Tag s | convention

Conference Proposal Requests

The recent ACFW conference (attended by nearly 700 writers and industry professionals) has writers, agents, and editors in overdrive as we all attempt to follow up on conference proposal requests. Writers are working feverishly to get proposals to editors. Some are thinking, “Surely the editor who seemed so excited about my proposal is checking email at least once or twice a day looking for it. I must, must, must get the proposal out today!”

Not so fast

Our word is our bond, and we feel responsible when we promise to submit a proposal as soon as we can. Accountability is to be commended. Editors and agents appreciate conscientious writers. However, most of us are looking for a writer’s proposal under certain conditions, and those conditions are usually quite urgent in the careers of writers already established with us. From my perspective, conference requests are different. Here are a few examples:

1.) The editor seemed so excited! Why did I get a email form letter rejection ten minutes after I sent my proposal?

This writer received what I consider a courtesy request. Think about it: no one likes to reject someone face-to-face. It is not easy to tell a person you’re not interested in a novel she’s worked on for months, perhaps even years. And it may be that you never showed them a stitch of your actual writing but only a one sheet or gave a pitch in a hallway. The softhearted editor probably liked the writer as a person, but used the quick form letter rejection to convey a hard truth after the fact.

2.) The editor seemed so excited about my one-sheet! Why did I get rejected?

The reasons are legion (see #1), but a one-sheet, while useful, has its limitations. Writers spend considerable time on one-sheets, honing to perfection. And the plot promised on the one-sheet is indeed delivered in the book — a plot perfect for the editor’s house. However, if the writing doesn’t sparkle, a perfect plot will not garner a contract.

3.) The editor seemed so excited by everything about me! Why haven’t I heard back from my submission after all this time?

Cyberspace is both an exhilarating and frustrating place to work. Few have any idea what it is like on the editor’s side of the desk. During the conference they can focus on the event and the people in it. But back in the office there are dozens of pre-existing issues and new hurdles that prevent the editor from responding immediately. The new submissions are rarely at the top of any editor or agent’s to-do list.


At any conference, we’re running on coffee/diet soda/no sleep/adrenaline/unfamiliar food and we all want to make the best impression we can upon one another. And we are all pretty pumped. Editors and agents want to find the next bright star, and we want to be excited about you and your work.  So please forgive us when reality’s glare forces us to send you bad news after you return home.

My best advice is to be sure to follow up on any and all conference requests with your most superb work. Your agent will help you ensure your work is the very best it can be to submit to editors. When you receive feedback, take it seriously. Continue to write and hone your craft. Even if a conference doesn’t result in a contract this time, you have still made valuable and meaningful connections with writers, editors and agents. Persistence and willingness to learn are key. Any conference is only a part of the larger picture in your career. That’s my perspective. What’s yours?







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ACFW 2011 Report

This past weekend nearly 700 novelists, editors, agents, and industry professionals gathers in St. Louis for the 10th annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference.

It is always invigorating to be with so many highly creative people and to be a part of the discovery and development of tomorrow’s bestselling authors.

I had over 30 one-on-one appointments and editor meetings, taught three classes, and had dozens of “hallway” meetings of all kinds. Our agency had 47 clients in attendance too. This was the first time Karen Ball, Tamela Hancock Murray, and I were together at the same event since they joined the agency. What a blast! It is so great to have them as a part of our agency.

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Conquering Conference Jitters

Next week the annual American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference is upon us. While this particular conference is one of the largest in our industry (over 700 will be there in St. Louis), writers can become nervous before going to even the most intimate conference. We all want to make a good impression and show other industry professionals our best. You have already prayed and handed the conference over to the Lord, so here are a few more tips based on questions I’ve been asked over the years:

1.) What do I wear?

Each conference has its own personality and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

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More Convention Highlights!

As you know from reading our own Steve Laube’s excellent insights on this blog about ICRS, the days were busy, exciting, and invigorating. The convention confirmed our optimism about Christian publishing’s bright future.

I’ve been to the convention a number of times and have always been blessed. This year, it took place in Atlanta, a lovely city that offers hot, sunny, humid weather. My biggest challenge was trying to keep my hair presentable.

A writer following ICRS news would think this event has shrunk to nothing, but in fact, the Convention Center overflowed with exhibitors. All total, 21 writers from The Steve Laube Agency were in attendance.

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Convention Time!

by Steve Laube

Last week was the 2011 International Christian Retailing Show (ICRS) in Atlanta, Georgia. Tamela Hancock Murray and I  had a busy time. Statistics released declared that professional attendance was up 9.7% to 1,748, primarily representing buyers. Total attendance was up 5.83% to 4,918. International attendance was up 16.17% to 431 attendees from 61 countries.

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RWA 2011 – Bright Lights Big Stories

by Lynette Eason

Today we are pleased to have a guest post from Lynette Eason, author of the bestselling “Women of Justice” series published by Revell. She also won the 2011 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award for romantic suspense. Last week Lynette was at the RWA (Romance Writers of America) convention and we asked her to share her experience.


“Bright Lights Big Stories” was the theme of the RWA conference this year. My very FIRST RWA conference. What an experience!

The conference was held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. My hotel room was on the twenty-first floor. My husband came with me and we had a corner king room. It was HUGE. And so comfy. I could have just stood at the window looking down at all of the excitement on Broadway the entire week, but I knew there were other fun things to experience.

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ICRS Observations 2010

Some have asked for my thoughts on this past week’s International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) in St. Louis. I’m glad to answer. This was my 29th consecutive booksellers convention. At its height there were approximately 14,000 in attendance, many years ago. That is no longer the case. Statistics released indicate …

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2009 ICRS Observations

Like many going into the 2009 ICRS convention (aka CBA or the Christian Booksellers Association convention) I was wondering what would be found. It was great to see that instead of the projected doom and gloom there was light and hope. (Yes, that is Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber in the photo to the left – courtesy of Christian Retailing Magazine.) A few observations:

1) The total convention exhibit floor was about 30% smaller than in past years and the middle section, housing CBA’s events and displays was HUGE. In fact you could walk through the entire book section very rapidly for the first time in years. Everything seemed condensed.

2) The net effect of the smaller sales floor was that you felt the crowds. There was noise, energy, and excitement in the air. This was a major change over previous years where it always felt so quiet.

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