Tag Archive | Write to Publish

Re-entry: When the Conference is Over and You Go Home

Estes Park 1As I wrote a couple of weeks ago – it’s conference season for writers. I was blessed to attend the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference this past week, returning last night to a home grateful to have mom back. No one was happier than my dog!

I was thrilled I didn’t succumb to altitude sickness high up in the Rocky Mountains. Even though I did have laryngitis for the majority of my time there, it didn’t slow me down. Some said my voice sounded “husky” which is quite appropriate for a romance author/editor, dontcha think?

I was honored and blessed to meet with many writers and encourage and pray with them. I also met with many faculty as well. Hugs, laughter and the moving of God’s Spirit combined to make for a fabulous time.

Because people tease me that I am now a Whoovian I can say I feel like I’ve now traveled through time and space (on Delta Airlines) to a different dimension as I returned home.

The fact is, whether you are faculty or a conferee, you will have to return back to real life. Many of us lamented that we could just stay in that place, explore, write, and rest. Authors escape reality all the time but let’s face it, it is still work. Faculty, like me, were blessed to be there but again, it is work.

I’m still sick and exhausted and my kids are out of school now so we are officially into summer vacation. I’m grateful my husband cared for them well and even cleaned out the back entry way and scrubbed the downstairs, most often used, bathroom!  Those are painful for me to do with my herniated disc. Makes me wonder what else might get done when I leave in two weeks for Write to Publish?

The one thing I do know is that I am richer for the experience of having gone. I have met some of God’s most amazing humans and heard some of the coolest stories of how God is working in their lives. Those are more important than the stories pitched to me and I was incredibly blessed that the majority of those who sat and talked to me saw me as a sister in Christ, not just someone who might buy their novel. I have memories of great laughter and joy surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation–including his people!

Today I’m tired. And sick. And it’s a crazy start to my week. I slept in and am now praying or those at the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s Conference where I have many friends. I know they are in a beautiful space and soaking up so much in the way of information and connections. For many writers, being introverts, this can be a stretch!

So, if you have been to a conference, at one now, or going to one, make sure you take into account the re-entry when you return and be good to yourself. Build in time afterwards to refuel, sleep and let all that you experienced gel in your heart and soul as treasures and gifts from our wonderful God.

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Anticipating the Holiday Rudeness

I have a friend who has been a cheerleader of my writing from day one. He often says “Don’t forget the little people when you make it big.”

I love his “when.”

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Then there is someone in my life who has said, “Nice little hobby you have there. You won’t make any money at it.”

Or how about this comment, “Oh, so is that what you’re doing now? How nice for you. When are you going to get a real job?”

The holidays bring out the worst in people. I try to generally be gracious to those who don’t understand that my writing and editing is a real job and that I work very hard at it. I will be forever grateful for those people who have supported, encouraged and believed in me and my writing before I’ve made my mark on the publishing world.

So often authors cite parents or spouse as being those supporters. That’s not the case for me. My grandmother is a grand cheerleader though.

The comment I’ve heard before and expect to hear on Thanksgiving Day though is this: “How much money do you make?”

Stop. Wait. Excuse me? Where in any part of civilization is this an appropriate question? Between authors it might be acceptable in discussing the challenge to actually talk about *gasp* money, but if I went to my family members and asked how much they got paid for the work they do, well, they would be offended.

So what makes any of them think it’s okay to ask me such a question? Stephen King doesn’t make his tax return public knowledge, does he?

Since I write historical fiction I’m going to revert back to a more respectable time when people did not ask such questions. Wait. Even in Regency England a man was known by how much he made a year and it was used as a measuring stick to determine whether he was worthy husband material.

But I’m not looking for a husband.

So my response? “Thank you for your interest in my writing. In response to your question, it’s none of your business.”

Beth Ziarnik and me. She was the "Paul" to my "Timothy" at my first writer's conference (Write to Publish)

Beth Ziarnik and me. She was the “Paul” to my “Timothy” at my first writer’s conference (Write to Publish)

It isn’t. There is nothing that says I have to answer every question posed to me no matter how authentic and real I strive to be in my life.  Some things can be and should be private. The fact is, the amount of money I earn, much like the size of my clothing, does not determine my value in the eyes of God. He is the reason I write and yes, the IRS will know, but unless I start making millions, I doubt I will ever want to share that kind of information, especially with those who have not encouraged and supported me.

Will Smith has said “If you are absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” Well said, Will.

Have a wonderful thanksgiving and for those of you who have prayed, supported and encouraged me on my journey (and you know who you are!), I am thanking God for the gift of you in my life. I may not make much money now, but I’m rich in the relationships my writing has brought into my life.

New Acquisitions Editor at Prism Book Group

prism logo

I recently accepted a position as Acquisitions Editor for Prism Book Group. This was not something I had looked for but kind of got dropped in my lap by surprise. I shrugged. Why not? I applied and was honest that I didn’t even think I was qualified. I took a test – passed. I was offered the job. I thought about it, prayed about it and then….

I volunteered as a judge for the Genesis contest for ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I’m an encourager at heart and tried so hard to be honest but also supportive  to the entries I had. A few made me smile. A few had me wishing I could sign that author up. That’s when it hit me. That’s what I would be doing as an acquisitions editor. I would be scouting manuscripts and seeing which ones I really wanted to read more of.

Some of those didn’t have the highest scores. Hear me. Some of those manuscripts were not going to win the competition. Maybe they were an 80 or 85. They weren’t a 90 or 98.  I had to follow the judge’s scorecard. I was honest. In spite of perhaps a lower score, there were stories that stirred  me. There was something about the writer’s voice that spoke to me. As an editor who would work with a writer, these were stories I would have been willing to invest in, to help get them to sparkle and to see that author’s name on the cover of their own book. To see them reach their publishing dream.

Tingles of excitement sparked in my heart, and I knew. With all the open doors and the unanimous affirmation of those I had talked this over with, I knew that as much as I love writing my own stories and want to see them published, I would love just as much to help other authors reach their dreams too.

I still feel a bit inadequate for the job. It sets me on a path I had not anticipated. Most of the time when I type the word “acquisitions” I spell it wrong! I also spell the wrong quite often too (teh)!

So if you are here and you are interested, check out www.prismbookgroup.com. I love romance: historical (especially Regency), westerns, comedy, romantic suspense, contemporary. If you know authors who are looking, let them know. They can submit to me at sbaganz@prismbookgroup.com.

I will be at the following conferences as well to meet with writers and hope to add more to my schedule soon:

May 11      Lakefly Literary Conference, Oshkosh, WI  .http://www.lakeflylit.org/

May 31-June 2   Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference, Oconomowoc, WI  http://www.wisrwa.org/

June 6-8    Write to Publish, Wheaton, IL http://www.writetopublish.com/

September 27-28     Wisconsin Writers Conference, Wisconsin Rapids, WI  http://www.wiwrite.org/