Blogger: Mary Keeley
Recently back from the annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference (ACFW), my heart is full, as is the case for most of you who attended, from what I’ve heard. The warm camaraderie with others who understand this writing-publishing journey, the privilege of praying for someone’s important meeting, the inspiration and encouragement received from the worship and workshops and pitch meetings fed our souls. Meeting many of you in our blog community was one of the highlights for the Books & Such agents.
At the same time we’re mindful of those of you who weren’t able to be there, and collectively, maybe we can give you a colorful recap of what went on at the conference.
Our agent schedules involved meetings with editors to pitch our clients’ proposals. I sensed optimism from the editors, same as at ICRS in June, which I’m pleased to report. Some of them still are looking at fall 2017 to begin acquiring certain genres, but that date hasn’t moved further out and every day brings us closer to that time. I encourage you to use this waiting cycle productively by continuing to build your audience and improving your WIP so that you’re ready when the time comes.
The two agent panels were illuminating because of the many great questions submitted by conferees. It was obvious these writers have been studying the industry. Some of them were still wearing their beautiful costumes for the genre dinner that preceded the panels.
Teaching and meeting with writers in the 15-minute pitch appointments filled the rest of our days, leaving no time to sit in on any of the sessions. More than a few of you who attended requested that we have a conference recap for our blog community, so please share from your experience:
Something you learned:
- A tip about marketing and promotion
- A new way to gain greater reach with your social media
- Constructive feedback your writing sample
- General information
Something you experienced:
- General atmosphere
- Friendliness and ease of meeting new people
- The Gala
Undercover roving reporters for Seekerville.com, Courtney Ballinger and Natalie Monk, wrote this delightful recap of the Gala awards banquet from their personal attendee experience. If you never have been to ACFW or a conference like it, this will give you a pictorial sense of what it was like being there. You can view it here.
The winners of the Genesis award are listed here, and Carol Award winners are posted here. The Mentor of the Year Award went to Joy Avery Melville. Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency) won the Agent of the Year Award, and Sandie Bricker (Bling! Romance) won the Editor of the Year Award. One of the most inspiring moments of the evening was listening to the many achievements and impact on readers’ lives that Francine Rivers has made to date in her writing career. She was the deserved winner of Lifetime Achievement Award.
Is there anything you’re wondering about from the agent’s perspective that I didn’t cover here? From the attendees’ perspective? Do you agree with me that the industry needs a comparable conference devoted to nonfiction?
A recap of the 2015 ACFW Conference from agent and attendees’ perspectives. Click to Tweet.