Conference Notes

The conference was a success.

My goals for going to the conference didn’t match up with what I got out of the experience. When I signed up, I wanted to pitch my novel. Which I did. However, I wasn’t expecting to meet so many amazing people.

I have many friends who are photographers, nurses, or teachers. The photographers are the creative ones that tend to “get” me the most. The nurses and teachers stick with me, encourage me, and humor me when I dabble in the over-dramatic. What I don’t have is a wide assortment of writer friends. Sure, everyone wants to write a novel, write an article, or write a book that Oprah picks up. But most of them talk about writing instead of actually writing. I had a handful of friends who were professional writers — three perhaps? Going to the conference changed that.

I met people who had sold more books than I have birthday candles on my cake. I met people who were just starting out, working on naming their characters and finishing their manuscripts. There were authors who had been signed after their first conference and others who were still trying to sell their manuscript years later. All of them were passionate about writing. All of them knew what it was like to have something to say, and to only be able to say it best in the form of the written word.

It was refreshing to be around people who were like me. People who could come up with plots, arcs, and characters in minutes and then struggle with how to represent them accurately on the page. People who knew what they wanted to say and who were looking for the right word to say it with. There were poets and greeting card writers attending. I was happy to meet quite a few other authors who had taken the route of a Journalism major rather than Creative Fiction or English. We had our own secret club of sorts. It’s a glorious instant kinship. Everyone worked with words; teasing them, stretching them out, and making them fit just so on the page.

Lisa Samson was the keynote speaker for the week. I was enrolled in her coaching workshop as well. She’s anything but fake. When authenticity melds with vulnerability, words hold an electric power that causes you to pay more attention. Even when a massive tree limb fell just outside the room, the workshop attendees were paying attention to Lisa. She’s just that dynamic. She isn’t a cookie-cutter Christian who speaks “Christian-ese” with a fake smile plastered on her face. She talks openly about struggles and the way that God uses them. Her books are compelling. If you haven’t ever read any of them, check them out.

For those of you who are still reading and wondering what happened with Mr. 7:45 — I got all three of my manuscripts back from agents with encouraging remarks. Each agent also put the book under a different genre.  Chick Lit. Contemporary Romance. Contemporary Women’s Fiction. All three are viable but only one of them will happen.

I have yet to hear back from two other agents. Right now, I’m working on creating an author bio and a full synopsis of the novel to send in to the agents who requested them. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have even more good news down the road.

If you are interested in submitting your own manuscript to an agent, do it! Here’s the list of agents that I’ve contacted so far:

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