Thursday, October 18, 2012

Meet you at the conference? by Terry Burns

Soon it will be time to head over to Marshall Texas to East Texas Baptist University for the East Texas Christian Writer's Conference. I've gone to this conference for a number of years and I love it.

Set on the shady, peaceful campus of ETBU it is an economical conference packed with lots of content and excellent presenters. The dates are October 26th and 27th, starting right after lunch on Friday and ending up about 5 pm on Saturday. The keynote speaker Friday evening will be James Watkins speaking on "I have a dream!"

I'm going to be talking about the difference in writing to reach the nonbeliever. Christian readers and nonbelievers look for different things in a book, Christians want a lot of faith content and they want it right from the get-go. But the very thing that they are looking for will cause a non-believer to put the book down. Many who say they are writing a 'crossover book' are actually writing a book that will not have enough faith content to satisfy the Christian publishers but with too much such content for the secular publishers. They end up in the 'no man's land' in between where neither want the book. A true crossover book is written for one market or the other but written in such a way that it manages to cross over to the other.

I'm also going to talk about how to develop a writer's persona. Many people are simply too shy to meet with editors and agents to pitch, or to do promotion or interviews, or the other activities a writer must do to be successful. There is a way to develop a writer's persona and pretty much hide behind it to do what we need to do. Others are about as shy as a chain saw but they are uncomfortable in such writing situations because they don't know how to present themselves as a writer. These are the totally opposite ends of the spectrum, but for both as well as all of the degrees in between, the answer is learning how to determine how we need to present ourselves as a writer and to project ourselves that way.

Finally, my third session will be a "look behind the curtain." I'll be talking about editor and agent pet peeves. Participants will hear a lot of things from a survey that Hartline agent Linda Glaz and I conducted, things that turn an agent or editor off. But there are also peeves that authors have about agents and editors as well, that sword cuts both ways. Those in the class will have the opportunity to unburden themselves with some of the things that bother them as well.

The conference is a short but content-packed event that people are sure to enjoy and sure to feel they really got their money's worth. Hope to see you there.

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