The last time I attended the Christian Writers Guild conference, I made a serious boo-boo.
I decided to research naught into the attending magazine and book editors. I assumed the attitude, "If it’s God’s will, it will happen."
Yeah, that was long before I learned God is not my paladin. He won’t automatically come to my rescue when I dig myself into a hole (or merely sit there as the world crumbles around me). It’s when I follow him and not expect him to follow me that things happen.
Each editor I talked to bombed — okay, not really. I received some positive feedback in that they liked my writing. The problem came from choosing articles that didn’t fit their publication.
Because of this major failure on my part, I’m terrified of making the same mistake this time around.
I began to fight against this terror with purchasing a short book entitled "Writers Conference Survival Guide" by Meredith Efken.
In it she gives sage advice on how to prepare for the conference including not only researching into the publication, but the editors themselves. See if they keep an online journal, or have done interviews.
I searched two book editors so far, and found quite a few interviews by each.
Talk about an eye-opener! I gained insight into what they expect to see in a manuscript including specifics such as writing good dialogue.
The research has boosted my confidence, and my terror has shrunk to mere discomfort. With these two editors at least I can approach them with assurance they’ll like my story. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but it’s not just a guess anymore. It’s an educated one. Because of that, I know I will approach them with less timidity.
Next on my list is researching magazines and the attending editors, and structure any articles according to their needs.
After that I’ll create a pitch-sheet which is basically an open query letter of my manuscript. Having that in front of me as I talk to an editor will keep me focused on why I’m there, and just in case I get so flustered I forget my name.
Am I following God more this time around? Time will tell. The point is I’m working instead of being lazy and expecting God to do it all.