ACFW Conference Update

What a fabulous event! Oh my goodness, I think I’m still in the clouds from all of the fun and fellowship. Since there are so many snippets to comment on, I’ll give you a brief day-by-day overview.


I spent all day Thursday in a class with 270+ people, trying desperately to keep up with Donald Maass, who taught writing techniques from his book, Writing the Breakout Novel. To say I experienced information overload would be an epic understatement, but I did manage to retain a nugget or two that I’ve already started to apply in my writing.


Friday morning I volunteered for a few hours and helped assemble books generously offered to conference participants as free takeaways. Each attendee received Breathing Grace by Harry Kraus, and A Slow Burn by Mary Demuth.

In the afternoon, I had my first scheduled 15-minute appointment with literary agent Steve Laube, who happens to be the 2009 ACFW Agent of the Year. Because I was a finalist in the Genesis contest, Steve had already read the first 15 pages of my novel. After we chatted about my story, Steve invited me to send him my entire manuscript along with my proposal. Unfortunately, based on my story premise he doesn’t see a place where my novel fits in the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) market, but he offered to read the full manuscript and make a judgment based on my writing. Right now, I’m preparing my package to send to him, and we’ll see how things progress in the coming weeks and months.


My second scheduled appointment was with Barbara Scott from Abingdon Press, and I really enjoyed talking with her. Maybe it was my excitement, but I felt Barbara and I connected, and liking someone is such a key part of having a successful relationship. After reading my one-sheet, Barbara indicated she liked my story and found it interesting. Based on her interest, she invited me to send my proposal. Yay!!! So once again, we’ll see what happens.

New Friends I Met or Reconnected With

Michelle Sutton, Candace Calvert, Lynnette Horner, Sharon Lavy, Carol McClain, Sarah Kohnle, Kent King, Lena Nelson Dooley, Leanna Ellis, Michael Webb, Sandi Rog, Jennifer Griffith, Tracy Reed, Marion McNair, Diane Meyer, Kit Wilkinson, Dan Case, Lynn Dean, Zoe McCarthy, Katie Green, Joyce Holland-Brown, Cathy Bryant, Katy McKenna and her wonderful hubby, Christina Berry, Tamara Cooper, Margie Lawson, and Megan DiMaria.

Whew! I’m sure I’m leaving lots of people out, but the ol’ memory isn’t what it used to be.

Pictures of Old and New Friends

Michelle Sutton 2009

Michelle Sutton, signing books and giving away yummy chocolate.

Candace Calvert and me 2009

Candace Calvert and me at the Donald Maass session.

Megan DiMaria and me 2009

Megan DiMaria, who is scheduled to be my guest next week, and yours truly.

Candace Calvert and Leanna Ellis 2009

Candace Calvert and Leanna Ellis.

Brandilyn Collins and me 2009

Brandilyn Collins and me at the awards banquet Saturday night.


If you’re a writer and you haven’t attended an ACFW Conference, I really encourage you to consider next year’s event in Indianapolis. The workshops and continuing education sessions are excellent, the event itself is well-organized, the fellowship is uplifting, and the opportunity to talk about books and writing with people who “get you” is invaluable. If you attended the Denver conference, what were some of the high moments for you?




Related Posts:

Confessions of a Writers Conference Attendee

How to Prepare For a Writers Conference



23 Responses

  1. Just getting ready to send an email to you asking for a conference update! What a wonderful opportunity you had to meet everyone and don’t you look lovely in your banquet ensemble.

    ‘Wish I coulda’ been there!


  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been a member for about 3 years now and haven’t made it to a conference yet. I’m looking to move forward with my two manuscripts in 2010. I’m not sure if either will fit in the CBA, so I’m open.

  3. I meant to add…

    Congratulations on being a Genesis finalist! I had know idea. That is huge!

    Abingdon Press has been publishing some great fiction novels this past year. Many blessings on the proposal process.

  4. Wasn’t it a wonderful, fun conference!?!

  5. Angie, I wish you could have been there too. I sure did miss your smiling face. God willing, maybe next year we’ll have an opportunity to attend a conference together. He is able. 🙂

  6. Ty, it sounds like you and I might be in the same boat with our manuscripts. No matter what, I figure if I trust the Lord I won’t go wrong. I can’t wait to hear about what happens with your manuscripts in 2010. 🙂

  7. Yes, Megan, I couldn’t agree more. I so enjoyed meeting you. What a great time!

  8. Sounds like it was wonderful, Sharon! Wish I could have been there.

  9. Mary, I wish you could have been there too. What a joy it would have been to see your smiling face. 🙂 Maybe next year…

  10. Sharon, it was SO great to meet you in person. Mega congratulations on your Genesis final, and I look forward to updates regarding your manuscript requests!

  11. Aw dang, those pics are nice. How come we didn’t have any of us in your camera? 🙂 You can steal some of mine if you want. Love that crazy one with Wanda behind us. LOL!

  12. You and Brandilyn look so sharp together! Loved meeting you and wish we’d had more time to chat.

    Let me know what the outcome is with both Steve and Barbara. 🙂

  13. The conference was great. I met with Susan Downs to learn about Summerside Press and was excited to learn they are opening up two lines from 1920 through the 70’s. My first novel is set in 1973. So I’ve been waiting for this time. If Summerside press is open to this era, others may follow.

  14. Sharon, I was so delighted to meet you…finally! You’re every bit as nice in person as you are online! I look forward to future get-togethers at future conferences. Many blessings, friend!

  15. Thank you, Candace. I’m praying the Lord will open a door to publication if it’s His will. Next week, I’ll be sending out all of the requested submissions so we’ll see where the road leads. 🙂

  16. Michelle, I’d love a copy of that picture of us with Wanda in the background. What a hoot! I have a similar picture on my iPhone, but for some reason it came out blurry. But that’s okay…I love the cute one of you and your cool shirt. 🙂

  17. Christina, your road from Genesis finalist to published author gives me incredible hope. I’ll absolutely keep you posted on developments with Steve and Barbara. 🙂

  18. Sharon, that is awesome news about Summerside Press!!! God is soooo good. 🙂

  19. Cathy, I feel the same way about meeting you, my dear. Hopefully, we’ll have many opportunites to see each other at conferences in the future.

  20. Hi Sharon –

    It’s so encouraging when an agent requests your work. The chapter I read back in our Nangie days was excellent.

    Indianapolis? Hmm, that’s closer than Denver.

    Susan 🙂

  21. Susan, thank you so much. You’e much, much, much, too kind in praising my writing, but I appreciate your encouragement. You’re an angel, my sweet friend. 🙂 I hope you and I are able to attend a conference together in the coming years. I’d love to see you again.


  22. Great photos and enjoyed reading about your conference.

  23. Thanks, Lori. It really was an awesome event. I’m so glad the Lord blessed me with being able to attend.

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