In a week and a half I'll be jetting off to Nashville, where it's hot and I'll get moist and drippy and I don't even like country western or the Grand ol' Opry. There. I said it out loud. Don't judge me.
So why leave the cool north for the sweat-laden south? The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, of course. I don't always attend, but when I do, it's always valuable . . . but not necessarily in ways you'd expect. Sure, landing a contract is a possibility for anyone who goes, yet there are other pros for coughing up the cash for a conference.
Let's get this horse out of the stable right away. This is the number one reason in most people's minds to hurtle their fannies across the country and land at a conference. There are agents. There are editors. There are publicists. There is opportunity. Getting your face in front of other publishing industry faces is a great way to make a memorable impression. That impression, of course, is up to you. I suggest you leave your tiara and sequined leopard leggings at home.
By virtue of its nature, writing is a solitary profession. Only one pair of hands will fit on a keyboard, no matter how hard you try. Stepping away from that keyboard and developing relationships with other humanoids that have hands is a healthy thing to do. Besides, no one understands the freakish quirks of a writer like other writers.
Workshops. Panels. Appointments with editors and agents. These are all prime opportunities to learn first-hand tips and tricks that will benefit your career. Don't spend your time at the hotel bar (though I'm not gonna lie...that's a great place to learn some insights as well). Take advantage of gleaning what you can the whole time you're there.
Okay, so, yeah, I've been known to stalk my favorite authors to snag an autograph. Is that wrong? Besides that, though, big names and little names attend conferences. This is your chance to rub shoulders with them.
Sure, it costs a lot of coin to go to a conference. Save your receipts. The whole gig is tax deductible. You'll be glad about that come next April 15th.
And those are just some of the benefits of going to a conference. This year I hope to spend time hanging with my buddies who I only ever get to chat with online. I'll probably be sniffing around the agents, since I'm currently a lone wolf. And even though I do have deadlines galore, yeah, I'll pitch a new story, because hey, who doesn't need a little more crazy in their life?
I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me
two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the
latter. Way cheaper. I've been writing since I discovered blank wall space and
Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write...except for that graffiti
phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?