Plane ticket purchased, conference fee paid and hotel room reserved, I now have five weeks to prepare my manuscript — and myself for the ACFW Conference in Indianapolis.
On my to-do list:
- Rewrite my one-page synopsis
- Rewrite and practice my one-sentence pitch.
- Design and order new business cards with a photo of moi.
You’d think after attending a major writing conference three times, I’d feel like a veteran. Not even close. This will be the first time I’m attending this conference. While in some ways I know what to expect, in others I’m clueless.
Pitching my story is one of them. It’s not so much not being comfortable talking about it, but boiling it down to a single sentence and make it so interesting people will want to read it. Especially agents and editors.
The last time I signed up for the Christian Writers Guild conference I purchased a short guide by Meredith Efken called “Writers Conference Survival Guide.”
My main motivation came from the absolute failure I made during the previous year’s conference. I took the attitude that I didn’t need to prepare for the conference. I figured God would guide me to the right editors, etc. when the time came.
Most of you have heard the phrase, “Don’t put God to the test.”
If you do, God ends up doing the testing, and guess who earns the failing grade? Not God, that’s for sure.
I ended up not knowing anything about the appointments I made and made a complete fool of myself. I ended up canceling all my other appointments and concentrated on the workshops instead.
In the end it wasn’t a total loss, for at the very least I learned that preparation is key in getting the most out of the conference as far as workshops, meeting other writers, and piquing the interest of publishers/agents. Part of it means researching prospective publishers as well as the editors and agents themselves.
For instance, using science fiction as an example, Zondervan at large will look at speculative fiction, but the specific editor at the conference may only interested in looking at historical romance.
The guide by Meredeth talks about this and so much more. She also includes how to create a one-sheet and a fill-out-able list of what must be taken to the conference. With the list filled out after packing, it’s one less thing to worry about before the trip begins.
With just over a month to prepare, I best get crackin’.