Terry Burns

Terry Burns writes inspirational fiction and is an agent with Hartline Literary . As a writer he has a series that began with Mysterious Ways from River Oak Publishing and the series bears that name. The second, Brothers Keeper came out Feb 1, 2006 and Shepherd's Son came out January 1, 2007. That gives him 24 books in print counting the nonfiction and short story collections. Other fiction includes Trails of the Dime Novel, a trade paperback from Echelon Press and in audio from JBS Publishing. He has published over 200 articles and short stories. A popular speaker at workshops across the country, his available works as well as a daily blog can be found at www.terryburns.net. As an agent Terry says "I'm looking for a good book, well written, aimed at a market that looks promising, and where I feel I have the contacts appropriate to be able to sell the book in that market."

Agents Can Be Authors Too!

Publishers Weekly reported that books sales were down last year by only 3 percent. It seems funny to be happy that they were down only by that much, but given the state of the economy and particularly the state it was in then, that is very good news. We aren’t out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, and getting books into print is still difficult, particularly for new authors. But it is a definite cause for optimism.

I’m pleased.

Forgive me for taking advantage of this forum to talk about myself, but allow me to take off my agent hat for a minute and put on my writer hat. For those who know me, it means putting the new silver Stetson into the box until the next conference and slipping on the old sweat-stained Stetson.

While at a Christian writers conference at the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, I was asked to read a little of my cowboy poetry (I haven’t written a lot, but I do have a small cowboy poetry book) at an evening campfire. It was well received, but that wasn’t what surprised and pleased me. Following the conference Maggie Woychik of Port Yonder Press approached me, asking if she could put the little poetry book back in print.

On the Road Home

It has happened to me only a couple of times that an editor has contacted me, soliciting a project, instead of the other way around, and it is a nice feeling. But it got better.

After I agreed and provided her with the manuscript for the poetry book, she asked if I had some short stories that could go with it. I had a few unpublished and several published ones that I had sold only the first rights, so they could be reprinted. She kept asking for more until finally we were talking about a four-volume set of the “collected short works of Terry Burns.”

That is what pleased me: Someone thought my short works worth collecting, and she approached me with the idea. It will be called The Sagebrush Collection and the first book, On the Road Home, is just coming out. It focuses on stories of life and love,’ with a Western short story in the back. The second book will focus on cowboy poetry and Western content and is yet untitled. It still leaves plenty for two more, although their themes have not been established.

Port Yonder Press is a start-up that is quickly getting up to speed. (Check the “Publisher’s Corner” in this issue to learn more

about them.) I just hope my little project does well for them (because I wish them well, but also so they will continue the whole series).

You may not want to know what makes me tick, but some of the stories in the book are heavily autobiographical and reveal more about me than I ever thought I would make public. I hope you will favor it with a read . . . and let me know what you think.

Putting the agent hat back on, I know a lot of people are making conference plans this time of year. Mentioning the Ghost Ranch brought it to mind. Visit the Hartline blog at http://hartlineliteraryagency.blogspot.com/ to learn more about the conferences we will be covering. We will post more information either before or after we attend an event. Perhaps those comments will be helpful in your planning. You can find them in the archives.

My conference schedule is a busy one:

February 18–21: Jerry Jenkins Writing for the Soul, Denver,               Colorado
February 25: Christian Work at Home Moms radio show and a               writers’ event at West Texas A & M University
March 5–6: Romance Writers of America Conference,                          Shreveport, Louisiana
March 15: Texas Writer’s Guild, Richardson, Texas
April 9–10: East Texas Christian Writers Conference, Marshall,                Texas
April 29—May 1: Oklahoma Writers Federation conference,                  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
May 12–15: Write His Answer ( Colorado Christian Writers                    Conference), Estes Park, Colorado
                 : ACFW SW Zone meeting, Edmond, Oklahoma June May 25–26: Panhandle Professional Writers “Frontiers in Writing”             conference in Amarillo, Texas
August 2–5: Oregon Christian Writers Conference

That’s as far as I’ve scheduled right now. That’s all I’m doing, other than looking forward to a new grandbaby (It’s a girl!) in June and doing some assorted book events around the area.

Any writer who is serious about writing should try their hardest to attend a conference or two as part of their yearly activities. As a writer, I got my agent (Joyce) at a conference. Most of my book deals stemmed from conference meetings, and they played a large role in helping me develop my skills to get published. As an agent, both potential clients whom I meet at conferences and editors whom I keep relationships with are the bread and butter of my profession. Hope to see you at a conference down the road.