Next week I’ll be teaching at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. Preparing to go is also a time I reflect on all that happened over the years of attending conferences. Amazingly, it’s been short, quick chats that led to many books.That’s a good reminder to connect with anyone, and make the most of every opportunity.
Let me share a few of those past chats and what happened.
At my fist big conference, I talked with a young pastor who had a book idea. We told one another briefly about our ideas. Two years later I saw him, Kent Crockett. His book had been published. I had a published (911 Handbook) book also, but not the one I shared with him. He recalled my proposal and thought his editor might like it. I gave him a one-sheet overview about that book idea. Yes, his editor liked it and published it (Family Devotional Builders).
At another conference, I sat with an editor at dinner who shared about a new book division the publisher had started. She envisioned doing books that would compete with American Girl, but be Christian. I quickly thought of an idea and pitched it. She asked me to write it as a proposal and send it. Once I mailed it the publisher she decided to have me do two books and those have sold well for years (God’s Girls 1 and 2) and two others are due out within the year.
Last year I spoke with an editor who had turned down a proposal (they had published two of my books in the past). We chatted and he mentioned I might want to try and write for their God and Country division. I had never considered that division, and quickly thought it would have to match my passion of writing for families. I said a quick prayer, thought of an idea, and mentioned it. He liked my idea but we had no more time to chat other than I said I had to complete my current book with another publisher before I could write a proposal. Months later I wrote the proposal, showed it to the same editor at a different conference, and within a month had a contract.
Not one of these books were my focus at the conferences I attended at those times. I simply responded to ideas and opportunities, then followed up. It amazes me that editors state that over half of attendees never follow through with sending in a proposal after getting a nod to submit it. I’m not sure how many ideas are tossed around and never grabbed and developed into proposals.
Conferences are places that inspire creative thinking and new ideas. They are places where editors sometimes express their whims of what they’d like to see in a book.
Greet me at the conference if you attend!