|St. Louis, Missouri, site of recent|
|I meet ICFW's Valerie Comer at|
the recent ACFA conference.
ACFW offers tutorials, on-line classes, links to recommended books on writing, and other resources. What I have found most valuable so far is the extensive e-mail network.
I admit I was put off by the main list that receives 60 to 100 messages per DAY! But there are also smaller genre lists that put you in contact with people writing books similar to yours. I signed up for both historical (because of my Glastonbury Tor) and young adult (my other published works) so I receive a much more manageable number of messages. G-mail lets me set up filters so they don’t crowd my in-box and I can sort through them at my convenience. The historical list has recently hosted discussions on the differences between historical and contemporary fiction, what readers expect from Regency novels, the difference between preachy and a meaningful theme, and which Bible translation to use to be understandable to modern readers while remaining culturally authentic. The YA group has less activity (so far mainly announcements of book giveaways or questions about the coming conference), but it is a place to network with potential endorsers or information sources.
My primary motivation for joining ACFW at this time was the annual conference held this week in St. Louis. That, too, is all organized on-line. There are bios of the editors and agents who will be present, summaries of workshops, schedules and (of course) an e-mail list for first timers. (That is on top of the e-mail list for new-comers to the organization that introduced me to the website, regional chapters, genre groups and how to use the lists without being overwhelmed.) The first-timers-at-conference list not only answers questions about what to wear, what to bring and where to go, it has also given us tips on what agents are looking for, what goes into a proposal and links to blogs on taking advantage of a conference experience. Cara Putman, the moderator, even critiqued our elevator pitches. (An elevator pitch is a one- or two-sentence summary of your novel, designed to hook the interest of an agent or editor in less time than it takes to go from one floor to the next in an elevator.) Not only were Cara’s suggestions on my pitch worthwhile, but reading other people’s pitches and their critique was also educational.
ACFW aims to be "the voice of Christian fiction." I am impressed with how they use technology that does not depend on physical proximity, something that allows for participation by writers all over the world. There was even an alternative conference running on-line last week for people who couldn’t physically make it to Saint Louis, Missouri. Participants might be anywhere from Australia to Zambia.
|Author Rachel Hauck leads worship|
|Agent Natasha Kern talks about what|
your agent should be doing for you.
The weekend wasextremely intense. By the end of it, I was exhausted, but wondering why I putoff joining ACFW for so long. Perhapsthis community and its resources would be useful to you in your writing journeywhether or not you are physically in America.