Tuesday, February 19, 2013

After the Conference by Andy Scheer

Yesterday I returned after four days at a Christian writers conference. I unpacked my bags, then took the afternoon and evening off to relax.

This morning I listed nine followup points I need to take — starting today. I've already crossed off three. As soon as I write this (item four), I'll begin tackling the fifth.

I don't want to be like many of those writers who made appointments with me during my days as a magazine editor. I'd never ask people to send me their material simply to be nice. I didn't have time to ask for projects with no potential.

But in the weeks and months after the conference, most of those writers didn't send me their material. I didn't publish them. Yes, I did reject — or ask for revisions to — some of the material I received. But I also discovered and cultivated some of my best writers among those who followed up.

I just invested four intense days in a conference. Now I'm determined to get the maximum benefit from the experience. That's why I came.

Yes, I enjoyed staying in a great hotel for a few days, and times of fellowship with like-minded people. I appreciated listening to inspiring speakers. But those speakers kept reminding us that as Christian writers, we've been entrusted with talent—and have a message to proclaim.

Thanks to the conference, I'm better equipped to accomplish my job. It's time to put that to use.


Terry Burns said...

It was a good conference, I enjoyed it and Saundra ran and played all over Colorado Springs while I worked, that was even better. Like you I came home with things to check off my list. Like you I am amazed at the number of people that I extend the opportunity to do a submission and they never do. Then there are a couple that I receive the submission while yet at the conference, and I don't mean hard copy, I have no use for hard copy submissions. That has to mean they came prepared to do so and very happy with where their project stood. It might also mean they didn't learn anything new while at the conference because most responded when I gave them the chance to submit that it would be a while because they had to incorporate something new into it before they could send it. Interesting.

Andy Scheer said...

It's good when people admit they are still learning--and a bit frightening when they don't think they need to.

Rick Barry said...

An agent once astonished me when he mentioned that a large percent of authors don't act on his invitation to submit their proposals or manuscripts. I still don't understand it. Could it be they become paralyzed by fear that, if it's not flawless, their story will be doomed forever? Would be interesting to see an anonymous poll on this topic.

Terry Burns said...

I have never understood why a person spends the money to go to conferences, takes the time to do appointments, then doesn't send the material requested. But a substantial number do just that.

Audrey said...

Thanks for sharing these thoughts with us Andy. I appreciate what you said. I think followup is the most important part of a writer's journey. I have a wonderful idea for a PB...will I follow up that idea? I have a great opportunity to interview that artist...will I follow up? I could resubmit that article with a slightly different slant, and it would fit that magazine's theme...will I follow up on changing that article? You get what I'm saying. I love to throw ideas "out there", but unless I follow up on them they are wasted opportunities. Thanks again for making me think.

Heather Marsten said...

Good point - If I am ever asked to send MS to an agent because of a conference, I will do it immediately. Kudos on doing four of the things so quickly upon returning. Have a blessed day.

Anne Love said...

I think if an agent asked, I'd send it. But why does it feel different if it's an editor asking? It feels like a lot more pressure to have your project spotless for an editor. But then I've read on one agent blog that lots of editors ask, but not to put too much stock in that. Huh? Really? Should a writer put more stock in an agent asking? less in an editor asking?

I think one reason writers might not send, is they don't know how much stock to put into it--what perspective to have. How perfect? Will he/she remember me if I wait? Will they accept a revision? Will I ruin my first impression if the timing is all wrong?

I think there are a host of reasons.

Terry Burns said...
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Terry Burns said...

All good reasons, Anne, and I prefer for it to be the best an author can send regardless of when i9t comes. What I was talking about was those who go through all of that and NEVER send. Is there a difference in how an author feels between an agent or editor? Don't know, that's a personal thing. Will it be remembered? I would say there is an advantage to it coming in while the appointment is remembered and before the author or agent has worked several other conferences but that would be outweighed by it being the best it could be.