Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The GIUSTI Plan for a Successful Conference Experience!

by Debby Giusti

I’m flying to Denver today and looking forward to seeing all the Seekers and Seeker friends at the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference. Excitement has been building over the last few weeks, and there’s been a lot of chatter on the blog about what will happen this year. First timers may be nervous. Even regular attendees may have concerns. That’s why today--for the first time ever--I’m presenting the GIUSTI PLAN for a successful conference experience.

Goals! Set realistic goals. Determine in advance what you want to achieve during the conference. To improve your writing, choose workshops focused on an area you need strengthened, then set your sights on learning five new writing strategies to take your work to the next level. Networking is important, and the support of writing friends is invaluable when the going gets tough so add a goal about making five, eight or ten new friends. Remember to exchange email addresses to keep in touch throughout the year. If you’re planning to pitch your story to an editor or agent, be prepared to talk about your characters’ GMC. You don’t have to tell the whole plot, but you need to let the editor know how your characters change and grow.

Include a bonus goal that makes you stretch. Pitching to two additional editors may take courage on your part, but since publishing industry professionals host tables at lunch on Friday and Saturday, it’s a realistic goal. Arrive at meals early to reserve your seat at a favorite editor’s table. A fun bonus this year, might be to meet all the Seekers in person and cover your Treasure Map at the book signing.

Use your imagination to visualize accomplishing your goals. Actually close your eyes and “see” yourself in each situation. Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel as you check off the completed tasks. Don’t forget to add a glimpse of the post-conference you ready to use the new tools you’ve learned. Go one step farther and picture yourself as a successful, published author!

Still the negative voice! Quell any non-productive thoughts that surface. When that interior voice says you can’t succeed, instantly override the negative with something affirming and uplifting. Don’t let self-doubt or fear hamper you in any way.

Take advantage of every opportunity. Chat with the gal riding in the elevator with you. Introduce yourself to the person standing behind you in line at the coffee kiosk. Say hello to authors at the book signing. (Authors want to make a friend more than they want to make a sale, so don’t be a stranger!) No matter how shy you think you are, don’t hole up in your room. People are waiting to meet you. Plus you paid for the conference so attend the events and make the most of every minute.

Include prayer! Cover the conference with prayer in advance, then start each day asking the Lord to open doors, direct your steps and place you exactly where He wants you to be. Always remember John 15:16: It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit. God has chosen you so step out in faith confident you’re doing His will and His work.

I hope the GIUSTI PLAN helps you make this year’s ACFW conference the best ever. See you in Denver!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

Christmas Peril, on sale December 8, features two great stories in one collection: Yule Die, by Debby Giusti, and Merry Mayhem, by Margaret Daley.


  1. Love the GIUSTI plan, Debby. So many great pointers.

    I hope you and everyone else who's going to the ACFW conference have a wonderful time.

    (Sorry about the deleted comment. I misspelled your name. Argh. My journalism prof would be scowling over his glasses.)

  2. Great plan, Debby. I will have to apply this to M&M.

  3. Hi Keli and Walt,
    You're both here early. Thanks for stopping by Seekerville at the start of your day.

    Walt, did you plug in the coffee? Not to worry, I brought carafs. Everything's ready. Help yourself to the bagels and cream cheese, coffee cake and, of course, grits! :)

  4. I was good up until the grits, lol.

    This is great, Debby. See you in hours.

  5. Walt,
    I'll be using the Giusti Plan at M&M too!!! The fall's always filled with conferences. I had one last weekend, and I'm flying to Denver today. Next week I have to get back to my WIP!

  6. Hi Tina, can't wait to see you!!! We've been doing cyber hugs for too long. I want to hug you in person!!!

    PS: I'll bring grits!

  7. So excited to see my friends at the conference tomorrow. Now I wish I was flying in today, but tomorrow is good enough. I just write myself a reminder to print out my Seekerville Treasure Map!!!

    Thanks for the great tips, Debby!

  8. Debby,

    Great pointer's! I'm not going to the ACFW but I do go to small conferences throughout the year and will try to apply your suggestions.

    Can't wait to read the "live from conference" posts.


  9. I'm so glad to be going to the ACFW conference tomorrow. Thanks for the tips, Debby. I'm going to focus on the "I".

  10. Oh Debby,
    Thanks for the post. I'll make sure to print this out for my next conference...but a lot of the goals are good standard ones to keep in mind anyway :-)

    I hope you, and all the Seekers, have a wonderful reunion. Can't wait to hear about it.


    P.S. - I'll take some of those grits, except I'm a butter/salt grits eater. Are you a sugar girl? ;-)

  11. Hi Everyone!

    Thanks for stopping by today. I'm on my way to the airport. Hope to see all of you attending ACFW tomorrow at the latest!!! Stop me in the hallway, sit next to me in a workshop or at lunch so I can give you a big Seeker hug!

    Love you all. BTW, I've prayed for everyone's conference. It's going to be awesome!!! Go God!!!

  12. My favorite from this list--prayer! And Debby is one fantastic pray-er!

    Debby, you always lift me up and inspire me when the Seekers huddle together for prayer time at conferences. Can't wait to see you again and give you a big hug!

  13. and remember the Treasure Hunt starts today!!!!!

  14. I'm in Denver. The Seekers are gathering at Tina's house. She was so sweet to have us all over for dinner and fun!

    We're all looking forward to seeing everyone during the conference.

    Be sure to take part in the Treasure Hunt!!!

  15. Deb, you nailed it, girl, especialy with your last point, which knowing YOU, is also the first -- PRAYER!! Let's face it, guys, we CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us ... and guides us ... and comforts us when those Rs come in. But Rs eventually turn into contracts when you apply Deb's points and LOTS of communication with the Big Guy upstairs.

    Well, I am actually at the Seeker reunion at Tina Radcliffe's house RIGHT NOW and having a blast, so I wish you were all here too! Have a blessed week, ALL!


  16. Debby, Thanks SO much for the reminder from John 15. It is God who chooses us, our gifts, and the timing for expanding our networks and ministries. I'm so looking forward to meeting you at the Seekers' group Friday night and maybe sooner!

  17. Hey, everybody! I'm with all the Seekers at our reunion right now. Just a few minutes ago, the last ones arrived. The first time we've all been together in person!! So fun.

    I hope to see some of you this week.

  18. That last comment was from Missy! I have no idea who I'm signed in as right now. LOL

  19. What a great new photo, Debby!!

    And thanks for the great post. Although I'm a little late reading it! :)