Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Networking at Conferences

Sandra here, back from a full weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona with the Desert Rose Chapter of RWA and their wonderful Desert Dreams Conference. I don't know about you, but don't you feel pumped up after attending a conference?

Pumped up. And EXHAUSTED. Does your brain just swim with ideas, inspiration, new craft tips to apply to your current wip, and the stimulating conversations with people who don't think you're crazy because you have characters chattering in your head for their own story?

My favorite part is meeting editors and agents. After all, they are the people we strive so hard to work with. To me, it means a lot to be able to put a face to a name. The publishing business is compact. Editors change houses often, so an editor you meet today might be one you are submitting to tomorrow.

At most conferences, they present the editors and agents in a panel or spotlight workshop so you get first hand information as to what they are looking for, what they want to see in a submission and what not to send. Most conferences offer one on one appointments to pitch to an editor or agent. Often, when editors or agents give workshops they will invite the whole class to submit work to them. This is a wonderful opportunity to get past that slush pile.

I heard a panel of editors speak at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico and the question they were asked - "How important is it to have an agent to get published?" The answer surprised me. They agreed that they procure 50% of their projects from agents and 49% from pitches at conferences. Wow. That was something I would never have learned anywhere else but at a conference.

This being said, I look for conferences that feature the editors, agents and publishing houses that I'm targeting. Other factors include accessibility, location, expense. I find the local conferences give me more for the buck. However, the national conferences like National RWAand National ACFW are expensive, but they are comprehensive and you have the opportunity to meet more editors and agents.

As Christian writers, we are finding it easier these days to attend conferences that feature the CBA market. Desert Dreams offered a wonderful inspirational strand. Award winning author, Robin Lee Hatcher presented workshops. Local authors Kim Watters and Pamela Tracy networked and signed books along with our own SEEKER Glynna Kaye. Steve Laube and Paige Wheeler, agents who represent CBA authors were also taking appointments.

Speaking of Robin Lee Hatcher, she graciously agreed to be interviewed again here in Seekerville. She is a multi-award winning author including the Life Time Achievement Award offered by RWA.

What conference experiences have you had? Please share and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a signed Seeker book.

For you early birds, we have caramel truffle coffee. If you require a strong and robust brew, we have arabic fair market trade coffee to chose from. There is also a variety of hot chocolate and tea. Help yourself.

When you've awakened and want a bite to eat, we have one of my favorites, biscuits and gravy. For later in the day, we have a tray of cheeses with multigrain crackers. There is a veggie tray filled with carrots, olives, snap peas, grape tomatoes and celery. Enjoy and thanks for visiting us at Seekerville.


  1. Sounded like lots of fun. Wish I could've been there with you.

    We have a local chapter of RWA that has a strong inspirational group which really helps to revitalize and encourage me since I have no local ACFW groups near me. It does help inspire me to be around others who are encouraging each other. And, when I encourage them, I'm encouraging myself as well.

  2. Alas, I have never been to a conference and likely won't make it to one since I live in Canada. It would just be too expensive to go. But I am fascinated by the whole process. I think I'd likely be terrified though! The idea of trying to pitch anything to an editor or agent is.......ack, I shudder at the thought!

  3. Sounds like you had a great time, Sandra! I love the ACFW conference each year, it's the one I enjoy the most! It's so helpful to be able to talk with editors and agents and get to know them better, as well as glean information about the publishing industry and each publishing house.

  4. Good Morning Sandra (though I hope you're still sleeping as I write this).
    I attended the Desert Dreams conference a few years ago. It was a good excuse to visit AZ and go on to spend some time with a dear friend in Tucson. That's where I met Robin Lee Hatcher myself and actually first learned she was taking her amazing writing over to the inspirational market.

    Her story of working full time and raising a family on her own really inspired me. As you say, there's nothing like the live interaction at a conference to jazz up our engines and give us new clues, insights and connections!

    And they're just plain fun. Who doesn't love to get away and spend time talking about writing.

    Arizona in April? LOVE IT!!!

  5. One of the nice things about small conferences (and Desert Dreams is my favorite) is the opportunity to actually socialize and network with editors and agents over meals. It is a very relaxed environment. What could be better than Arizona and a pool when it is snowing back home.

  6. Morning Dianna,
    You are so blessed to have writers near by.

    And you're so right on. When I critique, encourage and/or share news, it benefits me as well as the others.

  7. Morning Kav,

    I'm not sure what part of Canada you live in, but you have several RWA chapters and I'm sure they will be able to point you to local conferences and/or workshops. And if they don't have any, maybe you can inspire them to do so. Wouldn't that be a wonderful help for your fellow Canadian writers.

    If you click on the RWA National link in my post, you'll end up at the RWA home page. Click on the button that says ABOUT RWA On the left you'll see a menu. Click on Chapter listings. Another menu will show up and click on foreign chapters. There are several listed in Canada.

  8. Hi Camy, I love that conference also. Its where I met all of my Seeker friends face to face. That is a real treat to meet those you've been talking to online.

    Last ACFW conference in Denver we were blessed to meet Seeker friends also.

  9. Debra, PLEEEEESE don't tell me you were at that conference. I was working it so we probably met and crossed paths then. smile And here I thought we met in Denver last year at ACFW.

    I am so glad you were able to enjoy Arizona in April. It is gorgeous then. This year has been especially beautiful. We've had a lot of rain and cooler temps so the wildflowers are profuse.

  10. Hi Tina, It was at Desert Dreams that I met you face to face for the first time. Glynna Kaye joined us also that year. What fun we had.

    And you're so right about meeting with those editors in casual situations. Speaking of pools, I about drowned at a conference in Denver. I was doing laps and alongside me, swimming laps also was Joan Marlowe Golan from Steeple Hill.

    The advantage of meeting editors in casual situations is that you can bring it up in your query letter and that will help them remember who you are.

    This reminds me. I usually work at the editor appointment table during a conference. I always advise my nervous appointees to spend their whole ten or fifteen minutes with the editor. Many times, you make your pitch and the editor says "send it to me" (Aren't those the sweetest words to hear?) You get so excited that you jump up and leave.

    Don't do that. Stay and chat. I always ask how their trip was. What sights they are going to visit, etc. Then when I send the requested proposal, I can say, "How did you enjoy seeing such and such?"

  11. Kav, I am always terrified at the conference! I've been to the ACFW conference four times. This last time, I met my editor before I knew she was going to be my editor! I found out at our appointment that she had just finished reading my manuscript and was hoping her publishing house was going to publish it. That was a great moment. However, the exact same thing happened at the conference the year before, only to get rejected a couple of months later. Still, it was a highlight of my life to hear her talk about my book as though it was something she ENJOYED, mentioning the characters and certain scenes ... it was a great 15 minutes. I didn't want to leave! And then she ended up offering me a contract, so it was the start of something beautiful.

    The BEST part of conference is socializing with friends, old and new. That's the best part for me. Seeing all the Seekers, meeting people I've only talked with by email, that is so much more fun than being rejected face to face! Which has happened more than once. :-)

  12. Good morning, Sandra! I'm another fan of Desert Dreams--the home of "poolside pitches." :) The Chaparral Suites Resort in Scottscale is a beautiful, relaxed setting and the smaller scale conference attendance (under 300)is ideal for networking and not feeling overwhelmed like at some of the larger conferences. Yet you have big conference opportunities to hear and/or meet so many 'known' agents and editors and authors. Face-to-face chats at a conference are so valuable and can later lead to opening doors. In fact, it's at Desert Dreams in 2006 that I first met and 'pitched' to literary agent Natasha Kern. I had the opportunity to visit with her again at ACFW in Denver last September and now she's my agent!

    Desert Dreams is held every other year, so put April 2012 on your calendar and schedule in a few extra days around the conference! The Valley of the Sun is gorgeous in the Spring!

  13. Caramel truffle coffee???? Oh, man, fill me up right here and now 'cause I just poured out my mainstay hazelnut brew ...

    SANDRA SAID: "Agents procure 50% of their projects from agents and 49% from pitches at conferences."

    WOW, incredible info indeed, Sandra -- and valuable!! My own experience bears the agent part of this up (i.e. my agent selling me in a 3-book deal in 6 months after 39 rejections on my own AND my editor buying my book from my agent when that very manuscript (which was requested at a conference!) sat in her slush pile for TWO YEARS unnoticed!!). Because of that, I always tell aspiring authors who ask to "go for an agent first, publisher second."

    And conference experiences??? I've got a ton, but some of the craziest (and most helpful) are those I wrote as Seeker blogs:

    Buckle Up ... It's Going to be a Bumpy Ride

    The Hardest Contest

    Great post, Sandra ... coffee and all!


  14. Morning Melanie, How exciting to have met your editor. Now when you work together on your books, you really know her.

    It is scary though. But its okay. The editors know we're nervous and don't think much of it. They are so personable that they make an effort to put you at ease. So sweet.

    Last Desert Dreams conference I went to in 2008, I had an appointment with an editor and had received a rejection letter four days before our appointment. Now that was uncomfortable. But it turned out to be good because she remembered my manuscript and explained that the reason was they had just purchased one with a similar setting and conflict. She went on to say she liked my writing and to please submit more. So in a way, that was helpful. At least I knew it was other circumstances than my writing that caused the rejection.

  15. Hi Glynna, Thanks for sharing your experience with the conference.

    Folks, it was a real pleasure to spend time with Glynna. She was very helpful to me through a stressful circumstance. She is a great friend to have.

    And her stories are wonderful. Glynna was at the big book signing, autographing with Diana Gabaldon and other Best Selling authors. Isn't that a dream come true?

  16. Thanks Julie for sharing your conference success story. And thanks for the links to your posts.

    They are so helpful. (wish I could remember how to do that LOL)

    Isn't the caramel truffle great? I alternate between that and the chocolate velvet. Starts my day.

    Have a great day yourself.

  17. Your Desert Dreams conference experience sounds fabulous, Sandra! Wish the time of year wasn't a conflict for me.

    I've attended numerous ACFW and RWA conferences. My favorite parts are hooking up with friends and soaking up writing tips in workshops. I have a wonderful agent and worked with three terrific editors, but I'm still not totally relaxed around them. But relaxed or not, I'm grateful that conferences give me the opportunity to listen to their wisdom, get an inside look at the business and learn.

    Thanks for the biscuits and gravy.


  18. Hi Janet, Yes, you mentioned one of things about conferences that I forgot to talk about.

    Workshops. Conferences always offer terrific opportunities to learn from published authors and other experts.

    College courses don't usually address the special requirements for mass market. They tend to focus on the literary aspects of writing. This is wonderful, however mass market has different craft issues.

    Conferences are the best place to find the education we need. Local chapters offer workshops too which are a help.

    I always consider the cost of a conference my education and training fees much like I'd attend a university to learn to be a teacher or doctor. Much cheaper too. smile

  19. I've been blessed to attend five conferences so far. I went to a small one for beginners twice, Mount Hermon twice, and RWA® Nationals in 2008. This year I plan to attend Nationals in Nashville as well as my first ACFW conference, where I get to meet my agent, Rachelle Gardner, in person. I'm also looking forward to meeting many of you, my blogging buddies and Seeker friends.

  20. I've yet to be to a writing conference focused on inspirational romance but I had a happy experience at a recent SCBWI children's writing conference.

    I submitted 1500 words of a young reader for critique. The agent presenting did my critique. He had suggestions to revise the first chapter but really liked the stories concept and requested the first thirty pages of the manuscript after I make the changes he suggested.

    Since, this was my first attempt at a young reader chapter book, I was really just looking for feedback this was great news for me.

    Also, before he began his critique of my manuscript, HE visited about my writing experience, my vision for this manuscript and his vision of what he likes to represent.

    Of course, this might have been a happy experience because I didn't really go into the appointment with any expections other than feedback.

    RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

  21. Wow sounds like I'd better start trying to get to those conferences more. And who would like to be my agent?

    Thanks so much for the insight. Now I've got to start saving. It is hard to get to conferences and I don't live in Canada. Then when I do get there I feel like such a fish out of water.

    At least the rooms are nice.

  22. I attended the ACFW Denver conference for the first time ever and met JULIE LESSMAN!!! And she's just as sparkling in person as online:) I haven't met my editor yet but we plan on getting together in Indy. Being new to conferences, I was so impressed with the spiritual focus and the care taken to make sure attendees weren't overwhelmed, lost, or lonely. I met so many amazing people - several of whom I email and talk to by phone on a regular basis now. I'm not a fan of networking per se but am so thankful the fiction editor at CBD urged me to attend. I'll be forever grateful.

  23. Sandra -- How true that is about most college writing courses. NOBODY ever discussed Goal, Motivation or Conflict as it applied to our own work. We talked in lofty terms about theme in published, 'classic' short stories, but not that premise is something you can decide on and build a whole book around. Nothing on scene & sequel. Hooks. Pacing. Or anything akin to the Hero's Journey. Nothing about writing book-length commercial fiction. I was introduced to all that through trial and error, reading books on the craft, contest feedback, and conference & on-line workshops. There's SO MUCH more available to beginning writers today than there was when I was in school.

  24. It's funny that question should be asked, because I just came back from a 2 day class/mini conference with Susan May Warren and Chip MacGregor. I guess what you could say I learned it's okay to set something aside that you really hate working on and pick up a new story idea I want to delve into. That was so freeing. Plus the class was great and the teachers wonderful. :)


  25. I LOVE attending conferences - ESPECIALLY Bayou Writers Group's annual "Bridge to Publication" event (and no, I'm not biased cause that's the group I co-founded LOL!)

    But yeah, I always leave exhilirated and exhausted at the same time. :-)


  26. I love both the large conferences (ACFW in particular) and smaller retreats as well. I added a "Deep Thinkers Retreat" with Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck in February. Only about 17 ladies there, but we felt such a bond together and keep in touch online daily.

    Conferences help so much to convey not only are we not alone in this venture, but there are people out there who "get" us! I'm amazed at the desire of Christian authors out there to help the up and coming ones.

  27. Hi Keli, There will be a bunch of us at Nashville. I can hardly wait to meet with all of them and you. smile

    Should be a blast. Stay tuned because we will be posting fun things to do in Nashville as the time grows near.

  28. Hi Rose, Congrats on getting such great feedback at SCBWI. I belong to that group also since I write children's books also.

    What conference was it? And where?

  29. Hi Laura, The spiritual element is one definite advantage of the CBA conferences. I'm glad you made it to ACFW.

    Keli mentioned Mount Hermon. Camy is an expert on that one. Several of us Seekers have been there. It is expensive, but exciting. It covers all genres of CBA.

  30. Kav,

    I so relate since I, too, live in Canada. Where abouts are you? I'm just outside Toronto.

    I belong to the Toronto Romance Writers and I've been to two small conferences in Ottawa, Ontario (about a 6 hour drive away). That was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. The first one I went to, I was such a novice. I couldn't believe there were so many women who wrote, like me! It was great. I did a small pitch to an agent, and the next time to Brenda Chin of Harlequin (totally wrong line, of course (BLAZE). But she was great.

    The only problem is that there is very little (if any) inspirational authors in the Toronto group. A lot of erotica, though. So they don't quite understand my writing, LOL - still they are very supportive.

    Good luck finding a chapter. Check out Ottawa's Romance Writer site. And I think there's at least one out west (Calgary maybe? and they have conferences sometimes, too.

    A very worthwhile experience.

    Hope to get to one of the bigger ones, some day! Thanks for sharing your experience, Sandra.

    sbmason (at) sympatico (dot) ca

  31. Hi Tina P.

    You bring up a great point. These conferences do involve expenses so it is a wise person who starts budgeting now. A few dollars a week in the piggy bank does add up.

    And if the budget is tight, the local conferences are your best bet. Then you don't have the added expense of hotel and air fare.

    It always helps to buddy up. Get on the loops and ask for roommates. Car pools help also.

    And remember. All of these expenses are a tax write off. SMILE

  32. Hi Casey, Wow, what an opportunity to learn from top people in the business. Thanks for sharing.

    And Glynna, you confirmed and expanded upon my comment. The opportunities are out there and what they do is raise the bar. Christian fiction has come a long way these past twenty years.

  33. I've been to ACFW many times. It's a highlight of my year.

    I've made so many friends through the conference and I get to catch up with and meet new friends I've made on line.

    One of the coolest things about last year's ACFW is getting to hang with all the Seekers after the awards banquet (except I didn't get to meet Ruthy! Wah!)

  34. Hi Pamela,

    Thanks for sharing the info about the local conference in your area.

    Its great to hear about conferences in your own area but also others. For example, if I want to set my next wip in the Bayou, I know what conference I'm going to attend. Not only will I learn my craft, but will connect with writers who can help me with the local flavor.

  35. Teri, Thanks for mentioning retreats. They are really special and intimate. I'm sure your writing stepped up another notch from that experience.

  36. Hi Sue, Thanks for sharing the info with Kav about Canada.

    Desert Dreams has an eclectic variety of authors also, but writing skills are writing skills and cross genres. The support is wonderful.

    If you attend and encourage other CBA writers, then you will be like us and have a strong presence that demands inspirational strands in the local conference.

  37. Hi Erica, It was great meeting you too.

    I made inspirational baskets to raffle off at Desert Dreams and your books were in it. smiling

  38. Sandra, since I live in California within driving distance of Mount Hermon, the conference is more affordable for me. I like attending it when I can because there are many big name authors, agents, and editors on staff, and conferees have plenty of access to them. Last year, for example, I sat next to Natasha Kern at lunch one day and learned why Julie thinks so highly of her. The level of instruction is top notch. I've been blessed by knowledgeable and generous workshop leaders such as Angela Hunt, James Scott Bell, and T. Davis Bunn. The worship times are awesome. And the setting is spectacular, since Mount Hermon is nestled amongst coastal redwoods south of Santa Cruz.

    OK, I'll wrap up my promo spot. :)

  39. I've never gone to a conference except ACFW.

    I'm kinda a homebody.

    Okay, make that a 'troubled loner'.

    It sounds so nice though. Sandra and Glynna you usually do Desert Dreams, right? And don't Missy and Debby do that...moonlight and Magnolias? Is that a conference. And some of the Seekers are RWA National alum.

    I need to do this. I go to ICRS but it's not a writer's conference. And they make me go.

  40. Umm, snap peas and carrots are my fave! Don't you just love spring and the chance to indulge your cravings for fresh veggies??

    I hesitate to mention how many conferences I've attended since I've been a member of RWA for sooooo long. My home chapter, Colorado Romance Writers, hosted a conference each spring. And just down the road in Colorado Springs I had the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Both VERY different venues, but still fun stuff.

    I've attended RWA National and ACFW conferences along with other smaller conferences, too. I learned how to listen. I learned how to network.

    At ACFW, I learned how to be still and let God do His thing.

    I think having a prayer room available is the best amenity a conference can offer. Definitely gives you a reason to step off the fast-track and take some time to breathe, to listen, to learn.

    If you like small conferences, tune in next Thursday for my blog...

    Sorry, Sandra. I couldn't resist riding on your coattails : )

    More coffee!!

  41. Great post. I love conferences, too. Have been to M&M twice and I hope to get outside of the city as soon as my wife agrees to go with me.

    The most fascinating thing about the post (other than the "poolside pitch," which I'm still visualizing), was the 50% (agent), 49% (conferences) reference. Outside, of those two options, the chance of getting a publisher is only 1%. Betting "00" is roulette has better odds.

  42. Hi again Keli,

    Thanks for giving us more details about Mt. Hermon. It is also one of my favs. I grew up near there so love getting into those redwoods. Brings back fun memories.

  43. Hi Mary, I just can't think of you as a loner. You're too much fun.

    And yes, Glynna and I do the Desert Dreams because its local. And Tina goes too.

    And you simply must come out more and play. Of course that does take away from your writing time and we don't want that to happen because you write such great stuff.

  44. Audra, thanks for sharing the info on Colorado conferences. Since there are so many CBA publishers in Colorado I'm sure you have great opportunities.

    Looking forward to your blog. More info is always helpful.

  45. Hi Walt, Writers often tag on a few extra days to a conference and have a fun vacation.

    When I went to the Maui Writers conference, my hubby flew over on the last day and we stayed two extra weeks. I had met some local authors who invited us to visit and showed us local sights so that made it even better.

    So show this to your wife and explain how fun writers can be. I mean we do have fantastic imaginations and love to learn everything we can about a place.

  46. 50% of their projects from agents and 49% from pitches at conferences?

    Those are amazing statistics, Sandra. And plenty of motivation to attend conferences and take advantage of the agent and editor networking opportunities!

    The next conference I'm attending is this weekend. It's the annual conference of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. It'll be my first time at this one, so I'm both excited and nervous. At least several friends will also be there.

  47. Hey folks, Family crisis. I might be off line for a bit. So have fun and behave yourselves. Oops. Bet you can't do both. LOL

  48. Sandra,

    It was the Dakota's regional SCBWI conference in Sioux Falls, SD.

    Maybe we will someday cross paths at an ACFW or SCBWI conference!


  49. I have never been to a conference, but hopefully someday.

  50. I just enjoyed my second Mount Hermon Writers Conference, and yes, the networking opportunities produce tremendous fruit.

    What I've also discovered about these conferences are that they create deadlines and urgency for preparation of book proposals and manuscripts. And as many of us know, a writer without a deadline will develop few finger calluses.

  51. I've been to 2 SCBWI conferences (Nashville and Houston) and the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville.

    All were very positive experiences. It seems like agents/editors who see you at conferences realize you are serious. Maybe that's why you get to go to the head of the line when you attend.

    Thanks Julie for your take on things. So interesting.

    ksf895 at citlink dot net

    I'm hoping to meet some of you all in Nashville on the open date (seems like it is a Wednesday.)


  52. Sadly I have never been to a conference but, I have always wanted to!
    They aound amazing and fun!
    Please add me in the drawing to win a seeker book!:) Thanks!

  53. Sue, I will make sure Kav checks back and reads your comment! Her writing is too good not to be noticed, believe me. (hi, Kav!)

    I've never been to a writing conference, but have been to a national library conference. What is it about the absolute ENERGY of a huge group of people all interested in the same thing? I plan to attend ACFW this year for the first time. So far my main goal is to meet the many people I've corresponded with via email and on blogs!

    The idea of meeting an agent or editor fills me with fear and trembling, but I want to do it. I pray I can do it. With God's help, I can do this. (I'm trying to convince myself, here . . .)

    Thanks for the veggies. My lunch consisted of two itty-bitty corner pieces of square pizza that I transported out to my husband's field trip students at a local park! 31 high school seniors + 12 pizzas = 15 minutes of manic eating!

  54. Oh my goodness, I'm here for that caramel truffle coffee!!! The great learning advice is just frosting on the cake, darling girl!!!

    Sandra, one day I will come to AZ and attend Desert Dreams. It has always sounded like such a wonderful regional conference. And I want to go to M&M too. To hear Deb and Missy talk about it, it's just too good to miss.

    All in good time. For this year: RWA Natiional.

    I'm on the edge of my seat excited. No exaggeration. None.

    And I love meeting people at conferences. What a wonderful opportunity for so many things. A chance to thank people in person, to give those promised hugs, to meet dear friends again and new friends for the first time!!!!

    LOVE IT!!!

  55. Ummmm.....


    I WAS THERE!!!!!!!!!

    Where were you hiding? It wasn't like I was incognito....

    I just look REALLY GOOD in trench coats, fedoras and sunglasses at night.

    It's my Kermit-the-Frog look. Or Ted Koppel. ;)

  56. Sandra's away...

    Which means: WE GET TO PLAY!!!!


    Chocolate dessert. We'll pig out. And we'll save her some for when she returns.

    I love the ACFW conference. Just love it. Love the prayer room. The chance to meet and greet editors, agents, buds, friends, colleagues....

    But you know what else I like? A LOT????

    Meeting local folks. I'm not a stay-in-the-hotel person. I like to explore. Shake hands. Meet people. Like Nolan, the wonderful shuttle driver from Sheraton City Nashville a few years back. And the cute waitress who taught me how to say "pecans" the non-Yankee way...

    And to cruise Denver with friends of Seekers. To chat it up with hotel staff, get their take on their city, their people. Those opportunities are few and far between when you're a full time worker and I love to engage the locals in conversations that tell me more about their locale than anything Wikipedia might have to offer.

    Wonderful networking. Real people in real life settings make my day.

    Umm... I'm bringing fresh-baked chocolate/butterscotch chip cookies to the Sandra-Stepped-Out party.

    Who's got other good stuff?

  57. Speaking of good stuff, when I was in Boston for a library conference, my pals and I went for a walk up the street from the convention center, and found a whole store of Lindt Chocolate. Imagine, if you will, a place that always smells like chocolate and has free samples . .. sigh . . . sorry, got distracted . . . anyway, we were the only customers in the store, and the friendly cashier just had to come over to us when she heard us talk, to find out where we were from (Kentucky). She was thrilled. She was in exile from Tennessee, and immediately fell back into her Southern accent . . . Funny how that is one of my favorite memories of BOSTON!

  58. Hi Myra, Have fun. I've been to that conference a long time ago. It was super. Will you be signing your books?

    That's another thing that happens at conferences is they usually have a major book signing with all of the published authors who attend selling and signing their books. Usually the public is invited. Its great publicity.

  59. Hi again Rose, I'll keep my eye out for you.

  60. Runner 10

    Now you know what to save up for.

    Keep your eye out for a local conference. They are the best to start out with. They aren't so overwhelming as the national conferences with thousands of people.

  61. Hi Michael, Thanks for sharing about Mount Hermon.

    And yes, a writer without a deadline ??????

    Great insight. smile

  62. Hi KC, Hope to meet you in Nashville. Isn't that going to be fun?

    You're correct in your observation. At least I've heard some editors claim that they take conference attendees more seriously because they are more professional and are seeking to improve their craft.

  63. Hi Lindsey,

    I hope you are getting excited to attend a conference. You will have fun meeting other writers.

  64. Hi Regina, We will certainly look for you at the ACFW conference. And thanks for checking with Kav.

    Don't be afraid now. Remember those editors are people just like us. Well they do have power. LOL. But they are very gracious and polite. You'll be impressed.

    Fifteen minutes of maniac eating. Cracks me up and how well I know what you are saying. You were lucky to get those two pieces. smile.

  65. Ruthy, Ruthy, Ruthy, I should have known you would be up to mischief while I was away. sigh.

    However, you are redeemed because if it involves chocolate, you are forgiven and count me in.

    And yes, we have had great fun at the conferences.

    Ruthy and I critiqued together online for a year and finally met face to face at an ACFW conference. It was sooooo much fun and I won't tell on Ruthy. Well maybe if you pay me the right bribe I would.

  66. Sadly, I too have never been to a conference, like Kav. I would love to go because I think all of the workshops sound really inspiring and get you in the right gear for writing. I also think that the company I would be with would be FANTASTIC, PHENOMENAL, and MIND-BlOWING!!!! *wink*

    In all seriousness, though, I would LOVE to meet everyone, lol!
    Hey Kav, we'll have to get togehter and have our own conference! LOL! I live near Canada, what part you in *wink*

    Thanks Sandra!

  67. Hi Hannah, I think you have a great idea. You and Kav could start something new. Would be great.

    Start saving. wink