Writers’ Conference Prep 101––Part II

As we writers gather our courage and sign up for writers’ conferences anywhere from one-day to multi-day, it’s best to know what to expect and what you need to prepare for. Last time, I talked about having a completed manuscript for fiction writers. This time, I’ll discuss agent-editor appointment choices. Choose the agents and editors you wish to meet with carefully. Do your homework. Know what they are looking for. Click to Tweet #amwriting #conferenceprep101 #agenteditorhomework

For example, I’ll use ACFW’s national conference. It’s the largest one I’ve ever attended, with about 500 or so attendees. This year, eight agents and twelve editors will be there to take appointments. That’s a lot. Editors come from both Christian and secular publishing houses.

Genre night ACFW 2014

If you’re looking for an agent, look at what each agent is acquiring. For example, Jim Hart of Hartline Literary, is acquiring most genres at the ACFW conference in late September. But he also lists what he’s not looking for––children or middle grade fiction. I’m signed with Hartline, and know Jim a bit. He’s a very nice guy. He’s not my agent, but he’s very pleasant.

Let’s say you have an agent, like I did last year, but I was still looking for a publisher. Since Meghan’s Choice is an historical romance western, I was looking for any traditional publisher that would take that. Last year, I couldn’t get an appointment with the publisher I wanted, but because I had an agent, I went to the editor I wanted, and asked if my agent could send him my book proposal. He said, “Sure.” They didn’t acquire it, of course. Traditional publishers rarely take first-time authors.

If you write Christian romance of any kind, with the traditional two POVs (male and female), if you could get in with LoveInspired, the Christian division of Harlequin, that’s your best bet. They take on a lot of first-time authors. They have a “formula” they follow, and your manuscript would have to fit that. Their website explains it all–– https://harlequin.submittable.com/submit/29572/love-inspired-suspense-55-000-words

The appointment process gives you experience, confidence, and poise for your pitch. We’ll talk about your pitch next time.

The point is to know who to have an appointment with. Maybe they’ll ask for more. At a conference, that’s all you can hope for. They’re asking for more means there is an interest. That’s always good.

Attending a writers’ conference is a stretching, growing, and rewarding experience. Get started. There are many great conferences out there. Check out ones in your region first. Go to a one-day to start with, if necessary. Choose well. Click to Tweet #amwriting #conferenceprep101 #agenteditorhomework

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