Friday night I prepared for my last editor appointment on Saturday afternoon with Sherri Langton of Bible Advocate.
I skimmed through a sample magazine left on her table, and discovered none of the articles I brought with me would fit as-is.
I decided to change my tactics to simply ask questions about her magazine.
I questioned her about Bible Advocate’s target readers, and what they expected as far as content (deep Bible studies, or more basic, etc).
As we talked, a few statements made by our speakers whispered in my ear, and the image of a waterbug surfaced.
“I know now I need to look closer into my spiritual journey,” I said to Sherri. “Lately I’ve been walking on the surface of my faith, and God’s been telling me all during the conference I need to dig deeper.”
I realized then God’s task for me right now. It isn’t to write to be published, or read the Bible in search for that one perfect verse for my article or story, but to feed my soul.
God is jealous of the time I spend away from him, and wants me all to himself. In the process perhaps I’ll gain deeper insights readers are searching for.
Other non-spiritual insights I’ve gained from attending the conference:
Study the current guidelines online. Don’t depend solely on Writer’s Market Guide or Sally Stewart’s (the Christian version). Guidelines change all the time, and are kept more current on the magazine’s websites.
Read up to six months of issues. This can be both time-consuming and economically difficult. Who among us has the money to subscribe to every single magazine we want to write for? I have a few ideas:
Check archives online. Most magazines keep archives sometimes up to twenty years.
Talk to friends or even people at your church to see if they subscribe and ask for their old copies.
Flip through current issues either at your local bookstore (some carry many Christian magazines), and Christian bookstores.
Check out the local library. Some may carry the magazines you want to write for.
2. Take the business card of every editor you speak with. No matter what the results of the appointment, email them a short note thanking them for their time. As one attendee noted, editor’s have long memories. They’ll appreciate your kindness, and remember you positively when you do have something saleable.
3. Do the same for other attendees. Networking is key to gaining readership, but also the friendships developed can be invaluable. You can encourage one another and provide feedback for your writing.
4. Be realistic! All writers attend conferences to sell their writing. However, to attend for that reason alone will only discourage you. Less than 10% of attendees sell something at a conference. If you go with equal purpose of making friends, and learning from the classes, speakers, workshops and the editors, your experience will be far more rewarding.
Tomorrow: A More Spiritual Journey.