Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Writing Conference: 5 Expectations

The authors agented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency are a praying bunch!I learned so much about the publishing industry last year at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Dallas that I wanted to share what new folks might expect to see in Indianapolis. I’ve been to another writing conference this year, so these five items are pretty universal.

Expect to be Surrounded by Other Nervous People

If you aren’t, your probably at a podiatrist convention by mistake. Chances are, you’ll see tears, laughter, hugs, and disappointment within the same hour. Emotions tend to be bigger when we’re wound up, so the good might look a lot like Christmas morning. While the bad might feel like you’re ready to quit. Try to find middle ground and enjoy where you are while you’re there.

And encourage others to enjoy the ride as well.

Expect to be Overwhelmed at Least Once

This isn’t actually a bad thing. I was overwhelmed in my very first class. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. But even if the overwhelming element isn’t such a great one, revert to advice from the first Expectation: Find middle ground and enjoy where you are while you’re there. And if the classes start speeding past. Don’t stress.

The first official meeting of the conference was the first-timers meeting.Expect to Want the Conference Recordings

They are so worth it! I know they cost, but having those recordings on hand to re-listen, or hear for the first time if you miss a class you wanted to take, can be pure gold!

Expect the Need to Prepare!

This is a biggie, because it’s something we can control. Here is your checklist. Don’t miss these important items:

  • Print handouts for the classes chosen.
  • Purchase or make business cards – big-time important!
  • Examine the websites/blurbs of the editors/agents/mentors to make sure the ones you chose deal with your genre, your issues.
  • Know your genre. If you’re not sure, explain it to another writer early on in the conference and ask them to help you nail it down.
  • Plan how you’ll answer the question: So, what is YOUR book about?

Expect God to be God

The most freeing thing we can do, as servants of our King, is let Him do what pleases Him. Let go of dreams. They can be as entangling as emotional baggage. And by letting those dreams go, we become able to enjoy where we are while we’re there.

Your turn: Have you ever been to a writers conference, or any conference? What is your best piece of advice for a new conference goer?

Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

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