Thursday, September 25, 2008

Digging through the pile

Roger Bruner sent me a nice picture of the two of us at Minneapolis. With ten clients there working editors like Sarah Palin at a fundraiser they got a ton of requests for proposals that I'm busy trying to fill. My new assistant, Kristine Pratt, also brought in pages of intel she painstakingly gathered and I'm mining that for needed submissions. In other words, I have a lot of stuff to get out.

The American Christian Fiction Writers conference is the premier conference for Christian fiction writers and the conference is set up to get them maximum exposure with agents and editors. It does that big time. However the better that format is, the less time agents have to get a little time with editors. We're generally busy at the same times. For that reason it was good Kristine and the clients were out there working it since I wasn't getting the time to do it. I'm really enjoying all of the comments and insights that they are sending me.

As often as not they also got insight that is leading them to say "let me tweak this or that before you send it," as they have learned something from the editor that they feel they can improve in their proposal or manuscript. I really love that attitude in them, and have yet to see an editor who wasn't up for a resubmit of an "improved version" if they learned something that would make it a better fit for them.

So, I better get my head back down and start cranking this stuff out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

News from the Conference

Ten clients and I worked the ACFW Conference in Minneapolis and we did it like a team. The big news from there is client Jane Thornton, who won the Genesis award for the mystery/thriller/suspense category with "Menace," and took a third place in Romantic Suspense with "Be Anxious." Susan Miura was a finalist in Genesis Young Adult with "Show Me a Sign," and a writing client, Eleanor Clark won 2nd place in young adult Book of the Year with "Sarah Jane, Liberty's Torch." Congratulations to all.

The clients who were at ACFW were Roger Bruner, Bill Garrison, Curt Iles, Annette Irby, Mary and Jean James, Pam Meyers, Susan Miura, Donn Taylor and Jennifer Hudson Taylor. They did a terrific job pitching to editors and finding out and passing on information. When we all get back and they send me notes on all this information I will put it all together and will probably learn some things cumulatively that wasn’t apparent on individual comments.

I got some more significant help at the conference. I have a new apprentice, Kristine Pratt. I didn't even know I needed an apprentice until Kristine explained it to me. She wants to learn to be an agent and is willing to work with me in order to do it. Kristine is a writer of Christian Fantasy, Science Fiction and Women's fiction. She also is a writer of non-fiction, and right now her projects include a Young Adult science fiction series set on the Jupiter Moons and a non-fiction self-help book. She runs a small editing service Written World Communications and has been looking at a lot of proposals. The name "Written World Communications" was in fact taken from the setting of her fantasy novels. Kristine was a ACFW Genesis winner in 2007 and came in second in the ACFW Noble Theme Contest in 2005. She's been published in Women's World and has written several articles. I believe Kristine will be a big help to me catching up and identifying and submitting to additional markets.

Bottom line it was a good conference although a busy one. With twelve of us fanned out over the event we created a significant buzz. Add in about 40 Hartline clients with Tamela and her clients and though Joyce and Diane weren’t there, they had clients representing them as well. Tamela coordinated that and did a terrific job. There was a lot of talk about Hartline at the event. My sincere thanks to all who made the event and our participation so successful.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My ears are burning

It’s interesting to know your name is out there and things are going on in the internet that involve you but you don’t know they are happening. I get a daily report that tells me the number of hits, number of unique visitors, and what pages they looked at. For two or three days there were a bunch of hits on a piece of cowboy poetry that I have on line as a sample from a little cowboy poetry book that I did. There were 20-30 hits a day on it for several days, then it tailed off.

Somebody was talking about it somewhere. I did a blog on the new site “Bustles and Spurs” about that time and that might have generated something but I didn’t see any mention of the poem in the comments made. My name came up over on the “Frontier Times” list, and I looked there but didn’t see any discussion of the poem. Very interesting.

I’ll start seeing a lot of foreign traffic at my site. It’ll go on for a while, then it dies down and I’ll notice some other trend. There is a reason behind each of them if I knew what it was.

There are a number of other people named “Terry Burns” and there was a short period where I started getting friend requests that looked like I was sending them to myself, but I wasn’t. I have taken friend requests on several lists from guys with the same name, different ones at different places. Very interesting. I also have a Google alert set up on my name so I get a notice when the name is mentioned somewhere. Many of them are not me, so that is interesting as well.

Occasionally I will do a name search on myself just to see what is out there on me. Very interesting, and shows how well you turn up in search engines. Again, I find a lot of other people with the same name doing things. It surprised me when it first started happening, I wouldn’t think the name would be all that common.

It turns up an old friend I haven’t heard from in a long time periodically. They’ll run across the name and make a contact. I always enjoy these. And I really enjoy it when people write to say they have read one of my books and liked it a lot. A couple of times people have written to complain about something I used in a story that they think isn’t accurate, but I research carefully and have been able to document that the reference was correct. These contacts usually come in through my website.

I got several responses from inmates at some prison facilities after “Mysterious Ways” came out. It seemed they identified strongly to the main character in the book and it caused them to reflect on their own religious beliefs. That made me feel really good. Not sure how the book got into these facilities but after that I made an effort to get it into more of them.

It’s just sort of strange running across these things, knowing your name is coming up in various places, but not knowing where or how.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bustles and Spurs

I’m pleased to have been asked to be a blogger over on which is a delightful new western site that might be oriented a bit more toward readers without hair on their legs but still has something for everyone. I have a sort of introductory blog up now and have received some great comments. Drop by and say hi, and feel free to ask any question you’d like me to address there in the coming months.

I also do a blog here at that is mirrored on my webpage at and on Shoutlife at that I try to change every day or two. I am an occasional contributor at which features postings and discussion about historical.
The agents at Hartline take turns posting in a blog entitled “Heard it from the Hartline” that runs monthly in the Christian Fiction Online Magazine at and this month featuring Hartline Agent Diana Flegal. I’ve also agreed to blog at a new column in the ACFW ezine “Afictionado” which is available to members of the American Christian Fiction Writers, but that is still in the planning stage.

Periodically I have guest blogged in other places. Since I don’t blog every day on mine I am thinking about seeing if some of my clients would like to guest blog there. Does that sound like a good idea? It would change the content more often. I have had a guest blogger there a few times.
Why do I go to the trouble of doing all these blogs? Getting and maintaining visibility is a primary reason. One of my spiritual gifts is encouragement, and I look upon blogs as an avenue of using that gift. Networking is vital to writing, sales and promotion as well as to career development and effective use of the internet is one of the very strongest networking tools.

Finally, I have been blessed to have been helped along my way in writing and in life by many unselfish people who shared what they know when I needed to hear it. I try in my small way to “pay that forward” and share what I know or believe I know with others. I hope you will drop by these sites when I post there and say hi. I love to get feedback on whatever it is that is on my mind to say.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I am deeply and genuinely ashamed.

I am a rare breed, an actual card carrying independent. When I was doing chamber of commerce work I had to work with both parties so I carried an independent voter registration card and I gave up my right to vote in the primaries because I did not want that card stamped with a party affiliation. I voted for the person and not the party.

It is coming from this sort of context that I admit how deeply ashamed I am of our national media. There are some journalistic giants from past years who were so fiercely idealistic about being objective that they would be every bit as mortified as I am, probably more.

The media used to at least hide the fact that they were pushing a liberal agenda but now they don’t even bother to do that. I resent them thinking that I am so stupid that I will believe every slant they put on the news. I resent it when they interview Obama with questions designed to make him look good and then interview Sarah Palin with questions designed to make her look unqualified. I resent it when he flops from place to place on issues until he finally finds a point he can stick with and the media ignores it. I resent it when they put all political considerations aside and suddenly make the big news item about her daughter expecting a baby as if it made her immoral to support her. What I saw was a mother with a daughter making a mistake and her offering unconditional love and support. I applaud that.

I resent them saying a mother of five could not have the time to do the job when half of our country is working mothers and every one of them should be incensed with that implication. I resent them scoffing at her executive experience running a city and a state when neither of her opponents have experience administrating anything. When they try to stuff all this down my throat it shows how little regard for my intelligence that they have. Hitler used media propaganda with amazing results, but people this is not Nazi Germany.

The people of this nation have a right to objective reporting of news, not propaganda but we aren’t getting it and the more they try to pull the wool over my eyes the more I want to ask the questions they are not asking. I have watched both conventions and one was a pep rally full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. In the other I saw speaker after speaker take on the tough questions and answer them. I also heard them asking the questions nobody seems willing to ask the other side because the media won’t ask them. And I knew the answers they were giving were true.

This independent is taking sides this year. The media made me do it, left me no choice. I hope everybody wakes up and sees how little regard they have for the intelligence of the voting public.