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5 things to do to prepare for the ACFW Conference

by Susan May Warren

The ACFW conference is less than two months away and I can’t wait! Even now, I’m gearing up to hang out with my favorite peeps, fellow authors and the My Book Therapy community (The Voices.) And, just like you, I’m training for the day when I see editors and agents and pitch them my newest idea. I want to be on my game, to know my genre, my competition, my story and most of all, I want to leave them with a good impression.

Here’s my five recommendations on how to prep for the ACFW Conference.

1. Familiarize yourself with the current releases of the editors you will talk to.
Don’t waste an editor’s time (or yours) buy pitching a book in a genre they don’t publish. Look at the newest releases from that house and read the ones in your genre. This also help you keep current with literary trends and publishers preferences. More than that, you’ll also learn their preferences in voice and subject matter. I sold my first book by reading everything published by Tyndale in contemporary romance. I dissected the stories, found the commonalities, the preferences, even the different voices. Then I a crafted a story I felt they would want to put their name on. Read up on your publisher and walk into the game prepared.

2. Read the submission requirements and genre preferences of the agents you will talk to.
When you approach an agent, know the kind of books they represent. Agents will clearly state on their website what they prefer, and frankly, it behooves you to know a few of the authors they represent. It will give you insight as to how you might fit into their repertoire of authors. If they have a blog, read it. Plan to attend their class, or a panel. Prep yourself on the people whom you will be asking to partner with you in this business.

3. Read the Carol award finalists for your genre.
I am shocked by the number of novelists who don’t read in their genre, and frankly, who don’t read inspirational fiction. You can’t write in a genre you don’t read, and you can’t sell in a market you don’t understand or even respect. Know the market you are writing for and learn from your peers. Only then will you know how to stay in the game.

4. Prepare business cards, your one sheet and your pitch.
The key to pitching is to know your story so well you can talk about it easily. However, getting to this place takes practice and an understanding of the dramatic irony and selling points of your story. You can read about the essentials at My Book Therapy. The most important product you have is your ability to think on your feet and be prepared with an answer. Take the time to warm up for that moment.

5. Buy your ticket for the MBT Pizza Party and get ready to have fun!
ACFW is about rejuvenating. Let’s face it – writing is a lonely business. Most of the time it’s just you and your computer and the voices in your head. I designed the Pizza Party as a time to relax and have some fun. This year will be the best party yet! Don’t miss it – Get your tickets now at: http://www.mybooktherapy.com/product/pizza13/.
First 100 get a gift bag filled with goodies!

I can’t wait to see you all in September!

Your friend,
Susie May

Susan May WarrenSusan May Warren is the RITA, Christy and Carol award-winning, best-selling author of over forty novels. A popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation, she’s also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a craft and coaching community for novelists. Visit her at: www.susanmaywarren.com

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4 Responses to 5 things to do to prepare for the ACFW Conference

  1. Ian says:

    Great advice Susie May.

    Thank you for the invitation to the pizza party. It sounds like a lot of fun – is it open to people who haven’t used MBT’s services, Susie?

  2. Linda says:

    So excited about conference!

    And I have been known to overlook something staring me in the face, but when I click the link I don’t see anything that says when the MBT pizza party is. ??

  3. Susie, Good advice. I won’t be at the conference this fall (for the first time in several years), but I’m sure someone will eat a slice of pizza in my honor. : )
    Thanks for all you do for writers of Christian fiction.

  4. Pingback: Ideas For Preparing For A Conference | The Inkwell