Please note: all times are Eastern; end times are approximate

All sessions can be viewed at the times indicated below, or for 3 months following the conference

All times and sessions are subject to change

Book discussions with each author are an opportunity for you to learn more about our speakers’ books and to ask them questions.

Monday November 16 

  • 8:30 – 9:00 Eastern: Worship
  • 9:00 – 9:45 Eastern: Diana Butler Bass keynote presentation – learn more about Diana here
  • 9:45 – 10:15 Eastern: Diana Butler Bass Q&A
  • 10:15 – 10:30 Eastern: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:15 Eastern: Amy Julia Becker presentation: “Writing about Hard Topics” – learn more about Amy Julia here
    • Disease, death, grief, prejudice, even faith–all of these are topics we are told to avoid at the dinner table. But writing well about topics that help us explore the deep human questions of meaning and purpose is also crucial for engagement with what it means to be human and live in community with others. How do we craft narratives about the hard stuff of life in a way that welcomes readers and encourages thoughtfulness? How do we make particular experiences into stories that resonate with a broad audience? In a world of endless light content, short attention spans, and ceaseless opportunities to be entertained, how do we write stories that draw readers in and help them think and grow?
  • 11:15 – 12:15 Eastern: Amy Julia Becker Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:15 – 1:30 Eastern: Break
  • 1:30 – 2:45 Eastern: Parker Palmer interview and Q&A about writing – learn more about Parker here
  • 2:45 – 3:00 Eastern: Break
  • 3:00 – 3:45 Eastern: Karoline Lews (Luther Seminary) presentation – “Embodied Writing” – learn more about Karoline here
    • We all know that writing has an autobiographical element but awareness of our ideologies and commitments can make our writing more honest and accessible. This session will explore the ways in which writing reveals character and in doing so, communicates authenticity and credibility. At stake in genuineness and intentional self-reflection is the trustworthiness of your voice and a reader’s willingness to believe you.
  • 3:45 – 4:45 Eastern: Karoline Lews (Luther Seminary) Q&A and book discussion
  • 4:45 – 5:15 Eastern: Diana Butler Bass book discussion and Q&A
  • 5:15 – 6:00 Eastern: Virtual panel: Many Paths to Publishing
    • Several video interviews with authors where they describe how they got their first, or subsequent, book deal(s). Our panel members are Sarah Arthur, Sophfronia Scott, Jeff Munroe, Jennifer Grant, Patricia Raybon, and Kathy Izard. Also bonus thoughts from literary agent Kathryn Helmers describing the roles of an agent.

Tuesday November 17

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Eastern: Sophfronia Scott presentation: “The Voice of the Spiritual Story: What You Have to Offer” – learn more about Sophfronia here
    • We all have our own story, a personal narrative of significant events that make us who we are today. We come to know God through these stories and through the relationships we develop when we share them. In this insightful program novelist and memoirist Sophfronia Scott will discuss how to develop and understand the unique voice you present on the page and how it can help you express your own spirituality.
  • 9:15 – 10:15 Eastern: Sophfronia Scott Q&A and book discussion
  • 10:15 – 10:30 Eastern: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:15 Eastern: Jana Riess presentation “Writing about Spirituality without Preaching” – learn more about Jana here
    • Many spirituality authors want to broaden their readership beyond the usual “churched” audience but don’t know how to do so. With religious disaffiliation on the rise, it’s vital for writers to learn how to communicate with readers who are interested in spirituality but don’t want authors to preach at them or judge them. In this session, we’ll look at successful examples of authors who don’t talk down to their readers but also manage to meet them where they are, conveying real-world spiritual messages with love, humor, and skillful writing.
  • 11:15 – 12:15 Eastern: Jana Riess Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:15 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Sharon Koenig presentation “When a writer’s belief system changes publicly” – learn more about Sharon here
    • Writers grow in the public eye, and sometimes that means changing our views and correcting our past opinions.  To be authentic and overcome the “imposter syndrome”, a writer needs to feel comfortable with change, imperfection, and sometimes rejection. I will share with you my own story of change as well as other writers’ experiences and what I would do differently. We will look at the freedom to write; how to cope with criticism and ways to prepare for a possible change of audience.  Learn to be authentic and true to yourself.
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Sharon Koenig Q&A and book discussion
  • 2:45 – 3:00 Eastern: Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00 Eastern: Open mic
  • 4:15 – 4:45 Eastern: Emerging author series: Bonnie Hardy – learn more about Bonnie here
  • 5:00 – 5:30 Eastern: Emerging author series: Nathan Day Wilson – learn more about Nathan here

Wednesday November 18

  • 9:00 – 9:45 Eastern: Diana Butler Bass keynote presentation
  • 9:45 – 10:15 Eastern: Diana Butler Bass Q&A
  • 10:15 – 10:30 Eastern: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:45 Eastern: Parker Palmer interview and Q&A about his books
  • 11:45 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Lil Copan (Broadleaf Books) presentation “20 Things Publishers Consider When Looking at a Nonfiction Proposal” – learn more about Lil here
    • When publishers review book proposals, they are looking for so many more things than a big platform and well-crafted prose. Those help — but there are other things that lead to a contract offer.  We’ll look at 20 things to consider when building out your proposal and looking at a good fit with a potential publisher. Keeping these in mind can make a difference for finding a publisher as well as thinking about your own writing more clearly.
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Lil Copan (Broadleaf Books) Q&A and book discussion
  • 2:45 – 3:00 Eastern: Break
  • 3:00 – 3:45 Eastern: Vivian Mabuni presentation: “Writing: An Act of Worship” – learn more about Vivian here
    • Paul describes believers as God’s workmanship/masterpiece created for good works which are prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). All we do and who we are is an act of worship, including our writing. Join author, Vivian Mabuni, as she shares her writing journey which birthed out of her cancer diagnosis. Vivian will cover perspectives and some of the lessons from the Scriptures she has learned as an often insecure writer.
  • 3:45 – 4:45 Eastern: Vivian Mabuni Q&A and book discussion
  • 4:45 – 5:15 Eastern: Emerging author series: Molly LaCroix – learn more about Molly here
  • 5:30 – 6:30 Eastern: Rev. Adam Thomas: ​“Self-Publishing Your Book”
    • Author/editor/designer Adam Thomas takes you on the design journey from manuscript to finished paperback and responds to your questions about independent publishing. Learn more about Adam’s services here.

Thursday November 19

  • 9:00 – 9:30 Eastern: Emerging author series: Willard Ashley – learn more about Willard here
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Eastern: TBA
  • 10:00 – 10:15 Eastern: Break
  • 10:15 – 11:00 Eastern: Lyn Cryderman (former leader at both Zonderzan and Christianity Today) presentation: “Turn Your Sermon Series into a Book” – learn more about Lyn here
    • Pastors communicate largely through the oral tradition of a sermon. Increasingly, contemporary pastors develop a series of sermons around a single theme or extended biblical passage. The study, research, and creativity that goes into a sermon series could be the foundation of a book-length manuscript. In fact, many best-selling books written by popular preachers began as a sermon series. In this workshop we will look at practical ways to turn a sermon series into a book, extending your audience from the people who attend your church to a broader one reached either through a commercial publisher or through self-publishing. Among other things we will look at the difference—and similarities—between written and oral communication, how to determine market viability, getting editorial input from your congregation, and developing your voice as a writer.
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Eastern: Lyn Cryderman (former leader at both Zonderzan and Christianity Today) Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:15 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Greg Johnson (WordServe Literary) presentation: Getting to the Third Level of Publishing Success (or How to Know For Sure, For Sure, For Sure, you’re ready for traditional publishing) – learn more about Greg here
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Greg Johnson (WordServe Literary) Q&A and book discussion
  • 2:45 – 3:00 Eastern: Break
  • 3:00 – 4:30 Eastern: Philip Yancey interview and Q&A about writing, followed by a discussion about his books
  • 4:45 – 5:15 Eastern: Emerging author series: Dorina Lazo Gilmore – learn more about Dorina here

Friday November 20

  • 8:30 – 9:15 Eastern: Lyn Cryderman (former leader at both Zonderzan and Christianity Today) presentation: “Becoming a Writer—the Long View” – learn more about Lyn here
    • Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was rejected thirty times by various agents and publishers. His perseverance paid off. Carrie has earned King more than $39 million in royalties. King was young, inexperienced, and almost gave up writing several times. This workshop is for the person in the early stages of thinking about writing. You likely do not have much of a social media platform (nonexistent when King started). You have not gained enough experience or writing credits to be accepted by an agent, let alone a publisher. Realistically, you are probably a couple of years away from even considering self-publishing. But you are serious about becoming a writer. Where do you start? What things need to happen before you can experience success as a writer? What, in fact, constitutes success? Attending this workshop will not guarantee that you earn $39 million. But it will show you what to do, what to avoid, and how to move from unsure and unpublished to confident and published.
  • 9:15 – 10:15 Eastern: Lyn Cryderman (former leader at both Zonderzan and Christianity Today) Q&A and book discussion
  • 10:15 – 10:30 Eastern: Break
  • 10:30 – 11:15 Eastern: Deborah Arca, Chalice Press – learn more about Deborah here
  • 11:15 – 12:15 Eastern: Deborah Arca, Chalice Press Q&A and book discussion
  • 12:15 – 1:00 Eastern: Break
  • 1:00 – 1:45 Eastern: Brandan Robertson presentation: The Spiritual Journey Of Publishing: Lessons From A Young Writer” – learn more about Brandan here
    • In this session, author Brandan Robertson will discuss the lessons he’s learned- both spiritual and practical- along his own journey of writing and publishing eight books. This session is intended for new and aspiring authors to learn about the real, raw experience of publishing- both on the individual and professional level, and help them to create healthy expectations for their journey to birthing a book.
  • 1:45 – 2:45 Eastern: Brandan Robertson Q&A and book discussion

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