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ACFW Conference: traveling across the Ocean to Attend

Registrations are open for the 2010 conference so perhaps these thoughts will help you decide whether to go to Indianapolis this year. Our personal ‘conference’ actually commenced the day before the official start when we helped other volunteers set up on the Wednesday. Working together is one great way to meet and get to know other writers, and I do recommend being a volunteer to you. Arriving early also helped us get to know the layout of the conference hotel before we had to rush to find the right room for the various activities. There were the workshops we had registered for, the important prayer room where we were not only rostered in time slots but also where we needed time out to pray and meditate in the stillness.

Then of course there was the all important bookshop and the main room where we shared in worship times, meals and listening to the main speaker, Debbie Macomber.

And those mind-blowing workshops? There were workshops for every level of writer, from beginners still wondering what to write to ones for multi-published, best-selling authors of many, many books. Here are a few more photos of writers I met for the first time but all are writers I have ‘known’ for a long time through their presence on the internet as well as their wonderful books.
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Colleen Coble…
and who could
forget those hugs from -
Lena Nelson Dooley !
How often is it possible for an Aussie writer to share five hours with other published writers and two senior editors from major American publishers? Friday and Saturday morning ‘Continuing Education Sessions’ with Allen Arnold from Thomas Nelson and Karen Ball from B&H Fiction team in their The University of Fiction “5-hour Degree” was simply incredible and impossible to describe in a few sentences here. They had sessions on Relationships and Communication with your agent, editor, publisher, and of course readers. Guest speakers included well-known and successful agents like Steve Laube and Rachelle Gardner and someone in charge of a publisher’s marketing programme. Debbie Macomber also shared more of her experiences.
With Allen Arnold, Karen Ball
and Debbie Macomber.
I learnt a great deal about promotion and marketing. Now, if only I could put it all into practice!

We were challenged to think outside the box, to learn to do story well, to know the readers who enjoy our books, communicate with them, keep them informed, make it easy for them to communicate with me, the writer – and each other.

We were challenged by questions like:-
“Why do you write?”
“Why do you do what you do?”
“Besides writing the very best, entertaining, thought provoking story I possibly can, how much time and money am I prepared to invest in promotion, marketing and sharing with my readers?”

There was so much more, so much I would love to glean from my notes of those wonderful few days in Denver and share with you. But besides all the technical information and chats about writing, relationships with agents and editors and readers, even though I am a writer, I am finding it impossible to describe the incredible sense of friendship and fellowship that soaked the whole atmosphere of the ACFW conference. I do believe that the one thing that united us was the common desire to show in the characters we create in our novels what difference a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ can make in real people’s lives with real problems and conflicts that have to be resolved.

Have you every thought, “I’d love to write a book one day?”
Are you a writer who needs to ask, “Why do I do what I do?
Are you a writer who should be asking, “How much time and money can I – and am I – investing in sharing my books in the marketplace and with my readers?”

Mary Hawkins writes from Australia.

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