My Conference Report 2011

As many of you are aware, I spent last weekend in St. Louis for the 10th annual ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference.

If you don’t know how it works, let me give you a little explanation. The conference provides not only a time to meet and mingle with published authors, but to meet with agents and editors to pitch books and seek representation, and to take classes taught by well known agents, editors, and authors. It’s a time for learning, laughing, and for me, seeking God’s direction for my career.

To understand how I was thinking before I left for conference, check out my last post.

Here are some words to describe how I’m thinking and feeling now:

Amazed. Rejuvenated. Excited. Liberated. Focused. Star-struck. Loved.

Here are some of the things I learned:

1. My name is Jennifer and I am a seat-of-the-pants writer. And there is nothing wrong with me. (Thanks, Karen Ball!) And did you know that SOTP writers are more spiritual? 😉
2. The market for international settings in fiction for the CBA is remarkably narrow.
3. Editors and agents are people, too. Super cool, funny, warm, helpful people.
4. God put me with just the right agent. I am so blessed to be with Rachel Kent because she is an incredible person. And Books & Such is a warm, inspiring agency.
5. Learn the rules so that when you break the rules, you can do it well.
6. Not all suspense writers are actually exciting in real life. (I think there’s something here that needs to be analyzed by the Character Therapist.)
7. Erin Healy was inspirational and helpful. Sitting in her class cleared up so many things for me. I think hers was my favorite of all. It could just be that her overall persona was helpful and encouraging.
8. A kiss is NOT just a kiss. Wowza. 
9. My boys might just have missed me a little. 🙂

I don’t think I can accurately describe the atmosphere at this conference. Even though everyone was there for the same thing, there was no sense of competition or jealousy among the attenders. In fact, everyone, and I mean everyone, was supportive of each other.

When someone had a meeting with an agent or editor, there was always a spirit of prayer, and friends outside the door to build you up or celebrate with you after. Such an incredible, God-breathed atmosphere unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

Not once did I feel alone or unwelcome or “out of the loop.” In fact, I appreciate so much being taken into “the fold” by the life-long friends God brought to me in this one weekend.

And as a super-cool side note, I was quite star struck this weekend as I got to meet, hug, and chat with many of my favorite authors. What wonderful, inspiring individuals!

I’m already looking forward to next year. If for no other reason than to get to spend some time with my lovely writer-friends!

*All of my writer friends are really tall. Like, really tall. I’m a shortie. Sarah F., you and I are stuck together in Munchkinville, I suppose. 🙂

Share with me: When you know that God is opening doors, how do you react? Do you run ahead or creep through slowly?


Filed under Writing

9 responses to “My Conference Report 2011

  1. What a great experience for you! I'm so glad you got to go. Erin Healy is a friend of mine, and you are right about her spirit. A wonderful person, friend and writer.

  2. Jenny, I'm glad the conference was such a good experience for you. I love the supportive, encouraging atmosphere. Writers are some of the most generous people I've met.I'm glad I got to meet you, although it would have been nice to spend more time together. Perhaps we will see more of one another in Dallas. I'd like that. =)

  3. Olivia- I wish you could have been there! I would love to meet you!Keli- Everyone was right about you- your spirit is so sweet and encouraging. I can't wait to spend more time with you next year!! And by then I can say that I've read your first release! Woo!! 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It's awesome to hear another seat of the pants writer stand up with pride. Glad you had fun!

  5. Hey Jen,It was so fun to meet you at conference! I love that you write international settings too…maybe one day, right? :)Blessings to you!Mel

  6. Melanie- Praying that God is gonna open that door wide for us, girl! 🙂 So wonderful to have met you! Hope I get to see you next year!

  7. can i just say that you are one of my most favorite people? seriously. i know that you wrote that bit about being star-struck about me. i mean, you put the pic of katie and i right after that…clearly subconscious message. :)and sure…i'll be happy to analyze you anytime. phones work just as well as couches. jeanniethe character therapist

  8. J- I am totally star-struck by you. You are THE Character Therapist. And I meant you needed to analyze said writer (who will remain nameless) for boring to exciting personality ratio. But I might need some analysis, too. Good thing I met a great therapist at the ACFW conf. 😉

  9. Okay, first of all, I'm not sure why I didn't see this post until now. I swear I followed your blog a long time ago, but it's not showing up in my dashboard. Grr…need to rectify that.Second, Munchkins unite! I mean seriously, have you gotten over the crick in your neck from looking up the entire weekend? Me neither. ;)Loved meeting you in person and look forward to hanging out again, hopefully next year!

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