Conference Afterglow

ACFW’s 2012 conference landed in Dallas this past weekend. Attendees had a whirlwind three-plus days of classes, appointments, fellowship, and renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Here are some of my observations.

Writer’s conferences can be strange and unpredictable beasts, filled with moments of disappointment, followed by serendipitous highs.

Melancholy seeps in when we don’t get an appointment with our dream agent. Euphoria reigns when the agent we do meet with requests our entire manuscript.

We final in the writing contest but don’t win. A few minutes later, our critique partner is announced a winner.

At this year’s ACFW, someone pitched to an editor and the editor bought the book on the spot. Bought, as in purchased, as in a contract, as in “We want to publish your book.”

One of the high points for me was meeting with my new agent and being able to put a face, and a smile, and a voice to the email. My previous agent resigned shortly before the conference and this new girl was picking up her fiction writers. And I can call her a girl because she’s young enough to be my daughter.

I was impressed with her professionalism and knowledge of the industry. I was equally impressed with how well she knew my work and pending projects. A quick and enthusiastic learner.

In the bookstore on Saturday night, I had a conversation with one of the three agents on everyone’s list of top agents. He remembered me from previous conferences, including rejecting me. We talked about my writing and he gave encouragement and support and ideas on one of my projects.

The highest point for me was seeing two writers I coach and mentor attend their first large conference and pitch for the first time. Over the course of the weekend, I observed them glow and grow as they went to classes and met new people and fully engage in the whole conference universe. It warmed my heart to see their nervous insecurities about pitching be replaced by delighted smiles when an agent or editor requested a proposal or a full manuscript.

What’s been your highest moment at a conference?




7 Responses to Conference Afterglow

  1. Tina Boone September 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    My highest moment came during an after party. I had volunteered last year at a writer’s conference, and the last night we all went out to eat with the agents, editors and authors. That’s when I really relaxed. To my surprise, I ended up eating dinner with an agent who loved my book idea and asked me to send her a full MS. Glad my husband drove me home or else I would’ve floated. My feet never touched the ground after that one.

  2. Henry September 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Awesome. I love how God arranges these divine appointments.

  3. Janet K. Brown September 26, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    This time, my highest point came in the prayer room on Friday afternoon. I wrote about what I learned on my blog. God meeting me there topped even requests from editors or making lots of new friends, including you, Henry.

  4. Kariss Lynch September 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Interactions with others who share the same passion for writing and can encourage me accordingly! Always fun!

  5. Henry September 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Amen to that.

  6. Susan Mires October 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    Henry, I enjoyed meeting you at conference. That’s really the best part – getting to connect with other writers at all stages.

  7. Henry October 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Thanks for your comment, Susan. I enjoyed meeting you, too. I agree that meeting other writers and building and renewing relationships makes the conference experience very special.

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