Crow" off the the perch it occupied for 14 years).

The worst part of the movie is the cinematography. It is shot in documentary style from the POV of some guy holding a video camera, and as a result there are numerous stretches where it is nearly impossible to tell what is going on. Worse, the camera "shakes" constantly, making it very hard to watch. I almost never get motion sickness, and I got a bad case of it from watching "Cloverfield." Whoever thought that this would be a good idea could not have been more mistaken.

Even if the movie had employed more conventional cinematography, however, it wouldn't have helped because the movie has no plot whatsoever. People have frequently slammed the 1998 Matthew Broderick version of "Godzilla," but at least there was some sort of a storyline to the movie. You knew why the monster existed in the first place. You at least sort of cared about the human characters. None of this can be said for "Cloverfield." There is no connection between viewer and character, meaning that you really don't care what happens (and, from the way the movie opens, you know from the first five seconds that everyone dies, so I don't consider that a spoiler).

All through the movie, I kept telling myself, "Maybe the monster will look cool when they finally show a good shot of it." Wrong. It takes until the last few minutes to get a glimpse that lasts more than a couple of seconds, and then it's a major disappointment...just like the movie itself.
Whatever you do, don't throw your time and money away on this garbage.


CFBA Tour: Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008 by Sally Stuart

Posted By Andrea Graham
since we're all such huge fans of the CBA around here . . . actually, my blog is down, and I had to post this somewhere!

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008 WaterBrook Press (January 15, 2008) by Sally Stuart


Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual "Christian Writers' Market Guide" for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast. Check out her blog!

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!

Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer. A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace, at http://www.stuartmarket.blogspot.com/.


New Hearts & Frozen Chickens

New Hearts and Frozen Chickens
Devotional Thoughts from Lyn Perry

A few years ago NASA developed a special gun for launching dead chickens at the windshields of military jets in order to test the design and strength of the glass against collisions with airborne fowl.

French engineers were eager to test this gun on their new high speed trains. But when they launched their chickens, they found that their shatterproof windshields were no match for the dead birds. The French engineers sent their specs back to the US for analysis. NASA's response: "Thaw your chickens."

We laugh, but life can serve up some major fast balls. Although we'd like to believe that our personal, family and business lives are shatterproof, we know better. It only takes one hard shot - a death, illness, divorce, or job loss, just to name a few - and we're in a tail spin.

God can rescue us, though. He desires to salvage our broken lives and fortify our "inner man," the secret place in a person's heart that aches and sputters even as we try to maintain a tough and confident exterior.

And, although we like to imagine ourselves as self-sufficient, we know that we need rescuing. The scuds that life launches at us have done some damage. In response to the daily pressures of home and work, our hearts have grown cold and callused. Our inner man has grown faint. We need God to re-engineer our lives in order to withstand the "frozen chickens" that assault our souls.

This is, in fact, God's specialty. God desires, and is able, to re-ignite the fire that once burned in your belly. Or ignite it for the first time if you've never had a fever for life. Maybe you're living life by default. Yet you suspect there's a better existence out there, if only you could discover it.

I'm convinced God has the answer. He is the answer. He says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." (This quote from the bible is Ezekiel 36:26.)

Through the person of Jesus Christ, God offers a pulsing, vital heart that is able to weather everything life unleashes. Don't worry, God isn't some divine Dr. Frankenstein bent on controlling his creation. He wants the best for us. And he makes it possible for us not only to survive our home or work environment, but to thrive as well.

How does it all begin? By receiving a new heart. Are you ready for a transplant? Then move a step closer to Jesus Christ. His heart is beating toward you; your strength is in his strength. He can jump-start your soul, pull you out of your nose-dive and set you back on course. Accept God's heartfelt gift today.


Popular Speculative Fiction

Before I knew the difference between religion and a relationship with God, I remember reading about a spark plug discovered within a piece of rock millions of years old. How cool is that? Proof that time travel will occur in the future! That's what I thought at the time anyway. That's right, I didn't question that the rock couldn't be millions of years old. I mean science said so—how could I question that?

And then there was the story about how Adam and Eve were really aliens from another planet sent to populate the earth. I didn't stop to consider that God's Word said he created Adam and Eve—because I never read the Bible at that time. Nor did I stop to question why they were populating the earth. For what purpose? But I can't help but think of the Twilight Zone where the aliens tricked the humans to come aboard their ship in the episode titled "To Serve Man". The humans were invited for dinner and the twist was they were the dinner.

These stories circulated back in the 70's, and the only reason I mention them is that they generated discussions among lost people. I was one of them. I can't help but stand back now and see how clever Satan can be mixing truth and error to help steer people in the wrong direction—just like he did with Eve in the Garden. For instance, the truth is someone found a spark plug inside a rock. The error is that the rock is millions of years old.

Yes, the enemy can be shrewd, but we can be too. In Matthew 10:16 we are reminded, "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves." Speculative fiction is the perfect venue to turn the trick on Satan. Think about it—a story about a rock containing a spark plug—it could be used as an element in a story where the readers see into the spiritual realm. Good vs. evil in the fight for souls. Angelic forces place a spark plug within a rock and when it is discovered the eyes of a few are opened to understand the folly of evolution while others have faith enough to believe in time travel and pour their life's work into perusing knowledge to make it happen—and then the scientist who squanders his life in the pursuit of knowledge uses that knowledge near the end of the story to travel back in time which gives him enough time to accept God's grace before he steps over the threshold to the other side of eternity. Okay, so I like happy endings.

You see, Christian speculative fiction teeters on the edge of truth. As it teeters, the reader's focus follows and they move into a new realm of possibilities. In fact, I'd say there are millions of speculative fiction connoisseurs in the world today, but just like those humans in the Twilight Zone's To Serve Man most aren't aware of what's really going on. Popular non-Christian speculative fiction topics today include global warming, animal rights, disposable humanity for the cause of quality of life…and the household idol (TV) convinces us we are in control of our planet. What great fodder to be shrewd, gentle and creative!