I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why I pay the price to go to conferences

By Jennie Atkins

            I love writer’s conferences, especially ACFW. It is a time of recharging, despite the long hours, starting before breakfast and often going long into the night. It is a time of encouragement and learning. It is a time of catching up with other writers  that I usually only connect with through Facebook and the random email.  Shown here with me are Jeanne Takenaka and Ginger Takamiya both winners of the MBT Frasier contest, 2014 and 2012 respectively.

This year was no different. But then again, it was.
The publishing industry is changing. I believe I noticed the change more this time because it had been two years since my last ACFW conference. Publishers are plunging into different formats, such as e-books. Big house publishers accept the fact that authors are now pursuing avenues to publish independently. Editors are being more and more cautious in the works they take, or markets they intend to pursue. Like most businesses, the goal is more about the possible profits than new development. I don’t blame them, having worked in high-profile corporations for more decades than I care to admit,  I understand completely. But the sad news seems to be, the day of wandering through massive book stores, taking in the scent of fresh ink, and perusing a long bookshelf containing one genre are gone.
The truth is Amazon.com has changed the face of publishing.
By no means does this mean as writers we should ditch our pens, paper, and computers and search for a different creative outlet.
It means we need to be focus on our craft and never, never settle for the status quo. Writers need to read more, study more, and learn more. They need to connect with other writers, critique groups, and seminars that teach writing skills. Yes, I've read some poorly written books, some by New York Times best-selling authors that sell. But now is the time for a new breed of writers to penetrate the market. Ones who want to put out a quality story that keeps their readers glued to the page and wanting for more from that author.
Your turn:  What was your take away from the ACFW conference or any other conference you've attended recently?


  1. I saw the same thing you did, Jennie. There was talk of gloom and doom for sales, but I tend to disagree that these book sales are in trouble. While all fiction is down from 2009, but in 2013, over 103 Billion print books were sold--that's a lot of books and fiction counts for half of the books sold AND Christian fiction ranks 3rd highest in fiction sales. So while sales might be down, there are a lot of books being sold.

  2. I appreciate your perspective, Jennie, especially since I'd love to attend the next ACFW. But it's good to hear Pat's viewpoint as well.

  3. I had a long comment but Blogger lost it as usual. So I will just say, "I agree, Jennie. For all the reasons you put forth."