The Search-and-Find Feature

Over the years I’ve harped at authors never, ever to turn in a first draft. Some writers think the editor’s job is to spiff up their grammar, correct misspelled words, change passive voice to active, eliminate repeated words and phrases, or do laser surgery on their mixed metaphors.

Word travels in publishing circles about whether you’re a professional or you’ve made your living on the backs of good editors. You don’t want to be known as a hack writer.

Hopefully, the electronic tool known as search and find will make your self-editing chore more enjoyable.

  1. Passive voice (one of my pet peeves): Passive voice is created by using a form of be, such as am, is, are, was, were, being, be, or been and followed by the past participle of the main verb, or gerunds comprised of a present participle (ending in “ing”) that functions as a noun. Learn more in Hacker’s Rules for Writers. Search for these words and recast your sentences to make them more active. Examples:

Passive: He was jumping over the cliff into the river below to escape.

Active: He jumped over the cliff into the river below to escape.

  1. Qualifiers: These words clutter up your writing. Sometimes I think writers use them to boost their word counts. Examples: begin, start, started to, almost, decided to, planned to, a little bit, almost, etc. Examples:

With qualifier: Mary felt a little bit out of place among the nouveau riche.

Better: Mary felt out of place among the nouveau riche.

  1. Weasel Words: These words are easy to spot. You can drop them and no one will notice. My high school English teacher told me that if you could replace the word very with the word damn, you didn’t need it. Other examples: really, well, so, a lot of, anyway, just, oh, suddenly, immediately, kind of, extremely, etc. I’m sure you can come up with your favorites.

With weasel words: Suddenly, she stood up and said, “Oh well, let’s retire to the drawing room and just stay out of his way.”

Better: She stood and said, “Let’s retire to the drawing room and stay out of his way.”

  1. Adverbs: I don’t hate adverbs, but they “usually” are unnecessary, especially in dialogue tags. Your prose should communicate a character’s state of mind without using a tag line such as the example below. Use search and find to look for an ly followed by a space or a period.

With adverb: “I’ll kill him,” she said ferociously. (Really?)

Better: “I’ll kill him,” she said.

  1. Extraneous thats or thens: Use the global search-and-find feature for the word that. If you can understand the sentence without it, you don’t need it. You notice I didn’t write, then you don’t need it. Both of these words are over used.

Writing is rewriting, and rewriting involves self-editing. It’s your job to turn in the cleanest manuscript possible to your agent or editor. Use the search-and-find tool to speed up the process.

Can you think of other ways you can employ the search-and-find feature in Word to edit your work?

WordServe News

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

New Releases

Sifted by Wayne Cordeiro (Zondervan). This was the lead book at the Exponential (church planting) conference in Orlando.

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You’ll be Sor-ree by Sid Phillips (Berkley Caliber). Sid was one of the men portrayed in the HBO series “The Pacific.”  He’s still alive and well and living near Mobile, AL. A very fine Southern Christian gentleman.

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Red Blood, Black Sand by Chuck Tatum (Berkley Caliber).  Chuck was another one of the Marines portrayed in “The Pacific”. He’s also still alive and living in Stockton, CA. Stephen Ambrose called this book (originally self-published in 1995) “Probably the best WWII memoir ever written.”  Chuck’s book served as part of the basis for the 10-Part HBO series.

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The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport (Revell).

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Playing with Purpose: Baseball by Mike Yorkey (Barbour).

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Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandie Bricker (Abingdon).

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Toward the Sun Rising by Lynn Morris (Hendrickson) book #4 in the republished Cheney Duvall series.

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New WordServe Clients

James A. Hall was a successful businessman for many years before working as a vice president with Walk Thru the Bible Ministry. For 15 years, he led their Seminar Division and currently is the Executive Director of a 25-year-old national ministry, Saints Prison Ministry. Some Jungles Have No Giraffes is his exciting memoir that details his amazing and compelling life. From a childhood tarnished because his father was on the run from the law, through his boarding school experiences at a Catholic seminary, to his days as a wealthy businessman involved with the Mafia, and his time spent in prison, the author’s life story reads like fiction, but is true. The miraculous conclusion of this tale again proves that without God life is indeed a jungle. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Kariss Lynch began her writing career in third grade when she created a story about a magical world for a class assignment. Since then, she has received a Bachelor of Arts in English with a specialization in creative writing from Texas Tech University. Kariss believes her readers should expect a journey. Readers can expect to see the beauty that God creates through broken lives and the adventure that comes when we follow the Lord. We serve a God of big dreams, daily adventure, and lasting hope. Making her home in Dallas, Texas, Kariss recently finished the Craftsman course through the Christian Writer’s Guild. She became a freelance writer and blogger for Demand Media Studios in January 2011. In March 2012, Kariss accepted the writer position in the Communications Ministry at First Baptist Dallas. She is very active with her church and family, is an avid Texas Tech fan, and enjoys photography and swimming in her spare time. (Agent: Sarah Freese)

New Contracts

Terry Brennan signed another contract with Kregel Publications for his next book The Brotherhood Conspiracy, a sequel to Sacred Cipher. Terry is in his 14th year of senior management for New York City nonprofits dealing with homelessness. Prior to his present focus with nonprofits, he had a 22-year career in journalism with the Pottstown (PA) Mercury, winning the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing while he was editor. His first novel, The Sacred Cipher, was published in 2009. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Rebecca DeMarino signed a three-book contract with Revell Books for her debut Blue Slate series. The first novel, A Love of Her Own, will be released in 2014, followed by Heather Flower and Pure Patience. A 2011 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist, Rebecca and her husband Tom live in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, Rebecca enjoys reading, running, gardening, and trying to keep up with her eleven grandchildren. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Steve Addison signed with IVP for What Jesus Started, a follow up book to his first release onMovements. Steve works with Church Resource Ministries in Austraila.(Agent: Greg Johnson)

Calvin Miller signed with Baker Books for The Vanishing Evangelical, a penetrating look back and forward on what has happened to the Church in the last 30 years, where it’s going, what good and what harm has been done, and what we can learn from it all.  This is the 61st book Greg has represented for Calvin in the last 18 years.  (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Joe Wheeler signed with Howard Books for The Civil War Stories of Abraham Lincoln, a follow up to his book: Abraham Lincoln: Man of Faith and Courage (also with Howard). One of America’s top-three story anthologizers, this is the 74th book Greg has represented for Joe, as well as his 64th short story collection. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Lauren Scruggs signed with Tyndale Houe Publishers for Still Solo: A Plane Ride, a Horrific Accident and a Family’s Journey of Hope. The book tells the story of losing Lauren losing her hand, her left eye, and becoming scarred for life after a tragic airplane propeller accident in December 2011. It is written with collaborator Marcus Brotherton, and it will be published this November. Also signed was a second book to young girls on body image. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Jonathan McKee signed with Youth Specialties/Zondervan for More 10-minute Youth Talks, a follow up to his previous book for youth pastors. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Ken Gire signed with eChristian/Mission Books for Finding God in the Hunger Games, an insta-ebook and follow up trade book on the spiritual themes in the book series and the new movie. The ebook will come out in June!  (Agent: Greg Johnson)

What We’re Celebrating

The Christy Awards committee has announced that Dancing on Glass (B&H Publishing Group) written by WordServe Literary author Pamela Binnings Ewen is one of three finalists in the Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas category. The winner will be announced at a dinner to be held at 7p.m. Monday, July 16, at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando.

Amy Sorrells is the grand prize winner of the 2011 Women of Faith Writing Contest for Comfort and Salvation (now titled Canary Song). Amy is a wife, mother, registered nurse, and blogger, but most importantly, she is a woman of faith and a WordServe client. Recently, Amy received an offer for the manuscript from a well-known publisher. More to come later. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Sarah Freese attended the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 19-21. She met with several editors and potential future WordServe authors. Various current WordServe authors, including Patty Kirk, Anne Lang Bundy, Leslie Leyland Fields, and Margot Starbuck, were in attendance, and a few of them presented on panels and led forums. Leslie and Patty’s forum was so full that people sitting in desks and on the floor had to make more room for people to stand around the perimeter of the room! The picture below doesn’t even show the room at its fullest.

What can we help you celebrate?

WordServe Literary News

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

 New Releases

More Beauty, Less Beast  Deb Coty’s new release with Barbour Publishers about “Transforming Your Inner Ogre.”

Engaging Today’s Prodigal Carol Barnier’s first release with Moody Publishers to help parents find hope if their child is away from the faith.

The Surrender  Book #3 in “The Last Cavaliers” series by Gilbert Morris with Barbour Publishers.

New WordServe Clients

Dawne Beckel, while born and raised in Ohio, traveled across the nation searching for inspiration and adventure. Before settling on a B.S. in Marketing, she pursued an English degree from The Ohio State University. In March of 2012 she received her M.S. in Marketing & Communications from Franklin University. Dawne combines her deep love of history and passion for writing to create enchanting Christian historical romance works. You may also find her operating her cooking blog where she shares recipes from her Italian roots, and she currently serves as the Marketing Director for Zumba Wild. (Agent: Sarah Freese).

Andrea Boeshaar has been writing stories and poems since she was a little girl; however, it wasn’t until 1991, after she became a Christian, that she answered God’s call to write exclusively for the Christian market. Since then Andrea has had more than 25 novels published as well as numerous novellas and nonfiction pieces. She has served on the Advisory Board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is one of the organization’s co-founders. In addition to her own writing, Andrea is a certified life coach and helps writers organize, prioritize, set goals, and work toward publication. Currently, she is working on her new Civil War historical romance series, Melodies of War. For more about Andrea, visit her website at www.andreaboeshaar.com. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Deborah DeArmond is a highly experienced and sought after executive coach, trainer, speaker, and facilitator, having worked in marketplace ministry with audiences at all levels across a broad spectrum of industries and organizations. She is an expert in the fields of leadership, communication, relationships, and conflict resolution. Deborah owns DeArmond and Associates, dedicated to helping others build successful solutions to the challenges they are facing. Deb is also the co-founder of MyPurposeNow.org, a website for Christian women 50+. Deb’s debut non-fiction project is titled Related by Chance, Family by Choice: Moms and Loving the Girls Who Married Our Sons. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Jan Drexler, with her Anabaptist upbringing and ancestral ties to the Amish church, brings a unique understanding of Amish traditions, doctrine, and theology to her writing. Her ancestors were among the first Amish immigrants to Pennsylvania, fleeing intense religious persecution in Europe in the 17th century, and then continuing west, arriving in northern Indiana in the mid-1800’s. Their experiences are the basis for her stories. Jan is a debut author and has written her first Amish novel titled Love Bears All Things. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Christina M. H. Powell, Ph.D., is a writer trained as a biomedical research scientist at Harvard University. She is also an ordained minister and public speaker. She conducted her doctoral research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School. After receiving her Ph.D., she performed research in the fields of bioinformatics and genetics at Harvard Medical School with a concurrent appointment at Massachusetts General Hospital, ranked the number one hospital in the country. As an undergraduate, she was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She has written extensively on bioethics and contemporary issues. Currently, she is writing her first book, Question Your Doubts: Discovering and Developing Authentic Faith, which explores the many roots of doubt while offering a corresponding response of faith to everyone whose heart struggles with unanswered questions. (Agent: Sarah Freese)

Donna Schlachter is a debut fiction writer, although she has published two gift books previously. To date she has completed five full-length novels and a novella. She is currently writing another full-length contemporary romance and a historical novella. Her current project is titled Counterfeit Honor. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

New Contracts

Deb Coty signed a new contract with Barbour Publishers for another book of felt need devotionals. With a working title of Fear, Faith and a Fistful of Chocolates, the book will help women reel in the fear that so easily entangles them. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Rick Johnson has agreed to write two new books for Revell, the first A Couple’s Guide to Romance. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Tracie Miles signed a contract with Leafwood Publishers for her debut non-fiction work titled Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in Your Chaotic World. Tracie is an international conference speaker for the popular and rapidly growing ministry known as Proverbs 31 Ministries and a monthly contributor to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Encouragement for Today devotions, which reach a half of a million people each day. (Agent: Barbara Scott)

Joe Wheeler has signed with Howard Publishers for a book of short stories about Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War Years. The book will be timed for release with the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. (Agent: Greg Johnson)

Jeremy and Jenny Williams have signed with Thomas Nelson to tell their story of A Season of Courage. Jeremy played college football, married his sweetheart and eventually started a family. One child was born with spina bifida, then Jeremy was stricken with Alzheimers–while still in his 30’s. While in a wheel chair, battling the effects of his dibilitating disease, his team won the State Championship in Georgia, and he was named National High School Coach of the Year. Extreme Home Makeover eventually did a show for them and built them a new home, but a docudrama was also produced and will soon be available (http://seasonofalifetime.tv/). (Agent: Greg Johnson)

What We’re Celebrating

Barbara Scott is in attendance at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Northern California from March 29 through April 3, where she is meeting with numerous editors and WordServe clients, as well as teaching afternoon workshops titled “What to Expect From an Agent” and “Follow Market Trends to Advance Your Career.”

Julie Cantrell’s book, Into the Free enjoyed a very strong February and early March, hitting the New York Times Bestseller list and, for three consecutive weeks, the USA Today’s Top-150. It continues to be among the top sellers at Amazon.com in ebooks for fiction.

What can we help you celebrate?

Write With Realistic Expectations

Aspiring or first-time authors sometimes hold the misconception that they will hit it big with their first book. Visions of bestsellers dance in their heads.

It’s time for a reality check from The Agent’s Desk. One of our jobs is to manage your expectations through every stage of this long process called publishing.

The statistics have not changed much in the years that I’ve been involved in the book industry. In the entire Kingdom of Books, which includes every title sold in every category—not just Christian—only ten percent of authors make a living solely by writing books.

The authors you meet at conferences may still have day jobs, or if they freelance, they edit manuscripts, ghostwrite books, or conduct their own writing workshops. Or they still have day jobs. They work all day and then come home and write their novels at night. Or if they’re early birds like me, they hop out of bed at 4 a.m. and sit down at the keyboard before rushing out the door to make it to work on time. Some pound out two or three pages every day while riding a commuter train.

Another group of writers may be blessed with a spouse who is the sole breadwinner of the family. Mothers who are writers take care of the kids and write during nap time. I’ve known stay-at-home writer dads as well. The whole family tightens the purse strings and lives on a budget.

Of course, a few authors inherited their fortunes and live on Fantasy Island.

Here’s the reality. The average Christian novel sells about 5,000 copies. Some sell less; some sell more. You notice I didn’t say that the first-time author only sells about 5,000 copies. No, that includes experienced and newbie authors as well. Do the math.

A smaller percentage may sell 10,000 to 15,000 books each time. This is our hope for you because it will assure you a place at the table and a long-term career. Now we enter more rarefied air.

A much smaller group sells 20,000 or 25,000 books, but those are usually long-time authors or a new author who happens to write a book that hits a nerve with readers. We hope you are the exception and will publish books in this range.

Only a handful of authors sell in the 50,000 to 100,000 or more range consistently. You know their names. They live on the bestseller lists. You see their names month after month and year after year on the CBA or ECPA bestseller lists.

Then, once in awhile, an author catches lightning in a bottle, and you have a series such as Left Behind or a single book title like The Shack.

So please, if you are a newcomer to publishing, adjust your expectations, and if you knock it out of the ballpark, you’ll be as ecstatic as your agent and your publisher. We pray for bestsellers!

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

WordServe Literary News

Exciting things have been happening at WordServe Literary!

On the final post of each month you’ll find a list of Water Cooler contributors’ books releasing in the upcoming month along with a recap of WordServe client news from the current month.

February New Releases

From Santa to Sexting
By Dr. Brenda Hunter and Kristen Blair
Leafwood Publishers
Non Fiction/Parenting

 

Something New
By Dianne Christner
Barbour Publishers
Historical Fiction

Into the Free
By Julie P. Cantrell
David C. Cook Publishers
                                                          

Sweeter Than Birdsong
By Rosslyn Elliot
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Historical Fiction

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 Agent News

Though Rachelle is “gone”, she’s still closing deals for her authors that were submitted last fall: Sandi Bricker got a 3-book contract with Moody for fiction; Billy Coffey a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson for his next two novels; Susie Eller with Regal for a non-fiction book on forgiveness, and several others.

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 Barbara’s New Clients

Dianna T. Benson, EMT and Haz-Mat Operative, is a suspense/thriller novelist.

Terry Brennan, author of The Sacred Cipher published by Kregel, writes political thrillers and is Vice President of the National Organization on Disability in Manhattan.

Ann Lang Bundy, is a former police officer, home-schools her five children, and is a lay Bible scholar. She writes long biblical fiction.

Mary Davis, authored numerous bestselling Barbour/Heartsong books and is writing a longer work of fiction.

Sharon A. Lavy, a member of the Old German Baptist Brethren and author of traditional Old Order fiction. Sharon lives with her husband on a farm in southwest Ohio.

Sandra Dionne Mooore, multi-published Barbour/Heartsong author, has written a longer historical fiction novel.

Stephanie Reed, is a published author and currently in the editing stage of an Amish novel for Kregel.

Amy K. Sorrells, a registered nurse, writes women’s fiction.

Janalyn Voigt, will publish her first epic fantasy novels with Harbourlight and is also writing historical fiction.

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Greg’s Request

Would appreciate prayers for Lauren Scruggs. She as the woman who was in that horrific airplane/propeller accident where she lost her left hand and eye before Christmas in Dallas, Texas. She’s the daughter of WordServe clients Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs (I Do Again).  She’s getting major media constantly contacting her (People magazine, and all of the morning and afternoon talk shows), and I’ve (naturally) been getting calls from publishers. She’ll be making a decision about whether to write a book about it all soon. If she does, it will likely be a family written book, as this experience has tested them all.

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Sarah’s New Client

Kimberly Vargas, Kimberly Vargas has created instructional design content for companies such as Capital One and GEICO, and she is the 2011 Reader’s Favorite award winner for the category of Fiction—Chick Lit for her novel, Gumbeaux.

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 Contract News from Greg

Heather James signed a three-book contract with Kregel Publishers for contemporary suspense. The novels are tentatively titled: Lure; Lust; Lies.  These are Heather’s first books! Kudos to Sarah Freese for helping with the proposal and manuscript.

The Center for Bible Engagement CEO Arnie Cole and Senior Writer Michael Ross signed their second contract with Bethany for a non-fiction book titled: Tempted, Tested, True: A Proven Path to Overcoming Soul-Robbing Behaviors  (their first book, Unstuck, comes out in May).

Using the research from nearly 20,000 surveys, the authors share the new research that reveals a solution to resisting its grip, untangling negative emotions, and breaking free from behaviors that rob our souls of the life God wants to give us.

Gilbert Morris signed a three-book contract with B&H Publishing Group for a historical series called “All That Glitters”. It’s a series set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.

Rich Marschall got a contract from Dover Publications for a reprint of 1987 book he wrote called: The Tough Coughs As He Ploughs the Dough: Early Writings and Cartoons by Dr. Seuss.  As a former syndicated cartoonist, Rick knew and knows all of the big-time cartoonists/authors from the day.

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 Other News from Greg

 Author Ken Gire has decided to give back to authors everywhere and do a month or two-month mentoring intensive for new or seasoned writers (reasonably priced). Ken has written both fiction and nonfiction, and is considered one of the finest devotional writers of our time (Intimate Moments with the Savior, among others).  If you or a writer you know is interested in hearing more about what it all entails, please contact me at greg@wordserveliterary.com or Ken directly at kengire@gmail.com. You can also find Ken on Facebook. Tell him you read about it on the WaterCooler. (He’s hoping to join us soon!)

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 That’s our good news for the month.

Please share yours in the comments so we can celebrate with you.

New Agent at WordServe!

Guest Post by Rachelle Gardner

Effective immediately, we at WordServe have added thirty years of experience to our service for authors with the addition of industry insider Barbara Scott as a new literary agent.

“Publishing continues to evolve, but finding and guiding the careers of new and established authors will always be a big need,” says 17-year agent Greg Johnson. “Barbara has worked as an in-house sales rep for a publisher as well as an editor, and authored numerous books of fiction and non-fiction. Her strong editorial eye, relational skills and professionalism make her a natural to join the WordServe team.”

Barbara Scott brings 30 years of publishing experience to WordServe having worked at Zondervan, McGraw-Hill, Honor Books, and most recently Abingdon Press where she developed and built the fiction line.

Barbara has partnered with best-selling authors such as Brandilyn Collins and Melody Carlson for the YA fiction line at Zondervan, and many of the authors in her fiction launch at Abingdon Press received rave reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. Two of her most recent authors at Abingdon Press, Cynthia Ruchti and Richard Mabry, have been nominated for Carol Awards by ACFW in 2011. The fiction line at Abingdon Press exceeded all sales expectations, and Barbara has been credited for kicking off a well-rounded series of quality, highly-reviewed novels.

I’m thrilled that I get to work alongside this talented lady, who is already well-loved in CBA. Please join me in welcoming Barbara to our team!

~Rachelle

P.S. Barbara won’t be at ACFW, but I’ll be there scouting projects for her!

What Barbara is Looking for:

Adult Fiction:
Full-length fiction, 65,000 to 100,000 words. General market or Christian market.
Genres: Women’s, Romance, Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Historical, Family Saga, Amish, Political Thrillers, Mainstream, Supernatural/Speculative, including End Times.

Short contemporary and historical fiction, 40,000 to 65,000 words. Christian market.
Genres: Romance, Historical, Romantic Suspense. Will accept queries for Barbour, Steeple Hill Love Inspired, Summerside Love Finds You, and Avon Inspire.

Kids:
Middle grade and YA books

Non-Fiction:
Both Christian market and general market projects. Current Affairs, Political, Management, Sales, Money, Home Life, Marriage, Family, Parenting, Health & Diet, How-to, Popular Culture, Psychology, Science, Self-Help, Women’s Issues, Devotionals. Authors should have established social media, consulting, or speaking platforms.

Christian theology, apologetics, pastoral, spiritual growth:
I will only take on this type of project if the author has well-known credentials and/or a large, established platform.

What she is NOT looking for:
• Gift books
• Poetry
• Short stories
• Screenplays
• Graphic novels
• Children’s picture books
• Horror

Contact Barbara Scott: barbara {at} wordserveliterary.com (This email might not be active yet – give it a couple days!)