Talented, but unpublished, new writers are about to get two helping hands from veteran authors—renowned journalist David Aikman and novelist Jerry Jenkins.

In recent years, publishers have grown more reluctant to work with unknown writers unless those writers have some kind of ministry platform, such as pastoring a large church. While Jenkins was successful in getting discovered by an editor years ago, he has learned that the publishing industry has changed since then.

Due to electronic publishing and higher quality self-publishers, traditional publishers are taking fewer chances with unknown writers. There is less risk in publishing books from leaders who already are active in ministry. Consequently, Jenkins has seen fewer alumni from Christian Writers Guild, the writer-training ministry he runs, land book contracts with established publishers.

To address the difficulty that new writers are having, Jenkins and Aikman are independently starting new initiatives they hope will improve the odds that fresh Christian talent can get work published.

David Aikman created the Aikman Opportunity Award for Young Christian Writers to give authors a start as well as persuade them to go into Christian writing as a career. The purpose of the award is to identify nonfiction Christian manuscripts to steer toward publication in 2014. The award is also designed to encourage a new appetite for stories of Christian conversion and transformation.

Aikman Award is restricted to writers who have not turned age 36 by Oct. 1 and are citizens or legal residents of Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, or the United States. "We writer-reporter Christians need to ensure that before we are gone we can pass on the torch to younger talent," ...

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