Friday, September 30, 2011

Post-Conference Thoughts

A week ago, the American Christian Fiction Writers held its tenth annual conference, "under the arch" in St. Louis. For those of you who saw me there and wondered why I was less animated than usual, I have to apologize--I battled back and hip pain the entire time, and in retrospect probably should have cancelled, but I wanted to be there. And I'm glad I came.

On a personal level, it was an honor to meet with other members of the ACFW Operating and Advisory Boards to conduct the business of the organization (and there's a lot!) I got to meet my new publishing family, the folks from Thomas Nelson. At the Gala on Saturday evening, it was my privilege to present the Agent of the Year award to my own agent, Rachelle Gardner. And even though my novel, Medical Error, didn't win a Carol Award, the fact that it was a finalist was exciting.

Thanks to the folks at Abingdon and the conference bookstore for making sure that copies of my latest novel, Lethal Remedy, were available. What a thrill to introduce it at this year's ACFW, and to sign copies of all my books for attendees.

I asked a few attendees to give me their reflections on the conference. Next year we'll be in Dallas. I hope to see you there.

Jeff Gerke, Publisher:
"ACFW is always my favorite Christian writers conference every year. The size of it, the high quality of the writing I see there, and the chance to see old friends and meet new ones make it the high point of my conference year. Plus this year I got to sword fight under the Arch and wear a knight's costume to the Carol Awards--where we were blessed to receive an award in our category--so it made this year's conference even more special."

Anne Mateer, Author:
“I always love conference time, and this year proved no different. It was a bit overwhelming, though, with just the number of attendees. I came home having missed connections with some of my favorite people! But in spite of that, God met me there, as usual. I can truly say that the people I did meet up with--friends old and new--were truly God-ordained meetings. And three specific classes, The Moral Premise by Stan Williams, Sometimes It's Better to Tell than Show by Erin Healy and How to Write an Award-winning novel by Deb Raney and Tammy Alexander sent me home inspired to be a better writer. I love getting those few days a year where I can leave behind the other hats I wear and just be a writer.”

Becky Monds, Editor:
"What a fun conference! I so enjoyed meeting some of our new authors and seeing old friends. And, of course, the enthusiasm for using story to spread the Gospel cannot be equaled."

Les Stobbe, Literary Agent:
"Congratulations on a really well orchestrated ACFW event! The volunteers were first class, the food outstanding, and the Awards Banquet beautifully choreographed. I was impressed by the quality of proposals I saw during the appointment times. And it is always fun to meet my ACFW conference friends."

Katie Ganshert, Author:
"I left feeling completely invigorated and completely exhausted, if that's possible. God spoke to me in big ways through the speakers and workshop presenters. I was able to meet and reconnect with a plethora of amazingly talented writers. I got to whoop it up when my agent, Rachelle Gardner, won Agent of the Year at the award's banquet. And I got to see a sneak peek of my debut novel's cover during dinner with my editor and other Waterbrook Multnomah authors."

Steve Laube, Literary Agent:
"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. …
In my opinion, if you are a novelist writing for the Christian market, you owe it to yourself to consider attending next year’s event, which will be held in Dallas. Check the ACFW website for more information."

5 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

Fun to see everybody's thoughts/reflections on the conference!

Anne Mateer said...

LIke Katie, I love to see other people's thoughts on the same event! So fun to see everyone there!

Carol J. Garvin said...

I mentioned to Keli Gwyn that I love collecting these tidbits about the conference from everyone's blogs. I'm living the experience vicariously! Thanks for sharing. I hope your hip and back problem has eased off now that you've had a chance to rest up from the trip.

Alexander said...

Interesting post!! I really like this site, and hope you will write more, thanks for your information.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, all. The conference was sort of a blur this year, because of my duties as VP and the back pain I was experiencing. Maybe next year I'll be able to visit more with friends.
Appreciate your comments.