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Prep Talk

Memorize pitch. Check

One Sheets. Check.

Research Agents and Editors. Check.

And the list goes on as I make final preparations for my trip to this years ACFW Conference in Dallas. Last year was my first time attending the Conference as well as my first ever writer’s conference. Some people say I jumped into the deep end, and I felt like a deer in the headlights a few times. But it was a challenging experience. I went with low expectations since my book wasn’t finished, yet it was still harrowing to pitch my story for the first time to the people who held the keys to the industry.

There were cool moments, like when I met a writing mentor for the first time. There were embarrassing moments, like when an editor asked me pitch my story to him at a urinal.  I think my favorite part was making new friends who were in the same boat as me. First time speculative writers with great stories who are trying to break into one of the hardest markets in the world (Christian Speculative Fiction). There were only a dozen of us among the multitide of writer’s and even fewer gatekeepers who were interested in meeting with one of our kind. But we banded together, prayed for each other, and commiserated/congratulated one another after each meeting took place. I’ve kept in touch with almost every one of those people I met, and look forward to seeing them again.

ACFW Conference in Dalls

So, what about this year? I’ll be reunited with my roomates from last year, so I can’t wait for that. All of my critique partners are attending, so that will be way cool. A good friend is a finalist in the Genesis contest, which will make the award ceremony more exciting. Yes, my favorite part is the relationships I’ve formed. But what about my writing career?

This will be my third writer’s conference, so I hope the deer-in-the-headlights feeling won’t be there. There’s even fewer gatekeepers interested in speculative fiction this year, so my expectations for landing a deal aren’t too high. The classes are always good, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.

I’m not sure what to expect. I like my pitch. It generates more interest than it did in the past. But my story is done and sent to the publisher who requested it, so it’s not going to be horrible if no one else wants my story.

Ultimately one concept more than ever permeates my mind. God is the One who truly holds the keys to my publishing career. It took me a good month or two to get over the disappointment from last year’s conference. But in the end, I became a better writer and learned a few important spiritual lessons. My hope for this year is that God opens new doors for me, but I want to stay humble, learn to be a better writer, and build more relationships. If the stars align and I land an agent or a publishing house wants my book, that would be the cherry on top. Either way, I want to work hard, put out my best effort, and trust that I’m in His loving hands.

So, are you going to the ACFW Conference? What do you look forward to most at a writer’s conference?

About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

3 comments on “Prep Talk

  1. Yay, Will! I hope to get to see you again this year. We met very briefly last year, but I look forward to getting to know you better. I’m not pitching anything this year, but I look forward to reuniting with friends and learning from some of the industry’s best. 🙂

  2. Awesome Ralene! I’m so glad we’ll get to see each other again.

  3. Yes! We need to schedule a meetup…

    I am nervous about pitching my accountant novel, despite getting some great help from the folks in the local ACFW chapter. But this is the first time I’m going to a conference and pitching something that’s not SpecFic, so — hey, whaddaya know, there’s actually publishers that *want* this genre!

    I am looking forward to meeting people who I only know from the ACFW e-mail lists. That’s going to be such a difference from last year, where I didn’t know anyone except one editor. And you guys. 😉

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