In November, Christian authors and publishing professionals will be in Nashville, Tenn., for The Christy Award Gala and The Art of Writing Conference. The Christy Awards, which celebrate the best Christian fiction of the year, will be hosted the night of Nov. 7 by Francine Rivers, Charles Martin, Carla Laureano, and Cynthia Ruchti.

The Art of Writing Conference, held the afternoon of the Gala, will feature intensive seminars for writers and publishers. Tickets for the Art of Writing conference and The Christy Award Gala are available for a special bundle price of only $99. Individual event tickets are $69. Find out more at

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The Art Of Writing conference will bring together writers, authors and publishing curators, offering intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life and provide practical tips for the challenges in this rapidly changing industry.

The opening session will share the closing session of the ECPA publisher event PubU, featuring Donald Miller, CEO/Founder of StoryBrand and New York Times bestselling author. Other sessions will be led by respected authors Jerry Jenkins, Charles Martin, Carla Laureano, Sarah Arthur, Amy Green, Christian publishing executives, and more.

Both events will be held at Lipscomb University in Nashville.

“We launched the Art of Writing conference in 2017 to provide writers and publishers with practical tools to help them get better at their craft,” says Stan Jantz, ECPA president. “With so many renown authors and experts already on board, there’s no question the 2018 Art of Writing Conference will be even stronger and more valuable.”

Sessions are curated by Amy Green, senior fiction publicist at Bethany House Publishers. Green explains the philosophy of the conference:

“There are issues that everyone in the world of Christian fiction cares about, but for the most part, aspiring writers, established authors, editors, marketers, agents, and other professionals discuss these issues in their own small groups. What I love about The Art of Writing Conference is that it enables all of us to gather together in person and have conversations about big picture issues in the industry. We can learn so much from others’ unique perspectives.”

The afternoon Art of Writing Conference sessions are:

How StoryBrand Inspires Publishers and Writers with Donald Miller
Donald Miller is the CEO of StoryBrand and every year helps more than 3,000 leaders clarify their message. Combined, Don’s books have spent more than a year on the New York Times bestsellers list. His books include: Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and Scary Close. Don is widely considered one of the most entertaining and informative speakers in the world. His audiences are challenged to lean into their own story, creatively develop and execute the story of their team, and understand the story of their customers so they can serve them with passion. Don’s thoughts on story have deeply influenced leaders and teams for Pantene, Ford/Lincoln, Zaxby’s, Chick-fil-A, Steelcase, Intel, Prime Lending and thousands more.

Difficult Topics, Happily Ever After, and Hope 
This panel of authors will share their thoughts on how to connect effectively with today’s reader. Are there any topics that turn audiences away? How do you deal with negative feedback from readers…or editors? What are the best ways to include spiritual truth without seeming heavy-handed or preachy? Beth Adams will lead a panel of authors (Jerry Jenkins, Carla Laureano, Charles Martin, Joanne Bischof) in the session, as the experts give specific, practical advice from their varying perspectives.

Mythbusters: Publishing Edition with Bethany House senior fiction publicist Amy Green and a panel of Christian publishing executives
With all the confusing—and sometimes conflicting—advice about writing careers and publishing, it’s sometimes hard to know what to believe. We’ve polled editorial and marketing staff at large and small Christian publishing companies to get their thoughts on ten common questions submitted by authors at all points in their career. This session will take you through the data and sort myth from fact, along with a detailed handout breaking down information about everything from publisher etiquette to sales trends to the future of the genre as a whole. Dan Balow (Gilead) and Shannon Marchese (WaterBrook and Multnomah) join Amy Green (Bethany House) in presenting a “Mythbusters” session for writers that will sort myth from fact on the ten most common questions authors ask publishers.


Learning from the Masters with Sarah Arthur
Sarah is the author of the forthcoming spiritual memoir of Madeline L’Engle A Light So Lovely,founding member of the C.S. Lewis Festival, and former writer-in-residence for the Frederick Buechner Writers Workshop at Princeton Theological Seminary
Have you ever wondered how to make your stories stand out or develop the “fresh and original” voice editors are always looking for? Sometimes to create something new, you have to return to something old. This session will give practical tips to contemporary writers by examining classical fiction, answering questions like, “What about these timeless characters captured our imagination?” and “How did these authors weave beautiful redemptive truths into their writing so seamlessly?” By joining with the great Christian creatives who have gone before us, authors can add depth to their stories and celebrate where Christian fiction is going next.

Following the Art of Writing Conference, attendees will have time to mingle and build community with other authors, editors, and industry leaders before the 19th annual Christy Awards Gala. The awards program will begin at 7pm in Lipsomb University’s Shamblin Theatre, featuring authors Francine Rivers, Cynthia Ruchti, Charles Martin, Carla Laureano, and Sarah Arthur.


For registration and information go to

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About The Author

Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life. Photo © Anna Reichenberg