The Yielded Quill spotlights cozy mystery author Sandra Robbins:
Conferences—What Can They Do For Me?
Every time a published author is asked to give advice to writers on how to attract the attention of an agent or an editor, it seems one suggestion is always mentioned—attend writing conferences. In fact I often give that answer myself.
For new writers, attending a conference is a way of meeting other people who have the same hopes and dreams that you do. Some of your best learning experiences may come from sitting around the hotel lobby with a bunch of people who share your desire to write and finding out about their struggles and how they overcame them.
For those who have been writing a long time, a conference may mean a time of renewal—of seeing old friends and discussing your respective successes or disasters. Whatever your needs may be, however, the right conference can be just what you need to kick your writing career into a new phase as you bring back all that you learned.
I discovered early on the best way to approach a conference is to go expecting nothing and wait to see what God does. You may leave with a new idea from a workshop you think will work for you, or you may leave with a network of friends you didn’t have before, or you may go home to your family with a resolve to show them how God works in your life. Whatever it is, be thankful for it.
At my first ACFW conference, I came away excited because an editor had asked for my proposal, but it didn’t work out for that one to be published. What I didn’t realize at the time, however, was that God had steered me to a new friend there. Some months later when she was made an editor, she bought my first book.
So my advice is this—don’t go to a conference expecting great things to happen there. Make the most of the workshops, chat sessions, and editor and agent meetings, but never lose sight of the fact that God is in control. The seeds that were planted at that conference may not be ready for harvest until much later. Leave it up to God’s timing. Get out of His way, and He’ll take you where you never dreamed you could go. _______________________________________________________________________
Sandra Robbins’ book Pedigreed Bloodlines recently released in the Heartsong Presents Mysteries from Barbour Publishing. The second one in the series Murder in Small Doses will released next year.
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