Countdown to conference…

 Today marks the start of my countdown to the 2014 ACFW conference.

Exactly one month from today, we newbies will be walking into the special session for first-time attendees! Thank you so much for knowing how much we need that – ACFW! Only an organization started and run by Authors can know how terrifying it is to walk into your first conference and have no idea what you are supposed to do.

What if I missed something?
What if I’m dressed wrong?
What if I don’t know where to go?

All of these things and thousands more are running through your mind (because we’re writers, we can do that) and you’re terrified one of your heroes is going to walk by any moment and you will trip and fall on your face right there in front of them – at which point they will rush quickly and quietly in the opposite direction. Or if they’re not easily embarrassed, you might actually succeed in getting their attention that way

Yes these are just a few of the nightmares that plague me. I have been to several small conferences but absolutely nothing on the scale of ACFW and nothing where I actually had the opportunity to walk by or sit next to any one of absolutely dozens of authors I simply adore at every single session/ meal (unless you count the AWESOME Melanie Dickerson – who sat next to me at several sessions and meals at the small conference I went to in Mississippi last month… but, to be fair, she kind of knew me already and she didn’t know anyone else so that was just a huge blessing!). As a matter of fact, there were a couple of big names at my first conference – just not dozens of them everywhere I turned.

 

At any rate, we will be posting regularly over the next month with tips and ideas for anyone attending the 2014 ACFW conference. And anyone who isn’t attending can always use the tips for future conferences they do attend.

 

GOD BLESS!

 

~ Rachel

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Ask An Author Part 1 | Answers from Jennifer Beckstrand & Vannetta Chapman!

For this part of “Ask An Author”, I asked 5 questions to different authors.

Here are their answers:

 

Answers from Jennifer Beckstrand:
(You can read more about Jennifer on her website: HERE or by clicking on her picture > > >)

On your business cards (if you have them), do you put your phone # or just e-mail, Facebook, twitter, etc…?

Just email and Facebook. I still have some older ones left, but my next business cards will include my Twitter account.

If you have another “business” – such as editing services or book reviewing, do you have separate cards for that or list everything on one card?

I don’t have another business, except for mom and grandma.

When preparing for a conference, what do you typically take with you as far as your current WIP (work-in-progress) – just a proposal, a one sheet, the first 3 chapters printed, the full MS, synopsis, etc…? All of the above?

Just a proposal.

How important do you think it is to have an agent? Do you consider them to be more a representative of you… or your work?

I think it’s extremely important to have an agent. She represents me and my work equally.

With social media taking over so much of promotion, how much of your appearances or book-signings are done through your publisher and how much is completely on your own?

Book signings are on my own. My publisher arranges guest posts on blogs. I will occasionally arrange to do a post on a blog on my own.

Be sure to watch NEXT Saturday for Jennifer’s Author Spotlight
– where she will answer even more questions for us.

 

 

 

 

Answers from Vannetta Chapman:
(You can read more about Vannetta on her website: HERE or by clicking on her picture >>>)

On your business cards (if you have them), do you put your phone # or just e-mail, Facebook, twitter, etc…?

My business cards list my webpage, Facebook, twitter and pinterest on the BACK.

On the front is a small picture I had designed which also has my webpage, and what types of books I write. I never put my phone number or physical address on a business card.

If you have another “business” – such as editing services or book reviewing, do you have separate cards for that or list everything on one card?

N/A

When preparing for a conference, what do you typically take with you as far as your current WIP – just a proposal, a one sheet, the first 3 chapters printed, the full MS, synopsis, etc…? All of the above?

If it’s a Christian conference (like ACFW), then the one sheet will do just fine. If they want more, they’ll ask you to mail it to them.

How important do you think it is to have an agent? Do you consider them to be more a representative of you… or your work?

I think it’s very important. I write in several genres and for several publishers, so it has been very helpful for me.

With social media taking over so much of promotion, how much of your appearances or book-signings are done through your publisher and how much is completely on your own?

Very few of my book signings are done through my publisher. They take care of store placement, ads, etc. But anything I set up with libraries, reading groups, etc. I do myself. I have done book-signing tours through my publisher, and also have gone to ALA through my publisher.

 

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH
to both of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to answer questions for us!

And may God Bless You Both!

I hope you have all found this as helpful as I have!

Valuable tips on Writing/Publishing by FABULOUS authors via MWG Conference 2014

2014 Conference in Ocean Springs, MS

This past weekend several of our authors attended the Mississippi Writer’s Guild 2014 conference and they wanted to share some of the things they learned from authors Melanie Dickerson, Jane Nickerson, Sandra Beasley & Terry Kennedy

 

Jane Nickerson opened the conference with her speech about the importance of accuracy in researching and writing. Jane writes historical fiction but we feel this information is just as valuable to the sci-fi writer as it is to the inspirational writer or the historical writer. Later in the evening, in a personal conversation, Jane made the point that even if you are making up almost all of your story (people, places and events), there has to be some element of truth to it or the reader will not engage with your characters – they won’t be drawn in to your world and the book will be boring to them.

Melanie Dickerson told a delightful story in her speech about an opportunity she was presented with to “Save the cat”. There is a book by the same name written by Blake Snyder and it tells us of the importance in making our characters likable! Melanie shared how adding just one scene in her book changed her hero from being brusque and unlikable to wonderful and lovable! What a wonderful tip. Not only does it show us that some things do not  require a complete rewrite, it shows us that sometimes the problem is in what we don’t have rather than what we do!

Sandra Beasley shared humorous anecdotes and curious trivia about writing her memoir and how surreal an experience it was to quit her “job” and get serious about being a full-time writer. She brought to light the struggles and comedic internal debates writers have with themselves about writing, working and procrastination. She also shared some very valuable tips on everything from developing a thicker skin to how to introduce yourself and your work to people in general.

Terry Kennedy made some very good points about the way our world views online publications and the writers who work for them. He offered a peek into this world that I admit, I knew nothing about and after hearing about the difficulties and stresses associate with it, I’m not so sure I want to. He shared facts and figures that gave a clear overview of the industry and how it has changed over the years – and is still in fact changing, every day.

 

Overall, an educational and enjoyable experience!

Thank You to Donna Mynatt, Rachel L. Miller & J.C. Morrows for sharing a bit about your experience!

 

Our recommendation to you all as writers, whether aspiring or published, is to attend as many writer’s conferences as possible. Even if you do nothing but pick up a few helpful tips, it is well worth the time. And every writer or agent or publishing professional that you meet will simply be a bonus. Whether you realize it or not, you will be making connections that may well carry you to your goals one day. Many writers will tell you that they met their agent at a conference, or they met their editor at a conference, or they were given valuable advice on how to edit their work and make it better from someone at a conference.

Bottom line – they are worth every minute and dollar.

God Bless and keep up the good work!

Now go write!

Tell us what YOU want to know.

 

Everyone has questions… 

 

Tell us some of yours.

 

There is a world of published authors out there and they hold the keys to the kingdom – so to speak. Every journey may be slightly different but they still know the answers to questions we have.

 

I plan to make this segment a regular event. Comment below with questions you have for authors and I will go hunt down the answers for you.

 

I will also be adding the questions to our NEW Ask An Author Page!

Click the linked words above or Look for it under the menu that says MORE on top of the page.

 

An example: Recently Sarah Loudin Thomas posted an FAQ post on her blog HERE and I asked the question:

I wonder about two things and I’m sure it’s different for every author depending on their publisher.

How many author copies do they send you? Some of the pictures I’ve seen look like a big box – very full and a few authors actually talk like they got two boxes.

And when you do book signings/ appearances/ conferences – are you responsible for providing those copies or do the people putting it together do that? If you are responsible for getting them there, do you have to buy the copies or does the publisher provide them?

And THANK YOU for the questions above. GREAT questions AND answers!
God Bless!

 

And Sarah was kind enough to reply.

Great questions!

Author copies vary by contract–I think 25-50 is pretty standard. It’s not by the box and how many are in a box varies according to how thick the novel is. My books are 40 to a box, but some fellow authors with longer books would only have 32 or 34.

You’re typically responsible for making sure your books get to events unless it’s one of those rare book signings in which case you’re probably at a bookstore that carries your books. Depending on the setting, you can supply books through a bookseller who will handle all the sales leaving you to get the percentage you negotiated through the contract with your publisher, or you can buy the books from your publisher (at a set discount) and pocket the profit (if there is any!).

 

That was exactly what I wanted to know. It really is true – all you have to do is ask.

And it’s also true that you will never know until you ask.

So ask away!

 

What do YOU really want to know?

 

~Blessings~