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Don’t Be a Conference Statistic

By Tamara D. Fickas

Statistics show 70% of writers won’t follow through on a request at a conference from an industry professional to send their work. Shocking, I know. I always wondered about those writers. Why would they go to all that work and not follow through? It didn’t make sense to me.

Then I went to a conference. I worked hard before. Still, I didn’t feel my book was quite ready, but the fear of talking to an agent was great, so I challenged my fear and made appointments for practice.

More than one agent asked me to submit work. It motivated me, but as an introvert, it took a lot for me to go through with the meetings. I took a few days off after the conference to rest and refocus. A few days turned into a week, then a month. Next came a promotion at the day job and life got crazy quick. I kept setting new goals under the auspices of “if they asked, it’s never too late.”

It’s now 18 months and I still I haven’t sent my requested submissions.

It occurred to me the other day that I’m now a 70% er and that disappoints me.

How does a writer end up in this daunting statistical category? Here’s how I ended up there.

First off, I forgot to listen to the truth in my life. I let the lies of the enemy draw me off the path God has set me on. It’s true that if a professional doesn’t want to read your work, they won’t ask for it. I forgot that. The lies sounded so true I believed them.

Second, I kept putting it off. Life is so busy for us writers that it’s easy to put writing on the back burner. Don’t do that. Our goals and dreams are important. We should prioritize them appropriately. We need to believe in our writing enough to make a place for it in our schedule.

Third, the amount of work that would come my way if an agent really liked my work overwhelmed me. I made excuses about how my day job paid the bills and it was important I focus on it. I thought delaying this task of submitting my work a few weeks or months, until my schedule was more in control, wouldn’t be a big deal. However, our schedule may never calm down. We need to learn to work within the constraints of it.

Here’s the reality. A friend and I both received requests for submissions at that conference. She was previously a 70% girl, but last year she said no to that. She went, she met, she submitted. Today, one year later, she has a book in bookstores and number two in the series is due out soon.

If you’re going to the ACFW Conference and you’re meeting with professionals, make yourself a promise right now. Don’t follow my lead. Plan time for when you get back to follow-up. Be a 30%er!

Tamara FickasTamara Fickas – Christian, storyteller, writer, speaker, encourager. She lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her beloved kitty boy, Wilson. When not writing she loves adventures, time with her dad, reading, and making people laugh. Life experiences, her vivid imagination, coffee, and Hot Tamales fuel her writing.

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6 Responses to Don’t Be a Conference Statistic

  1. Felicia says:

    Love this!! You can do it!! I’m not a fan of “prosperity gospel” but I can tell you, God had a blessing waiting and if I had not submitted, I could not have received that blessing. Would I have gotten a contract if I had submitted the first time it was requested, FIVE YEARS EARLIER? Maybe, maybe not. But one thing is certain, we’ll never know what God has planned unless we step out in faith. Love you, Tammie – hope to see you this week!!!

  2. Terri Picone says:

    I’m also one of the 70%, but that was then and this is a new conference and a new year so I can be a part of the reverse statistic. Start a new trend.

    We can all determine to keep writing, learning the craft and business, going to conferences, and following through on the requests we get this conference.

  3. Janetta says:

    Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your story. Your vulnerability will help others. You definitely gave me encouragement.

  4. Felicia, you are very right. God had a plan and I needed to trust the plan. You definitely have inspired me!

    Terri, This is a new conference and a new year! You’ve got this, be strong!

    Thanks, Janetta. I’m glad you received some encouragement from this post.

  5. Sherma Webbe Clarke says:

    Thank you, Tamara, for sharing your experience in such an open, straightforward way. This will be my first ACFW conference, and I’m very encouraged by the online camaraderie; so I anticipate that the conference will be an amazing experience.

  6. Thanks for visiting, Sherma. I’ve not been to the ACFW conference, but I’ve heard many good things about it. Hope you have a great time!