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FREE HUGS at ACFW Conference!

By Teresa Tysinger

You guys! Can you believe the ACFW Conference is just a few short weeks away? It’s like a trip to Disney World for Christian authors. (If you think that’s overstating, then you’ve obviously never been to one.)
Tysinger hug
Like many of you, I’m working hard to prepare. Here’s a glimpse at my to-do list in progress:

• Sketch out goals for what I hope to achieve at conference
• Submit one-sheet to critique group for proofreading
• Print updated business cards
• Research agents/editors I’m scheduled to meet
• Practice elevator pitch for finished manuscript
• Prepare one-sentence “log-line”
• Prepare short answer for “What are you working on now?”
• Have a copy of manuscript printed (just in case-you never know!)
• Schedule hair-cut and mani/pedi

That last one may seem out of place, but we all know that some good self-care and primping can add a boost of confidence.

Despite the above list, this post isn’t meant to breed anxiety. I simply want you to know that you’re not alone. This pre-conference boat is full of authors doing the exact same thing. I’d bet my first published novel that even the most seasoned author has her fair share of butterflies before a big conference like ACFW. You’re in good company.

We have a unique advantage, you and I. In no other professional group have I encountered the genuine support and encouragement from colleagues than as a member of ACFW. Technically each other’s competition, ACFW members cheer each other on and celebrate victories, big and small. We do this with a fervor rooted in our shared faith.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24

Brother and sister authors, agents, and editors in Christ…I’m bringing something to this year’s conference for each of you. That’s right, each and every one. I’ll be wearing a button that reads FREE HUGS*.

Now, before you chuckle and roll your eyes, know that I don’t do this as a cute stunt or gimmick. I truly feel this is the best way I can personally, even for a second, help to ease your anxieties and cheer you on.

You’re gonna rock that pitch!
Go blow that editor’s socks off!
Knock ’em dead at that workshop!
Way to deliver a stellar keynote (ahem, Ted Dekker)!
Wow, that’s an awesome business card!
I’m sure Dad’s doing fine at home with the kiddos, Mama!
Conference not going like you hoped? God’s got more planned for you!

If I don’t see you and offer a hug, please don’t hesitate to approach me. It’ll be my honor and privilege to spur you on, friend. Chances are, I’ll need it, too.

*High-fives and fist bumps available for non-huggers.

By the way, if you’re looking for some tips on preparing for the conference, here are some of my favorite posts:

Attending a Writer’s Conference? Here’s How to Prepare” on The Write Life

How to Promote Your Work Without Being Pushy” on The Writer’s Alley

Preparing for Conferences: Your One-Sheet” on Between the Lines, Books & Such Literary Agency Blog

TeresaTysingerTeresa Tysinger writes charming southern romances, inspired by grace. Her first (yet-to-be-published) novel, Someplace Familiar, was a finalist in the 2016 Touched By Love Award Contest. She’s a wife, mama, church communications director, and lover of stories with happy endings. Teresa blogs about writing and faith at

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17 Responses to FREE HUGS at ACFW Conference!

  1. Renee-Ann says:

    What an awesome post…and what a way to encourage people. Way to go, Teresa.

    I’ve been to other conferences, but this is my second time at ACFW. I’m more excited about it than I have butterflies. I know, they’ll come as we get closer to it, but that’s okay.

    Keeping my eyes open for you, girl. You need encouragement too. Until then, safe travels and blessings. <


  2. So looking forward to responding to your free hug with one of my own – GREAT POST by a GREAT ENCOURAGER!

  3. Thank you so much, Renee-Ann! I’m with you about excitement overwhelming the nerves. Safe travels to you, too!

  4. Thank you so much, Renee-Ann! I’m with you about excitement overwhelming the nerves.

  5. Joy, thank you so much. Can’t wait to see you. 🙂

  6. Mary Van Everbroeck says:

    Ah, your Post is so inviting, exuberant and sensitive. I’m sure that all those attending will be delighted to say hello to you; even people that are more comfortable with high-fives, at least initially. I’m going to take a look at your website. Take care. Teresa I am also going to Bookmark this page for future reference.

  7. Mika says:

    Eek!!! Can you believe we’re only around TWO WEEKS from conference?!?! (And I’ll be sure to tell Mark I need a mani/pedi.)

    I can’t wait to give you a huuuuge hug, friend! (Many of them, to be sure.) Such a fab post. I love it!!

  8. Aw, thanks, Mikal! You’ll get sick of all the hugs I have waiting for you. 🙂 Thanks for your support.

  9. Carrie Turansky says:

    Hi Teresa, this is such a fun post. Love the free hugs idea.Encouraging other authors is one of my goals each time I head off to ACFW. I’ve been blessed to attend every ACFW conference since the first one. Lots of great friendships have formed, and I look forward to seeing those special author friends each year. I’ll be looking for you and glad to exchange a hug.

  10. Carrie, what an awesome thing to have been at each conference! When I hug you, maybe I’ll absorb some of your wisdom from all those years. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  11. Love it, Teresa! Looking forward to meeting you! (And getting my hug, of course!)

  12. Angela Couch says:

    Your list of things to do looks very familiar. I’m booked to have my hair trimmed tomorrow. 🙂 Look forward to meeting you!

  13. Loved your encouraging post. I’ll be there looking for a hug. It’s my first ACFW conference, and I do have butterflies when I think about it. But I’m also excited about the people I’ll meet and the things I will learn.

  14. Heidi, thank you! It’s going to be such fun!

  15. Angela, lots to get done, for sure! My haircut is Saturday. 😉

  16. Dorothy, thanks for reading! Your first time!!! Oh my gosh, I’m so excited for you. I’ll be praying for those butterflies. Look for me to get that hug!!