2020 Conference

January 25, 2020

Online registration is now closed. Registration will be available on site. Please arrive by 8:30 to sign up at the door.


Capital Baptist Church, 3504 Gallows Road, Annandale, VA 22003

Sessions Designed For

  • Aspiring Writers: I want to be a writer but am not sure how to get started.
  • Beginner: I am working on a project and want to get it published.
  • Advanced: I have been either self-published or traditionally published.

Conference Cost

Please note that conference registration is not refundable. However, you may transfer it to another person.

Walk-In Rate
(Jan 25)
$100 $125

Not a member? CLICK HERE to become a member today and get a discount!


8:00 am                             Registration opens

9:00 – 9:50 am                 General Session One

What Makes a Book Christian? w/Sarah Bolme
Industry-wide rules for what makes a book “Christian” do not exist, leaving the definition wide open. What makes a book Christian is an important question. Together we will explore this question to create a useful guideline for creating “Christian” books.

9:50 am                              Break

10 am – 10:50 am            Workshop Session One

You have an idea for a fiction or nonfiction book…now what? w/Lisa Crayton
Lisa Crayton will take you through the ins and out of getting started on your work. Lisa will provide you with the framework for moving your idea out of your head and onto paper. For aspiring and beginner writers.

Say No to an Ordinary Author’s Website w/ Patricia Durgin
What are the five elements your audience expects to see when visiting your website? Anyone can create a website in five minutes, or so the ads promise. But can your visitors see at a glance who you are, whom you serve and how you serve them? Does it confirm to your readers they’re in the right place? Does it invite them to take the next step and connect with you? You’ll leave this workshop with five steps to make your website successful for serving your audience. For aspiring, beginner and advanced writers. (Please note: Patricia will be giving this workshop virtually.)

Hook That Whale! w/ Jeanette Windle
Reeling out that perfectly honed hook for query or proposal may be all you’re lacking to land a whale of an editorial contract. Planning on indie publishing? Tweak it a little further, and you’ll have your elevator pitch, back cover copy, product description, and general marketing pitch as well. This will be a hands-on workshop, so here is your opportunity to bring your best query hook/elevator pitch (25-100 words) along to share. And plan to work on a perfect pitch for your current fiction WIP. For aspiring, beginner and advanced writers.

11:00 – 11:50 am             Workshop Session Two

Must We Edit?w/Yvonne Ortega
This class is for both fiction and non-fiction writers. The attendees will receive instruction on how editing sets your work apart, how to identify the type of editing your work needs, and how to become a proficient self-editor. For aspiring and beginner writers.

Surviving the Editing Process w/Linda Rondeau
“I can’t believe all the corrections my editor sent!” The words of a frustrated author to another author. The response? “Don’t worry. I had the same from this editor. But I’m a better writer for going through these changes.” Your editor wants to partner with you to produce the best product so that both of you will feel pride in the result. This workshop will help explain the role of an editor in your work in progress and will also explain what editors hope to see in a submitted manuscript. For beginner and advanced writers.

The Feeding and Nurturing of a Your Street Team w/Heather Gray
How many times have you been told that every author needs to have a street team? After all, it’s what all the cool kids are doing these days. What is a street team, though? What purpose does it serve? And how on earth do you start one? If you have any of those questions, you’re in the right place! We’re going to discuss what a street team is and some of the different forms and shapes it can take. We’ll also address some of the growing pains that come after you’ve birthed your street team. Just like a toddler, a street teams can be a hot mess. It can also be loads of fun. If you ever want your street team to get out of those terrible tantrum-prone twos, you’ll need a plan. Join in the fun as we discuss some of the ways that you can feed and nurture your street team so that it grows into a healthy and productive member of your overall marketing plan. For beginner and advanced writers.

Noon to 12:30 pm         Marketplace Open

12:30 – 1:30 pm              Lunch

1:30 – 2:20 pm                General Session Two

What’s Happening in Christian Publishing w/Sarah Bolme.
The publishing industry is in a constant state of flux. This session will look at the current trends in indie and traditional publishing so that you can make informed choices in your writing and publishing endeavors.

2:30 – 3:20 pm                Workshop Session Three

Building Your Email List w/CJ Brightely
This workshop will provide useful steps for fiction and nonfiction authors on how to build and nurture a mailing list that is primed to buy your books. With segments on why a mailing list is important, software options, where to get subscribers, how to welcome new subscribers, how to maintain a list between launches, and recommended resources for further learning, this workshop will be useful for authors at most stages of their careers. For beginner and advanced writers.

7 Secrets to Successfully Presenting Yourself as an Author w/Cindi McMenamin
Whether your book is traditionally or self-published, how you present yourself as an author is key to your success and your book’s longevity. Prolific author Cindi McMenamin shares secrets to successfully gaining and keeping an audience through speaking engagements, book-signings, social media, website text, author pages, and online writing, as well as in-person interaction. For beginner and advanced writers.

Social Media the Bookish Way w/Toni Shiloh
Learn how to connect with potential readers (fiction and non-fiction) using one or more of the social media platforms today. Participants will leave with a better grasp of utilizing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. The workshop will help participants choose the best platform as they seek out their bookish tribe. For aspiring, beginner or advanced writers.

3:30 – 3:45 pm Closing General Session

Capital Christian Writers Fellowship President Sarah Hamaker will wrap up the conference.

3:45 pm – 4:30 pm Marketplace Open

Table Space

Want to display your work? Rent half of a table for $10 to display and sell your books or services.

Photography Sessions

This year we are offering 15-minute photo shoots for conference attendees. Having a good head shot is necessary for publicity, the back of your book and the about pages on your website and social media. Sessions are $40 and you can choose 5 photos from your shoot. There is no copyright involved so you can use these as you wish.

One-on-One Half-Hour Consultations

Sign up in advance for one-on-one 30 minute consultations after the conference ends. Consultants will contact you with instructions on what to bring or send ahead of time to make your session productive.

Sarah Bolme: Book Launch, Book Marketing Plans, Blogging, Author Websites, Indie Publishing

Lisa Crayton: Writing critiques (fiction and nonfiction)

Cindi McMenamin: Professional Review/Critique of Your Nonfiction Book Proposal; Expert Advice on Your One-Sheet; Getting Some Quick Publishing Experience; Narrowing Down Your Nonfiction Book Topic; Why Isn’t Anyone Buying Your Book? Quick Tips for Making Your Manuscript Marketable; Making Your Manuscript Reader-Relevant; Taking Your Next Step if You’re Stuck; Turning Your Personal Story Into a Book that Sells; Getting Started When You Have No Platform

Yvonne Ortega: Proofing, copy editing and manuscript critiques.

Jeanette Windle: Edits and mentors the gamut of fiction and nonfiction minus children’s picture books and poetry.

Taking Appointments

For the first time, CCFW is offering conference attendees the opportunity to have personal, 15-minute appointments with an editor from a publishing house. These appointments give writers a great way to pitch their manuscript or work-in-progress to an editor for feedback, encouragement and potentially publication. Attendees may select one editor for an appointment, which will available on a first-pay (for the conference itself), first-slotted basis. Due to time constraints, we CANNOT guarantee that everyone who requests an appointment will be granted one.

Elk Publishers, Linda Rondeau
What Elk Wants: Elk publishes a variety of non-fiction and fiction titles. What we want to see is fresh writing. Elk prefers agented writers. However, we will consider new authors who demonstrate a unique idea and strong writing skills. We exist to captivate our readers and carry them to places of escape, encouragement, and entertainment. Most importantly, we want to point people to Christ. We publish all genres of Christian literature from children’s books to YA, mysteries, romance, historical, speculative, sci-fi, fantasy, and non-fiction with a twist. For more information about Elk visit our website at https://www.elklakepublishinginc.com/

Kregel Publishers, Jeanette Windle
What Kregel Wants: Kregel publishes the gamut of fiction and nonfiction, excepting children’s picture books, poetry and YA.

Advertising Opportunities

Vendors and Sponsors. If you are interested in purchasing an ad in the vendor brochure or sponsoring a break or lunch, please indicate your interest on the registration form and we will contact you.

Speaker Bios

Sarah Bolme is the director of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and the author of the award-winning book Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books, now in its fourth edition. As both a traditional and indie published author, Sarah understands and has extensive experience with the writing, publishing and marketing journey.



CJ (Cecilia) Brightley grew up in Georgia and attended Clemson University in South Carolina, where she met her husband. They went to graduate school at Texas A&M, then moved to the DC area for jobs. After a few years in the national security world, they had their daughter in 2011; Cecilia stayed home with their new baby and began to focus on her life-long love of writing. She published her first novel in 2012. Now a homeschooling mom of two, she’s a bit busier but still finds time to write.

Lisa Crayton writes devotionals, articles, fillers, books and other nonfiction content for adults and children. She is an award-winning freelance writer, freelance editor and multi-published author with two earned degrees in writing. Visit her at www.lisacrayton.wordpress.com.



Patricia Durgin is the founder of Marketers On a Mission, the FB Live program offering tutorials and interviews by and for Christian writers and speakers. She’s hosted more than 300 60-minute episodes as of May 2019, and she’s still going strong! She dissects complex online marketing tasks, moving learners from “I’ll never be able to do this!” to “I can’t believe this is so easy!” Her three secrets? 1. Rediscover the fundamentals. 2. Start basic; get fancy later. 3. Keep a vision of your audience’s needs at the forefront. Visit her online at MarketersOnAMission.com and www.facebook.com/MarketersOnAMission

Heather Gray is a multi-published hybrid author of more than a dozen books. Heather’s background ranges from social media and working with new authors to planning book launches and marketing campaigns. With a split personality that jumps back and forth between creative and business-minded, Heather has found herself at home in the writing world where both are in high demand. She can be found at www.heathergraywriting.com and www.facebook.com/heathergraywriting.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, writing coach, and author of 17 traditionally-published books (all from Harvest House Publishers). She has spoken in 38 U.S. states and Canada, and has appeared on hundreds of national and international radio and television shows over the past 20 years, helping women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and each other. She is most known for her book, When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), and her articles that appear regularly—and often hit the Top 10—at Crosswalk.com. For more on her ministry, see www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Yvonne Ortega walks with a small footprint but leaves a giant imprint in people’s lives. This power-packed package is an international award-winning speaker and author of the Moving from Broken to Beautiful® Series through cancer, divorce, forgiveness and loss. See www.YvonneOrtega.com. She has taught writing and speaking classes at major conferences in the United States. Yvonne celebrates life at the beach, where she walks, builds sand castles, blows bubbles, and dances.


Award winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau serves as both senior editor and acquisitions editor for Elk Lake Publishing. A veteran social worker, her published novels examine the complexities of human relationships. Most of Linda’s work is contemporary fiction. However, she has published both speculative and non-fiction. Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. She manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Linda resides in Hagerstown with her husband of forty years. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian contemporary romance author. Once she understood the powerful saving grace, thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.



Award-winning novelist, investigative journalist, editor, and collaborative writer Jeanette Windle grew up in the Amazon’s guerrilla hot zones, has lived in six countries and traveled in more than 30. Those experiences have birthed 16 fiction titles, including bestselling Veiled Freedom (2010 ECPA Christian Book Award/Christy Award finalist) and Freedom’s Stand, (2012 ECPA Christian Book Award/Carol Award finalist), as well as such nonfiction collaborative titles as Forgiven: The Amish Schoolhouse Shooting, a Mother’s Love, and a Story of Remarkable Grace (2016 ECPA Christian Book Award/Christian Retailing Best Awards finalist) and All Saints, also a Sony Affirm movie.