I can almost pinpoint out of the crowd the folks about to be published. After being in the industry for nearly 10 years, and attending countless writer’s conferences, (I’m at one this week, in Oregon), I know when an author is impressing an editor or agent, if they have what it takes to step into the publishing arena. How?
- They’re professional. They conduct themselves with appropriate passion, but are not overly-zealous and pushy about their novel. They also dress like we should take them seriously.
- They know their story: the pitch, the key elements of their story’s premise, the genre and what makes it different.
- They’ve studied the market and know what other novels are out there similar to their own, they’ve read them and can talk about them with some knowledge. They’ve tried to understand why that novel has worked.
- They are teachable and willing to listen and evaluate criticism.
- They network in a way that is friendly and not about themselves or their novel, by knowing who is there, perhaps reading the blogs of agents and editors, and being genuinely interested in their lives.
I know, not your usual criteria, but the fact is, a near-published novelist has worked hard on their craft, their marketing and has enough confidence in their writing and their project to exude confidence in an appropriate, not over the top way. A near-published novelist has taken the time to prepare for the conference. Because nowhere else besides a writers conference can you share your story face-to-face with an editor or agent and get real, valuable feedback and this is a value they understand.
Are you a near-published novelist? We hope so. Which is why Voices Editor Lisa and her team have devoted this issue to preparing you for the upcoming ACFW Conference, the largest Christian Fiction conference in the nation. It’s absolutely rich with articles to help you prepare for a great impression.
Rachel Hauck, our resident book therapist shares her heart and some great tips for a successful conference in her article, Meet me in St. Louis, and the 5 Ways to Prepare for a Writer’s Conference. Reba, our Membership Coach takes it a step further and talks about the fear of going to a conference, and how to overcome it in, The Writing Conference – Run for your Life! Our Mentoring Coach, Beth Vogt shares a hilarious story about how mistakes can turn into powerful moments in your career in We All Make Mistakes. For encouragement, meet newly published author Sandra Orchard in What’s Your Story? Melissa Tagg, our Pizza Party Coordinator, adds some humor to the horror of pitching in Top Ten Pitching Prep Don’ts, and follows up with an article about staying calm. Excellent and powerful advice. Edie Melson, our social marketing guru shares some tips on how to network, even if you’re not there, and in a very practical article about how to battle nervousness, she arms you with ways to push yourself out of your shell and meet new people.
As usual, we also have our excellent articles on Writing Craft. In Genre Java, Amanda Stevens explains how to create a powerful storyworld for one of the hottest growing genres: Speculative Fiction.
And, if you’re hungry check out our MBT Hostess, Alena Tauriainen’s nummy pasta recipe, along with some excellent “deskercise” exercises to work it off (great idea!)
Finally, read Shout it Out by Jennie Atkins and celebrate the latest accomplishments of your fellow Voices, and check out this month’s new releases.
We, at MBT, want you to get published. The ACFW Conference (or any other writer’s conference) is a gateway. Be prepared. Read the ezine, prepare your pitch and breathe. See you in September!