Monday, May 13, 2013

Where Two or Three are gathered ... at a Writers Conference

Photo courtesy of "David Castillo Dominci"/

I read Dani Pettrey’s marvelous “Conference Benefits’ post on the ACFW Blog a few weeks ago. I would encourage you to read it.
I’ve attended a handful of NSW Writers Centre conferences in my time but the first Christian writers one I attended was the ACFW Conference held in Dallas last year.
It was a challenge for me to convince Fiona, my wife, to let me go, so I suggested we combine it with a holiday in the US. Fortunately, Fi thought that was a good deal.
There are many articles and whathaveyou about the tangible benefits of attending. One in particular, is the opportunity to present yourself and your writing to agents and editors. Speaking only from my own experience, yes, it was invaluable. Did I hook an agent? No. But the two I met gave me wise counsel, which helped me significantly.
I found the entire appointment process such an uplifting positive experience. There were some great stories others were sharing and I’m pretty sure at least one of our own successfully gained representation as a result of the process.
I wrote 3 posts on the conference. If it’s of interest you can find them on my blog: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
The aspect of the Conference that struck me most was its spirit. God was present. I was able to relate the experience to a church conference only the material being covered was different. What’s that old Biblical chestnut: “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matt 18:20)
It was clear much prayer had been had prior to the event and continued throughout it. I’m continually amazed at God’s faithfulness in answering prayer. This conference was another testimony of it.
Yes, I’ve made some great new buddies, including some who contribute to this part of the e-world. One of those new friends, I met by chance hanging outside the appointments area. Our three-minute chat and then subsequent revelation from reading one of her books changed my life.  I realised the enemy had allowed me to believe one of his lies that had held me back for years.
God is good, isn’t He? He can, and will, use any chance encounter to draw us closer to Himself.
I’d encourage you to attend a Christian Writers’ Conference if you haven’t been to one. Certainly the cost of travelling to conferences makes it particularly challenging to attend. I know so little about the writers conference market here in Australia so am not even able to suggest anything here. It goes without saying I don’t know anything about conferences in other countries except for a few in the US. Perhaps those of us who have some information might be able to share it in the comments below. I do know some of the Aussie Christian Writers Downunder (CWD) crew met up late last year.
For those of you who have attended conferences experienced anything particularly significant or achieved ‘outcomes’ that you’d like to share? Be great to hear from some authors who’ve gained representation or had a manuscript accepted as a result of a conference.
My heart was full when I left Dallas. It stayed like that for weeks afterwards. It’s an experience that I expect will last long in my memory.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is now available in the USA, Canada and UK. It is scheduled to be released in Australia in late May. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website and on his author Facebook page.


  1. We have a national Christian Writing conference in Canada called Write!Canada, in Guelph, Ontario. This year it runs from June 13-15. It used to attract a lot more editors, in addition to agents, before the economy slumped. But this year, agents Karen Ball and Terry Burns will be here, teaching and taking appointments, along with authors such as myself. I've been to numerous ACFW conferences which are awesome, but the smaller conferences do offer more opportunities, I've found, for one-on-one time with agents and editors outside of appointment slots. The Word Guild which sponsors the conference also hosts regional one day events such as Write!Vancouver which is Saturday and Write!Kitchener in late September.

    1. Hi Sandra

      I was hoping you might chime me. You're on faculty at Write!Canada? Great you're helping others out this way. I'm interested that smaller conferences can work better for authors.

      Sounds like there's a growing support community with The Word Guild.

      Thanks for popping by.

  2. Sandra, I just joined the Word Guild at long last. As a Canadian I took far too long to do this. I'm really interested in going to one of the Canadian conferences.

  3. Sounds great. Thanks for sharing

  4. I attended the Write! Conference in Guelph about 5 years ago, and it was fantastic! The people you meet are just lovely. And the information was valuable for my writing. And I did meet my future publisher there. I think when God is there, you can't go wrong!

    1. Hi Jenn, that Canadian conference is sounding better all the time.

      Congratulations on your publishing deal.

  5. Hi Ian, we do have Christian writing conferences in Australia. Omega Writers will be holding the 2013 Caleb Conference in Brisbane in October. More info can be found at

  6. Thanks Narelle, I'll check it out.