Aloha from Karen Karen2009, treasurer of CAN,

There’s synergy when people come together and connect, especially when they share ideas or brainstorm. CAN is all about sharing ideas and connecting authors to authors and readers. I love networking and making lots of connections as well as building on connections I’ve already made. For me, writing conferences are the perfect place for connecting with writers. And things happen at conferences–that’s where many of my books originated.

The Florida Christian Writers Conference is only days away and that’s one of the big ones for me. I’m on the faculty and do some work for it behind the scenes too. I’ve met writers and editors as well as agents there. Amazingly, it can be a two minute conversation that turns into a book or contract. I’ll give a few examples.

Years ago I chatted with another aspiring author. Neither of us had a book but we both had plenty of vision. I saw him again two years later at the same conference. We both had a book published by that time. He had the one he spoke about. I had a different one. He recalled my vision for a family book and said he’d like to show it to his editor (not at the conference). He did and in a few weeks the editor called me and the dream became a reality in full color (Family Devotional Builders).

Another year I sat beside an editor of a publishing house launching a new line of books. She said she hoped to start books for girls that would be faith based that could compete with American Girl books. An idea popped into mind and I suggested it. She asked me to write a proposal. I went home and wrote one and ended up with a two book contract (God’s Girls). The books have done well and two more will be released in the coming year.

Sometimes we think something is going wrong but God is in control. I had mentioned an idea to an editor one ear and she liked it. I had the proposal ready the following year and submitted it for that editor’s review. Alas, but, happy daze,it was given to a different editor who immediately took it and contracted it (Finger Puppet Mania).

Last year I spoke with an editor at a publishing house that published two of my books. The editor had just turned down a proposal and he expressed regret since he liked the proposal but that particular topic wasn’t selling well for them. He offered a caveat by asking if I might consider something for a different division. I prayed, had  an idea that fit with my brand, my focus in writing about and for families, and tossed it out. He liked it. We chatted about 2 minutes. I saw him several months later and had a proposal for the idea I had mentioned. He liked it and within a month the publishing house accepted it. I’m working on the book now (stories of faith and courage from the home front of American Wars).

I still had to write dynamite proposals and 1-3 sample chapters, but those opportunities helped me meet editorial needs and match my ideas with the right publishers.

Get thee to a conference…

Go with a knowledge of what you want to write and your writing focus

Listen to editor’s needs

Pray for ideas to match your focus and the editor’s needs and pitch it!

Be open to where God leads and pray for the right ideas.


Karen’s web site





One thought on “Connecting at Conferences

Richard Mabry

February 27, 2011 - 11 : 15 : 52

Great advice, Karen. I’ve learned to go to conferences open to God’s agenda, not my own. You know, He’s done a much better job than I ever did in arranging divine appointments.
And even if you don’t hook up with an editor or agent and get the “standard rich and famous contract” the chance to network and make friends with fellow authors is one of the major benefits of conference attendance.


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