Thursday, February 10, 2011

Each Thursday I try to bring you some of the latest topics of conversation within the Christian publishing industry. Today the topic is one that should be of importance to anyone who is hoping to sell a manuscript in the future, whether you’re a pre-published or multi-published author.

In the last few years we’ve seen many changes in the industry. Five or six years ago editors were purchasing very few historical romances. Now they’re one of the most sought-after genres in the business. Another change is the emphasis that is put on marketing and mentoring.

How is a writer to keep up with these changes and write what will sell? The answer to that is the same as it is for doctors, lawyers, teachers, and many other occupations who have to incorporate all the advances in their fields—continuing education through workshops and conferences. If you are a writer trying to sell that first manuscript or an established author, writers’ conferences give you the chance to network with others in the industry while you hone your craft.

Now that we’re into the new year, conference schedules are set, and registrations have begun. With all the conferences available across the country, you may wonder how to decide which one is for you. Location may be one factor while registration, hotel, and travel expenses may be another. But don’t worry, there’s still time to make decisions and save the money that will be needed. To help you decide, I thought I’d give you an idea of what choices are available to you in the coming months. Check out the websites of the listed conferences for one which fits your needs.

Florida Christian Writers Conference
March 3-6, 2011
Leesburg, FL

Website blurb: This is your opportunity to learn more about the publishing industry, build your platform and follow God's leading to publish the message he has given you.

Mount Hermon Writers Conference
April 15-19, 2011

Website blurb: For 42 years Mount Hermon has created a one-of-a-kind laboratory for training writers at every skill level, from unpublished to professional, and has become the only place that offers help to writers in every phase of their careers.

Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference
May 9-13, 2011
Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center

Website blurb: Whether you are a professional writer expanding your skills and networking contacts, or a brand new writer just beginning to chase your dream, this Christian Writers Conference is the ideal opportunity to take your creative goals to a higher level.

Write His Answer
May 11-14, 2011
Estes Park, CO

Website blurb: Whether you are publishing regularly or not-yet-published, and whether you write fiction or nonfiction for children or adults, CCWC is an investment in your writing ministrythat can open doors and change your life.

Write to Publish
June 8-11, 2011
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

Website blurb: Whether you’re thinking about writing, longing to be published, looking for new markets and new ways to market your message, seeking to move from a part-time writer to a full-time writing career, or looking for a writing retreat with editor contacts, this conference is for you.

Kentucky Christian Writers Conference
Elizabethtown, KY
June 24-25, 2011

Website blurb: The purpose of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference is to provide an annual interdenominational event to equip and encourage writers in their quest for publication.

Oregon Christian Writers
August 15-18, 2011
Turner, Oregon

Website blurb: We are writers from all walks of life – published and unpublished, students and retirees, fiction and non-fiction – with one goal: writing for Him.

American Christian Fiction Writers
St. Louis, Missouri
Sept. 22-25, 2011

Website blurb: "The Premier Christian Fiction Conference"

American Cnristian Writers

Check their website for conferences in 24 cities across the country during 2011.

I hope you find a conference that is the perfect fit for you. Is there something else you'd like to know about any of these conferences? We'll try to help if we can. And for you who attend conferences each year, do you have favorites? Give us some reasons that make certain conferences your favorites.


  1. Awesome post, Sandra! I'm super excited to hear that historical romances are so popular now, as that is the genre of my work-in-progress. :)

    And I'm really, really hoping to make it to the Oregon Christian Writers Conference this year! I've never been to a conference before, and I saw on their website that they accept manuscript submissions and proposals, and that they'll have editors and agents there, as well!

    I'm do most authors get their first manuscript published? Is it through conferences or something else? Does it help to have the endorsements of well-known published authors?


  2. Thanks for including Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in this list. It's a great conference for first-timers, especially.

  3. Great information, Sandra. I must admit, I've been to several writer's conferences, but I've never stopped to think of them as continuing education for writers. How true! As authors, we can never stopping honing our skills.

    I'd also like to add, check your area for local writer's conferences. Maybe you can't afford some of the bigger conferences, or you can't take the time off for the longer ones, but many times, groups in your area offer one or two day conferences at very reasonable rates. Here in Houston, IWA puts on the Texas Christian Writer's Conference, and the Golden Triangle Writer's Guild will be hosting another in Beaumont in October. That's two conferences within two hours of my home!

  4. Amber, many publishing houses and agents no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts. What this means is, if they haven't asked to see your manuscript, they will not review it. So how do you get your work on their desk? You guessed it...writer's conferences. Meeting an editor or an agent at a conference is a great way to make that contact. And if they ask to see your proposal, your work is no longer unsolicited.

    Does it help to have another author's endorsement? Absolutely...however that is no substitute for good, quality work. It's not enough just to have a one-line endorsement on your cover letter. If you have a good, strong relationship with that author, they will most likely speak to their editor or agent for you, get them to at least peek at your writing. The rest is up to the strength of your manuscript.

    One more thing, many conferences have some sort of contest that goes with them. If you can't afford the conference, at least submit your work to their contest. Many times, final round judges are editors or agents, so this is another great way to get someone to see your work.

  5. Amber, you asked how most authors get their first manuscript published. I can only answer for myself, but I suspect there are many who've had the same experience. My first sale came about as a direct result of making a new friend at the ACFW conference. At the time I had no way of knowing that within a few months she would be an editor and would buy my first manuscript. Isn't it great how God surprises us with blessings all the time?

    Sandra Robbins

  6. I became published because I entered a contest. ACFW's Genesis contest for unpublished authors, to be exact. At the same time that I entered, I sent a proposal for consideration to Barbour who was, at the time, opening a new line of cozy mysteries. When I discovered several weeks later that I had finaled in the Genesis, I dropped an email to the acquisitions editor to let her know of the development. She signed me within two weeks.


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