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

Monday, September 14, 2015

ACFW Conference Tips

The Ponderers at one of our writing conferences
ACFW conference is just around the corner, and we have some suggestions.

1. Take a deep breath and relax—I’m serious about this one. It’s even ok to admit you’re nervous. The agent or editor knows it anyway and will be just fine with your honesty.

2. Don’t force yourself upon people. Practice your “elevator speech”, but don’t actually give it on the elevator. If you do meet an editor or agent there, use the time to just be real and friendly. Tell the professional, “I enjoyed your class” or “I’m looking forward to your class.

3. Set realistic expectations.  Sorry, but it’s unlikely that anyone is going to gush over that manuscript you polished and honed to perfection. In fact, in the short meetings with editors and agents, they really don’t have time to read much at all. Some like to read a bit, but others just want to hear your pitch. Do you have a compelling premise?

4. Prepare a professional “one sheet”. Here’s what a winning one looks like: http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/search/label/One%20Sheets%20or%20what%20the%20dickens%20is%20a%20one-sheet.  A “one sheet” grabs attention allows editors and agents to see that you’ve written something they would like to read. Most editors and agents cannot take a stack of heavy manuscripts home on the airplane, but they might like to take your “one sheet”. 

5. Learn the elements of a fiction proposal. Again, they likely won’t have room to take it home with them, but if they ask further questions, you’ll be ready because you already know the elements of your proposal, and can even hand it to them if they ask for it. Proposals cover topics such as: Promo Blurb, Back cover copy, spiritual theme, endorsements, comparative analysis, marketing strategies, and an author bio.

6. Most of all, relax, enjoy, learn, and make some new friends. The Ponderers first met at writing conferences and seminars. You will likely come home with brand new friends and great times with “old friends”. I like to take business cards to exchange with friends and write a note on the back to remind me how I met them. 

7. Take notes! You won’t remember everything, and I promise there will be lots of great topics.

8. Look for God-moments. After all, this is a Christian writer’s conference, and folks will be praying, praising, and honoring our Savior as well as teaching and learning about writing Christian fiction.

If you have more tips, please leave them in the comment section. I know I’ve missed some!

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