June 23rd – 26th at Canby Grove Christian Center

Registration | Classes and Workshops | Faculty | Location and Lodging

More classes are coming soon!

Coaching Classes

“What I’ve Learned”

Here’s your chance to hear from people with a wide variety of experience in the business of publishing. Your hosts will offer you the wisdom they’ve gained, ending each session with a time for questions.

“Writing Your Spiritual Memoir” Jason Hague

Christian writers want to tell the world about their inner journey, but how can you tell if your story is compelling enough to write a book about? This coaching class will examine the difference between autobiography and memoir, the necessary components of a good memoir, and the reasons so many Christian memoirs fall flat. Together, we will discuss how to make our inner journeys compelling to the outside world.

“How to Get Published” Sherri Langton

Learn to focus on ideas, structure an article, submit manuscripts in correct format, understand manuscript rights, and write query letters. Also learn to study the Christian Writer’s Market Guide, writer’s guidelines, and magazines you want to write for.

“Creative Thievery” Taylor Bennett and Amy Earls

King Solomon said it first, and the great sages of today continue to quote him—there is nothing new under the sun. How, then, can an author expect to create something fresh, new, and eye-catching to compete with the beloved classics of the literary world? They can’t—which is why it’s important for writers to understand how to cleverly copy the techniques of their favorite authors in a way that influences their own unique style. In this workshop, Taylor and Amy will teach participants that copying the greats is different from stealing. Not only is it legal; it is also in fact encouraged! By both reading and writing in the style of some of literature’s enduring classics, authors in this class will learn how to give their writing a timeless, enduring quality that helps it remain relevant far into the future.

“Writing Satisfying Shorter Fiction” Erica Vetsch

Short stories, novellas, and category romances are in demand in the Christian fiction writing world, but not everyone is able to write shorter fiction effectively. In this class, we’ll discuss how to write satisfying stories that feel well-rounded and fleshed out, with compelling characters, in a compressed timeline, and with a limited cast. We’ll talk about when to break the rules of writing that you’ve worked so hard to learn and what readers—and editors—are looking for when it comes to writing novellas and category romances. We’ll talk about the market, novella collections, indie publishing, and traditional publishing options.


Session A: Monday 2:00–3:00

“The Writer’s Playground” Carmen Schober

Join us in this one-hour interactive workshop where we’ll transform the daunting marketing landscape into a creative playground for authors, making the journey both fun and productive. Authors will discover how to transform their social media and email marketing efforts into an engaging and results-driven adventure. We’ll explore creative strategies to make the process enjoyable while maximizing your impact. Learn how to infuse your unique voice into your online presence, get your readers invested, and develop a brand that you’re actually excited about building. From content creation to click-worthy email campaigns and special niches, this workshop will empower authors to take control of their online marketing journey. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, you’ll leave with actionable insights and a newfound enthusiasm for promoting your work.

“Screenwriting—Feature Films” Leann Barna

Learn the insider information of writing a feature film that will increase your project’s potential of being produced. Whether you are writing an original script or adapting a book, this workshop will cover how to write a powerful feature-length script and what producers and studios are looking for when choosing their projects.

“Trends in Children’s Publishing” Linda Howard

What’s popular in the publishing world, and who is the hottest author right now? Trends help us understand the felt needs of readers and can guide our publishing choices. Come learn about current trends in the industry and, just as importantly, learn how you can discover and follow trends on your own!

“Troubleshooting Your Unsold Novel” Nick Harrison

For 15 years Nick Harrison acquired and edited numerous novels for Harvest House Publishers. It always pained him when he had to say no to a promising writer. It came as no surprise that most of the novels he had to reject had common flaws—many of which were fixable. In this workshop Nick will reveal those common flaws aspiring writers make and offer suggestions as to how to fix the ailing manuscript. Attendees are invited to bring the first page of their present novel manuscript to class.

“Interacting with Publishing Professionals” Michelle Adserias

When you approach a publishing professional, you aren’t just pitching an idea. You’re pitching yourself. We’ll discuss how to present yourself, the writer, as someone a publishing professional—agent, editor or publisher—would be eager to work with. We’ll look at doing advance research, following established guidelines, having appropriate expectations, responding to feedback and all-around winning etiquette.

“Your Story Matters” Angela Ruth Strong

Inspirational experience and biblical application for why stories matter to others, yourself, and God. Before this workshop I’ll have a booth where I’ll pay $1 to everyone who tells me their story as a symbol of worth.

Session B: Monday 3:30–4:30

“Writing a Meditation for The Upper Room” Andrew Breeden

In this workshop participants will learn about making connections between their lives and what God is doing in the world. We will look at a published meditation and discuss it, and then participants will have the opportunity to write their own and submit it for possible publication in a future issue of The Upper Room, an international publication with a readership of more than four million people worldwide.

“Screenwriting—Television Series” Leann Barna

Television writing has changed significantly with the rise of the streaming service. Learn the secrets of writing a television series that will increase your project’s potential of being produced. Whether you are writing an original series or adapting a book, this class will cover how to write a binge-able television series and what producers and studios are looking for when choosing their long-term projects.

“Hitting the Right Pitch” Barbara Roose

Successfully Preparing to Pitch a Literary Agent. Pitching your book idea directly to a literary agent is arguably the best way to seek representation. Telling an agent about your project doesn’t have to be terrifying. Join coach and Books & Such literary agent, Barb Roose for a highly practical, nuts-n-bolts session on how to pitch to an agent. BONUS! Barb also has prepared a downloadable pitch guide to help you craft a winning presentation!

“Tightening Up Sagging Middles” Tara Johnson

Pilates, crunches, and jogging can’t fix what every writer fears . . . the dreaded sagging middle! Using award-winning stories and movie demonstrations, this workshop will explore why the middle is often a writer’s kryptonite, as well as tweaking the characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts, to turn problematic plots into exciting twists. In addition, Tara will lead writers through a discussion of how to fix their current works-in-progress and provide opportunities to workshop those pesky plots into stunning ideas.

“From Fact to Fascinating: Nonfiction Kids” Rachel Pfeiffer

Stories naturally engage young readers, and nonfiction can be engaging too. These tips for crafting fascinating nonfiction will help you write pieces that keep kids interested while they learn more about faith, history, science, and more.

“Brick by Brick: How to Build Your Story” Melanie Dobson

How do you build an engaging story from the opening image to your closing scene? This practical workshop will lay down the foundational bricks of narrative structure, conflict, and character transformation by providing the tools needed for both novelists and creative nonfiction writers to construct a compelling and unique story, one layer at a time.

“Marketing Wins and Losses” Blythe Daniel

Authors want to know: What is the best marketing for my book? Where should I spend my time and resources? Some say launch teams; some say interviews and reviews. Some say public events. How do I know what’s best for my book? Are there different elements I should be doing at different intervals prior to and after release? This workshop will look at the wins (what typically works!) and losses (what you could do but doesn’t always produce noticeable results) of marketing and how to help you plan and execute the best plan for you! (Fiction and Nonfiction covered)

Session C: Tuesday 2:00–3:00

“The Art of Devotional Writing” Rachel Dodge

If you love encouraging others, digging into Scripture, and marveling at God’s fingerprints on the everyday details of life, this workshop is for you. Devotional writing starts with noticing and note-taking; it’s about seeing the world with spiritual eyes. In this workshop, we will explore the different forms of devotional writing and learn practical tips for crafting devotions for a variety of platforms. Come learn how to find your niche and write devotions that touch hearts for Christ!

“Pitching Your Project as a Feature Film or Television Series” Leann Barna

Do you see your book as a movie or television show? Do you have a great original idea? Learn what producers and studios need to know when you’re pitching your original script or book for a feature film or television series. This class will cover the business side of the entertainment industry like financing, creating a pitch deck, and how distribution works. As a writer, it is important to understand the business aspects to make your writing producible.

“Songwriting for Novel Writers” Tara Johnson

Whether your character needs to craft a song for your work-in-progress or you’d like to learn the art of song yourself, songwriting isn’t so different from writing a novel. Using the techniques of meter, rhyme, form, figurative language and story arc, learn the foundation to crafting killer tunes, while sharpening your writing skills in the process.

“Partnering to Create Awareness and Sales for Your Book” Linda Howard

Now, more than ever, authors can make a difference in the sales of their books. Publishers are looking to authors to help get the word out about their books and drive sales. Come learn some tips and tricks for being a partner publishers dream about working with!

“First Five Pages: Strategies for Critiquing a Novel Manuscript” Melanie Dobson

Welcoming readers into your novel is like inviting a new friend into your home. What are the best ways to engage readers and inspire them to keep turning pages? How can you use these skills to revise your entire book? During this interactive workshop, we will explore the essentials of a well-crafted beginning and provide strategies to critique your full manuscript and grow your skills as a critique partner. Please bring the first five pages of your work-in-progress if you’d like to participate in a review.

“Viral-Level Branding” Taylor Bennett

Nearly a year after the “BarbenHeimer” summer of 2023, both movies nearly stole the show at the 2024 Academy Awards, despite their vastly different genres. What made these films so iconic as to inspire such mania . . . and even a viral fashion trend? It was their brand. As authors, we can’t expect to reach global popularity or even grab our own 15 minutes of fame if we aren’t well-branded in a way that appeals to not only publishers but also to potential readers. In this class, we will learn how to use free online applications to create a brand kit, strengthen our copywriting and author-bio-ing skills, and clearly define our brand goals in a way that will help us better articulate our marketing strategies to agents and publishers through book proposals.

Session D: Tuesday 3:30–4:30

“Body Language 101” Tara Johnson

Using Nonverbal Communication to Create Unforgettable Characters. Understanding body language, micro-expressions, and posture is the ultimate way to “show and not tell.” Since more than 50% of language is non-verbal, refusing to unearth our characters’ body language is a recipe for creating flat, one-dimensional fictional people. Body language adds tremendous depth to dialogue, sets tone, and shows readers how a character’s emotions reflect in their behavior. This workshop will teach the student how to use universal body language to give their characters rich emotion, as well as teach how to spot deception and bumps in verbal language that reveal inner motive. This class will also use examples from real life, including transcripts and videos from confessed serial killers and public figures.

“Bookkeeping Basics for Authors” S. E. Clancy

Looking for a quick primer on bookkeeping for authors? Come join me for a basic breakdown of why to keep good records and suggestions about what bookkeeping programs to use. Please note: although I work for an accounting firm, this workshop will not provide tax information.

“Writing for Focus on the Family” Rachel Pfeiffer

Focus on the Family offers many publishing opportunities both in print and online. Learn what marriage, parenting, teen, and children’s articles editors are looking for and where to send your submissions.

“The Inside Scoop on Getting Published” Barbara Roose

Getting traditionally published is hard, but it can be done with hard work in the right areas. Books & Such literary agent Barb Roose shares four areas for you to prioritize in your quest to get published. As a traditionally published author herself, Barb will also share helpful and practical tools to equip your next steps in your publishing journey.

“Elements of Fantasy” Morgan Busse

What are the unique aspects of writing in the fantasy genre? We will explore this question and more. Plus, we’ll look at world building and magic systems, balancing the Christian worldview in a speculative setting and fight scenes while suspending your readers’ belief so they engage in your story instead of drawing back. This workshop will benefit both new and advanced writers, as well as those who write in other speculative genres (such as science fiction, dystopian, steampunk, and more). So come and be ready to dive into the elements of fantasy!

“Red Carpet Reads” Angela Ruth Strong

I’ll share my experience with having one of my books made into a movie, getting to play an extra, and hosting the premiere as a fundraiser. This workshop will include steps to take for writers who want to pursue film options and writing adaptations.