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Pre-Festival Offering
Thursday July 13
9 am – 5 pm

cost: $59.00


The New Writer Workshop will help early-stage writers understand the ins and outs of navigating the very difficult challenges of writing, getting published, and marketing your work. Workshop leaders Brian McLaren, Kate Rademacher, and Brian Allain will shed light on the often confusing and opaque world of books. 

Brian McLaren will talk about the writing process … where inspiration comes from, how the writing process unfolds, how personality type and the writing process interact, and how the writing process can help you grow as a human being.

Kate Rademacher will lead participants in several exercises and discussions to support a practice of discerning how and what and when we are being called to write next. As new or emerging writers, it has never been easier to create and share content with local, national, and/or global audiences. As such, the world has become a very noisy place. In fact, the World Health Organizations says we are living in an infodemic. As you determine what content you are being called to create and share, consider all the options. Often, an important first step for spiritual writers and other content creators is to become quiet and listen for where the Spirit is calling us next. Practices of contemplative prayer, silence, and discernment are more important than ever before.

Brian Allain will lead the final portion of the workshop, focusing on business aspects of being a spiritual writer.  We will discuss the importance of marketing, including your audience focus (who is the customer for your book), your elevator pitch (what benefits are you providing your audience), and marketing tactics (how to build a following for your work). We will also provide an overview of the spiritual publishing industry, discuss picking your path to getting published, and cover the pro’s and con’s of self publishing.

Curated by Brian Allain

Brian Allain founded Writing for Your Life, a resource center and conferences for spiritual writers, and the Publishing in Color conference series, intended to increase the number of books published by spiritual writers of color. Brian also founded Compassionate Christianity and How to Heal Our Divides. Writing for Your Life and Compassionate Christianity are now owned by Kate Rademacher, and Publishing in Color is now owned by Joyce Dinkins. Brian now leads a new business called Find Your Next Calling. Previously Brian served as Founding Director of the Frederick Buechner Center where he led the launch of Mr. Buechner’s online presence and established several new programs and strategic partnerships.

Brian developed and led spiritual writers conferences at Princeton Theological Seminary, Drew Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, the University of Southern California, Belmont University, New Brunswick Theological Seminary, the United Methodist Publishing House, and several churches. He led the publishing effort for the book Buechner 101: An Introduction to Frederick Buechner in collaboration with Anne Lamott, and also the books in the How to Heal Our Divides series. All of this is a second career, coming after business and technology leadership in high-tech. Brian has an MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was designated a Palmer Scholar, their highest academic award.

Brian McLaren

Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a core faculty member of The Living School and podcaster with Learning How to See, which are part of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest books are Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022). Click here for more.

Kate Rademacher

Kate H. Rademacher has worked for over twenty years in the field of public health with a focus on expanding access to women’s reproductive health services. She is the author of three books including Reclaiming Rest: The Promise of Sabbath, Solitude, and Stillness in a Restless World. In 2022, Kate assumed leadership of Writing for Your Life and Compassionate Christianity, two platforms designed to offer inclusive and affirming resources for compassionate Christians. Kate is currently in discernment for potential ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal church. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC. Click here for more.

Here are some of the things we will cover:

The importance of identifying what you want to be known for

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What audience would you like to address? What do they care about?
  • What is your elevator pitch?

How to market without selling out

  • Many spiritual writers don’t want to “self-promote” – we will discuss how you can effectively get the word out about your work without being sleazy or salesy
  • Which marketing tactics may be most effective for you?

Paths to get published

  • What does an agent do? Do you need one?
  • Which are the most relevant publishing companies for your work?
  • What are the pro’s and con’s of self-publishing


  • As an author you are really an entrepreneur, running your own business. We will discuss several “lessons learned” from a seasoned entrepreneur.

Check In for pre-festival events will be available on Wednesday from 1 pm to 5 pm, and Thursday from 7am to 9 am.

If you’re tent camping, there’s no additional campsite charge for Wednesday night.
Some campsite locations are restricted due to large venue tent construction in several areas.
RV campers will need to purchase an additional night.

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