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.
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?