Our Wordsmiths have given top advice on how to make the most of that conference you plan to attend. They’ve done a great job so I don’t need to expound any further on the do’s and don’ts.
I’ve attended a number of conferences over the years but only ONE changed my writing life forever. I’d like to share my connect-the-conference dots time line from that conference:
DOT 1 – July 30, 1995: I attended the Masters College Christian Writers Conference and met Nancy I. Sanders in a how-to-write for children class. Nancy wanted to know all about my first book, accepted by Faithkidz (Cook) Psalms for a Child’s Heart. To my delight, she gave me her book, Bible Touch and Feel: Jonah (Tyndale House, 1994). We immediately became writing soul sisters, and our husbands and sons became friends. Nancy and I kept in touch regularly and shared our writing goals, successes and dreams from that time to the present.
DOT 2 – 1999: Something unbelievable happened! Nancy graciously asked me to join her in a proposal to Scholastic Professional Books! We got the contract BEFORE writing the book. It works!
DOT 3 – 2000: We wrote our second book for Scholastic. Fun!
DOT 4 – 2001: We wrote our third book for Scholastic. More fun!
DOT 5 – 2002: We wrote our fourth and fifth book for Scholastic. Busy, busy, FUN! That year my second picture book was published, The Baby Who Changed the World (Faithkidz)
DOT 6 – 2003: We wrote our sixth and seventh book for Scholastic. Exhaustion mixed with FUN!
DOT 7- 2007: Something else unbelievable happened! Nancy’s critique group, Wordsmiths, accepted me as a member. WOW! I had six more writing soul sisters—each one of them published and experts in their field! We are friends and mentors for life, and refer to ourselves as the Wordie-Sisters.
DOT 8 – 2008: Nancy had a GREAT idea! She encouraged our critique group to start a Wordsmiths blog. Each member writes a post two or three times a month. Because editors read our blog, several members have received book contracts, two members have acquired agents, others have had books published, some have been asked to appear as guests on writing blogs, write for e-zines, newspapers, magazines, and one even illustrates for publication!
DOT 9 – Because of my relationship with Scholastic (Thanks to Nancy asking me to join her in 1999) my own book, Easy-to-Read Science Plays: The HUMAN BODY, will be released this November 1st!
Connect my dots and you’ll see that much of my writing life began with ONE conference in 1995. No, I didn’t get a book contract or an agent that weekend. I got something FAR BETTER—a writing soul sister, Nancy (o; That lead to a lasting friendship, published books, and now an AWESOME professional critique group of “Wordie-Girls”.
Here’s my bottom line: Conferences can lead to life-long friendships. NEVER overlook the people attending a conference just to get to editors and agents! Who knows where those conference friendship dots may lead?