One-to-One Appointments - Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference | Maranatha Christian Writers' Conference

One-to-One Appointments

IMG_0339E One of the most valuable benefits in attending Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference is the opportunity to meet face to face with publishing professionals in free 15-minute appointments.  Our faculty loves writers and enjoys investing this one-on-one time as they welcome your questions and offer their wisdom based on years of professional experience.  

We are continuing a wonderful change started two years ago with setting up these appointments ahead of time.  Rather than having people scrambling to get their name on a sheet on a table, about a month before the conference, you will get an email from Conference Administrator, Bonnie Emmorey, asking for your top five choices of people with whom you would like to meet.  Bonnie will work very hard to set you up with four of your top five choices.  Appointments will take place Friday & Saturday during workshops.

Appointments will be available with literary agents who are hoping to select a few new authors to represent, with editors from traditional publishing houses who’ve come looking for new books to acquire, with freelance editors and writers who can offer feedback and advice or explain their services for hire, with independent publishers who can answer your questions about indie publishing, with social media and marketing specialists who can advise you on building your platform and reaching more readers, and with published authors who can counsel and advise you.

Our social media expert, Christopher VanOosterhaut will be taking appointments for a half hour sessions available for an extra fee of $30.  Are you looking for help with your blog, your social media efforts, or your other digital marketing efforts?  This half hour consultation will allow for one-to-one training and feedback.  Topics covered: Facebook, Facebook Advertising, Goodreads, Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Printerest, and Email Marketing. 

Here are a few tips on how to come prepared for this great opportunity:  One-to-One Appointment Preparation Guide

We look forward to seeing you on September 28!

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15-Minute One-to-One Appointments







(listed alphabetically – more to be added)

Sandra Aldrich – What’s your writing passion? Sandra AldrichWhat personal or national issues concern you? What character traits appeal to you? What’s the greatest barrier to achieving your writing goals? These are the questions Sandra Aldrich will ask during your one-on-one appointment. As the former senior editor of Focus on the Family magazine, she insists that knowing where you want to go will help you chose the correct route. But don’t be alarmed. Time with her includes encouragement, too.

Kathy Bruins – Although she has ghostwritten many books for celebrities, organizations and the regular person, she believes everyone has a story and is glad to assist others in reaching their dreams of telling their story. Kathy has several books including Vallikett’s Journey (with Donna D. Flammang), The Plain Unexpected Gift (from Kathi Macias – The 12 Days of Christmas), and God’s Daily Influence (a devotional book for the busy person).

Susan Call, Author/Mentor  Susan is an author Susan Callwhose works include her memoir, A Search for Purple Cows – A True Story of Hope, in addition to both fiction and non-fiction short stories included in Guidepost’s A Cup of Christmas Cheer and Chicken Soup for the Single Parent Soul. She has written magazine articles for Guideposts Magazine and Focus on the Family. She enjoys encouraging other writers with insights she’s learned from working with editors and other publishing professionals.

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 10.30.26 PMDennis Hensley, Author/Mentor – Being a published short story writer, novelist, journalist, and nonfiction book author, Doc Hensley is open to meet with all writers.  His insights on manuscripts will include an analysis of mechanical writing, story structure, transitions, format, writing style, dialogue, message, theme, and target markets.  Doc is happy to meet with conferees who are writing short stories, novels, devotions, nonfiction books, and feature articles.  He will be glad to review and critique query letters, book proposals, and sample chapters.

Brian G. Phipps – Poet   Brian has been writing and publishing poetry for more than twenty-five years, and his first collection will be published in the fall of 2017. He will meet with you to talk about one of the following:

  • how to look for a publisher for your poetry book
  • how to improve your poetry book proposal
  • how to look for a magazine publisher for your poems

Please bring one poem to show what kind of poetry you write.

Shannon Popkin, Author/Mentor  Shannon will takeShannon Popkin one-to-one appointments with writers seeking input on the “proposal to print” process of a non-fiction book. Having just been through this process, herself, Shannon shares her fresh and current experience and perspective.


Katie Reid, Author/Mentor and more… Katie M. Reid is an author, speaker, and co-host of “Stop! Hammock Time.” She is also a go-to idea gal. Katie casts creative vision for aspiring and established writers alike. She is glad to help you: discover your niche, fine-tune book ideas, and enhance your online presence. Katie offers consultation for social media assistance, book proposals, event planning, and brand-building.


Travis Thrasher, Author/Mentor   As someone whoTravis Thrasher worked at a publisher for 13 years and has written full-time for ten years, Travis is uniquely qualified to offer advice for those trying to write or have a book published. He would like to hear your goals and hopes so he can offer encouragement and input.


Children’s Literature

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 4.52.33 PMCrystal Bowman – Children’s Books Author/Mentor  Bestselling, award-winning author of over 100 books for children!  If you have an interest in writing for children, don’t miss out on meeting with Crystal.  Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of over 100 books for children including Our Daily Bread for Kids, The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers, My Grandma and Me, and M is for Manger.

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.52.40 AMCourtney Lasater – Keys for Kids, Editor  Keys for Kids Ministries (formerly Children’s Bible Hour) seeks to ignite a passion for Christ in kids and their families through radio and print. Courtney Lasater acquires, edits, and develops content for the quarterly Keys for Kids devotional and other products for kids. Whether you have ideas for devotional stories or just want to explore more ways to write for kids and families, Courtney would be happy to meet with you.

Jillian-ManningZondervan – Jillian Manning, Custom Editor & Zonderkidz/Blink, Acquisitions Team   Zonderkidz™, the children’s division of Zondervan, inspires young lives through imagination and innovation. As a leader in Christian children’s communications, it creates products that awaken the hearts and touch the souls of kids under 12.  Blink, the YA imprint for Zondervan, brings both fiction and real stories to its readers. Blink is a positive reflection of what is inspiring while maintaining a tradition of imaginative and exciting storytelling. Blink titles include suspense, mystery, romance, memoirs and stories of life well-lived. Readers will see themselves in all facets of Blink’s literature and will find new levels of entertainment that enrich and uplift.


Publishing Houses

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 11.46.42 PMA3 Publishing – Cyle Young, Editor  A3 Publishing is an independent small press publishing group.   Cyle will look at any genre in fiction or non-fiction from children’s picture books to adult novels for either the Christian or General markets.


Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 1.37.26 PMACW Press – Jim Watkins, Consultant  ACW Press is an independent publisher for authors who have a platform from which to sell their books such as speaking or a popular website. All genres are welcome. ACW Press uses professionals in publishing for design and editing, so books are professional in every way.

Baker Publishing Group —Barb Barnes, Editor, Trade Books  Baker Publishing Group publishes high-quality writings that represent historic Christianity and serve the diverse interests and concerns of evangelical readers. Baker is a leading Christian publisher in fiction, non-fiction, and academic books. Barb Barnes has been an editor for a dozen years at Baker Publishing Group with their Revell and Baker Books divisions.  Barb would love to meet with you and discuss your project.  She would like to look over your manuscript before you arrive, so be prepared to email it to her at the appropriate time.  What a wonderful opportunity to get feedback from such an experienced expert.

1613922_10203497089816227_632751512_nBold Vision –   Gloria Penwell, Acquisitions Editor Bold Vision Books LLC is an independent, full-service, Christian publisher.  “We are looking for well written fiction and non-fiction manuscripts with a compelling Christian message.

  • Offers content editing, line proofing, overall concept analysis, and ghost writing.
  • Offers book design, cover design, publishing, and distribution.
  • Offers solutions to your publishing questions.
  • Offers royalty-paying contracts and distribution in CBA and ABA markets.

EABooks Publishing – Cheri-CowellCheri Cowell, Owner & Publisher Looking for a publishing option that blends the creative control of self-publishing with a focus on quality from seasoned professionals­ or simply not sure how to navigate self-publishing?  Partnership Publishing is the answer!  Partnership Publishing is a fairly new model combining the positives from the pay-to-publish approach, such as greater author control, keeping 100% of your profits, and shorter production time, along with the expertise of seasoned professionals to guide you through the publishing process.

Gilead Publishing – Becky Philpott, Acquisitions Editor   Gilead Publishing, a new, innovative, traditional book publisher focused on producing quality fiction that will appeal to adult readers who enjoy stories written from a Christian perspective.  This includes novels for women and men in the Contemporary, Romance, Historical, and Mystery/Suspense categories. Gilead does not  publishYA or Children’s product.

Kregel – Janyre Tromp, Developmental and Acquisitions Editor  Kregel Publications is an evangelical Christian publisher whose mission is to develop and distribute—with integrity and excellence—trusted, biblically based resources that lead individuals to know and serve Jesus Christ. We publish in a variety of genres and categories, both fiction and nonfiction, for men and women, ages 13 and up. Among our top interests are Christian living or devotional titles for specific audiences, women’s and family issues, and spiritual growth or discipleship with a unique author voice.

Lighthouse Publishing – Eddie Jones, Acquisitions Editor  Eddie-Jones-03032013-2-v2-cropped-72-facebookLighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas is a fast-paced and innovative digital publisher of eBooks and Print on Demand (POD) paperbacks. LPC embraces the new book publishing business model that favors eBooks and Print On Demand over long press runs and warehouse inventories. Their authors include Christy Award winners and new writers whose books found their first home with LPC. We strive to produce truth-filled fiction and nonfiction books. We have one standard for judging a work: is it biblical? Not biblical as in preaching or teaching, rather could the story, scenes, and theme be overlaid with Old and New Testament narratives? We acquire fiction, nonfiction and devotional compilations.

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 10.44.35 PMMoody Publishers – Ingrid Beck – Acquisitions Editor  The vision of Moody Publishers is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to help people put biblical truth into practice in everyday life. Our mission is to educate, edify, and equip the Christian so they in turn can impact the world for Christ. Ingrid is acquiring books for the core evangelical reader, focusing in particular on spiritual growth and practical life. She’d love to see proposals that explore themes or characteristics of the Christian life, always aiming to take the reader deeper in their spiritual growth journey and their relationship with Christ. The target readership of these books could potentially encompass men and women of varying ages and stages of life, mature disciples, or new believers.

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 4.44.27 PMRevell, a division of Baker Publishing – Kelsey Bowen, Acquisitions Editor   Revell began over 125 years ago when D. L. Moody and his brother-in-law Fleming H. Revell saw the need for practical books that would help bring the Christian faith to everyday life.  This same vision for books that are both inspirational and practical continues to motivate the Revell publishing group today. Whether publishing fiction, Christian living, self-help, marriage, family, or youth books, each Revell publication reflects relevance, integrity, and excellence.

Tyndale House Publishers – Jillian Schlossberg, Acquisitions Editor  Tyndale Momentum is the nonfiction imprint of Tyndale House Publishers. We acquire everything from pastors to Christian living to memoir. I must say, our team has a real heartbeat for personal story told through narrative nonfiction. Every voice deserves to be heard, and we at Tyndale Momentum love being a part of making that happen. In addition, we are always looking for ways to contribute to the pressing issues the church is facing today—we welcome authors who are speaking in this space from a thoughtful, biblical perspective.

Zondervan – Estee Zandee, Editorial Assistant  Estee ZandeeAs Editorial Assistant to the Zondervan Trade group, Estee Zandee frequently reviews proposals and evaluates the potential for book publishing. The proposal writing process can be overwhelming and intimidating. Whether you’re just starting the process or if you’re ready to send off your proposal, Estee is happy to meet with you to 1. Evaluate the strength of your proposal, 2. Refine your book proposal’s hook, and 3. Critique the overall first impression your proposal communicates to a publishing professional.


Publishing Experts

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 3.30.34 PMDave or Cindy Lambert – Somersault  To thrive in today’s publishing world you need to stay light on your feet. The publishing world is tumbling heels over head:
• Technology is splintering broad mass markets into thousands of narrow niche markets.
• Forrester predicts eReaders/tablets ownership in the USA will soar to 60 million by 2015.
• Staff and budget cuts at publishing houses are reducing author and marketing support.
• Paper/Print/Bind is now HTML/PRC/DTP.

Our mission is to change lives by connecting inspirational content creators with readers using exceptional creativity, right-now technology, and old-fashioned personal care.  In this topsy-turvy time, let us help you nimbly navigate the changes and flip the publishing world right-side up.

Linda Taylor, Publishing Professional  If you have Linda-1questions about editing or self editing, you’ll want to meet with Linda.  She has been a publishing professional for three decades and continues to work as a freelance writer and editor.  Linda is the author of a book about editing titled Word by Word: An Editor Guides Writers in the Self-editing Process.



Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 4.42.34 PMDan Balow – Steve Laube Agency  The Steve Laube Agency is committed to providing top quality guidance to authors and speakers. Our years of experience and success brings a unique service to our clients. We focus primarily in the Christian marketplace and have put together an outstanding gallery of authors and speakers whose books continue to make an impact throughout the world.

  • CONTENT:  To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.
  • CAREER:  To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.
  • CONTRACT:  To help the author secure the best possible contract. One that partners with the best strategic publisher and one that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.


Cyle Young – Agent, Hartline Literary Agency  What can you expect from an appointment with Cyle?  Be yourself. He doesn’t want you to pitch your book. He wants to see your writing. He wants to get to know your words, and… possibly fall in love with your writing! The majority of his clients are people who he met at writing conferences… so relax. You can have a normal conversation, because in truth he’s an author just like you. He knows the frustration, fears, and anxieties all too well. He will look at any genre in fiction or non-fiction from children’s picture books to adult novels for either the Christian or General markets.

Social Media:

Katie Reid, Author/Mentor/Social Media  Katie M. Reid is an author, speaker, and co-host of “Stop! Hammock Time.” She is also a go-to idea gal. Katie casts creative vision for aspiring and established writers alike. She is glad to help you: discover your niche, fine-tune book ideas, and enhance your online presence. Katie offers consultation for social media assistance, book proposals, event planning, and brand-building.

Kate Motaung – Digital Marketing  Kate Motaung is Kate Motaungan author, editor, publishing consultant, virtual assistant, and digital marketing specialist. She has experience with both traditional and independent publishing. Kate would love to chat with you about how to improve your social media presence, next steps in your publishing journey, what to expect in the traditional publishing experience, or how to explore self-publishing options. She also offers specific advice regarding how to expand your reach online.

Chrichristopherstopher VanOosterhout – E-Commerce Consultant (1/2 hour sessions only)  Christopher is a Digital Media Specialist, Consultant, Teacher, and Strategist based in southwest Michigan. He utilizes his expertise and passion for digital communication to help organizations, students, & clients optimize their brands and thrive.  Are you looking for help with your blog, your social media efforts, or your other digital marketing efforts?  This 1/2 hour conciliation will allow for one-to-one training and feedback.  Topics covered: Facebook, Facebook Advertising, Goodreads, Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, Printerest, and Email Marketing.  (Cost – $35)

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 12.06.17 PMBrenda Yoder – Blogging, Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest  Where do you begin?  What works… what doesn’t?  Brenda has experience in all of these and more, and can help you with your next step in the social media maze. 


Mass Media

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 6.23.36 PMThe Upper Room Magazine – Susan King, Susan would like to see one or two of your unpublished devotionals (double spaced), which she will go over in the appointment. If you can bring a devotional written but not accepted for publication, that would be especially productive. It will help you see what we’re looking for, and to put our writers’ guidelines into context.