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Mindy’s Top Ten Conference Tips

Angela Breidenbach, ACFW publicity officer, here: Please welcome our guest blogger today, Mindy Obenhaus. You can find her regular blog posts at www.MindyObenhaus.com or group blogging on WritingByFaith.blogspot.com. She’s also an ACFW Genesis finalist in romantic suspense and a long time ACFW member as well as our Carol Award coordinator.

Mindy: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been anticipating the 2010 ACFW conference since about September 20, 2009. ACFW conference is the highlight of my year. I get to see old friends, recognize online buddies, and build life-long relationships. I get to spend four days with people who don’t find it the least bit strange when I talk about my hero and heroine as if they were my children. And I get to experience God in an atmosphere that is like no other.

Getting ready for conference can be a job–business cards, pitches, one-sheets…. In all the excitement, the basic stuff sometimes falls through the cracks. So allow me to share some of my favorite conference tips.

• DO dress in layers. Those meeting rooms can be freezing or stuffy.

• DON’T stress out over having to make every workshop.

• DO bring a good attitude. Yes, there will be lines. No, things won’t be perfect. Choose to adapt.

• DON’T forget your business cards. Even if you’re not planning to meet with any editors or agents, you’ll want them available to exchange with friends.

• DO bring a few just-in-case items, like safety pins and band aids. Nothing worse than to discover those new shoes are rubbing a blister on your heel or that you’ve popped a button. Sewing kits, if not in the room, can usually be obtained from guest services.

• DON’T plan to break in a new pair of shoes at conference. Trust me on this one.

• DO allot a portion of your conference budget for tipping. Skycap at airport – $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag; Airport or hotel shuttle drivers – $1-$2; Bellhops – $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag; Hotel housekeeper – $2-$5 per day, left daily. Anyone who cleans my bathroom and makes my bed is worth that!

• DON’T take it personally if an editor/agent doesn’t ask to see any of your work. Your manuscript may not be a fit for them or it may need work. Remember, this is their business. They’re not trying to hurt you.

• DO make at least one trip to the prayer room. You’ll be glad you did.

And finally -
• DON’T corner your targeted agent/editor in the bathroom (or anywhere else) and try to pass them your manuscript!

Happy Tuesday, and happy conferencing :-)

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