Book Of Days
Jim Rubart

Since 1994, Jim Rubart has worked with clients such as AT&T/Cingular, RE/MAX, ABC and Clear Channel radio though his company Barefoot Marketing, but his passion is writing fiction. His debut novel ROOMS released in April and hit the bestseller list in September. His next novel, BOOK OF DAYS released in January. He's also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer, and semi-pro magician. He lives in the Northwest with the world's most perfect wife and his two almost-perfect sons. No, he doesn't sleep much. You can reach him at jlrudini[at], or visit his website at

Quantum Marketing

Making Your Dream Connection At Conferences

As you know, I’m fond of saying that we market (ourselves) in every moment. At writing conferences we market ourselves to agents, editors, and readers.

I attended the ACFW conference last month and want to ruminate on what I thought was masterful marketing-in-every-moment from a conferee.

Darci Came!

My wife joined me for Friday night and Saturday, which was, of course, wonderful, and I had the chance to hang out in the lobby and introduce her to many of my writing buds. But by Saturday afternoon we wanted to grab a little time for just the two of us. So we wandered down to the St Louis arch to walk the park and see the gateway up close.

On the way we stood on the corner waiting to cross with a conference newbie. (Her badge identified her as such.) We chatted for a few moments then crossed the street together. She was pleasant and engaged in conversation, but as soon as we reached the other side, she excused herself quickly, saying, “I don’t want to take away from your time together,” and walked away. Which made us like her immediately.

In the Lobby

That night as many from the conference hung out downstairs in the lobby, Darci and I noticed this same woman chatting with people briefly, then moving on to others, always with a smile and a relaxed attitude. She wasn’t trying to sell anything. She wasn’t pitching story ideas. She simply hung out and enjoyed the people around her.

Soon she was chatting with an uber agent and then … she was talking with one of the most powerful individuals in Christian publishing, Allen Arnold. How dare she!

You Were Hanging with Allen? What Were You Thinking?

A writer at the conference told Darci and I, “I saw you and Jim hanging out with Allen Arnold last night. Wow. I wish I had the guts to do that.” 

“Why wouldn't you go up to him?” Darci said to the man.

“Because he’s Allen Arnold. And I wouldn’t want to interrupt him and take his time.”

I understand what this author meant. It can be intimidating talking to agents and editors who (you think) can make or break your career.

And while it’s true that when Allen puts his pants on he leaps into the air and puts both legs into his jeans at the same time, but other than that he’s a regular guy.

My Wife’s Perspective

Because Darci isn’t immersed in the writing world, she doesn’t know who the supposedly important people are. She saw everyone as the same. And I think that’s the way God would have it. And the way the agents and editors would have it as well.

Our conference newbie whom we met at the arch must have felt the same way. Or she didn’t get the memo that said you’re not supposed to engage and make friends with people like Allen. How refreshing (and Allen liked her).

I understand editors and agents are gods at conferences and everyone wants a piece of them. But if you can put away your elevator speech for a few moments, hide your one-sheet behind your back, and simply approach them as someone you’d like to meet, you’ll go a long way toward making yourself likable (and memorable, since everyone else is in constant pitch mode).

It’s Tough but Try

I know it can be tough not being nervous. But try. Be like Newbie-Arch-Girl. (BTW, even published authors get nervous sometimes when approaching the gods of this industry.)

The powerful people in the writing world are just people. (WARNING: Shocking statement coming up.) They are downright ordinary folks with hopes and dreams and fears just like you. And here’s the cool part: Most of them are there because they like writers and want to help aspiring wordsmiths get farther along the path of publication.

So at your next conference get bold, go crazy, and walk right up to that agent or editor and say, “Hi, nice to meet you.” I can almost guarantee they’ll say hello back.

But don’t try the leaping into your jeans two legs at a time. I tried. It hurts.


The Chair