Why Write for the Magazine Market?

A Guest Post by Carolyn Tomlin

A writer has many opportunities to share the Good News of Christ.  Writing for the magazine and newspaper market, I speak to millions of people each year. For example, Mature Living Magazine, published by LifeWay has a printed circulation of approximately 350,000. Editors tell me that at least three people read each issue. With this one magazine, that is over 1 million readers. If a magazine writer publishes three or four articles weekly, they touch millions of lives each year. And there is no way to measure those who read magazines online!

In teaching the Boot Camp for Christian Writers, I encourage new writers to begin with the magazine/newspaper market instead of books. Everyone can be successful. Everyone can publish. Everyone can see their name in print. That is…if you are willing to study this trade.

My suggestions: know the publication and know the reader (your audience). Read from other writers, read at least 3 current back issues of the magazine you want to write, come up with fresh ideas that meet the tone and style of those already published, meet the deadline, and be a writer who can take constructive criticism from an editor. And networking with editors and becoming a friend they can count on is of utmost importance.

If you want to have success as a writer, start with the magazine and newspaper market. They need writers! They need you!

Meet Carolyn

Carolyn Tomlin had taught 33 years in public school and at Union University when she heard God calling her to write for the Christian market and to help others learn this skill. Today, she co-teaches the Boot Camp for Christian Writers and has taught over 3,000 people to write-to-publish. Her published magazine and newspaper articles number over 4,500 in both the Christian and secular markets. She’s published 17 books which are mostly focused on teaching writing skills. Carolyn is married to Dr. Matt Tomlin, a Baptist minister. They have two adult children and six grandchildren. Shelter dog Ernest Miller Hemingway shares his life with their family and visits nursing homes with Tomlin. https://carolyntomlin.com.

Carolyn’s Workshop

The Four Articles Editors Love and How to Write Them!

This workshop shows an easy format for writing the four basic articles for magazines and newspapers. You will learn how to select and know the magazine, identify the reader, and write a query letter that catches the attention of the editor and results in a contract.


Ex Nihilo: Thoughts from a Blank Page

A Guest Post by Jon Woodhams, Guideposts Books

Genesis 1:2 tells us that, at the beginning of time, “the earth was formless and empty” (NIV) or, as the King James Version puts it so poetically, “without form, and void.” Much like the blank Word document that greeted me as I sat down to write this post.

God took the blank page of an unformed world, the formless void and, using words, made something from it in the act of Creation. As beings made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), humans have inherited this amazing trait (albeit on a much smaller scale) from our heavenly Father: the ability to create, to make something where nothing existed before.

But Scripture also tells believers to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1, ESV), and for the Christian writer, the very act of sitting down to write, to create something from nothing, gives us an opportunity to follow in God’s footsteps in a unique way that goes even beyond human creativity.

This is not to say that the task isn’t daunting. Not to say it isn’t work. Scripture tells us that God “rested” on the seventh day after doing the work of Creation for the first six. We are referred to as God’s “workmanship” (KJV) or “handiwork” (NIV). So while we can derive great joy from seeing the results of our efforts, much as we know God did when He “saw all that he had made, and it was very good,” we also know that it takes work, dedication, and discipline to put words on the page.

And it also takes skill. Exodus tells us about the craftsman Bezalel, who, in addition to being “filled with the Spirit of God” (the same Spirit that indwells us as Christians today), had “understanding, . . . knowledge and . . . all kinds of skills” (NIV).

Which brings us to the MSCWC. You already have the intrinsic creativity that God bestowed on us, and the opportunity to imitate God in His creativity. But this conference affords you a unique opportunity to hone your understanding, your knowledge, and the skills needed to pursue the craft of writing.

I hope you’ll take full advantage, and I look forward to seeing you there. Enjoy!

Meet Jon

Jon Woodhams has been involved in Christian publishing for more years than he cares to admit. He has worked for David C. Cook, in curriculum development and fiction editorial, and for WaterBrook Multnomah. He has been an editor with Guideposts fiction since 2011, and his series, Miracles of Marble Cove, Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, Mysteries of Silver Peak, and Tearoom Mysterious have more than a million copies in print. A native of Michigan, he now lives in the Memphis area.

Jon’s Workshop

Writing for Continuity Fiction Series

Using Guideposts’ successful fiction series as a model, the workshop will explore the often-untapped potential of writing for continuity fiction series. In addition to learning about Guideposts’ unique place in Christian fiction, topics will include how the Guideposts model works, the ideal writer for a continuity series, how writers collaborate to create a series, the unique skill set needed to succeed as a continuity writer, and more.

No Agent Required

A Guest Post by Alice Faye Duncan

Do you write picture books for young readers?

I have good news.  An agent is not required to sell your work.  However, finding a respected editor to buy your manuscript(s) will require a great investment of research and time. It can be done.  Here is how I did it.

  1. Write and re-write your manuscript before sharing it with an editor.

My first picture book was Willie Jerome (Simon and Schuster). I shared the first draft with my college professor.  She called it “too quiet.”  I rewrote the manuscript and shared the second draft with my critique group.  They highlighted areas in the plot which needed to be refined.  I followed much of their advice and re-wrote the story again.

You will learn that only revising a text will make the words—SING!


When you have polished your draft, you will need to purchase the CWAIM reference book to identify a list of editors who accept unsolicited picture book manuscripts. I identified thirty publishing houses seeking unsolicited manuscripts. In 1995, I wrote down each editor’s name and NYC mailing address.  In this age of high technology and email, you will write down each editor’s email address.

  1. Write a brief submission letter and edit it until it sparkles with your personality.

Once you identify several editors seeking unsolicited manuscripts, you should draft a submission letter that introduces you and your manuscript. The CWAIM gives tips on writing submission letters and queries. I suggest that you edit your submission letter until it sparkles with your personality. This letter is your personal introduction to the editor.  You want to “look your best.”

  1. Email your submission letter and manuscript to editors on your list.

When you have drafted your submission letter, you will then email each of the editors identified from your CWAIM list.  Include your manuscript and be sure to document (somewhere for safe-keeping), the editors who have received your submission. Then wait for a response. It will take four to six weeks before you hear from editors.

A few may reply with an evaluation of your manuscript.  Some will provide a perfunctory rejection notice. Some editors might reject your manuscript, but at the same time, encourage you to send them more work. If your manuscript is ripe for the picking, one or two editors will offer you a publishing contract.

This process works.  Try it and see.

Write ON!

Meet Alice Faye

Alice Faye Duncan is a librarian in Memphis, Tennessee.  She writes fiction and non-fiction for children and has been writing picture books for Simon and Schuster since 1995. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 will be released in September 2018.  Her book 12 Days of Christmas in Tennessee will be released in September 2019.  Visit Alice Faye’s website at http://www.alicefayeduncan.com

Alice Faye’s Workshop

The Future Has a Past: Writing Non-Fiction and Historical Fiction for Today’s  Generation

Children, teenagers, and adults need captivating history books and historical novels that inform and inspire. This session will offer writing tips and primary resource tools for non-fiction writers and novelists interested in writing about historical events.

Happy New Year’s!

Here’s an easy resolution to make this year:

Attend the

2018 Mid-South Christian Writers Conference


You’ll have the opportunity to network with other writers, meet with writing professionals, and attend three (out of nine) workshops.

Plus you’ll be encouraged, uplifted, and entertained by this year’s keynote speaker, the Master of Seatbelt Suspense®, Brandilyn Collins.

We hope to see you there!

Until then . . . Happy New Year!

MSCWC Special Events

Friday Night Meet and Greet

MSCWC and Guideposts sponsor a “Meet and Greet” event on Friday , March 16, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., All registered attendees, faculty, and staff are invited to meet at Collierville First Baptist Church for light snacks and fellowship. This popular event gives attendees additional opportunities to speak with editors and authors about their writing as well as network with other writers.


A bookstore is a writer’s dream . . . and at the MSCWC, it’s a dream come true!

Your next “favorite book” is sure to be in our bookstore.  Or perhaps you’ll find someone offering a service you need for your writing journey.

If you’re a published author or provide services to writers, be sure to reserve a table when you register.

One-on-One Appointments

Attendees can schedule appointments to meet with publishing professionals during the workshop sessions on Saturday, March 17th. This is a great time to receive feedback on your writing projects.





Friday Workshop: Seven Steps to Successful Self-Publishing

We’re offering something new this year at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

On Friday, March 16th, best-selling indie author Hallee Bridgeman will teach Seven Steps to Successful Self-Publishing, including tips and tricks for the current market.

This four-hour version of the workshop Hallee presented last year will allow her time to discuss topics on a more complex level.

With more than a half million book sales, Hallee is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping, exciting and edgy.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the American Christian Writers (ACW), and Novelists, Inc. (NINC).

Learn more about Hallee at her website

The workshop costs an additional $35 with conference registration or $55 for the Friday workshop alone. To register, click here.