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Conference Recap

I’m home and recovering from the ACFW Conference. I need to go grocery shopping, because Reese Peanut Butter Cups probably don’t make for the best breakfast. I’m itching to drive to Chicago and spend the day in the Chicago Historical Museum, we’ll see how long I can fight that.

My impressions? Wow. With more than 650 attendees, the ACFW Conference was packed. There were people that I had planned to meet and we never found each other. We also weren’t the only ones at the Hyatt for a conference. There were things I liked about being a part of a huge conference, and things I miss about the little conferences (the last one I attended had 120 people).

One difference is that at the smaller conferences most of the attenders are people who are trying to break into publishing. They aren’t there yet, so all the fish in the bowl are swimming in the same school. Not so at the ACFW Conference. I rode the elevator with Colleen Coble, sat in on Tricia Goyer and Cara Putnam’s classes, and joked with Susan May Warren.  I came home with six pre-released books and a pile of books we were given for free to read and review. Rachelle Gardner sat next to me at lunch. All in all, you feel like a nobody in the midst of rock stars – in a good way.

It proved to be a good experience, but probably not one I’ll do again until I’m further along on the publishing process. I missed my smaller conference. I missed knowing everyone I saw by the end of the first day and I missed the more one-on-one mentoring that occurs there. Sometimes big is just that, too big.

The best part though, were the new friendships I made with published authors and some unpublished who will someday be top sellers. The experience of meeting other people who think just like me is worth attending any conference.

And yes. Pitching went well too. I had three requests for full manuscripts (which is unheard of, usually they just want your proposal) and a request for a full of an idea I talked to a publisher about, but I haven’t even started writing yet (yikes!). She asked how soon I’d have the full because she was so excited about the story idea so now all my free time will go to researching for that because it’s historical and she wanted me to move the story to a different time period then I had first wanted. So, I enjoyed the little trip, but right back to the grind.


About Jess Keller

I'm an author, speaker and chocolate eater who's chasing hard after my dreams.

12 responses »

  1. Yeah Jess! Good for you : )

  2. Look at you, posting a conference recap so quickly! I am so glad I got to meet and hang with you at the conference. It truly was a highlight. And I’m so excited for you and those full requests–because I’m selfish and can’t wait to read your stuff 🙂

  3. Fabulous! It’s great to read this reflection, since it’s a. something I will never do and b. fun to hear snippets about authors I love as well. Will you post a review schedule of your new books? I can’t wait to see what titles you picked up!

  4. Sounds like the conference, although large, was an “excellent adventure” and believe me you learned more then you even think you learned there and it will help you in the long run! Glad you went and had the experience Jess -looking forward to seeing all your great writing progress!

  5. I’m so glad your appointments went well! And wow, it sounds like you’ll be busy!

  6. “The best part though, were the new friendships I made with published authors and some unpublished who will someday be top sellers. The experience of meeting other people who think just like me is worth attending any conference.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. Just got off the phone after recapping with one of the friends I made at Blue Ridge last year. At every conference, there’s one person I meet that I know will become a friend for life. So glad that was you this year.
    Now I just have to convince you to come to NC next year. =)


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