Friday, August 23, 2013

Are YOU Conference Ready?

Pepper, Jeanne, me
It's getting to be that time of year, and if you're anything like me, you keep checking your watch, sure that the ACFW Conference is going to jump up behind you like a naughty two year old.

If you're headed to the conference this year, what's still yet to do on your to-do list? (we won't even get into mine...) If you're not going to the ACFW Conference (maybe this is the first time you've heard about it) I encourage you to look into it. It's one of the best Christian conferences around for immersing yourself on a national level with great teachers, industry professionals and hundreds of other writers in various stages of publication who all understand the "voices" in our heads.

Have you requested your agent and/or editor picks? What are they looking for? I know I still need to get my first chapter ready. More and more this is becoming the go-to request of all agents/editors. Make sure to have those first few pages polished right up and read up on which one is currently looking for/requesting and what they expect from you when you sit down across from them.

Have you finished your one sheets yet? Angie did mine, and it was worth every single penny!! Goodness, for someone (me) who has no artistic eye, I will definitely be calling on her designer skills again. One more thing off the list without the headache!

Written that pitch yet? You'll need: an elevator pitch (could double as your story question if written correctly too) and a slightly longer pitch for those moments around the lunch table or the agent appointments. Then of course make sure you have a shorter paragraph in the back of your mind should more questions be asked of you for deeper content. It seems like a lot, but just takes the time in the actually writing of it. SLEW of great posts on writing your perfect pitch. I know I'll be perusing them more!
Katie Ganshert, Rosslyn Elliott, me, Becky Wade
Talk about a challenge! But check out this link for a

Do you have your learning attitude? I know this will be true for 90% of all the conference attendees. But I personally saw where this truly helped my pitch in front of an agent, who specifically wanted more of my story, not only because she liked the story, but also because she saw I was willing to learn. Agents and editors are looking for writers who are not married to their words and are willing to take some constructive criticism.

Maybe it's just me who is OCD, but it's great to have a schedule for all your classes, appointments and where you might be volunteering. I know this year, I've got a finger in a lot of pots, so keeping everything straight is going to be something else. But don't be afraid to ditch the class to chat with a new friend or a mentor. It's invaluable and some of my best gifts from God. I get excited just thinking about. :)

Go with a spirit of prayer. A spirit for God to move and work. He's brought YOU all this way to a national Christian writer's conference. You've invested no small amount of money. Now stand back and watch God work. Watch what He brings across your path. Discovery is half the joy and most of the excitement, even if you don't see it all right away.

Have the roomies? Packed the cookies? (Carol M. ;-)) Got the travel plans all set? Bought the gala dress/suit? Picked a good book for the plane/car drive? You're set.

And hey! Come find me and save a hug! I want to meet ALL the people I can! I'll be the one with the name tag that reads "resident Alley Cat".  :-))

What are your best conference tips??

Casey Herringshaw is a homeschool graduate and has been writing since high school. She lives in rural Eastern Oregon in a town more densely populated with cows than people. 


Jeanne Takenaka said...

What a fun post, Casey! And how fun to see that picture. ;)

As for ACFW, I'm not nearly as ready as I should be, but I'm working on it. Angie is designing my one sheet too, and I'm so very grateful to her for doing it! It'll be better than anything I could ever create!

I need to be more purposeful in prayer. I'm so glad you mentioned that. Looking forward to giving you a hug soon!

Unknown said...

I'm not even close to ready for the conference BUT I'm super excited for it. :) Awesome post, Casey. Can't wait to see you and everyone there. Hugs galore!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Casey,

Seems everyone is in the same boat this year, ie. not ready!

Me too. Almost there except for the dreaded pitch! Keep procrastinating on that one.

Thanks for the advice. Angie did my one sheet too! and it's awesome! It's on her site if you want to peek!

Definitely looking forward to seeing you and all the Alley cats again!


Jill Kemerer said...

I'm not ready!! Yikes!! But I know I will be. ;) Can't wait to see you, Casey!!

Debra E. Marvin said...

I'm mostly excited about seeing 'friends' in person. I expect a lot of laughter and squeals and oh, yes, we do have to occasionally focus on pitching those stories...

I'll see you in Indy!

Carol Moncado said...

You don't want me to have the cookies packed yet. Ew!!!!

But they will be!!!

I'm "this close" to finished with a [hopefully nearly final] draft of a manuscript I've been working on off and on for nearly 18 mos. Another round of edits waiting [hopefully minimal] on another. Ditto a third, but should be somewhere in the middle. Then to polish pitches and proposals... Ugh. Always too much to do!!!!

But can't wait to see your smiling face, Casey dear!! And Pepper's too!!!! And, well, everyone's ;).

Clothes? Yeah, so don't have those ready...

Pepper said...

Oh Case,
But I'm so excited to get to go and give you a big ol hug, I don't really care if I'm ready or not.
Here I come - regardless :-)
Hugs in tow.

Casey said...

I can't even BEGIN to say how much comfort there is in knowing not everyone is prepared yet. Makes my breath flow a little easier. ;-)

Jeanne, I LOVED what she did with mine. They turned out so good. So, so good. And like you, way better than I could have dreamed up. And me too. Definitely need to enter this with more purposeful prayer.

Casey said...

Melissa, I'm SO bummed for no bookstore and not having your book there! Boo!! I wanted a picture of me with you and the book. We'll just have to do the hug and the pic anyway. :)

Casey said...

Susan, I did take a peak, it turned out great! Loved it and what she did for Lindsay's one sheet as well. Save a hug for me!!

Casey said...

JILL And we're ROOMING together!! That makes me very giddy. :D I need to email you too, btw...better do that tonight before I forget. ;)

Casey said...

Debra, yep, lots of hugs, and squeals and even a few tears, I'm sure. It's just that kind of special. I'd love to meet you!!

Casey said...

Carol, are you feeling the pressure like me....AHHHHHHH! Don't know if I can do it. Of course I can. But right now my head is telling me procrastination will be the best result. Ha! If only. ;-)

Casey said...

Pepper, *I* will pitch your books, how about that?? I love, love, love that I get to see you. TWICE in one year. I'm seriously one blessed little sister. :D

Carol Moncado said...

Yep. LOTSA pressure. But have made real progress today. Hoping I can finish this stuff tonight...

Can't wait to see you!

Casey said...

You totally can! Now feed some of that energy my way. ;)

Carol Moncado said...

I did get it done last night. A variety of things interrupted today though :p. Two weeks to get it all done...

<3 you, kiddo!!!