Friday, September 21, 2012

American Christian Fiction Writers Annual Conference

Thursday, September 20, 2012—Dallas Texas

I implied yesterday that next year I would not go so early. However, I've enjoyed the time to write without interruptions from my regular routine. This morning, for example, I didn't turn on the TV news first thing after making coffee the way I do at home. Instead, I woke up early and went to the computer to write.

I'm editing a new book tentatively called, Love Lives On. The story is about what happens when Karen learns marriage to her college sweetheart isn't enough to give her the happiness she has wanted all her life. God presents her with another opportunity to help someone and she soon learns she is the only one in the world who can help this person. She also learns there are people who hate her or envy her and who are obsessed with harming her.

What does this have to do with the conference? Well I'm preparing to pitch my latest story to two agents and one publisher in meetings Friday and Saturday. I have 15 minutes with each of the two agents and the one publisher's representative. I'll let you know more about these meetings later.

Today I went to the first-time attendees' orientation. Sue Brower of Zondervan talked about meeting with agents and editors to pitch our books. She said to give them our one-page synopsis but don't expect them to read it. Use the fifteen minutes to tell them about your book. It doesn't have to be in the same order of the book. Start with, "this is a book about…" and make eye contact. Your book must be finished. If not, let the agent/editor know up front. If they ask for more, get it to them in two weeks or less.

Next, was the opening session with Brandilyn Collins as emcee. This was fun and uplifting.

The keynote speaker followed. Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, gave an excellent talk about his experience in publishing and now as a writer. He said, "now is the best time ever to be an author." And he gave the following five reasons he feels this is true:

1. It is easier than ever to do the writing.
a. Conferences
b. Writing books
c. Writing courses
d. Writing specific software
e. Research is easier
f. Tweet questions to help with research
g. Support groups
h. Critique partners

2. It is easier than ever to do market research.
a. Platform
b. Blog surveys
c. Vote for favorite covers

3. It is easier than ever to get into print
a. Traditional publishing is no longer the only choice
b. Self-publishing is a viable option
c. Author groups helping each other
d. EBooks

4. It is easier than ever to build a tribe (i.e. a reader base)
a. Direct access to readers
b. Instant feedback
c. Encouragement
d. Chance to improve

5. It is easier than ever to build a business
a. Publishing
b. Speaking
c. Blogs
d. Social Networking

Next was a worship service. We sang praise songs with a praise band and vocalist. The words were projected on the screens and I felt the presence of the Lord.

After dinner I went to the B&H Publisher highlight. They are part of Lifeway and follow the tenets of the Baptist faith. The representative said they are doing more movie novelizations. Unconditional by Eva Marie Everson is an example. Davis Bunn just wrote one for them.

They have identified books to be published up to fall 2013 which means anything submitted now will probably published in 2014 or 2015. Romantic suspense is popular now. Their customers are older women who are using eReaders more now. will soon be selling ebooks with links to information built in.

They publish 18-19 books a year and hope to up that to 28 in the next five years. They receive about ten submissions per week from agents. If they get down to selecting between several equal works, they'll look at the writer's platform and see if they blog twice a week and can help market the book.

They like books about 90,000 words long.

No comments:

Post a Comment