Today I’m honored to join the Christy Award Blog Tour and introduce you to Amy Green, senior fiction publicist at Bethany House Publishers. Amy’s enthusiasm is contagious as she shares about two upcoming events in Nashville for readers and future writers …
Hello, reading and writing friends! I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist at Bethany House Publishers. But today I’m here to talk about something else, an event that I’m excited to be a part of: the Art of Writing Conference and the Christy Awards Gala.
If you enjoy reading inspirational fiction, have always wanted to meet authors, or dream of writing a book yourself, this is a not-to-be-missed event. Here are some reasons why you should be there, in no particular order…
One: Meet or Reunite with Author Friends
I’ve been eavesdropping in writer circles lately, and I’m already getting excited about the authors who have already signed up. Events like these are the place to go if you’re an aspiring writer with a dream or a reader who’s always wanted to meet Christian fiction authors in person, and you’ll be blown away at how friendly everyone is. It’s a warm, welcoming community that you’ll love being a part of.
Two: Celebrate Christian Fiction
This is a genre I love, full of people and stories I love, so I know gathering dozens of us in the same place will make for an evening filled with joy. Besides that, the program for the gala itself is going to be fantastic. Karen Kingsbury is giving the keynote address, and I heard rumors that YA author Andrew Peterson is going to be singing. Plus there will be dramatic readings, Chris Fabry is our MC, and of course the awards themselves are exciting to watch. All of it adds up to make a wonderful evening of cheering on authors who have put countless hours into creating great art.
Note: even if you’re “just a reader” and the conference workshops wouldn’t interest you, you’re invited to the gala dinner. If you’re in the Nashville area or are willing to make the trip, we’d love to have you (and you’d probably get a chance to track down a few autographs from the authors in attendance).
Three: Get Fancy
I love a red carpet event for an excuse to dress up, enjoy the atmosphere, and pretend I know how to eat a meal with more than one fork set out. There are always varying levels of dressiness at the Christy Awards—anywhere from Sunday-spiffy to glittery formal and everything in between, but generally people like to have a reason to wear something fancier than they usually would.
Four: Talk About Industry Issues with Key Decision-Makers
For this, I’m specifically talking about The Art of Writing event before the Christy gala. Take a look at the workshops for fiction authors that will be going on. It’s great to discuss these interesting questions and issues online, but I’ve found that often writers talk to other writers and publishers talk to other publishers. This is one place where people on both sides of the desk will be gathering to exchange ideas and start conversations. And it’s conversations like these that shape the future of where Christian fiction will go next. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?
Unlike a longer conference, there aren’t ways to sign up for formal appointments with agents and editors. However, it’s a great time to make connections with those people and with other writers in a more relaxed atmosphere. At a writing retreat I went on, one agent recently said that talking to writers in non-pitch settings helps her know if they’d be a good fit. With that in mind, there will be time set aside to network after the workshops, including with the author services and other partners who will be in attendance.
For connecting with other writers, be sure to bring a stack of business cards and find a way to stay in touch after the event is over—it’s great to form connections within the writing community that will later be helpful if you need to ask for or give critiques, marketing advice, and endorsements.
Six: Learn in a Cost-Effective Way
Multi-day conferences are awesome. They’re also really expensive. That’s why we specifically set the price for the workshops and the gala dinner together at $99. This day of workshops is a great way to make connections and download tons of information on the publishing industry in a short period of time. The session topics were taken directly from a list of what writers and publishers wanted to talk about, and they’re designed to be highly practical. As of right now, we won’t have the technology in place to record the sessions (sorry to all of you who can’t come!), so this is your one chance. You won’t want to miss them!
Seven: Explore Nashville
Because of Tamera Alexander’s books, I’ve had the Belmont and Belle Meade mansions on my to-visit list for a while now, and apparently the Parthenon is impressive too. Not to mention the state museum and the wide range of country music sights to see. Also, the barbecue is incredible! If you’re stopping in for the Christys, stay a day or two and look around Nashville. (Any excuse for a vacation, right?)
Eight: Meet Me!
Honestly, this one is more for me than for you. I’m not particularly cool or exciting, especially when I’m in a room full of Christian fiction authors. That said, I do enjoy meeting new people, particularly those who love books as much as I do.
We’d love to see you at the upcoming Art of Writing Conference and Christy Awards! You can find out more about the event below, or if you’re already convinced, you can register here.
About the Art of Writing Conference: The Art of Writing is designed to bring Christian creatives and publishing curators together for a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking.
The speakers represent a wide range of roles and areas of expertise. Andrew Peterson, young adult writer and founder of the Rabbit Room, will give advice on how to create and benefit from a vibrant creative community, while Wheaton College professor Theon Hill, Ph.D. will present a survey of the obstacles and opportunities of diversity in Christian fiction. Authors will receive encouragement for the ups and downs of the writing life from blogger Carrie Schmidt and author, agent, and ACFW public relations liaison Cynthia Ruchti. Finally, a panel of representatives from major ECPA publishers will share insider information on where the genre has been, where it’s going, and the exciting changes they see in today’s market for writers. Learn more about the speakers and sessions here.
About the Christy Awards: The Christy Award™ is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres. The award is named for Catherine Marshall’s enduring bestselling novel, Christy, published in 1967 and inspiring a continuing book series and a CBS television series starring Kellie Martin. The novel will be re-released in 2017 in a 50th anniversary legacy edition by Gilead Publishing in partnership with Kregel Publications.
Hosted by award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry, this year’s celebration gala dinner will feature New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as well as musician and writer Andrew Peterson. You can view the finalist list here.
Monday, October 9: Top Ten Writing Industry Issues at Seekerville
Tuesday, October 10: Give Us Your Best Questions at By the Book
Wednesday, October 11: Interview with Dr. Theon Hill at Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, October 12: Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway! at Bethany House Fiction
Friday, October 13: Quiz: Pick Your Gala Dress at Dani Pettrey’s blog
Saturday, October 14: Eight Reasons to Come to The Art of Writing at The Power of Words
Sunday, October 15: Interview with Carrie Schmidt at Bookworm Mama
Monday, October 16: Interview with Cynthia Ruchti at Just Commonly
Tuesday, October 17: Christy Nominee Bingo and Giveaway at Faithfully Bookish
Wednesday, October 18: The Unofficial Readers’ Choice Cover Awards at Singing Librarian Books