So the story continues, and like I said, the doorway out of Act 1 crept closer. I don’t think I would have reached it without going to a writing conference. To read my journey up to this point, check out My Writing Journey: Part One, and My Writing Journey: Part Two.
So what did the conference do for me, exactly?
It picked me up out of the slow lane and plunked me on the fast-track toward representation. Here’s the thing. Agents get about a bazillion queries a month. I imagine they all start to sound pretty much the same once they hit the triple digits.
Here’s how the ACFW conference benefited me:
– I met Rachelle face-to-face. I sat down with her and showed her a sample of my writing. She gave me some very helpful, specific tips for improving my manuscript. Would she have had the time to email me these tips had I been one more proposal in her inbox? Probably not.
– She told me to polish it up. Go through one more draft. Then send her the full. Would she have been so patient via email? Not sure. Either way, my chances of getting a rejection at that point would have been high.
– I met with an editor face-to-face. She asked to see a sample of my writing, liked what she saw, and asked for the proposal and six chapters. Would I have had this opportunity without going to a conference? Definitely not.
– I was able to tell Rachelle during our appointment that an editor had expressed interest in my work. I have to believe this helped.
– When I left Denver, Rachelle knew my name. She knew my face. She knew an editor liked my writing. I wasn’t query #349023845. I was a writer who invested money and time into a conference. Evidence that I’m serious about this writing thing.
So, what will a conference do for you?
That’s hard to answer. Because really, it all depends.
Here are some questions to consider:
Have you spent a considerable amount of time honing your craft?
Do you have a story you are proud and confident and dying to show an agent/editor?
Do you find yourself thinking, “If I could just get somebody to take a look at this dang thing, I know they’d like it”?
Have you gotten objective, positive feedback on your writing?
If you can answer yes to these questions, then a writing conference might be just the ticket you need to catapult your quest for representation into super sonic speed (or at least somewhere out of slow motion).
Disclaimer: I’m a strong believer in timing. Even if you can answer yes to all these questions (and I know people who can!). Even if you’ve been to several conferences with polished, stellar writing. Sometimes, for whatever reason, the timing isn’t right. Don’t let this discourage you! Think of all the connections you are making. Think of all the stuff you are learning. It will all be worth it in the end, when the timing comes together like a perfectly played chord in the midst of a song.
But what if you can’t answer yes? What if you just aren’t at that place yet? Is a conference still worth the time and money?
If going to one won’t put your family on bread and water for the next several months, then I strongly suggest finding a conference to attend. They are a wealth of information. A wealth of connections. A wealth of encouragement, inspiration, and excitement. And of course, a wealth of friends. One of the best parts of the conference was meeting so many of you.
I’m already exited for next year’s ACFW conference in Indianapolis!
So now I’m entering Act Two of my writing journey and I have no idea what’s in store. Representation does not equal publication. All the answers don’t just magically fall into place on this side of representation. There’s a lot of work to do. So much more to learn. So many more stories to write. God’s done amazing things in my life this past year and I’m eager to see what He’s got planned for the future.
Questions to Ponder: Have you gone to a writing conference? Was it worth the time and money? If you haven’t gone, why not?removetweetmeme