ACFW 2019 Report

I just returned from the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) writers conference held in San Antonio and had a great time. Tamela was also there, along with 30 of our agency’s clients.

We had a number of productive meetings with publishers, along with talking with each of our clients. Tamela taught two classes, as did I. Then we each had around 30 individual, one-on-one, 15-minute pitch appointments with authors in attendance.

Saturday night was the Awards Gala. We had a number of client winners and finalists.

Emilie Hendryx was given the ACFW membership award for excellent service to the organization members.

The Genesis Award (which had 257 entries) saw Sami Abrams win the short novel category. We had three others who were finalists: Darlene Turner, Heidi Main, and Deborah Clack.

Nadine Brandes with her Carol Award

The prestigious Carol Award (with 361 entries) honored winning clients:

Connilyn Cossette (historical romance)
Kimberley Woodhouse (novella)
Morgan Busse (speculative)
Nadine Brandes (young adult)

We also had finalists: Carrie Turansky, Nancy Mehl, Carla Laureano, and  Lynette Eason.

Plus both Bob Hostetler and Tamela Hancock Murray were finalists for Agent of the Year.

In addition, it was great to have Enclave Publishing, the publishing company I own and run, win in the debut author category with Lindsay A. Franklin.

It was an exhausting but invigorating time. If you write fiction, this is the place to attend each September.

Last, it was delightful to meet many of you who are faithful readers of this blog. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement!



25 Responses to ACFW 2019 Report

  1. Angela Ruark September 30, 2019 at 4:55 am #

    Are there conferences you would recommend for non-fiction writers? Thank you!

    • Damon J. Gray September 30, 2019 at 5:41 am #

      Angela, where do you live? Travel costs are a big part of your decision, but I encourage you to go. I live on the west coast, so my conferences are on this side of the U.S. I allow myself to go to a maximum of two conferences each year, and one of those will always be the West Coast Christian Writers Conference in Livermore California.

      Wherever you live, there must be conferences close enough for you to attend. Do it!! The information you glean will be life-impacting, and the friendships you develop an inestimable blessing.

      • Angela Ruark September 30, 2019 at 8:46 pm #

        Thanks for the great advice! I’m going to find some to attend. .

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:24 pm #

      The best resource to find a conference near you is the annual Christian Writers Market Guide (the 2020 edition will come out in December). Or you can subscribe to the online version here:

      All the Christian conferences are listed there by location.

      ACFW is the only conference that is solely focused on fiction. The other bigger ones, Mt. Hermon, Blue Ridge, Write-to-Publish, Florida, Greater Philadelphia, and Colorado usually have large faculties with a wide variety of course offerings. Everything from fiction to non-fiction books to magazines to children’s publishing.

      • Angela Ruark September 30, 2019 at 8:24 pm #

        Thank you for all that great info! I will check them out.

  2. Jeanne Takenaka September 30, 2019 at 4:57 am #

    It truly was a great weekend. There were so many informative classes, and I enjoyed Frank Peretti’s keynotes, especially the one he shared on Saturday.

    It was also fun to hear some of your stories, Steve, at supper on Friday evening. I hope you’re getting some rest now.

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:25 pm #


      Thanks for enduring the endless stories!

  3. Daphne Woodall September 30, 2019 at 5:27 am #

    I remember pitching to you at ACFW 2016. Long time ACFW member, but my first Conference. I look forward to returning and St. Louis sounds like a great opportunity to see that part of the country.

    I enjoyed watching the Gala online and seeing all the friends through shared pics. It was great seeing you and Tamela together for the event.

  4. Damon J. Gray September 30, 2019 at 5:33 am #

    Welcome back. It sounds like you had a glorious week, and the the Laube agency was well represented by agents and clients alike.

  5. Loretta Eidson September 30, 2019 at 5:59 am #

    I hated missing the conference this year, but I’ll definitely be there next year. The dates are already on my 2020 calendar. I missed seeing everyone. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

  6. CJ Myerly September 30, 2019 at 6:08 am #

    Congratulations to all those who finaled or won the Genesis or Carol. This was my first ACFW conference, and it was so memorable.

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:32 pm #

      I think this was my 18th ACFW. I was there when it was AC R W (they changed if from “romance” to “fiction” when they realized their reach was larger than one genre.

  7. Linda Gowan September 30, 2019 at 6:14 am #

    Sounds like a really good time and a learning one

  8. Sharon K Connell September 30, 2019 at 6:29 am #

    Steve, the honor was mine to have you sit at our table and get to know you in person. This blog has been a blessing to me. I have learned many things from it. Hope to run into you again some time and maybe even pitch a story to you, should I ever decide to try the traditional route.

    God bless you, your agency, publishing company, and all the work you do for writers.

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:27 pm #


      It was nice meeting you as well. Appreciated your kinds words.
      Amazed we could hear anything with all the noise of 400+ people talking at once!

  9. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 30, 2019 at 6:37 am #

    And the Big Show now has finished,
    leaving just the trampled grass
    and a day a bit diminished
    by memories of future passed.
    ‘Twas all so tangible and real!
    and it’s now but history;
    love and laughter over meals,
    and new friendship’s mystery.
    But there is no cause to mourn,
    for even though the tents are struck
    there is something noble born
    from His grace, and from our luck,
    for next year we’ll share the boon
    of our lovely Brigadoon.

  10. Randy Haglund September 30, 2019 at 6:48 am #

    I was there too, and learned many things while there. I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you, but I am a faithful reader of this blog. Thank you for posting so much helpful information here. And I agree, the conference is well worth attending.

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:29 pm #


      I saw an old friend at the beginning of the conference for a moment and never saw her again the entire time. With classes on one floor, appointments on another, and main ballroom separate, it was a bit challenging.
      I didn’t even find the bookstore until Saturday afternoon!

  11. Pamela S. Black September 30, 2019 at 9:15 am #

    I enjoyed meeting you and meeting with you, Steve. Your advice was spot on and I appreciate the guidance.

    I’m already looking forward to next year!

    • Steve Laube September 30, 2019 at 6:30 pm #


      Thank you for taking the risk of presenting your work at the conference. It is a brave thing. 🙂

  12. Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. September 30, 2019 at 9:43 am #

    Thanks so much for the update. My new job made it impossible to attend this year but, Lord willing, I will be there next year!

  13. Francis September 30, 2019 at 11:05 am #

    Wonderful, To God be the glory!

  14. Mermaid Scribbler September 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm #

    Way to go!

  15. Andra Loy October 2, 2019 at 2:46 am #

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience at the conference – I learned so much from your workshop and panel. You made my first pitch ever a pleasant and fun experience.
    Congratulations to all your winning clients!
    Can you remind me of the name and release date of the story about (no one having) sight that you told me about?

  16. claire o'sullivan October 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm #

    Yikes just now seeing this. I am close-ish to Portland, 5 hrs or thereabouts. 1. anyone planning to go to the next in Portland or Seattle in N. California or S. Oregon? I can catch a ride with you on I-5 second exit to Grants Pass… OK and 2. If I can create a big enough group in Southern Oregon (like Medford would folks come along? ”Build it and they will come…”

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