Conferences

Testing the Truth

Years ago, after a class on taxes at a writers conference, an attendee shook her head. “That teacher’s going to get a lot of people in trouble.” I couldn’t deny that some of the suggestions offered seemed risky. I disregarded most of what I’d heard as I made my way out the door.

This experience is rare, but it does happen. Conference directors engage well-known, established instructors for workshops. Teachers discuss areas they know cold. For instance, as a literary agent and past book author, I’m asked to teach on such topics as approaching agents, compiling proposals, working with agents, and the writing craft. I’m not in demand to teach on creating podcasts or building an Instagram platform. If asked to teach on either of those topics, I’d decline.

Good conference instructors realize the responsibility involved in taking on a workshop. I’m cognizant that writers have paid significant fees to participate. At a minimum, writers sacrifice their time to be in my class instead of someone else’s. I do my best to impart accurate knowledge and to make wise use of everyone’s time.

However, even the most well-meaning teachers can be mistaken or misinformed. Or, perhaps their experience isn’t relevant to what is happening in your career or life, even if, in theory, it should be. Perhaps their worldview, though Christian, still contrasts with yours because you are different personalities and deal with problems and opportunities inversely. So you may leave a class in disagreement with some points made.

And that’s okay.

Classes, whether offered at a conference or through some other means, inform and inspire. They make writers think of the best way to approach their careers, armed with the best knowledge available. Any education, including that imparted by all of us here, should be considered, weighed, and contemplated through prayer.

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Writing Advice I Took to Heart

Today’s guest post is by Lori Hatcher. She is an editor, writing instructor, award-winning Toastmasters International speaker, blogger, and author of three (soon to be five) devotionals, including Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, and Hungry for God … Starving for Time: Five-Minute Devotions for …

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What if You Get a Book Deal on Your Own and Then Want an Agent?

One of our readers asked this via the green “Ask us a question” button.

What happens if you get a book contract before you have an agent? What if, by some miracle, an editor sees your work and wants to publish it? (1) would having a publisher interested in my work make an agent much more likely to represent me, and (2) would it be appropriate to try to find an agent at that point (when a publisher says it wants to publish you)? My fear is that querying an agent and receiving a response could take several months, but I’d need to accept a potential contract with a book publisher right away (I would think). Is it appropriate to ask the editor to speak with an agent on your behalf to speed the process?

This is a great topic but there are a few questions within the question. Let me try to break it down.

Many times have had authors approach us with contracts in hand and seeking representation (happened just last week). Of course this will get an agent’s attention immediately. But there are caveats:

a)      Who is the publisher? There is a big difference between a major company and your local independent publisher. Not all publishers are created equal (see the Preditors & Editors warnings).

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6 Chances to Meet Me in 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The 2020 Christian writers conference season is at the starting line. And this year, it presents writers with six distinct and geographically diverse opportunities to meet me! And pitch to me in person. What could be better? I ask you (and I’m still waiting …

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Down Under

By the time this blog is posted I should be nearing home after spending the weekend with a wonderful group of Australian and New Zealand writers at a retreat center in Mulgoa, Australia (approximately an hour’s drive west of Sydney) for The Omega Christian Writers Conference. I had the privilege …

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Always Be Learning

During the Summer of 1978 the #1 hit on Christian radio was the classic “He’s Alive” by Don Francisco (click here to listen). That same Summer I attended a Christian music festival in Estes Park, Colorado and decided to take a class on songwriting being taught by Jimmy and Carol Owens. I settled into my chair near the back of the room with notepad ready.

Just as the class was about to start a bearded man slide in the chair next to mine….notepad at the ready. To my astonishment it was Don Francisco. (I recognized him from his album cover.)

Here was a singer/songwriter who had the number one hit in the nation…taking a class on songwriting! What did he think he needed to learn?

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Reflections on a Busy Writers Conference Season

The first six months of 2019 were an exciting whirlwind of writers-conference activity for this author and literary agent. I presented and met with writers at eight conferences from February through June—four I’d never attended before and four others I returned to. I delivered six keynote addresses and more than …

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That Conference Appointment

You snagged one of those valuable 15 minute appointments with an agent or an editor at the writers conference. Now what? What do you say? How do you say it? And what does that scowling person on the other side of the table want? What if you blow it?

Many excellent posts have been written on this topic (see Rachelle Gardner and Kate Schafer Testerman for example) but thought I would add my perspective as well.

What advice would you give to a beginning writer about attending a writers conference and meeting with an editor or an agent?

Go in with realistic expectations.

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