Am I the only one out there slightly amazed that the ACFW conference is only a week away? I knew it was coming. I had in fact thought, for a while, it was coming this week rather than next. But I've been so focused on finishing my Revolutionary War novel that until I completed that on Monday, I'd hardly spared a thought to conference prep.
Last year, I'd planned on going to conference. That is, until it came down to needing to register. As I considered it, I remember thinking, "This just isn't the year." I had no idea what I would pitch. To whom I would hope to pitch it. Where I was going in my career. I was in the midst of writing Jewel of Persia for WhiteFire, but that wasn't something I needed to present to anyone else. Which left me with the same projects I'd pitched before and the distinct idea that nothing would come of it.
So my hubby and I made the decision to focus on growing WhiteFire and forgo conference last year. "I'll have a better idea of where I am next year, I think." So we went on vacation. And had a beautiful, perfect time with the family.
I'm still amazed at all that's happened in a year. Not only did I renew acquaintances with a few editors that I value super highly, but I also wrote and sold a book to Summerside that's coming out in two and a half months!! I've gotten to watch Jewel of Persia take off, which is super exciting. And we've expanded WhiteFire with some of the best books I've read in years.
All in all a great year. And I felt definite peace about going to ACFW this year. Registered, paid, signed up for my classes, even volunteered. When I did all this, I had this idea that I needed to connect with every possible editor, and a vague one that it may be time to search for a new agent, as my original one was focusing on publishing. I kept thinking, "Okay, I've got Annapolis. But what about after that??" I thought I'd be pitching anything I could.
Since registering, I've signed with the amazing Karen Ball as my agent. I've got two other deals on the line, though certainly not guaranteed. And I've got this beautiful realization in front of me--I'm not going to the conference this year to pitch. I'm just going to bask in the wonders of the industry I love and see where the Lord leads me.
I've yet to get a dress for the award's banquet (which I had two months ahead of time last time I went). I didn't even think about business cards until last week, and I was putting one-sheets together (overview of my genres this time, upon Karen's recommendation, rather than specific to a book) just the last two days. If someone asks me for an elevator pitch, I may just laugh at them.
But that's okay. Because I'm not going to be hunting down agents and editors at meals this year. I'll have appointments, see what those editors are looking for. Talk to them, hopefully laugh with them. And count it a success on that front.
Mostly, I'm just looking forward to these three days of being a writer. Living it, breathing it. Hanging with my peeps. I'm grinning over the fact that I apparently signed up for a career-tracking class taught by my own Karen Ball, whose classes I didn't realize at the time I would so adore. I get to take it beside my best friend, whom I haven't seen in two years. It's going to be a blast!
And yeah, I'm going tonight or tomorrow to shop in my aunt's closet for a dress for the banquet. ;-) (She also offered me her shoes, which is akin to heaven on earth.)
I'm excited. Not because I'm hoping to make successful pitches, for once, but because I know I'm where I need to be.
I had no idea how right I was last summer when I cited that as my reason for not going to conference in 2010. But praise the Lord I listened!