Wednesday, June 15, 2011


By Debby Giusti

New York, New York! In two weeks, the National Romance Writers Conference will be in full spring so I thought it might be time to review a few conference do’s and don’ts.

Not going this year? What about ACFW? The majority of the information applies to that conference as well as state or regional gatherings in your area. Being prepared helps calm nerves and ensures you make the most of your conference experience. So…

DO your research. Check the workshops and speaker lineup ahead of time to determine which presentations you want to attend. Ask other writers about programs that SHOULD NOT BE MISSED FOR ANY REASON. Which leads to the first don’t…

DON’T be late, especially if a presenter is a big name draw. Rooms fill up fast. You don’t want to be without a seat or barred from entrance because the venue has reached maximum capacity.

DO make the most of every opportunity. Strike up a conversation with folks on the elevator. Sit next to someone you don’t know at lunch. Introduce yourself to the people beside you in the workshops you attend. Keep a notebook and jot down their names and email or, better yet, exchange business cards. When you get home, stay in touch. RWA has more than 10,000 members; about 2,000 attend the National Conference. After a few years, you’ll know everyone!

DON’T be handicapped by shyness. Set a goal to talk to five people you don’t know each day. Come up with an equal number of opening lines and then practice saying them to strangers. “Where’s home?” and “How long did it take to get here?” are universal icebreakers, especially at the beginning of the conference. “Wasn’t our lunchtime speaker inspirational? Have you read any of her books?” “Are you going to do any sightseeing while you’re in New York? What do you plan to see?” You decide on the questions. Having them ready will ensure you meet lots of people.

DO talk to authors at the literacy book signing. The big name writers attract long lines of readers, while the majority of authors have very few people stop by their table. If you enjoy an author’s work, tell her so. If you’ve never heard of her, ask about her book and her genre and any tips she has on getting published.

DO keep paper and pen handy. Ask authors for a quote on literacy or the conference or New York City that you can use later in a blog article. Most writers enjoy having their picture taken with readers. Those photos will make a nice addition to your website, blog or Facebook page.

DON’T feel obligated to buy the authors’ books at the RWA signing. The publishers donate the books, and the proceeds benefit literacy each year.  It's a great cause, but conferences are expensive so don't worry about not buying.  Plus, with the airlines' luggage weight restrictions, most folks wait until they get home to buy books.  Or download them to their Kindles!

DO take part in the Love Inspired authors’ contest at the literacy book signing this year. Collect a Little Inspy Trading Card from participating LI authors to be entered in a drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card.

DON’T forget to stop by my table. I want to give you a big Seekerville hug…plus, a Little Inspy Trading Card.

DO frequent the Goody Room. At the beginning of the conference, the room is crammed with tons of informative and fun giveaways. After the signing, I usually leave a stack of leftover books in the Goody Room so check back often to see what new items are up for grabs.

DO think about what you’ll place in the Goody Room when your book sells. Before “The Call,” I collected bookmarks and other cute author giveaways. That collection helped me decide on promo items when my first book sold.

DO wear your badge high enough so folks can see your name. Think of it as a marketing tool. Add an interesting pin or conversation starter that will help you stand out from the crowd. This year, I’ll clip a Little Inspy Trading Card to my badge, along with the Cross My Heart logo pin I always wear.

DO have a one-line pitch prepared, so when people ask, you can succinctly tell them about your book. One line won’t tell all, but hopefully, it will hook their interest.

DO print business cards to pass out at the conference. Attach a small label on the back with your upcoming book releases, contest wins or other information you’d like people to know.

DON’T hand your card to editors or agents unless they ask for it. More than likely, they won’t need to contact you before you submit to them. Be sure to get their cards so you know where to mail any material they’ve requested.

DO attend workshops presented by editors and agents you’re targeting. At the end of the program, introduce yourself and mention your work. Sometimes they’ll ask you to submit a proposal on the strength of that short conversation.

DON’T stalk editors or agents. (Of course, Seeker friends would never stalk anyone!) Give them space, especially in the restrooms. Be friendly, but take your cue from them. If they seem interested in chatting, strike up a conversation. If they’re rushing to keep an appointment, smile and say hello in passing.

DO ask editors and agents about their submission guidelines when they request your material. Some want only electronic submissions. Others require hard copies.

DON’T interrupt when you see an author or writing friend talking to an editor or agent. Most meetings between authors and their agents or editors take place in the hotel lobby or coffee shop. They’re working and don’t want to be interrupted.

DO attend the Spotlight On… Sessions hosted by the publishing houses to which you’d like to submit. Take notes and ask questions. If you can’t make the session, buy the CD to learn the latest information about the publisher.

DON’T give your manuscript or proposal to editors or agents at the conference. Mail the submission to them once you get home.

DO pack comfy shoes. Conference hotels are large and require lots of walking. Also be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket in case the hotel is cold.

DON’T hole up in your room at the end of the work day. Writers love to congregate in the lobby or bar area. Find a friend and mix and mingle. You never know who you’ll meet.

DO enjoy yourself. You’ll come home enthused and ready to write.

Share your tips or conference do’s and don’ts. Leave a comment and your email address to be entered into a drawing for a copy of The Officer’s Secret, book 1 in my new Military Investigations series.

Hope to see you in New York!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti


  1. GREAT POST DEB!! And I never miss a spotlight's how you find out the latest news and what editors want.

  2. Excellent post, Deb! Extremely good advice! Last year was my first ACFW conference and I remember being excited but also nervous. Thank you so much for the helpful information!

  3. Looks like you about have it covered!

    One thing I learned through business, put nametags on the RIGHT. That way, when you shake hands, people will easily see your name tag.

    Since so many are right-handed, they naturally place them on the left, which makes nametags a little awkward to read.

    AND... I've used both VistaPrint and 123Print for printed needs. They are fast and come highly recommended. Also EASILY customizable - even I could figure it out! ha! (My first order with them arrives tomorrow - with the new logo and art so I'm not sure of their quality yet.)

    Y'all have FUN!!!!!!!!

  4. I will always remember the having prepared questions. There were a cople of times when I had an opportunity to meet a couple of famous people that I'd been long time fans of. For the first person (famous sports pesonality), I forgot to prepare questions. All I could stammer out was my name. The second time (a famous actress), I thought about what I would ask and finally came up with a question that I thought would be original. It worked.

  5. Hey Debby!

    I've never been to a writer's conference, but I have attended similar events -

    Your advice about talking to people is perfect. Almost everyone there will be a stranger, and an opportunity to make a new friend!

    I love the questions you suggested as conversation openers. The key is to be genuinely interested in the other person and forget about promoting yourself. Being a friendly, open listener will make people remember you.

    And who knows what you might learn or where these new friendships might lead?

    And Tina! You got to post the first comment! (One of the perks of living in Mountain Time Zone, right?)

    Don't enter me in the drawing. I finished The Officer's Secret over the weekend - a great read and I'm looking forward to the next one!

  6. I'm out of the drawing as I already have the book.

  7. Here comes da coffee!! Plenty for everyone.

    My biggest frustration about the Publisher Spotlights was that you could only sign up for one of them. They're all at the same time. Same problem this year.

    Thanks for the reminders.


  8. Well it sounds like yall are going to be super busy. But I hope everyone has a lot of fun at the conference.

  9. Well that's the beauty of RWA. No signing up for anything. Just go go go and they are very clever. Publisher Spotlights are not at the same time.

  10. For a taste of RWA NY, check out this list of workshops. Again you do not have to sign up for anything.


  11. Great tips, Debbie! Thanks! After reading two of your books recently, I must say, you are the QUEEN of the end of the chapter hooks! :)

  12. Hi Tina,
    You're right about the Spotlight On... sessions. Also, they're great to moderate, if you're volunteer at RWA. You get to meet the editors on the panel, and more important, they get to see you in front of the crowd. Nice way to make a good impression.

  13. Hi Kathy,

    As you know, it takes courage to attend your first writing conference, especially if you go alone.

    Usually there's a Session for First Timers with tips on making the most of the conference. Since the other folks at the session are newcomers, as well, it's a great opportunity to make friends that can last for a lifetime.

  14. KC,

    Thanks for the tip about where to pin a nametag. So the right shoulder is best? I always place mine on the left. Now I know. Thanks!

    At RWA and ACFW, the name badges hang around the neck. Problem is they're low, which makes them difficult to read. They often become tangled and flip over so the name isn't exposed.

    I like your right shoulder idea better!

    Thanks, too, for mentioning the print companies. I've used VistaPrint, but haven't heard of 123Point. I'll check them out.

    I know this is an exciting time for you! Whoo-hoo!!! Keep us posted on all the details.

  15. Debby,

    Great conference advice. I’ve never been to RWA or ACFW conference (hope to change that soon), but I’ve been to many history conferences and the same rules apply. I remember how hard it was to psych myself into talking to people at my first conference, after all they were all big time historians and I was still a student. But I determined to sit by a new person at every meal, and ended up meeting many wonderful people eager to help, and now I know about 99% of those who attend these conferences and I’m the one helping out the newbies.

    Your point about choosing the sessions beforehand is excellent. Even if you change your mind at the last minute, it’s better than standing in the hall with ten minutes to go trying to figure out where you’re headed next.

    Hope you all have a blessed time in New York!


  16. Walt,
    You never seem to be at a loss for words and always seem confident. Can't imagine you ever having a problem meeting new folks. But, yes, it's good to have a few lines to fall back on.

    Those lines work when you introduce yourself to an agent or editor if you have an appointment with them, as well. Nice to chat for a minute about the conference or locale before you begin to pitch. Once the ice is broken, you'll feel more comfortable talking about your story.

  17. Hi Jan,
    Thanks for your nice comments about THE OFFICER'S SECRET!

    You mentioned meeting new folks and what you might learn through those new friendships. Exactly!

    The person you meet at a conference might be a cop--suspense writers love cops! Or an expert in the history of a certain area you're writing about in your WIP. Or a writer looking for an online critique partner, which is what you might need at the time, as well.

    What goes on outside the workshops is often as important as what you learn in the presentations.

  18. I agree, Helen!

    At ACFW, all the publishers' sessions are held at the same time.

    We have a few folks on the board in Seekerville. Maybe they're take a hint and suggest a change for next year.

    Of course, we can always buy the recorded CD. But then we can't ask questions.

    RWA schedules the publishers at different times, which is better, IMHO.

  19. Helen,

    Thanks for getting the coffee ready. I'm on my second cup.

    Bet you brought tea, too! :)

  20. Hilleary,

    We'll bring back lots of information to share with everyone in Seekerville. Keep visiting the blog and you'll be able to read the latest news about the publishing industry. Also tips about craft and writing techniques.

  21. Thanks, Tina, for linking to the RWA Conference schedule. Looks like a fantastic lineup of speakers and programs.

    I always come home with a notebook full of information that I can apply to my writing. Also, names and emails of new friends. The best part, of course, is reconnecting with Seeker friends.

  22. Jillian,

    How fun! May I quote you? "Queen of the end of chapter hooks!" WOW! Thanks so much for the compliment!

    Now tell everyone that I didn't pay you to say that. LOL


  23. Kirsten,

    RWA was in DC a few years ago. Wish you could have joined us then. Wonderful conference, and the city has always been a favorite of mine. I'm sure RWA will be held their again in the future.

    Thanks for sharing how you went from being a rather nervous newcomer at your first history conference to a seasoned pro helping others now. I'm sure many new folks are reassured by your warmth and sincere concern for others, which comes through even on your blog comments. :)

    Hope we can meet in person in the not too distant future!

    If you have time today, tell us about the history conferences. What type of programs are offered? Anything historical authors might enjoy attending? Or would they be allowed to attend?

  24. WONDERFUL list, Deb! Wow, this needs to be a little checklist for me to have while I'm packing and then flying to ACFW.

    I can't shout it out enough how much volunteering at ACFW really helped me meet more people last year. It was a great way to invest time in the conference, but also enjoy the excitement of others too. I LOVED sitting at new tables with friends-to-be-made...

    And meeting the Seekers?!? Well, that was the icing on my ACFW newbie-cake.

    But I'd never stalk them. Nope. Not me

  25. Pepper, you're invited to stalk Seekers! LOL!

    Thanks for plugging volunteering. Yes, great way to meet new folks, know what's going on, be part of the "action." Also, a perfect way for a first timer to feel at home in a new setting.

  26. Debby,

    I know you practice your own advice, since we met at a conference. :) It can be a hectic situation but you always seem gracious and unhurried, which I appreciate.

    I've got a lot to learn regarding conferences. I do think it helps to go to the Websites of the editors and agents beforehand. Target the ones who represent what you write. Reading a book they have represented and mentioning it to them can be a good way to open a conversation with them.

    When possible, it's nice to study their photos beforehand because you can't always get close enough to see nametags. If you can identify someone by sight, it can help. Although not everyone looks like their Website photo. :)

    Finally, I would say to have fun and let your excitement about being there carry you through.

    Would love to win the book, Debby

  27. Love the dos and don'ts of today's blog. Please enter me.

  28. Debby, I echo your advise and how it applies to other conferences.

    While time is limited and choices are many, I would try to attend one workshop out of my comfort zone. If you are shut out of a coveted lecture or workshop, find another to attend. Do not go and sulk in your room.

    Sometimes those shut doors and open windows lead to new ideas or meeting the right person at the right time.

    Have a blast! Blessings to all the attendees.

    Peace, Julie

  29. Sigh, that should be advice. And please enter me in the drawing.

    Peace, Julie

  30. DEB!!! This is a keeper blog, girlfriend and a must-read for every conference goer, newbie or not!!

    Unfortunately I won't be in the Big Apple with you guys this year, but am looking forward to ACFW in my hometown of St. Louis come September. Sooooo bored with cyber hugs and dying for the real thing!!

    Have a blast, everyone who's going to RWA!!!


  31. Great advice on the "dos and don'ts".

    Headed for the coffee!

  32. Ha - oh Debby

    I hear ya. Can you tell I've been to lots of biz functions and conferences?

    you said: At RWA and ACFW, the name badges hang around the neck. Problem is they're low, which makes them difficult to read. They often become tangled and flip over so the name isn't exposed.

    For badges on a cord, tie a knot with enough room in the cord that you can still get your head through. For flipping badges, take your handy magic marker with you. Remove the paper, write your name/info on the other side, re-insert. PRESTO! You'll probably want to carry the marker with you because others will want to borrow. ;D

    (YES! Been there, done this!)

    Thank you - it IS an exciting time. I'm exhausted. HA! But fun. Will update when the printed materials come, hopefully today!

  33. Hey, Debby! I wish I could go to ACFW this year, but the thought of NYC is a little scary for me! I do sort of wish I could go though. My book is a finalist in the National Readers Choice Awards in two categories, and the winners will be announced there at the conference. Not that I think I will win!

    These are marvelous tips!

  34. Debby,
    Thank you for your kind words. I would love to meet the Seekers face to face in the near future. It’s not the location of AFCW it’s the timing. Their conference always seems to fall at the same time as a Naval conference I represent our Foundation at. They don’t seem to listen when I say they need to move their conference. :o(

    The history conferences I’m most familiar with are Naval History conferences and the majority are open to anyone who would like to attend. And the nice thing is historians LOVE to talk about history, so I think authors of historicals would find great information attending. All you’d have to do is sit next to someone and say “Okay, the navy during the Civil War? Go!” Or my favorite question. “What are you currently working on?” BAM! Two hours later you walk away with names, battles, and tidbits you’d never hear anywhere else. I know I always pick up great information. It always starts with “did you ever hear about…?” Did I mention historians LOVE, LOVE to talk?

    A great conference is the Maritime Heritage Conference and I’d recommend this to those “not in the business,” and even authors writing contemporary fiction. You might be inspired to write about a heroine who is a curator at a historic lighthouse and modern day smugglers are hiding out in the cliffs around the cove. Or a naval underwater archaeologist hot on the trail of John Paul Jones’ war vessel Bonhomme Richard buried by the sea.

  35. (cont.)

    This conference has a variety of sessions that focus on anything from maritime history (international, US Navy, maritime trade, piracy, etc.), how to get a historic Navy vessel and care for it and turn it into a floating museum, lighthouses, how to conduct an oral history. It also offers the opportunity to visit historic ships and get a behind the scene tour of sailing ships, WWII battlships, aircraft carriers, and sometimes lighthouses (depends on where the conference is held, but it’s always held near many ships). Of possible interest to those in Seekerville this conference also provides the opportunity to visit with retired Admirals and Navy personnel (and some active duty Navy), and leading Naval historians both US and international, you never know who you’ll sit by at lunch. The nice thing about this conference is there’s not a bunch of pretentious academics. Everyone is really nice and willing to share what they know.

    Other historical organizations host conferences in every topic from Civil War to Western expansion and most are open to anyone willing to pay the fees. I’d steer clear of individual society or clearly academic conferences as they usually consist of individuals looking to pontificate.

    Sorry this is SO LONG. But you probably didn’t know historians LOVE to talk! :o)

  36. Cathy,

    You're right. In a crowd, it's hard to see nametags. Knowing what the editor or agent you're targeting looks like would be a big plus!

    Great suggestion to visit his or her website before the conference! Thanks for sharing that tip!

  37. Hi Rose, you're in the drawing.

    Tell us something about your thumbnail photo. Is that your horse?

  38. Julie wrote: Sometimes those shut doors and open windows lead to new ideas or meeting the right person at the right time.

    You're so right, Julie. I should have added the following DO:

    DO pray before the conference and ask the Lord to direct your steps.

    When God's in charge, I know all things will work for good.

  39. Deb, I just went to look through the workshops.

    I am seriously overwhelmed by the thought of RWA National conference. I've never gone before and you add in New York city and it's panic time.

    Fortunately most of my panic attacks can be solved with the careful application of Doritoes and Donuts. The two D's of emotional tranquility.

  40. Julie L...

    We'll miss you so, so much in NYC! I remember the first RWA National Conference I attended in 2005. I met you and Janet and Cheryl. Ruthy, were you there? The Seekers formed just a few days after the conference was over. I got "The Call," right after that.

    Without doubt, that conference was a pivotal life-changing event for me.

  41. I should add that God was in charge! :)

  42. Hi Patsy,
    Glad you stopped by. I had to be away from my computer for a short time, but I'm back and sipping my third cup of joe!

    Thanks again, Helen!

  43. KC, you are a nametag expert!

    Thanks for sharing more good advice!

    Take a deep breath and enjoy every minute of your success! We're so proud of you!

  44. Melanie,

    You're winning all sorts of awards!!! Whoo-hoo!!! We'll be cheering you on and wishing you were with us, for sure!

    How's Huntsville doing after the tornado? Are people beginning to get back on their feet?

    Continued prayers heading to your part of the country.

  45. Oh my gosh, Kirsten, what a wealth of info you are. I hope some of our historical authors are taking note of the conference info you mentioned.

    I copied your comments and sent them to a guy I know writing Male Adventure. He often has nautical themes, and I'm sure he'll appreciate your tips.

    Just reading your comments makes me want to shout, GO NAVY!!! :)

  46. Glad to help, Debby!

    Don't shout GO NAVY! Too loud in your household. You might get in trouble. ;o)

  47. Great post, Debby.... am so excited for you writers attending ACFW! Praying safe travels for you! Please put me in for your book....anxious to read it! Thanks!!

  48. Mary,

    I've made note to head to Mary Connealy's room for Doritoes and Donuts! Or will you be carrying them in your purse?

    Don't fret NYC or the conference. Seekers will hold your hand and guide you through the maze. You'll find lots of friendly faces you already know. Everyone from Seekerville will rally 'round you.

    So relax. Plus you're up for a RITA!!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!

    That's probably why you're nervous. You'll have to be on stage to accept your award. Now won't that be a life-changing moment! I'll probably go into cardiac arrest from screaming with joy.

    And if Pam wins the Golden Heart! WOW!!! The hotel may not be able to contain our excitment.

    Of course, being a finalist is the best award! You get to wear Rita on your namebadge for the rest of your life. How cool is that!

  49. Kirsten,

    Chuckling in GA! At least, it's not ARMY-NAVY Game Day. Then I would have to be quiet!

  50. Jackie S!

    You're in the drawing!

    For those not able to go to RWA or ACFW this year:

    I used to attend my local GA Romance Writers' Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, but never any national writing events. The cost seemed so high, and I had a family that needed mom at home.

    When I was close to publishing, I knew it was time to start attending RWA National. That same year, I went to my first ACFW Conference.

    My advice...look for a local conference now and plan for those bigger events later in your publishing journey. And as was mentioned earlier, if God's in charge, everything will work out for the best.

  51. Great suggestions, Debby! I'm looking forward to the RWA conference and seeing NYC again!

  52. Hi Debby:

    I have a few tips that I picked up over the years giving workshops at conventions. I know this is TMI but it might be useful to some. (I know it is helpful in getting asked back to speak at the event again. : ))

    1. Walk to the rooms you are going to take classes in before the events occur. Know where you are going next. If you don’t know where you are going and you talk to people on the way, you will often be late or find yourself in the wrong room. Sometimes this gets you locked out! Sometimes you get the bad seats or all the water has been taken.

    2. Look at the room and know where you plan to sit ahead of time. Sit up front and away from any moveable walls. Often if you sit near a moveable wall, the class in the other room will make so much noise, you can’t hear your own teacher. Often the other class seems more fun and more interesting and that really distracts you from learning in your room. (If you are a teacher, try not to teach in one of these rooms! It’s not fun to hear all the laughter and applause coming form the room next door.)

    3. Sit up front where you can see the often too small print many instructors still use for overheads or PowerPoint presentations. Plan not to sit where the projector will obscure your view of the screen or lectern. (A podium is a platform you stand on.)

    4. If you must bring a soft drink, get a twist off top. You don’t want 200 people turning and looking at you when you pop the top of a can.

    5. At breakfast come early and sit at the biggest, most obvious, table and greet every new person who comes towards you with a smile. The bigger the group at the table the more talking and the more contacts you’ll make.

    6. I have found the best icebreaker is asking: “What do you write” and then let the other person explain their book and subgenre. Really pay attention. The other person will love you for this. Make sure your name tag is highly visible.

    7. Put the title of your latest book or books below your name on your tag. These could be preprinted on sticky back paper. You could also make your own name tag professionally before the event. Big, easy to read, and classy.

    8. Have a list of authors you might meet or expect to meet with the titles of their books. Asterisk the ones you’ve read. A good icebreaker is saying, “I just loved your ‘Dance of Romance’ if you read it or “Your ‘Dance of Romance,’ is next on my TBR list.”

    9. Always remember, or write down later, something factual that someone in a conversation tells you. Be sure to bring up that fact the next time you meet. It proves you listen and really listening is a high form of respect the other person will appreciate.

    10. With authors ask when her next book is coming out. Then give her your card, which has your email on it, and ask, “please email me when you book is released, I would not want to miss it.” (This is better than just giving your card.)

    11. When the event is over and you see people leaving with their bags, if you can remember be sure to smile and say, “Have a nice trip back to Denver”. (If they are going back to Denver).


    P.S. Know where all the restrooms are in advance and learn where more than one is located. You don’t want to walk 100 yards one way, making you late, when there was a restroom 25 feet away around a corner.

  53. Hi again,

    beautiful photos in this post by the way.

    Ok - the order from just arrived. GORGEOUS.

    If you order the thank you cards (and they are cheaper in the wedding section) note that they send white envelopes. I ordered off-white stock so - they said they would replace the entire order if I would call back in and order white stock instead. I'm on hold to do that now.

    So - 100% satisfied.

    I ordered postcards of my book cover and added contact information at the bottom. I will leave these with libraries, book stores, gift shops, etc. They are photo quality, glossy and really special.

    As May the K9 Spy would say, PAWSOME! ("") ("") That's 2 paws up! ha!

  54. Great advice, Debbie. Won't be able to make it to RWA Conference this year, but so looking forward to ACFW. God makes miracles happen and He did for me this year. Last time WAS my first time. You're right. It is a bit overwhelming, but you never ever forget all the good things you've learned and the joy of meeting other authors and aspiring authors, not to leave out the glorious time of worship which makes ACFW unique. Looking forward to seeing a bunch of you there this the Lord wills.

  55. Debby! Great to have you here. Just popping in to say hi. At mom's and we're getting ready to go shopping.

    Have great day, girls and guys! :D

  56. Vince,
    Great info. We could/should have co-written this blog post. You are a conference pro.

    I admit to talking in the hallways and then sometimes arriving late to a workshop! But I want to say hello to everyone! :)

    Good tip on knowing where the bathrooms are. Of course, we ladies always have to wait in line...and wait...and wait... LOL

    Remembering a special fact about each person we meet is good advice. Keeping notes is even better.

    Being a listener is key!

    Thanks, Vince!

  57. Debby, thank you for your post. I am planning on attending a regional conference in a couple of months and your advice is golden. I am really shy and it felt like a boot in the rear when you mentioned not being shy, to talk to people. I was thinking that I was going to go and listen, now I realize that I need to socialize too. Why is it so scary though? Thanks again.

  58. Hi Debby:

    It was easy for me. You did all the heavy lifting. I’m was mostly thinking as an instructor.

    I’d love to do a co-workshop on Rewarding the Reader and have you use examples from “The Officer’s Secret” and “Yule Die”. You could show how you came up with the specific rewards and how the class can go about doing the same in their WIPs.

    It could be a ‘theory and practice’ workshop. If it were at ACFW, we could even start the class with your “Writer’s Prayer”. I hope to have a Kindle book on the RPP workshop by then.


    P.S. Professional secret: there is usually an out-of-the-way rest room that the employees know about. Sometimes more is less: the restroom furthest away may offer the best turnaround time. (Given that many will want to talk to you.)

  59. Thank you for this great post, Debbie! Since I will be attending ACFW in Sept. this is sooo helpful! :D

  60. "Fortunately most of my panic attacks can be solved with the careful application of Doritoes and Donuts. The two D's of emotional tranquility."

    Mary, I had to share this one on facebook - appropriately attributed, of course.

  61. Kirsten - you make me want to attend that conference - I'll have to look for local history events!

    And all of you make me wish I was going to either RWA or ACFW - maybe next year. Meanwhile, the closest local conference is in the Denver area (only 6 hours away!).

  62. Great post! I'm so looking forward to meeting some new Seekerville friends at RWA and cheering on the RITA/Golden Heart finalists.


  63. Oh, Deb, great post! I loved the pics and Tina's advice worked so well for me last year!

    Plus going to but LI editors wherever they were.

    Which was WAY fun. ;)

    Deb, awesome teaser and advice. You rock, dudette!

  64. Deb,
    I've decided that I'm stalking Ruthy this year...since I'm sure I'll come up with some GREAT story ideas in the process.

    What do you think? ;-)

  65. I won't be going to the conferences this year, but I will keep this post in mind for next year! Thanks Debby :)

    Hope everyone going to the conferences have fun!

  66. Thanks so much for your advice. I briefly thought I'd be going to ACFW this year and was nervous about what to do. (Found out somebody already asked for those days off at work.) You answered so many questions swirling through my mind.
    Thanks again!

  67. Sorry to be away from the blog for so long. I had a 1 PM appointment that took far too long. :)

    KC, glad your order arrived and you were pleased.

    Did you get any bookmarks? If so, from which print company.

  68. Shirley, so glad you're going to ACFW. It's such a special conference, isn't it! The worship is always so powerful.

  69. Linnette,

    Hope you're having a fun day shopping!


  70. Michelle, don't be nervous. Pat yourself on the back for going to a conference. Look for someone sitting alone who looks the way you feel inside. I bet you'll see a number of folks who need a friend, which is exactly what you can be. Whenever I help someone else, I forget about my own problems.

    Let us know how it turns out!

    And don't forget to pray first. God will put you in the right place at the right time.

  71. Vince! Love your workshop idea!

    You're writing a book on your RPP? Good for you! Excellent! I want to buy a copy, for sure! Whoo-hoo!!!!

    The bathroom tip is a keeper! :)

  72. Casey, so glad you'll be at ACFW!

    The summer is passing far too fast. It'll be fall before we know it, and we'll be packing for ACFW. Remember the Seekerville gathering starts each night at about 9 PM. See you there!

  73. Ok peeps, Debby didn't pay me to say she was the "Queen of the end of the chapter hooks." :) Yes Debby, you can quote me on that. :) I passed your books on to my mother and she completely agreed. You deserve a crown! :)

  74. Jan,
    Plan now for next year. Maybe someone knows where ACFW will be in 2012.

    Tina probably knows. She knows everything. I'll try to find out.

  75. And we want to meet you in person, Lynda!

    You're from Dayton? I went to OSU! Go Bucks!

    And you're a history gal. Did you read Kirsten's comments?

    Be sure to say hello at the literacy signing Tuesday night!

  76. Ruthy, how are those pups? You're quite a woman...a writer and a vet! You go, girl!

  77. Ruthy is a good choice. Yes, stalk her...and Mary.

    Remember Mary will have Doritoes and Donuts.

    Maybe Ruthy will bake cookies.

  78. Eva, we'll miss you. Next year, right? Promise?

  79. Jackie,

    Start planning now for 2012. I'm trying to find out where the conference will be held. You'll love ACFW. Everyone is so friendly. And most of the Seekers will be there, which makes it extra fun!

  80. Hugs to you and your mom, Jillian.

    A crown? Actually, only the Grammar Queen is allow to wear a crown. We lowly people have to make do with our tiaras! LOL

    Thanks again for your very nice comment about the hooks in my story! :)

  81. Stalk me.

    I smell like puppies right now. Nine Golden Retriever pups last night....

    Finished at 2:00 AM...

    Clean up by 2:30.... Or so.

    Up at 5:30. But all 9 are doing well!

    Coffee. Coffee is my friend.

  82. Debby:

    I "think" someone wrote somewhere earlier this week that next year's conference will be in Dallas.


  83. Ooo, Debbie - good suggestion
    Ruthy for the puppies and humor
    Mary for the donuts and humor
    It's a win/win

  84. Nine pups! Oh my gosh, Ruthy, you are Wonder Woman. Now to care for them.

    How long do they need to stay with Mama?

  85. Pam Hillman emailed me about ACFW 2012. The conference will be held in Dallas, TX. Get ready everyone for 2012!

  86. Helen, thank you! I just got word from Pam Hillman, and she said Dallas, as well.

    Hope to see you there.

  87. Pepper! Yes, Mary and Ruthy.

    They'll be so busy kibitzing amongst themselves that they'll never realize you're following them...everywhere.

  88. Definitely sit with new people every day! RWA is so big that it's hard to find your friends.

    A lot easier now with cell phones and texting, but the last time I went, I walked into the dining room every day and deliberatly looked for a table where I knew no one.

    I met a lot of people that way, and even met one woman who had read my manuscript in the Golden Heart.

    Now THAT was cool!

  89. Hi Debby,

    Thanks. Didn't do bookmarks, though they have them available.

    Decided I'd spent enough. Might in the future.

  90. Oh - sorry for yet another post - wonderful comments and tips all day!!! Y'all have FUN at the conference. Report in!

  91. Like this post, Debby! Even though I'm not going to conference this year, it's still a great reminder for all kinds of good stuff!
    Lindi P.

  92. Awesome post!!! I unfortunately can't go, though I want to even more so now then before.
    I hope to one day make it to RWA. I hope you all have an Amazing time and share lots of pictures.
    I would be bouncing off the walls there and talking to everyone....

  93. Since I've never been to a conference I don't have any DO's or DON"TS but I do appreciate your blog today.

    Would love to be entered to win a copy of your new book though. :)

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.


  94. Great post, Debby! I can't wait to hear about the conference when you get back (& I hope I get to go in the future!). I loved all your tips & will use them at the GA RWA M&M conference.
    Have a wonderful time in New York!

  95. Sorry, I couldn't log on after dinner last night. Atlanta had storms throughout the night that kept me off my computer.

  96. Pam, thanks for sharing about your RWA experiences.

    Now wasn't that just like God to direct you to the seat next to the woman who had read your Golden Heart manuscript! Very cool!

    We're all excited about the Awards Ceremony this year and will be cheering you and Mary on!

  97. Thanks, KC!

    Recently, I've been using business card size bookmarks that seem to work. Although I'd like to go back to the larger bookmark format. Just haven't found the right print company yet.

  98. Hi Lindi, we'll miss you! Hope you can make ACFW.

  99. Sounds like you're an extrovert, Leanne. RWA is the perfect place for you to shine! :)

  100. Larissa,

    You'll enjoy GWA's Moonlight and Magnolias Conference, I'm sure. It's a great way to meet other writers and pick up wonderful tips from all the great speakers.

    Looking forward to seeing you there!

  101. Wow, Debby! I've attended oodles of conferences and hadn't thought of all the great suggestions for Dos and Don'ts. Thanks!

    Please come by my table at the Literacy signing for the LI Little Inspy Trading cards!

    I love your suggestion to hang your name tag high so your name isn't hidden by the table you're sitting behind or hard to read.

    Debby, your post has me excited to go to NYC! Hope to see lots of you there.


  102. Wonderful tips! Thanks so much! :)