2015 Summer Conference Coaching Classes

Coaches Teach the Craft of Writing, Marketing, and Perseverance

by Lindy Jacobs, OCW Summer Conference Director

Oregon Christian Writers is pleased to offer 10 coaching classes taught by some of the best in the publishing field. These in-depth classes meet for three consecutive mornings for a total of seven hours. 

“Get Published; Stay Published: Advanced Teaching for Career-Minded Novelists”  James L. Rubart, and Susan May Warren

(Fiction Intermediate to Advanced, for those who have completed a manuscript)

Limit: 30; Premium Intensive Coaching Class—$50 additional charge

Designed for the advanced writer, nearly published, or just published, struggling to get to the next level. Instructors will evaluate the first 10 pages of participants’ manuscripts before the conference. Students will then be assigned to one of three small groups to work with Jeff, Jim, or Susie during the conference. The instructors: James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy Award-winning author of six novels including Rooms and Soul’s Gate. Susan May Warren, founder of My Book Therapy, is the Christy, RITA, and Carol Award-winning author of more than 45 novels plus several writing books. 

“Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels That Sell” with SallyApokedak

(Youth Fiction)

Aimed at experienced writers who haven’t yet been able to break out with big sales, this class will discuss four elements that help showcase characters and invite readers to fall in love with them. The class will look at world building and fresh premise with plot twist, theme, and voice. The instructor is an agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She’s been studying, reviewing, and marketing children’s books as well as teaching writing for a dozen years.

“Taming the Most Common Fiction Dragons” with Karen Ball

(Fiction, New writers to intermediate: limited to 10 students)

Want to take your manuscript to the next level? Join an experienced editor and agent in this intensive mentoring class, geared to those new to writing fiction or who may have already published a novel. Students will have an opportunity to exchange work for review before the conference.

“Dragons” like POV (point of view), voice, and their cousins are lurking in the shadows, bent on destroying your fiction. But you don’t have to fear them! In this interactive class, you will learn to identify these detrimental dragons. From show vs. tell to voice, point of view to dialogue, and much more. You will leave this coaching class ready to take on—and take out!—the dragons. Bring your work-in-progress.

Karen Ball is a literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency and a best-selling, award-winning author. As an editor, Karen built and led fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. She has acquired and worked with some top novelists, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Brandilyn Collins, Angela Hunt, Ginny Yttrup, and Robin Jones Gunn. www.stevelaube.com

“Weaving Story Threads in Fiction” with Jane Kirkpatrick

(Fiction, Intermediate)

“Weaving Story Threads” will explore the work you need to do before writing, including how to create authentic characters. The class will also involve discussion of “the work before the work,” Jane’s writing practices, and strategies that bind story and meaning. The instructor is a New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of 27 books, including 22 historical novels.

“Crafting Bible Studies for Spiritual Growth” with Terri Kalfas


Maybe you’re already writing and teaching Bible studies for your church or small group. How do you take the next step—publication? We’ll discuss the changing market and how today’s cultural influences impact your audience and how that has changed Bible study itself. We’ll discuss the various types of studies, specific differences between curricula and Bible study guides, who publishes what, the basics you need to know about learning styles and stages, how to use illustrations, how to craft good questions, what editors look for when considering an author and manuscript, and, most importantly, Jesus’ pattern for teaching. The instructor is the acquisition editor for Grace Publishing, which publishes biblically based resources that challenge, encourage, teach, equip, and entertain Christians of all ages.

“How to Become a Best-Selling Author with Your First Credit (or How to Write for Magazines)” withSusan King


When a magazine publishes your work, you reach thousands more people with your message than most books do—and with a much faster turnaround time. This class will focus on writing for any genre. Specifically, we’ll look at how to analyze magazine markets and how to write query letters and feature articles. We’ll also focus on writing devotionals for a periodical that reaches millions of readers worldwide. The instructor is an acquisition editor for The Upper Room magazine and teaches English at the university level.

“‘No Fear’ Book Publishing Strategies That Work!” with DavidSanford


Would you like to receive expert advice on landing book publishing contracts? We’ll examine seven key strategies for doing just that. Learn the “golden keys” for book-publishing success. Discover the pros and cons of all five viable avenues for publishing your book(s). Learn “no fear” strategies for pitching your proposals to prospective publishers or agents. Plus learn how to best pitch your book(s) directly to potential buyers/readers. The instructor is an award-winning author, editor, literary agent, and teacher. He has helped new Christian authors publish nearly 100 books.


“The Language of Screenwriting” with Nancy Ellen Dodd


Screenwriting requires telling a story in the proper format through images and dialogue that imply what will be seen on the screen. To convince someone to read your screenplay requires creating a dynamic logline that is a microcosm of your whole story. It should also serve as the basic one-to-three sentence outline of your story. Story mapping is a tool for developing a stronger story and finding its holes. We’ll look at different approaches to “the hero’s journey” and see which process is a better guideline for developing your screenplay. The instructor teaches advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine University and is the author of the book The Writer’s Compass: From Story Map to Finished Draft in 7 Stages (Writers Digest Books).


“Making a Living in Today’s Publishing Market” with ChipMacGregor

(Professional Writers’ TrackFiction & Nonfiction)

Designed for published authors, with a focus on managing careers and staying the course, this class will explore the trends and directions of publishing these days, including e-books, subscription services, author marketing, indie advertising, sales tools, and writing that makes money. We’ll talk about what is working and what is not working in indie marketing. We’ll not only discuss social media but also what proactive marketing tools authors are using, including paid and unpaid advertisements. The instructor is the president of MacGregor Literary, a full-service literary agency. A former publisher with Time Warner, Chip has worked with authors as a literary agent for more than a dozen years and was previously a senior editor at two publishing houses. He is also the author of a couple dozen books and a popular teacher on the craft of writing and marketing.


“How to Be an Insanely Great Indie Author” with Randy Ingermanson


We’ll talk about the realities of the marketplace and also discuss why this is the best time in history to be an author, including the “success equation” that applies to all authors, whether they’re indie or traditional.

We’ll talk about how to climb “Mount Impossible” and earn a decent living as an indie author. Find out the amazing marketing tools indie authors can use that their traditionally published friends can’t. The instructor is the award-winning author of six novels and three nonfiction books and a popular writing teacher. He’s known around the world as “the Snowflake Guy” in honor of his Snowflake Method of writing a novel. His Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine reaches nearly 30,000 readers. V

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