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To come or not to come: Gayle Roper

Are you still debating the wisdom of coming to the ACFW conference in September?  It is, after all, a lot of money and time. Maybe I can give you some thoughts to help you make up your mind.

First you will be taught by folks who have been making their way successfully in the thorny field of publishing. We all want to better our skills, and in my opinion there are no more practical, knowledgeable teachers than those already succeeding in the business.

Then there are the many writers with whom you can talk, and they are as enthusiastic about writing as you are. Some are veterans, some are novices, and you are guaranteed to find your peers. Since as Christian writers we encourage each other and cheer for each other, you will find friends who will pray for you and your writing.

Lastly, you’ll have opportunity to speak face to face with editors and agents whether it’s by appointment or by sharing a meal. The fact that you’ve gone out of your way to come to a conference like ACFW tells these professionals much about your commitment to your craft.

I’ve got to tell you that I owe the great majority of my contracts to conferences.  It’s not that I actually sold anything at the conferences. That rarely happens. Rather I made contacts that led to contracts. I can trace book after book to someone I met at some conference.

But be wary of expecting too much of one conference.  Success as a writer doesn’t depend on getting an agent this September or impressing some wonderful editor at ACFW.  Rather you are taking one step in your writing career/ministry. The key is perseverance wedded to prayer. It’s the conference annually so you deepen your skills, develop your writing community, and make those crucial contacts.  So leave your agenda at home and come with a heart to see what God has planned, be it much or merely a beginning.

Learn more about Gayle Roper and her books at her website. Learn more about the continuing education session she’ll teach at ACFW here.

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