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: February 2017

Exciting things have been happening this month at WordServe Literary!

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

61ic0zrs0sl-_sx353_bo1204203200_Christian T. George released The Lost Sermons of C. H. Spurgeon with B&H. For almost 160 years, Charles Spurgeon’s earliest sermons were lost to history. Now, these rediscovered sermons can finally be enjoyed by the millions around the world who admire Spurgeon’s spiritual insights and literary grace. This multi-volume set includes full-color facsimiles of Spurgeon’s original handwriting, transcriptions of his outlines and sermons, and editorial commentary.

jpg_coverLaurie Polich Short published The College Pocket Guide to Dating, Mating, and Waiting with FaithHappenings Publishers. This short, smart guide is packed with answers to questions that many college kids have–but are too afraid to ask. Offering solid truth and experienced insights, it will help every reader make thoughtful decisions in their relationships.

9780800727550_p0_v2_s192x300Dr. David Stoop and Dr. Jan Stoop released Smart Love with Revell. What would happen if you applied the game-changing principles of emotional intelligence to your most important relationship? Drs. Stoop help readers improve their love IQ and transform their marriages with practical action steps and wise counsel.

51fsc40ezgl-_sx314_bo1204203200_Jan Drexler’s A Mother for His Children was re-released as a mass market paperback along with Hannah’s Courtship by Emma Miller, from Love Inspired. Now two heartwarming Amish stories about second chances and the courage to make room for love are available in a single volume!

51p65rwysl-_sy346_Angela Ruth Strong released Presumed Dead with Love Inspired Suspense. Framed for a sabotaged military operation, Preston Tyler has allowed everyone to believe he’s dead—until he witnesses someone planting a bomb in his childhood sweetheart’s cabin. To save Holly Fontaine’s life, he must blow his cover. The two are reunited… but will the ultimate betrayal tear them apart for good?

51l1em4ei8lSarah Varland released Perilous Homecoming with Love Inspired Suspense. When former Treasure Point police officer Kelsey Jackson witnesses a murder while back in her hometown, the killer is dead set on silencing her. This riveting inspirational romance involves a murdered museum curator, modern-day pirates, and a handsome marine biologist determined to make up for his past.

New Contracts 

Bonnie Kristian signed a contract with FaithWords for her book 200 Million Ways to Follow Jesus, a readable exploration of the lively theological diversity that stretches back through church history and across the spectrum of Christianity today.

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers signed with Gerth Medien for a German edition of their book Love Never Ends, for publication next year.

Suzanne Norquist signed with Barbour for her novella “A Song for Rose,” and Mary Davis signed for “Holly and Ivy,” both which will be included in the Bouquet of Brides Collection.

New Clients

U.S. Senator Tim Scott, U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, Nigel Dixon, and Jamie Sumner joined WordServe Literary this month. Welcome!

WordServe News: January 2017

It’s a new year, and exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

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

51kizchtjul-_sx355_bo1204203200_Debora M. Coty released Too Blessed to be Stressed … Inspiration for Every Day with Barbour. This 365-day devotional features just-right-sized, truth-filled readings (gift-wrapped in humor) for your heart. The Too Blessed to be Stressed daily devotional touches on everyday life topics like relationships, love, boundaries, hope, brokenness, and praise, while helping you to arrive at healing, refreshment, and revitalization of spirit, body, and faith.

cover-imageDena Dyer re-released the e-book version of her book Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms with FaithHappenings Publishers. In this collection of short devotionals—perfect for those few stolen moments you can find in a given day—Dyer uses real-life stories, scripture, and gentle humor to encourage moms and assure them that they are not alone.

517huchsljlTom DeLay and Wallace Henley released Revival! Revolution! Rebirth! with WND Books. America is at a strategic moment in history.Will the qualities that have made the nation exceptional be consigned to the grave like other historic civilizations, or will they spring up with new vitality? DeLay and former congressional aide Wallace Henley draw from their rich experience to show the powerful reasons for hope!

61dkx5py71l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Denise George and Robert Child released The Lost Eleven with Berkley. Nearly forgotten by history, this is the story of the Wereth Eleven, African-American soldiers who fought courageously for freedom in WWII—only to be ruthlessly executed by Nazi troops during the Battle of the Bulge. It’s a story of unheralded patriotism that should be read by all.

51x0oo6bql-_sx322_bo1204203200_Jonathan McKee released If I Had a Parenting Do-Over with Barbour. McKee offers real, practical help to parents who would rather learn from someone else’s firsthand experiences. . . in hopes of circumventing their own parenting flubs. The real-world application will equip readers with solid, helpful practices you can actually use in your own home.

New Contracts 

Dr. Daniel Amen signed a two-book deal with Tyndale. Memory Restore 360 will teach readers how to optimize memory through an intentionally healthy lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and spiritual practices. Raising Brain-Healthy Kids and Teens will teach parents how to care for and develop their child’s brain to optimize performance, physical and spiritual health, and emotional resilience.

Steve Arterburn and Marcus Brotherton signed with Tyndale to publish Jesus Kid, in which kid narrator Kirby McCook retells old and New Testament stories, helping readers see that Jesus has had an important place in God’s plan for redemption from the beginning of time.

Debora Coty signed with Barbour for the next book in her Too Blessed to be Stressed series, this one specifically for moms! Look for Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms in 2018.

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson signed with Barbour for the publication of Devotions for the Hungry Heart, a one-year devotional drawing on Shellie’s personal experience and identifying six attitudes of the heart that position the Jesus-hungry follower closer to God’s gracious table.

New Clients

Bob Izumi, Ronaldo Archer, Nigel Dixon, Kathryn Graves, and Walt Larimore joined WordServe Literary this month. Welcome!

WordServe News: December 2016

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It’s the last month of 2016, and exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

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

heart-and-soul-coverJan Dunlap published Heart and Soul, Book 2 in the Archangels series, with FaithHappenings Publishers. When Raphael Greene, a medic with an extraordinary gift for healing, is thrown into the role of guardian angel for cardiologist Ami Kim, he finds they share more than a mutual attraction: Ami is a gifted medical intuitive. Even more astounding is his discovery that Ami is conducting clinical trials of a therapy for heart disease that harnesses the power of prayer. Now Ami’s research has been stolen and a horrific plan to use the cure as a weapon of mass murder is underway. Can they stop it in time–and regain their faith in a merciful God?

51hvrbtxhnl-_sx300_bo1204203200_Deb Coty released the Too Blessed to be Stressed 2017 Day Planner. Get organized—and transform your heart—every day of the year with this 15-month planner, featuring a refreshing blend of inspiring monthly readings laced with encouragement and gift-wrapped in humor. Featuring monthly and weekly calendars, a year-at-a-glance section, pages for frequent contacts, and more, this planner offers an important reminder: God’s grace is enough for the ups, downs, and all the in-betweens of life.

New Contracts 

Curt Steinhorst signed with Wiley Publishers for his new book, Your People Aren’t Working, for publication in early 2018.

New Clients

Jewell Johnson joined WordServe Literary this month. Welcome!

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What We’re Celebrating

All the Gallant Men hit the New York Times bestseller list for four consecutive weeks this month–first at #16, then #12, and finally #8! It was also the #1 book on both Amazon and B&N.com.

We had two winners in Christianity Today‘s 2017 Book Awards: Leslie Leyland Fields for Crossing the Waters, and Adam McHugh for The Listening Life. Congratulations!

And finally, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our Water Cooler readers. Wishing you a wonderful 2017 from all of us at WordServe!

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.