So late last night, I got back to Blue Earth from the American Christian Fiction Writers' annual conference in Dallas. All in all, it was a good experience. I went to several classes that were very helpful, but there were some things I learned about writing and about myself:
1) Make sure your information is up-to-date. One of the things you can do at the ACFW conference is go to appointments with editors from various Christian publishing houses. I signed up for one, hoping to pitch my Christian sci-fi trilogy. I figured it would be a good fit with the house in question because they had a track record of publishing Christian sci-fi and fantasy.
Boy-howdy, was I wrong.
Turns out my information was several years out of date. The editor who championed the sci-fi books I enjoyed reading had left long ago to become an agent. Therefore the house wasn't looking for sci-fi and was closed to it. So I basically wasted that appointment. Thankfully the editor was very polite about it and offered a few suggestions about what to do, but it still kind of stung, especially since it was my own fault. Oh well. Live and learn.
2) Don't burn your bridges. I actually learned this from observing someone else.
I made another mistake at the conference. I approached the wrong guy with my pitch (not the editor I mentioned in number one) and he politely told me he wasn't interested. A few nights later, a bunch of us were sitting around chatting in the hotel lobby and this individual joined our group. He then mentioned that several people had approached him with their pitches and then made fun of us for doing so. Needless to say, I was a little torked that he did that.
So I learned a lesson: you never know who is going to overhear the negative things you say or who might stumble into a blog. That's why I'm not saying who this individual is. Let's just say that even if he eventually wanted to work with me, I would not want to work with him.
3) I'm definitely a traditionalist when it comes to worship. Meaning that I have to have a liturgy and traditional hymns if I'm going to consider it worship. Enough said about that.
4) I hope I can go back to ACFW again next year. I had a blast at the conference. I made some new friends, got to connect with people I only knew from their blogs or the ACFW forums, and even garnered a few compliments for my writing (which really helped buoy me up, especially after learning lessons #1 and #2).
In short, while it's good to be home, I'm really glad that I went.