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The 4 Ways to Take on a Writing Conference
2/7/2018 9:00:00 AM by: Lauren Crews

 


 

I pushed away from the table and took a deep breath. I rushed to make it across the room, through the lobby, and out the door before I completely lost it. The woman I passed on the way out gave me a knowing look.

“Poor thing, her meeting probably didn’t go well.”

I had to call someone. My husband was at work, and he’s often hard to reach. As tears began to blur my vision, I frantically dialed my mom. Taking another breath, I waited for her to answer.

“Mom! They loved it! My first two pitches have been amazing!”

I still pinch myself when I think back to my experience at last year’s Florida Christian Writers’ Conference. With my manuscript in hand, I was a complete novice as to how the writing world worked. I had read several books. I researched the internet. All of which procured a big fat rejection letter from the two agents to whom I had submitted. My only goal in attending was to meet with someone, anyone, who would like my work enough to let me know I had not wasted the last year of my life in research and writing. In my wildest dreams, I never dared to consider what transpired.

As a marketing major, I knew the 4-P’s of marketing - Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. I attended the conference to market my book, and I had prepared as best I knew. Through my experience that weekend, and since, I’ve learned a new set of 4-P’s that are important if you are planning to attend this year. Marketing techniques, if you will, I wish I had known - Prepare, People, Prayer, and Patience.

1. Prepare yourself.

You will be overwhelmed with information, so know why you are attending and stay on track. Remember what your purpose is as you review the faculty and workshops offered. Make it a point to meet with those who will be a benefit, and take the classes that best apply to you and will work around your meetings. You won’t be able to do it all, so prioritizing is valuable.

If you’re submitting to the writing contest, or you plan to pitch your manuscript, have everything edited. You may never have another opportunity to sit face to face with an editor, so you want to present your very best. The same goes for your appearance. First impressions are important if blessed with the opportunity to follow-up. You want them to remember you as a polished, well prepared professional.

If you are pitching your manuscript, prepare a compelling elevator pitch of your work and don’t forget to bring a OneSheet. When I received an email reminder a week before the conference, it told me to bring a OneSheet, but I had no idea it was a “flyer of introduction.” I scrambled through the internet to learn what it was and searched for applicable examples I could copy. Be sure it includes your working title, number of words and genre. It also helps to have a catchy graphic relating to your work and a short author bio. To make mine look more professional, I took it to Staples and copied it onto paper with a glossy finish. It must have worked. One of the editors I met with asked if she could keep it as an excellent example for her workshop. I had to stifle a laugh as I eagerly said yes.

 

2.  People -

It really is who you know. Order your business cards now. It never dawned on me that I would need them, but you do to build your tribe. Authors need a strong social media presence. The people you meet at the conference will become your greatest assets. I have been out of the business world for a long time, and it was awkward to offer my card to strangers I never expected to speak to again. Surprisingly, I have remained in contact to some degree with every person with whom I exchanged cards. The people you meet will become commenters and contributors for your blog. They will be your shares across all social media platforms. They will become your mentors, teachers, networking contacts and truly valuable friends.

I attended not knowing who my roommate would be. The conference planners, in their infinite wisdom, assigned me with someone from my area who has since become a dear friend. Our friendship cinched after the Just Desserts awards. She won 1st place in fiction and 1st place overall in fiction for the conference. I won 1st place in the Bible study category and 1st place overall in nonfiction for the conference. That night, our room was like a sorority dorm full of chatter and excitement. And, I can not confirm or deny that there may have been some giddy girls jumping on the beds - just sayin’.

3.  Pray -

...but remember Proverbs 16:9, “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” I don’t know what your expectations are, but you have to be open to receive God’s intervention and guidance. You just never know that a rejection is buying you more time to tweak your manuscript and make it irresistible. Or, that the format of your manuscript will completely change, and the title you were sure of sinks like a lead balloon only to be replace with one that sends you into euphoria. There is a reason our work is not chiseled into stone. I might be uncomfortable but revise, delete, and replace will become blessed assets.

 

4. Patience

The publishing process is truly a waiting game. I attended my first Florida Christian Writers’ Conference ten months ago. Since then, I’ve landed an agent, and with her help, we have rewritten my lacking proposal. The Bible study format I felt so sure of, was changed into a coloring book devotional and went through a round of submissions receiving a few nibbles. We spent the summer reworking my format a third time, along with the proposal, and sent it out again in November, and we’re still waiting. But, guess what? One of the companies I submitted to will be represented at the FCWC in February, and I hope to meet with them. It is hard to beat a face-to-face meeting.

I hope you’re planning to attend the conference in February. To make the most of it you need to consider both the 4-P’s of marketing and the 4-P’s of conference attendance. But above all, have fun, meet new friends and take copious notes. If God smiles on you and proclaims over you “Yes, and Amen,” your time at the conference will give you a firm foundation on which you can build a robust career.

 

I just ordered some new business cards - I hope I see you there.

 

Lauren Crews is a Bible teacher, writer, and speaker who is working toward the publication of her first book, The Strength of a Woman. She holds a MDiv from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been married to the best guy ever for more than 27 years and she's mom to three pretty fantastic young adults.  

 

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Comments

Leslie DeVooght From Jacksonville At 2/9/2018 7:28:07 AM

Can't wait to do the conference with you again. Great advice!

Katy Kauffman From GA At 2/8/2018 2:22:09 AM

I enjoyed meeting you last year, Lauren, and I look forward to seeing you again! Thank you for this great post on getting ready. Two weeks left!

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2/19/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Mistakes Made After Meeting with Agents & Editors
2/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Blythe Daniel

10 Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
2/15/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Bethany Jett

A More Than Enough Kind of God
2/12/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

For Want of a Hook
2/10/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Dan Walsh

What Does a Writers Conference Chaplain Do?
2/8/2016 10:27:44 AM  by: Marti Pieper

Author Marketing
2/5/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Edie Melson

Move Over Clark: The Basics of Journalism
2/3/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Michael Ray Smith

Tips to Get the Most Out of the Critique Track
2/1/2016 10:10:24 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Critique Track?
1/29/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

An Introvert's Best Friend (Live Streaming)
1/27/2016 4:27:39 PM  by: Bethany Jett

Who am I Writing For?
1/25/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: S. Kim Henson

The Day I Decided to Keep Writing
1/22/2016 10:24:06 AM  by: Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Invest in Your Writing
1/20/2016 3:52:24 PM  by: Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Your Writers Conference Checklist
1/18/2016 3:06:23 PM  by: Andy Lee

5 Reasons to Launch a Blog
1/16/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

Craft Fiction with Vivid Emotion
1/13/2016 7:15:06 PM  by: Tina Yeager

Thoughts on being a Submissive Writer
1/9/2016 8:23:46 AM  by: Edie Melson

How Fast Should Your Blog Grow?
1/6/2016 12:04:56 PM  by: Edie Melson

The ART of Exceptional Editing
1/4/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Deb Haggerty

Happy New Year
1/1/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

Finding Your Strengths and Weaknesses
12/28/2015 11:29:31 AM  by: Mary Keeley

Do Writers Need a Blog or Website?
12/22/2015 11:21:19 AM  by: Edie Melson

"Second-Fiddle" Characters Play an Important Role
12/16/2015 12:57:39 PM  by: Tom Morrisey

Let Them Eat Bread: An Editor's Thoughts on FCWC
12/14/2015 3:04:39 PM  by: Jesse Florea

Preparing for Promotion
12/10/2015 12:59:44 PM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Jesus Believed in the Power of Story
12/7/2015 10:02:07 AM  by: Dan Walsh

How to Use Hashtags in Social Media
12/4/2015 5:34:23 PM  by: Edie Melson

Where Writer Conference Connections Can Take You
12/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Lindsey Brackett

Why Should I Attend a Writers Conference?
11/30/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

How to Fight Discouragement... as a Writer
11/23/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Andy Lee

An Interview with Acclaimed Author, Robert Benson
11/18/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Eva Marie Everson

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Nonfiction Book
11/14/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Kristin Stieffel

How to Write a Synopsis of Your Novel
11/9/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Kristin Stieffel

Let God Define You
11/4/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

10 Clues that You Are a Fiction Writer
10/31/2015 10:30:07 AM  by: Taryn Souders

The Basics of a Book Proposal
10/27/2015 3:12:39 PM  by: Kristin Stieffel

What To Wear at FCWC
10/23/2015 12:28:32 PM  by: Eva Marie Everson

The Skinny on Business Cards
10/15/2015 11:14:47 AM  by: Andy Lee

Just Do Your Part
10/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

A Sneak Peek into a New Class at FCWC 2016
10/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Shellie Arnold

50 Reasons Why You Should Never Write
9/28/2015 3:14:22 PM  by: Pro Krasta Nation Publishers

The Best First Step on Your Journey to Published
9/21/2015 2:40:54 PM  by: Eva Marie Everson

10 "Not-So-Secret" Secrets for a Great Writers Conference
2/10/2015 11:40:12 AM  by: Bethany Jett

Go Where God Leads
2/1/2015 4:24:15 PM  by: Allison Bottke

Moving From Passion to Process
1/27/2015 7:08:31 PM  by: Ava Pennington

Your Last First Conference
1/19/2015 11:57:13 AM  by: Kristen Hogrefe

What Is Compel Training?
1/9/2015 12:36:27 PM  by: Suzie Eller

That Agent Meeting
1/3/2015 7:44:41 AM  by: Tamela Hancock Murray

Three Problems with Point of View
12/21/2014 9:21:59 PM  by: Kristen Stieffel

How to Evaluate Your Options
12/5/2014 3:23:10 PM  by: Cheri Cowell

Writing Effective Book Proposals
11/29/2014 9:37:42 AM  by: Jim Watkins

Do the Math
11/21/2014 7:49:46 AM  by: Marti Pieper

Becoming More Media Savvy
11/15/2014 11:12:20 AM  by: Natalie Gillespie

The Perfect Book Pitch
11/8/2014 6:04:14 PM  by: Dawn Anderson

Moved With Compassion
10/20/2014 8:26:14 PM  by: Diana Flegal

Splickety In A Flash
10/9/2014 1:30:56 PM  by: Ben Wolf

Look into Their Eyes: Why Editors Go to Writers Conferences
9/29/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Ramona Richards

A Writer's Life
2/21/2014 1:32:01 PM  by: Dan Walsh

The Good, The Bad, and The Gutless
2/20/2014 10:16:18 AM  by: DiAnn Mills

I Want 2 Write 4 Teens
2/13/2014 11:32:07 AM  by: Marti Pieper

6 Things Writers Should NOT Say to Editors or Agents
2/12/2014 9:03:54 AM  by: Jevon Bolden

Don't Be Labeled "Dead On Arrival"
1/30/2014 10:59:22 AM  by: Eddie Jones

Imagine. Create. For a More Confident Faith
1/28/2014 9:19:18 AM  by: Lora Zill

Burnout or Balance
1/21/2014 6:42:50 AM  by: DiAnn Mills

Money Workouts for Writers
1/18/2014 8:20:49 AM  by: Ellie Kay

The Tale of Three Authors
1/10/2014 9:27:11 AM  by: Cheri Cowell

Three Questions, Three Answers
1/7/2014 3:44:05 PM  by: B.J. Taylor

The Introvert's Guide to the Writers Conference
1/2/2014 8:11:05 PM  by: Marti Pieper

After Your Meeting with an Editor or Agent
2/23/2013 8:09:52 AM  by: Blythe Daniel

It's Headed Right Towards Us
2/16/2013 2:53:05 PM  by: Amber Weigand-Buckley

So, Tell Me About Your Platform
2/11/2013 8:44:17 AM  by: Cheri Cowell

How Will Readers Find Your Book...
2/1/2013 9:07:24 AM  by: Eddie Jones

Tips For Coming to the FCWC From a Floridian
1/26/2013 9:45:40 PM  by: Cheri Cowell

How to Write For Kids When ...
1/23/2013 4:06:57 PM  by: Michelle Medlock Adams

Why Take the Chance?
1/7/2013 8:43:58 AM  by: Fay Lamb

Having a Positive Influence
1/4/2013 11:55:00 AM  by: Deborah Raney

Managing Your Time
12/29/2012 10:20:26 AM  by: Rusty Wright

Are You Ready for the Conference?
12/26/2012 8:45:52 PM  by: W. Terry Whalin

Devoted to Devotions
12/21/2012 9:04:49 AM  by: Ava Pennington

A Different View of Story
12/18/2012 10:31:31 PM  by: Steven James