Writing is a lonely sport.
Before the Internet, one can only imagine
how lonely it was to spend the day plucking away at the keys. Today
with the advent of Facebook, e-mail, and Skype, we have the ability to
connect with our fellow writers, to brainstorm over the Internet, and
send full manuscripts to our critique partners in a matter of seconds.
However, none of that replaces the face-to-face learning and the growth
experience found at is the ACFW’s writers’ conference.
Every year in September, ACFW
has its annual Christian Writers’
Conference. The 2011 keynote speaker is best-selling author Tracie
Peterson. More details and a full list of faculty will be available
soon, but if it’s never entered your mind to attend a writers’
conference, consider ACFW’s conference. It is perfect for authors at
all levels of the learning curve. Each class is specifically targeted
to cover all areas of the writing craft and the publishing industry:
1. Access to Publishers.
Normally, publishers will not look at your
material if you’re not agented. A conference helps you to show these
publishers that you are serious about furthering your craft, and it’s
the one way to bypass the “agented only” rule.
2. Learn from the Best in the
Business. Not only does ACFW have Tracie
Peterson on staff this year, but you’ll be sitting side by side with
published authors who know the business and love to assist newer
3. Meet Agents. It’s been said
you should never hire an agent before
meeting him/her face-to-face. This is a significant relationship in
your career, and having a conversation allows you to confirm if the
business relationship will work in the long-term. And again, as with
publishers, your being at the conference shows that you are serious
about investing in your career.
4. Connections. The Christian
writing industry is actually a very small
community, and getting to know your fellow writers and finding perfect
critique partners or brainstorming buddies is invaluable.
5. Manuscript Critiques. Maybe
you’ve faced rejection on a project, but
you don’t know why. A critique is available with your admission, and
your manuscript will receive personalized attention from a professional.
6. Writing Energy. Nothing gets
an author more fired up about a project
than being around all that creative energy at a writer’s conference.
7. Introduction and Warm-Up.
ACFW is one of the few conferences that
has an e-mail loop just for conference attendees to help them navigate
the experience and feel confident about the courses.
8. Stargazing. You’ll meet some
of the biggest names in Christian publishing and perhaps take home a
signed book or two.
Still not convinced a writers’
conference is for you? Take it from some seasoned professionals:
attended my first ACFW conference, I
had already made a number of online writer friends, including my
editors. But by the time I returned from the conference, I had
friendships with people I had never even interacted with online. And
those friendships have gone far beyond our common interest in writing.
Now ACFW feels more like a family reunion than a conference. It’s one
of the highlights of my year.”
“Attending ACFW is like a jolt of fresh energy for
me. Face time with friends just solidifies relationships with other
writers, and makes it easier when we can only keep in touch via e-mail
the rest of the year.”
A Killing Frost
(Steeple Hill Publishers)
feel I deepen my relationships with
writer friends and colleagues when I get a chance to see them
face-to-face. It’s so helpful to have their voice and face in my heart
as we chat through the year online. I’ve made some great friends one
conference at a time!”
Dining with Joy
(Thomas Nelson Publishers)
meet someone in person, I then have that
person’s image in my head. That helps with networking. Also, meeting
someone in person at a conference gives me a more intimate acquaintance
with them. This has helped me to develop professional relationships
over the years, as well as lasting friendships. It allows me to trust
people more because I have seen them and laughed with them and cried
with them and prayed with them. That can be powerful in this business.
Because of Jane (Harlequin
can’t appreciate really great shoes and handbags over e-mail!”
A Season for Family
Maybe you’re thinking that as an
introspective introvert, a
conference wouldn’t be all those things to you. You’re the quiet, shy
type who hides behind a book! Let me assure you that there is no better
place for you than among fellow writers who appreciate the written
word. Conferences offer benefits for all types of personalities. So if
you’ve been thinking, “Hmmm. Perhaps a writers’ conference would really
benefit my future in publishing,” consider this your gentle nudge to
start saving your pennies. There is no easier way to break into the
business of publishing. It’s money well-spent.
For more information, visit http://acfw.com/conference.