About Greg Johnson

I’m the president of WordServe Literary in Centennial, Colo. and founder and president of FaithHappenings.com. More importantly, I’m married to Becky, and together we share six adult children, and are grandparents to seven. In previous years, I've been a Campus Life leader (10 years), Breakaway magazine editor (5 years), author or coauthor of 21 books. But for the last 22 years, I've been a literary agent privileged to work with a great family of authors and staff trying to make a dent for the Kingdom.

WordServe News: November 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

overachieving-your-platform-coverThe second book in the Best of the WordServe Water Cooler series released this month! Overachieving Your Platform: 95 Ideas to Embrace Your Inner Sales Marketing Genius offers advice on how to break out and build a platform that really works–with proven advice from more than 30 WordServe authors. This is one no author can afford to miss!

51iimzzhitl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Debora Coty released the Too Blessed to Be Stressed 5-Year Journal with Barbour. Overflowing with encouragement, inspiration, scripture selections, and humor just for your beautiful heart, this journal offers a special place to record your innermost thoughts and feelings, life’s lovely blessings, and anything else that might be on your mind.

51yps1r2krl-_sx337_bo1204203200_Cyndy Feasel, with Mike Yorkey, released After the Cheering Stops with Thomas Nelson. Cyndy, wife of the former NFL player Grant Feasel, tells the tragic story of her family’s journey into chaos and darkness resulting from the damage her husband suffered due to football-related concussions and head trauma—and the faith that saved her.

61prwmw9bul-_sx385_bo1204203200_April Knight released ScriptureDoodle: God’s Promises with David C. Cook. This six-week devotional experience refreshes believers who are feeling burned out or stuck in a rut in their relationship with God. Each of the creative worship prompts in the interactive guide includes biblical encouragement and ideas for worship through art.

51uak9vgbsl-_sx373_bo1204203200_Donald Stratton and Ken Gire released All the Gallant Men with William Morrow. The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, this is a gripping and intimate account of Donald Stratton’s experience at Pearl Harbor, where a million pounds of explosives were donated beneath his battle station aboard the Arizona; his year-long recovery from burns to most of his body; and his re-enlistment with the Navy to serve in several additional naval battles.

New Contracts 

Craig Chapman signed with Regnery Publishing for his book, Battle Hardened, the story of his father’s combat journey across Europe from D-Day to VE Day.

New Clients

Kevin Keating and Bonnie Kristian signed with WordServe Literary this month.

Overachieving Your Platform: Best of the Water Cooler Series Book #2!

overachieving-your-platform-coverMany years ago, a good friend went into a coma after giving birth. She was on life support for nearly four months. We all prayed and wondered if she would pull through to see her baby girl and live a full life.

By her side was her husband. Every day he was at the hospital talking with doctors and nurses, making sure medication was properly being administered, asking questions . . . basically, being every doctor’s worst nightmare when it came to patient care. But you know, on several occasions, he insisted on something that actually saved his wife’s life. The third leading cause of death in America is medical care accidents and misdiagnoses. He needed to care for his wife because if he didn’t, the worst could happen.

I mention this story because I think it can be illustrative of some of the realities of book publishing today. Sometimes, your book is the one on life support, often from the moment of publication. Standing by are publishers and PR folks who are tasked and paid to keep your book alive. They’re busy, they have other patients (authors), and are generally overworked and understaffed.

The point is you cannot leave your book’s marketing and PR ONLY in the hands of publishers. They’ll do their best (usually), but they’re not perfect. And sadly, they have the 80/20 principle that is always screaming at them from the higher-ups. In publishing, it’s true: 80 percent of the money goes to 20 percent of the books. It’s a reality that won’t change, so we have to learn to deal with it.

So what should you do, then, as the author standing by your baby, trying to keep it alive?

You’ve got to tend to it diligently.

With your publisher: ask questions, say thank you a lot (gift cards and flowers are nice) when they do a job well done, give them ideas, don’t mention a problem unless you have a solution, tell them what you’ll do to help, keep track of everyone who helps (radio stations, bloggers, author friends). Work WITH them as much as they will let you.

What else can you do?

Well, we at the Water Cooler have just released a book that will help answer that question. Overachieving Your Platform: 95 Ideas to Embrace Your Inner Sales Marketing Genius is now available from FaithHappenings Publishers, and it offers the tools you need to break out and connect with large audiences. Adapted from the best writing of the WordServe Water Cooler, these doable, practical and affordable ideas will transform your platform and expand your audience if you put them into practice. No, you can’t do them all. But you can certainly go through this book with your highlighter and mark everything you actually could do. Then make a plan. What will you do during your first month from publication, second month, third? Write the plan out . . . and then work it.

Publishers, agents, and retailers agree: you’re only as good as your last book. So if your last book flops in the marketplace, it may very well indeed be your last book!

Don’t let that happen. Stay on guard by your book for the first six months to a year after launch, and you’re far more likely to get that second book contract. You may even get a royalty check.

I’m so proud of all of the authors who contributed to Overachieving Your Platform. They’ve done the hard work in the trenches and have learned from their successes and failures. All they know they’ve shared with you.

Grab a copy today—and take that first step toward creating a platform and brand that will serve you for the rest of your writing career.

Excelling-at-the-Craft-of-Writing-CoverAnd if you haven’t checked out the first book in the series, Excelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ways to Move Your Prose to the Next Level, make sure to do that as well. Craft and marketing go hand in hand when it comes to a writing career—you won’t find success unless you’ve got both!

This post was adapted from the Introduction of Overachieving Your Platform: 95 Ideas to Embrace Your Inner Sales Marketing Genius (available now!).

WordServe News: October 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

514tpjlzzhl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Rick Johnson released Overcoming Toxic Parenting with Revell. Anyone can be a good parent, even if they didn’t have one. Johnson shows anxious readers how to identify the ways in which their past experiences affect their own parenting choices; walks them through the process of healing the emotional and spiritual wounds; and outlines healthy habits and practices to create a positive family environment.

700074Barbara J. Scott, along with Sandra Bricker, Lynette Sowell, and Lenora Worth, released Sleigh Bells Ring with Gilead Publishers. This collection of four contemporary romance novellas, each by a different author, follows the Tucker sisters as they strive to fix up their father’s horse farm for one last Christmas celebration.

51b1h8es5wl-_sx314_bo1204203200_Sarah Varland released Silent Night Shadows with Love Inspired Suspense. When she’s snatched off a sidewalk en route to the local Christmas tree lighting, Claire Phillips knows her cozy small town is no longer safe. And when she’s saved by a mystery man, she gets another surprise. Suddenly, surviving Christmas is going to take more courage than Claire thinks she has.

christmas_in_my_heart_25_wheeler_i_coverJoe Wheeler released the 25th volume of his Christmas In My Heart series.When the first book went to print in 1991, no one imagined there would be a second book. Or a third. Now, with a total of 402 stories and more than 3,000 pages to date, it is the longest running Christmas story anthology series in America. Loved by thousands, the release of each additional book marks the beginning of the Christmas season in homes all across the country.

9780825444258Robert Wise released When There Is No Miracle (Revised & Expanded edition) with Kregel Publications. How can Christians understand the times when the lights go out and no miracle of deliverance appears? When There Is No Miracle imparts the lessons Wise has learned in the midst of his own questioning, enabling Christians to find new hope, learn to reconcile their faith with times of emptiness, and discover a new depth of meaning in the crucifixion of Christ.

51smxmfzhil-_sx348_bo1204203200_Mike Yorkey released The Right Steph with Barbour. In this fun, fact-filled biography, Yorkey shows how Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry, the likable, humble, and soft-spoken basketball player–and the best shooter in the NBA– is living out his faith on and off the court, through his actions even more than words.

New Contracts 

Carole Engle-Avriett signed with Cook for her newest project, Extravagant Love, an exploration of Ancient customs and facts that helps readers dig deeper into Scripture and God’s love for us, to be published in early 2018.

Wallace Henley and Tom DeLay signed with WND Books to publish Revival! Rebirth! Revolution! early next year.

Jonathan McKee signed with Barbour for his next book, The Teen’s Guide to Social Media… and Mobile Devices. Due out in 2017, this will be a wonderful resource for teens and parents struggling with questions in the digital age.

Krista Phillips signed with Barbour for her next book, The Engagement Plot, for publication in early 2018.

Tiffany Smiling signed with Barbour to publish The Fulfillment Myth, which traces her own story to inspire other women to find fulfillment that lasts.

New Clients

Dr. Jamie D. Aten signed with WordServe this month.

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What We’re Celebrating

All the Gallant Men by Donald Stratton and Ken Gire will appear in Parade Magainze and Reader’s Digest next month, leading up to its November 22 release.

WordServe News: September 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

41rajcxlqwl-_sy346_Stephen Arterburn and Dave Stoop released Take Your Life Back with Tyndale Momentum. Your past circumstances don’t have to define you, and they don’t have to determine the direction of your life. This book offers proven advice to help readers move from reactive attitudes and behaviors to healthy, God-honoring ones. Two additional resources are also available: the Take Your Life Back Workbook, and the Take Your Life Back Day by Day devotional.

51vdnmrjnklSara Davison released The Morning Star RisesBook 3 in The Seven Trilogy, with Ashberry Lane. As martial law continues in Canada in 2054, Meryn O’Reilly faces a dark and uncertain future after shocking revelations devastate her life. She is determined to follow God’s call, but her plans could cost her everything. She struggles to surrender everything to a God who is always in control, even when circumstances suggest otherwise.

51rynvgx3pl-_sx322_bo1204203200_-1Jan Drexler released Mattie’s Pledge with Revell. The second book in Jan’s Journey to Pleasant Prairie series, Mattie’s Pledge offers readers a poignant glimpse into Amish life in the 1840s, including the Amish migration west from Pennsylvania–and into the yearning heart of a character they won’t soon forget.

51qtfwstnrl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Leslie Leyland Fields released Crossing the Waters with NavPress. The gospels are set in a rich maritime culture on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, yet we’ve missed much of this perspective―until now. Leslie Leyland Fields―a longtime Alaskan fisherwoman―takes us out on the Sea of Galilee, through a rugged season of commercial fishing with her family in Alaska, and through the waters of the New Testament.

51ju4nleiplJim and Lynne Jackson released Discipline that Connects with Your Child’s Heart with Bethany House. Did you know that the way we deal (or don’t deal) with our kids’ misbehavior shapes their beliefs about themselves, the world, and God? With warmth and grace, Jim and Lynne Jackson, founders of Connected Families, offer four tried-and-true keys to handling any behavioral issues with love, truth, and authority.

scripture-doodleApril Knight released ScriptureDoodle with Cook, a 6-week devotional experience to help readers connect creatively with the Word of God. Exploring topics such as being generous, finding rest, facing grief, and more, this devotional provides inspiring exercises, prompts, and ready-to-color designs to give your heart the creative space it needs while helping you integrate God’s Word into everyday life.

41rpmextf5lKara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin released Growing Young with Baker Books. Churches are losing both members and vitality as increasing numbers of young people disengage. Based on groundbreaking research with over 250 of the nation’s leading congregations, Growing Young provides a strategy any church can use to involve and retain teenagers and young adults.

hungryShellie Rushing Tomlinson released Hungry is a Mighty Fine Sauce with Shiloh Run Press. Tomlinson, the Belle of All Things Southern, serves up down-home southern dishes with a healthy side of laugh-out-loud entertainment in the book, which features dozens of tried-and-true recipes complemented by entertaining stories.

New Contracts 

Chris Conlee signed a two-book deal with Baker Books. The first book, Love Works, will look at biblical love and how to put it to work in our lives, and will release at the end of 2017.

Craig Selness signed with Worthy Publishing for his book How to Manage Your Pain Without Becoming One, addressing the reality of chronic pain and encouraging and equipping the reader to endure and still thrive.

New Clients

Wendy Holtz, Gwen Ellis, and Scott Watson signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!

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What We’re Celebrating

The California Gold Rush Romance Collectionwhich includes contributions from Dianne Christner, hit the EPCA Bestsellers list for September.

Terry Brennan’s book The Aleppo Code won the 2016 Carol Award for excellence in Christian fiction in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category. Congratulations, Terry!

Sara Davison’s new release, The Morning Star Rises, received a glowing review from RT Book Reviews.

WordServe News: August 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

dyerDena & Carey Dyer released Love at First Fight with Shiloh Run Press. Offering 52 devotional meditations written by the husband and wife team, it promises to help couples discover that a fun, resilient, and fulfilling marriage can be realized through hard work, forgiveness, God’s grace–and a sense of humor.

cover JPGJan Hettinga released The Safe King with FaithHappenings Publishers. The Safe King explores the roadblocks that keep many of us from following Christ, including our deep distrust of authority, our fear of giving up control, and our reluctance to let go of our kingdoms in order to embrace His—and offers ways to move past these roadblocks into a life of full discipleship.

Cover 1Joe Wheeler released Lew Wallace and the Story of Ben-HurBook 1 of the Classic Author Biography Series, with FaithHappenings Publishers. Featuring a biographical sketch of Wallace, an in-depth introduction to the text, vintage illustrations from the 1908 edition, and thought-provoking discussion questions to help readers get the most out of the story, this companion book will add richness to the experience of reading an American classic.

znachkpLinda Znachko will release He Knows Your Name with Kregel next month. When the evening news reported a dead baby abandoned in a local dumpster, Linda Znachko’s comfortable life changed. She was suddenly convicted—God was asking her to provide a dignified burial for this tiny lost child. Linda said yes. She had no idea where that first small yes would lead, or how wide the ripple effects would spread.

New Contracts 

Anne Love signed with Barbour for her work The Gardner’s Daughter, which will be included in the Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection set to publish next year.

New Clients

Craig Chapman, Heidi Gaul, and Jason & Shelley Martinkus signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!

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What We’re Celebrating

Laurie Short appeared on Focus on the Family to discuss her book Finding Faith In the Dark. You can listen to it here!

WordServe News: July 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

51CZjAw6uPL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Julie Cantrell re-released Into the Free and When Mountains Move with Thomas Nelson. Into the Free, now a New York Times Bestseller, follows the story of Millie Reynolds in Depression-era Mississippi as she tries to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse. When Mountains Move takes up the story as Millie prepares to get married and move to the wilds of Colorado–only to find she can’t truly leave her old past behind.

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Rebecca DeMarino 
published To Follow Her Heart, the concluding volume of her Southold Chronicles Series, which plunges readers into a 17th-century world of tall ships, daring journeys, and yearning hearts.

 

097740Cheri Fuller released Mothering by Heart with Barbour. Through engaging short stories, inspirational reflections, Scripture, creative ideas, and thought-provoking questions, this short book encourages mothers to relax, embrace their children’s individuality, and rely on God for the wisdom they need.

Excelling-at-the-Craft-of-Writing-CoverGreg Johnson, along with many Water Cooler contributors, released Excelling at the Craft of Writing: 101 Ideas to Move Your Prose to the Next Level with FaithHappenings Publishers. The easy-to-read, engaging essays cover a range of topics, from organizing and outlining your work to creating powerful characters and dialogue to fine-tuning your language, style, and voice. The perfect place to start for any writer hoping to reinvigorate their writing!

51PHIOI-G4L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Sarah Parshall Perry released Mommy Needs a Raise with Revell. Women know that raising children will be different from climbing the corporate ladder. But nothing can truly prepare them for the mind-muddling world of motherhood. With her signature wit, lawyer-turned-full-time-mommy Sarah Parshall Perry invites mothers to join her as she gives up one thing to get something better–and ends up finding out what she’s worth along the way.

memoryJordyn Redwood released Fractured Memory with Love Inspired Suspense. United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway’s life once…and he’s prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. Fractured Memory keeps readers on the edge of their seats as the two work together to confront Julia’s past—and the feelings growing between them.

518qxTPFZ-L._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_Mike Yorkey released Playing with Purpose: Tackling the Truth with Barbour Books. Filled with inspirational readings that draw spiritual points from players and coaches, important games throughout football history, and teams spanning the NFL, college, and high school, this book will challenge and inspire you to draw wisdom from both the game and God’s Word.

New Contracts 

Carole Avriett signed with Regnery Publishing for her new book, The Boys from Coffin Corner. Releasing in early 2018, it will tell the true story of a WWII B-17 crew shot down over German-occupied France and the unlikely survival of all ten men against incredible odds.

Jan Drexler signed a 3-book deal with Love Inspired for a series of Amish novels, The Prodigal’s Brother, His Chosen Family, and His True Path, for publication in 2017 and 2018.

Marjorie Jackson signed with Barbour for her novella Devoted, for publication in 2017.

Jordyn Redwood signed a two-book deal with Love Inspired Suspense for The Doctor’s Redemption and The Doctor’s Spy, due to be released in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Christopher and Michael Ross signed with Harvest House for Finding Faith in a Minecrafty World, a devotional that guides young readers through the fantastic landscapes of Minecraft, revealing clues for a stronger faith and much more fun in the real world.

New Clients

Carey Lewis signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!

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What We’re Celebrating

Cristóbal Krusen’s film, Sabina K., received a Special Jury Mention at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival!

WordServe News: June 2016

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary this month!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ recently released books along with a recap of WordServe client news.

New Releases

dont goDeb and Ron DeArmond released Don’t Go to Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight with Abingdon Press. Combining a healthy dose of personal experience with relationship-affirming biblical wisdom, Deb and Ron demonstrate how communication through conflict can lead to greater insight and understanding of thoughts, feelings, and perspectives that can safeguard–and even strengthen–your relationship.

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Karen Jordan published Words That Change Everything with Leafwood Publishers. With true personal stories and Biblical applications, Words That Change Everything offers hope and practical strategies to help women speak God’s truth to their unbridled and often debilitating emotions.

mckeeJonathan McKee released 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid with Shiloh Run Press. Drawing from his 20-plus years of experience working with teenagers, studying youth culture, and raising three teens of his own, Mckee provides an abundant supply of useful tips and creative ideas to help parents have meaningful interaction with kids hooked on their devices.

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Jim Putman published The Power of Together with Baker Books. An in-depth, biblical look at the critical importance of doing life in close fellowship with other believers, this book draws readers closer to their spiritual family and to Jesus than ever before.

 

51+ISQJmp1L._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Susie Shellenberger and Kristin Weber released The Smart Girl’s Guide to Mean Girls, Manicures & God’s Amazing Plan for Me.  Melding spiritual and practical advice with humor, this guide offers 100 practical tips to help teen girls navigate the ups and downs of life with grace and confidence.

New Contracts 

Carole Engle Avriett signed with Tyndale to publish Under the Cover of Light, the true story of Col. Thomas Jerry Curtis, whose helicopter was shot down in Vietnam and who spent 7 years in Hanoi as a POW.

New Clients

Tim Riter, Frank Sievert, and Naomi Overton signed with WordServe this month. Welcome!

What We’re Celebrating

Terry Brennan‘s book The Aleppo Code is a finalist for the 2016 Carol Awards! Winners will be announced August 27.

Tricia Lott Williford was married to Peter Heyer on May 28. Life and Love took some time, but they did come back. Congratulations, Tricia and Peter!tricia