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Conference Countdown

Only 96 days left. Yes, I’m counting the days until the ACFW conference.


Why?

I’m glad you asked.

Besides the obvious squeals and hugs from reconnecting with friends I only see once a year, I’m looking forward to learning new things and picking the brains of the industry’s best. I love mingling with names I’ve read on book covers for years and meeting debut authors who encourage me.

ACFW puts on the best conference around. Just look at the line-up of continuing classes and workshops. There’s something for everyone from the writer who has just started out to the multi-published author. This year we have more editors and agents taking appointments than anyone else. If you’re a fiction writer, this is THE conference to attend!

In preparation for the conference, a number of us have gathered on the ACFW forum, talking about tag lines or hooks. Randy Ingermanson (the Snowflake Plot guru) says a tag line shouldn’t be more than 20 words. That’s harder to do than writing the 90,000 word manuscript. But they’re important because they convey the high concept. So we’ve been thinking like movie moguls producing a trailer. And there are some really good ones coming out of it.

If you’re wondering how best to prepare, let me share something my critique partners and I did for our first ACFW conference. We all had a manuscript we wanted to pitch. So we worked on our proposals, our tag lines and the short synopsis. We polished them until they gleamed.

Once we had the words on paper, we worked on memorizing. We wanted to be prepared in case we got on the elevator and found ourselves alone … with Mr. Agent from our dream agency or Ms. Editor from our favorite publishing house. I mean, you don’t want to stutter or stammer or worse, just stand there with your jaw hanging open and drool slip-sliding off your lower lip.

So we would call each other up at odd hours of the day or night. As soon as the phone picked up, we’d hear, “Tell me about your book.” The first few times, okay the first twenty times, we stammered and forgot our own names. But eventually, we could deliver a pitch as smoothly as any veteran author.

Nope, there’s no drool on this lip. I’m ready!

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