Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thomas Nelson's Appetite for Fiction

I will forever be grateful to Thomas Nelson for publishing my first book, A Mother’s Heart Knows in 2005.

As a former banker, I have been impressed with the management and business performance of this company. Under the leadership of Michael Hyatt, Thomas Nelson continues to succeed and meet consumer demands in this changing industry. “Thomas Nelson reports that it has claimed the largest market share percentage of fiction in the Christian retail channel through June--more than 20%, according to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association's Pubtrack data.” (Christian Retailing, August 27, 2009).

Allen Arnold, SVP and Publisher of Fiction at Thomas Nelson, actually takes the time to meet with writers at the ACFW conference to provide professional insight into this challenging business. I admire that. Ami McConnell, Senior Acquisitions Editor, is part of the Thomas Nelson Fiction team. My literary agent, Janet Kobobel Grant, founder of Books & Such, said the following: “Ami is one of the finest fiction editors I know. She makes authors dig deeper to find rich veins of writing. One of my clients, after receiving a critique on her contracted manuscript from Ami phoned me and said, ‘Do I have to do any of this?’ I replied, ‘No. But if you want to be a better writer, what Ami has laid out for you will make an immense difference. If you don't want to grow, don't follow her suggestions.’ The author took the challenge and wrote one of her very best books as a result.

In a previous email, Ami recommended two excellent writing sources:
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

The Hero's 2 Journeys

Here is my recent Q & A with Ami:

Q: First of all, congratulations on your success in being a key leader in the Christian fiction publishing industry. What is Thomas Nelson interested in acquiring for its fiction line in the upcoming years?

A: Thanks! We are thrilled with what we’ve been able to achieve in the past few years. We’re always looking for a GREAT story, but in terms of genres, we’re looking to acquire more romance titles (including historical and contemporary) and general Christian fiction titles.

Q: If you cook, what is your favorite recipe? If you don't cook, what is your favorite take out?

A: I’m a terrible cook, but I’m gradually becoming a pretty good baker. My family raves about my chocolate chip pumpkin bread.

Take Away Tidbit:

Here is the recipe from Ami McConnell:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 16 oz. can pumpkin
2 ½ cups flour
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon cloves
Bag chocolate chips

Combine oil, eggs, pumpkin, mixing well. Add remaining dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Bake in 2 large loaf pans or several small loaf pans at 325 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Bread should slightly pull away from sides of pan when done. Let cool completely in pans before removing.


1 comment:

  1. That was GREAT advice to your friend, Margaret! Ami's eye for story and character are unparalleled. I'm blessed to have worked with her on 16 books so far and I learn something with every one! She's amazing!



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