Monday, September 5, 2011

Meet Me In St. Louis: ACFW Networking

I have a sticky note app on my laptop, and one of my highlighted sticky notes has been on there since May. It is a prestigious list...the names pop out at me every time I log on, and I get a little nervous. And then I have a string of emails, and I look at those names, and I get super excited! ACFW is a little over two weeks away and I wanted to give some last minute tips (some of which I need to take for myself!) on how to prepare for this social extravaganza.

My sticky note: Agents and Editors to meet...what to do now for those pre-destined meetings:

  • Research, research, research: Make sure you know who the agents and editors are and what they represent. Although everyone focuses on their pitches and synopsis, you need to know what the agents and editors represent, who they are, what they are looking for. You can go to the conference page at ACFW and click on Editor Appointments and Agent Appointments to get their write ups. Then, go to their agency's or publishing house's website. Know the authors and the books they represent. Are they a good fit? Can you use those to compare your own book too? 

  • Prepare for the lunches: Not only do I have a list of possible appointments, I have a couple of names for who I would like to sit at lunch with. The lunches are c-r-a-z-y! Everyone is rushing to the table they want, to the agent or editor who may ask to hear their pitch...First of all...RELAX! God's got you covered here. If you don't get the person you want, you are still are meeting more writers, more professionals in the industry, you are learning the ins and outs which is just as important as pitching your novel. However, do prepare for this, know who you want to sit with—and be ready to sparkle if you get that opportunity to give your pitch. Oh, and take your one sheets with you!! The editor I sat with last year, gathered all our one sheets. Who knows if she looked through the pile, but at least I got mine out there. Look at Katie Ganshert's vlog and listen to her tips on the lunches!
My email strings: Authors and Friends to admire and encourage:

  • Be sure to find out when your favorite authors are out signing books, and be sure you bring your books with you to get signed! 

  • Look up the Carol and Genesis nominees ahead of time. You will see who the finalists are around the conference (they will have it on their name tag...but if you know what they wrote, that's even better!) Congratulate them and cheer for them at the banquet. It's so much more fun if you have a name with a face and you know what they write. You can be the conversation starter when you bump into them in the hall, and also a great encourager! 

  • Start contacting all your friends that you want to meet at conference. Find time for coffee breaks, dinners, late night chocolate indulgence (ready my fellow Alley Cats?)... You can get so caught up in your own agenda that you will walk away from conference missing great times with all these people in the blog world and the ACFW crit groups. And, you will be miserable if you don't prepare ahead and show up without any chocolate to share! 

In the end, remember conference is a chance to deepen your knowledge for the craft, and fellowship with other Christians who have the same passion for writing as you. Be confident, be prepared, and HAVE FUN!


Enid Wilson said...

Sound full on and very busy. I've missed my first conference in Melbourne this year. Will give it a try next year.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Yeah, get to see you soon!

Can't say enough about doing that research up front. An excellent suggestion (as well as rooting for friends).

And so true how God has lunch covered.
~ Wendy

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

I've been so enjoying all these posts about conference. I really need to stop lurking and stick my head out from the shadows. Hopefully I'll get to meet some of you in 2 weeks.

OHMYGOSH! Only 2 weeks!!!! I'm so excited!!

Keli Gwyn said...

I'm looking forward to seeing some of the Alley Cats at the conference. I've got hugs ready for you.

Casey said...

Thank you for the great post, Ang! I will admit the lunches have me a bit nervous, because I am NOT one to elbow my way to a table I want and then rush through a break in the crowd, just to dump my lunch in that agent/ editors lap. I think I'm going to take your direction and let the Lord get me where I need to be. He's got me covered. :)

Angie Dicken said...

Enid, it is very busy, but loads of fun! Good luck at your next conference.

Angie Dicken said...

Wendy- It's been difficult for me to get the research done, but it helps boost confidence while your there for sure!
I kept having to tell myself "God's got this" last year when I started getting crazy anxious. Of course, it worked! :)

Angie Dicken said...

Keli, I am excited to meet you. You have been an awesome encourager on this site! Will you be sporting your beautiful dress at the conference?? :)

Angie Dicken said...

Karen, I hope to meet you! I can't believe it is only two weeks away. Glad these posts have helped. :)

Angie Dicken said...

Casey, I am such a competitive person I just can't stand knowing the rush is ahead...but God put me right where I should have been last year, so I am glad to go into this conference knowing His hand is all I need! :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Angie, what a great post. Your suggestions about doing the research make such sense. I like how you balance out the conference with meeting up with friends--old and new, and most of all talking about remembering God's got it all taken care of. I won't get to be there this year, but I'm remembering these great tips for next year!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Great list, and I know you will do great!

Angie Dicken said...

Jeanne, when I first got to the conference last year, I got caught up in the hype of "getting an agent" but then when I look back, my greatest memories were meeting new friends and connecting with my "virtual" friends in real life! Hope you can make it next year.
Thanks Sherrinda! I'll do the other post next! ;)

Gina Conroy said...

I can't wait! I missed last year. And another list I need to make is of all the people I want to meet in person. I remember one year finding out several online friends were at conference and I missed them. Don't want that to happen again!!