Allen Arnold, recipient of the 2012 ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award, spent 20 years as a leader within Christian Publishing. He was founder and publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction, overseeing the launch of more than 500 novels spanning every imaginable genre. Today, he directs Content at Ransomed Heart – a ministry led by New York Times Bestselling Author John Eldredge–and pursues his calling to the larger creative community by helping storytellers, songwriters and artists discover how to intimately and actively create with God.
Hallee Bridgeman 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 loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.
Kristy Cambron fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books of 2014 and 2015, and nominated for Inspirational Book of the Year in RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards for 2014 and 2015. Kristy has 15 years communications experience for a Fortune-100 company. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a coconut-mocha latte and a classic film.
Julie Gwinn, currently a literary agent with The Seymour Agency, has more than a decade in Christian publishing including serving as marketing manager then Fiction Publisher for B&H Publishing Group and Marketing Manager for Abingdon Press. Prior to joining the publishing industry, Gwinn has more than 20 years’ experience in advertising, marketing and public relations. She uses her previous experience to aid her authors at every phase of their publishing plan.
She lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband and two children and also enjoys freelance editing, and DIY projects around the house.
Erin Healy is an award-winning editor and the author of ten novels. For more than seventeen years she has been helping novelists develop their manuscripts, gaining wisdom from both sides of the desk. This year at ACFW she’ll bring her hybrid experience to authors, helping them to improve their storytelling skills by developing an editor’s eye for their own work. Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Academy of Christian Editors.
Natasha Kern has personally over 1,500 books. The agency has sold books to every major publisher and to most medium-sized presses in both ABA and CBA. Her list includes: mainstream women’s fiction, romantic suspense and romantic comedies; contemporary and historical romances; ethnic, Amish and Biblical fiction as well as thrillers, mysteries and suspense. Her clients include several New York Times best-selling authors, USA Today Best Sellers; RITA winners an Edgar winner, and Christy winners or finalists including Tamera Alexander, Robin Lee Hatcher, Siri Mitchell and Cathy Gohlke as well as ACFW/Carol award winners including Mary Connealy, Julie Lessman and Melissa Jagears in addition to several ECPA best-selling writers including Beth Wiseman and Kathleen Morgan. She has assisted several writers to move from CBA to ABA and also vice versa. Information about the agency is available on the Internet at http://www.natashakern.com.
WS 9: Working with an Agent in the New Publishing Economy: Sophomore
WS 15: Being Traditional AND Indie: Senior
Chip MacGregor is a longtime literary agent in CBA. He has represented a couple hundred CBA novels, and works with both Christian and general market authors. He writes regularly at http://www.chipmacgregor.com a blo,g that explores author questions about writing and publishing.
Ami McConnell serves as VP and Editor-in-Chief at Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Her editing credits include New York Times bestsellers as well as RITA, Carol, and Christy award winners. She has edited renowned authors Colleen Coble, Ted Dekker, Homer Hickam, Karen Kingsbury, Max Lucado, Frank Peretti, and Wm. Paul Young, among others, and has been recognized for excellence by the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She formerly served on the Advisory Board of The Buechner Institute at King College and is an active board member of the Women’s National Book Association, Nashville Chapter. She and her family live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ane Mulligan and her critique partners have been together for over 12
years. They started their journey together as raw newbies, grew in the
craft, and are now all multi-published. Ane mentors the Penwrights, a large
critique group that has seen most of its members published. She led ACFW’s
monthly course on Critiquing for two years and knows the attitude necessary
to give and receive critiques, how to be tough on each other and dig deep,
while remaining encouraging. The author of four novels, a short story, and a
cookbook, Ane lives in Georgia with her husband, who doesn’t critique—you
have to draw the line somewhere.
Dani Pettrey is a wife, mom, grandma, and the acclaimed author of the Alaskan Courage romantic suspense series, which includes her bestselling novels Submerged, Shattered, Stranded, Silenced, and Sabotaged. Her books have been honored with the Daphne du Maurier award, two HOLT Medallions, a Christy Award nomination, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Gail Wilson Award of Excellence, and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, among others.
She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves—the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of her characters’ faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland, where they enjoy time with their two daughters, a son-in-law, and a super adorable grandson.
Cara C. Putman, the award-winning author of 20 books and 3 repackages with more books on the way, graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. FIRST for Women magazine called Shadowed by Grace “captivating” and a “novel with ‘the works.’” It received the Christian Retailing BEST award for Historical Fiction and the HOLT Award of Distinction. Cara is active at her church and a lecturer on business and employment law and communications to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman recently received her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.
DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched Deb’s writing career. Twenty years, thirty books, and numerous awards later, she’s still creating stories that touch hearts and lives. She and husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas for life in the city of Wichita. They love traveling to visit four grown children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at http://www.deborahraney.com
Katherine Reay is the author of Dear Mr. Knightley, a Christy Award Finalist and winner of the 2014 INSPY Award for Best Debut as well as Carol Awards for both Best Debut and Best Contemporary. She’s also the writer behind Lizzy & Jane and The Bronte Plot. Wife, mother, rehabbing runner, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer, Katherine and her family live outside Chicago, IL.
Nicole has been listed by Publisher’s Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW’s 2012 Agent of the Year.
She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level. Do you have the next project to feed her book addiction? A smart, tight read shewon’t be able to put down? A signature voice she’ll fight to represent?
HEA’s are a must for romance. Mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, YA and inspirational novels are welcome. A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science
fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece.
Currently on her inspy wish list: high concept middle grade, any kind of romance, and really fresh voices in YA.
Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
“I have the best job in the world. I read for a living and make author’s dreams come true.”
Ramona Richards has been an editor for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine. The author of seven novels, three books of devotions, and numerous magazine articles, Ramona is a frequent workshop speaker. She has taught at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW conference, the Oregon Christian Writers Conference, the Write-to-Publish Writers
Conference, and others.
James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of seven novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at http://www.jameslrubart.com
Mary Sue Seymour
Mary Sue Seymour, nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Agent of the Year, has been agenting for 20 years and is listed as a top deal-maker for inspirational fiction on Publisher’s Marketplace. She has sold multi-book deals to Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Harvest House, Bethany House, Cook, Harper One, Guideposts and others. She travels the country and world presenting writing workshops, mentoring writers and doing appointments with them. She has been a guest agent at The Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, has attended the London Book Fair and has traveled to almost every American city to writing conferences and she’s loved every minute of it. If you’d like to see current sales, conference pictures or recent covers of books she’s sold, please visit her web site.
She represents several best selling Christian authors such as New York Times best selling author, Shelley Shepard Gray, Beth Wiseman, Mary Ellis, Amy Clipston, Don Reid of the Statler Brothers, Vannetta Chapman and so on; her writers have won numerous publishing industry awards, have been written about in Publisher’s Weekly and other publications.
Mary Sue likes to keep busy since her sons, Matt and Luke, named after the gospel writers, have grown up. She ran the Disney half marathon this past January and took 317th place in her age category of 55-59. She teaches art on cruise ships in exchange for a complementary cruise for two [which has made her exceedingly popular with her friends!]. The most important aspect of Mary Sue’s life is her faith in Jesus Christ. She attends two churches - one service at 9:00 - the other at 11:00 and she is never fearful of witnessing about the love of Christ.
Karen Solem is the President of Spencerhill Associates Ltd., a literary agency. She represents a broad range of commercial fiction including women’s fiction, thrillers and mysteries and a small selection of non-fiction. A number of her clients have become NYT bestsellers and though it’s wonderful to have that kind of recognition she still takes a lot of pleasure in discovering and working with new talent.
Prior to her years as an agent Solem had 25 years of corporate publishing experience. She was most recently Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Harper Paperbacks and, earlier, Editor in Chief of Silhouette Books.
Award-winning author Janice Thompson has over a million books in print. She has published over 100 books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. She has spent much of the past year on Amazon’s bestseller list. Janice is the president of the Woodlands, Texas ACFW chapter and was named the 2008 Mentor of the year for ACFW. She loves teaching at writing conferences, both local and national. Janice’s tagline, “Love, Laughter, and Happily Ever Afters!” sums up her take on life. You can find out more about Janice at http://www.janiceathompson.com.
Mary Weber is a youth pastor and bestselling author of the Christy and Carol Award winning young adult novel, Storm Siren, and the Storm Siren Trilogy. In her spare time she sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California which is perfect for stalking tacos, Joss Whedon, and the ocean.
Professional coffee drinker, Jaime Wright, resides in the hills of Wisconsin. She loves to write spirited turn-of-the-century romance, stained with suspense. Her day job finds her as a Director of Sales & Development.She’s wife to a rock climbing, bow-hunting Pre-K teacher, mom to a coffee-drinking little girl, and a little boy she fondly refers to as her mischievous “Peter Pan”. Jaime completes her persona by being an admitted social media junkie and coffee snob. She is a member of ACFW and has the best writing sisters EVER!
You must be at least 18 years old to attend conference without a parent/guardian present with you at all times.
Participation of an individual presenter, agent, editor, or publisher in the ACFW conference does not constitute endorsement by ACFW. Conference attendees are advised to use due diligence and take personal responsibility when choosing industry professionals with whom to schedule appointments or enter into agreement.