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ACFW: "I Want What God Wants, But I Really Want to be Published"

I have written dozens of short stories.
I have around ten novellas. 
And I have written three novels, two of which I feel are ready to be published. 

Yes, I know I'm probably not ready, but these last few months I finally feel like I'm ready to be published. I've always wanted to be published. But I've always known that I must write a ton, receive piles of rejections, and keep writing for a time first.

And then suddenly these last few months things have felt different for some reason.

So I looked around for a conference I thought might suit my writing. Through recommendations from Stephanie Morrill I finally decided upon ACFW.  And then for months I prepare by writing, editing, researching, and WRITING.

A huge highlight was meeting Frank Peretti, and hearing him speak. I laughed so much in his class. 


My goal? To be published. I didn't have to sign a contract or anything, I just wanted affirmation that this is in my future. An agent or editor? Some sort of word from some person that says my writing has a place in the market?

I didn't feel at all nervous.

I had to much to do with writing and getting proposals in order and cleaning houses.

In fact I looked forward to what would happen. I knew only good could result, though I had no idea what that good might be.

And then the time came to leave home and attend the conference.

"You'll have so much fun," one of my friends told me. "And make tons of friends."

"I'm not here to make friends," I replied. "I'm here to be published." 

My friend laughed at me, probably thinking me crazy for suggesting the fact that I might not make friends. That's just not me ;D

One thing I loved about the conference was dressing up professionally, every day! And I wore heals almost the entire time! Yes, my feet needed chopped off by the final day. 


Yes, I'm an extrovert, but I have a horrible sense of direction. So the first evening I spent trying to find my bearings (and helping others once I knew where I was). I planned to go to bed early, but I met a lovely young lady and then some people came around gathering first time attendees and took her and I out to Mexican to talk to us about writing.

That is when reality hit and "depression" struck. I no longer felt confident. I was told all of these things and suddenly I realized my writing wouldn't make it. I was inadequate. I had someone look at my the first page of one of my books. "It's pretty, like Charles Dickens. But why keep reading?"

Wow.

"Why did I come? This conference is going to be terrible."

I messaged some friends and poured out my misery, then slept soundly. (Yes, I sleep good no matter my mood).

The next morning I woke refreshed and decided to make the best of things.

In the first session, we had worship and one of the women speaking said, "You may have come for one reason, but maybe God has you here for another reason."

I didn't want to accept the fact that I might never publish. But I realized — why worry? I'll let God lead me to whatever path he might have. I simply must trust. Part of me also thought, "I can't waste my time writing so much, though, if it doesn't eventually pay off."

But then, it's not really about the money, is it?

I love it. I can't imagine a time where I didn't write. Why should I stop just because I can't make a career of it?

But the most encouraging thing came next from the keynote speaker, Debbie MaComber. She had piles of rejections. And books people called trash. And someone told her, "Every rejection slip is a book waiting to find a home."

My wonderful roommates ;D 

She took that advice seriously, and has published every novel she's written, many of them becoming bestsellers.

And, so that's what I decided to do. I'd trust God. Learn what He had for me to learn at this conference. And see if the home for my books was here . . . if not, I'd keep writing as I look elsewhere.

I had three appointments, two with agents and one with an editor. I decided to put all of myself into these three appointments. I researched all three women. I prayed. I attended all sessions that I thought might make me better prepared than I already felt. Of course by this time, I didn't feel very prepared at all. Especially when I discovered the whole marketing section of my proposals was pretty much garbage and that I didn't even understand what comparable (comp) titles were. Always something to learn, they say ;0

The evening before appointments, the conference had people stationed so you could go practice your pitch. I half considered going, but then decided not to. I wanted to be real and natural, and for me practicing would have stilted my personality, I feel.

I'm so glad I didn't practice.

Before my first appointment, I sat by a really nice woman. We talked about what we were about to pitch. I told her I was still deciding between two of my novels, and would just feel it out once I reached the room.

"Why don't you just ask the agent which she wants pitched to her?"

That there was some of the best advice I heard at the conference!

I asked the agent that question, and she replied, "Show me both."

I did. My words flowed. Anxiety forgot me. I didn't feel like my stories were as old classics are garbage. I allowed myself to be me, to be excited about my stories, and accept whatever the agent might say about them.

"I love both of your ideas." 

Wow. So I wasn't expecting that.

She kept my proposals. Wanted blog stats. Asked a few questions. Then my fifteen minutes were up. I know she may not end up actually liking my novels but just the fast that she liked them is enough to fuel me toward finding an agent. It could be months before I know one way or another. But for now this is enough.

One evening was free, so I went around and found a bunch of people I liked, and we walked through Nashville ;D 

The next agent I was slightly scared of. She seems a lot like me, to-the-point-blunt. And normally I love people like that. But I was already a bit on edge.

I prepared myself for her words next, knowing she could very well say, "No, this book is stupid. Try again."

Instead she said, "I love this. Send me your full manuscript."

Again, months may pass before I hear from her and when I do it could very well be a rejection.

In all probability, I will most likely receive two rejections in the coming months. But that doesn't matter. I can deal with rejections. That two agents told me they liked my ideas is enough for me to make those ideas GREAT. 

Yes, I found friends ;p


My third appointment was with Revell. The editor told me she really liked Fur Slipper, but they don't publish that sort of fiction. So, a dead end, but not a discouraging one.

As for the rest of the conference?

It was amazing. Despite my words, I made tons of amazing friends. They sprouted up all over the place as usual! But this conference seemed to have some especially nice people :)

Dressed like princesses for the banquet!


After the conference I spent some much needed time with two of my best friends, Esther and Rashida.

A mirror selfie for my cleaning page, as we were cleaning Esther's house
And I had fun with Esther's beautiful hair!
Eating and enjoying each other's company. I think we were both a bit tired as she was in the middle of moving houses. 

Met the two current Ruby Girls, Kayla and Morgan. But didn't have the time to get to know them as well as I'd have liked ;/ 

Visited with some other great friends!


I caught up with my friend Shelby, and held her baby, Ivan!



Rashida hates mayo, and Jack (her husband) bought a bunch, so we packed his lunch of nothing but containers full of mayo!

Rashida and I ready to strip and paint a dresser. We thought we looked like terrorists (comically so). 

Rashida is a great photographer, and this picture proves it, because even though I was covered from head to toe so no mosquito could find me, the picture looks pretty great ;) 

Rashida and I almost forgot to get a 'decent' selfie before I left ;0


And Rashida's two girlies are so cute and well behaved! Ezzie (the oldest) and I had fun with a bug shell ;D



 I almost didn't write this post, but decided to do it last minute today. Several reasons for my hesitations: First, I still don't know the end results of the conference — will I be published or not? — and second, my blogging schedule is so full today.

But there were so many things I learned. And even if I'm rejected, I had an amazing experience with both agents. And I met so many friends even after telling my friend, "I have too many friends, please, I just want to be published!"

But why do I want to be published?

Because I want to touch the lives of
people. 

You can't ever have too many friends, because all people matter and that's why I write — to encourage, edify, and entertain people. 

P.S. Under my name on my name badge, I have my three writing words. At one of the sessions, a woman spoke on one of her favorite words: edify. She said how it was an underused word, but such a great word. Of course, I agreed and had to show her my badge after the session. 

Comments

  1. Wow, this conference sounds so cool! And this was so encouraging to me right now. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was amazing! I definitely recommend it. And I'm so glad you found it encouraging. Thanks, Nicole!

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you had a fantastic experience, Keturah! I'd say it's pretty impressive you had such a positive response at your pitch sessions. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes—I'll admit, I am still a bit shocked that both seemed so positive. But pleased :)

      Delete
  3. Amazing story, Keturah! Sounds like God taught you a lot. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was really inspiring to read!

    ReplyDelete

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