Monday, September 10, 2012

First Time Primer--by Carla Hoch

If you're going to the upcoming ACFW Conference this year, or any other conference for that matter, you might want to take a look at some of these tips. Thanks Carla for putting these together--haha--and I'm glad you built on some of my tips. Good job!--Linda

First Timer Primer

If you are going to the ACFW conference, you may be freaking out a bit like I was last year. I didn’t know what to bring, what to expect. Thankfully, Linda Kozar sent out a list of tips. With her blessing, I am writing a list for this year most of which I stole from her.

1. Dress in layers. Keep a sweater with you as some of the meeting rooms apparently are also used for hanging meat during the night. And, you don’t have to dress in a business suit the whole time. Dress comfortably in clothes that flatter you in a professional way and save the suit for your one-on-ones.

2. Have business cards on you at all times. You will be given a name badge carrier that hangs around your neck and you can keep cards in it. 

3. Oh yea, get some business cards! Vistaprint is super cheap. Be sure it has a contact number, your email address, web/blog address and a PICTURE of you on it. Agents and editors need to put your face with your name.

4. Clean up your FB page. If you don’t want publishers and agents to know you dressed as Princess Leia, the Return of the Jedi gold bikini version, at a comic book convention, take that pic off your FB page. 

5. Update your webpage/blog. 

6. Bring a binder with paper and baseball card collector sleeves in it. Put the business
cards you get in the collector sleeve, and always write a little something about the person from whom you received the card, on the card’s back. The paper you can use for notes and if it’s in a hard binder, you will always have a writing surface.

7. Also, in that binder, have half a dozen one-sheets. That will be too many but err on the side of too many. A one-sheet is one sheet of paper that tells about you, what you write and a short synopsis of what you are working on and/or pitching. And, put your picture on that too. Don’t let it look cluttered. If you are pitching several manuscripts, consider making a one-sheet for each.

8. Practice your pitch. A lot. Have a two sentence version and thirty second version. And, know it well enough to taylor it to the situation. If you are writing a mystery/ romance and are talking to a romance editor, you will want to play up the romance aspect. If the agent is into mysteries, play up the mystery.

9. For heaven’s sake, love what you are pitching. If you don’t it will show and if you don’t love it, why should anybody else? 

10. If one on one appointments are open, take ‘em! I met with 4 or 5 agents/editors last year for just that reason. Even if they aren’t into what you are writing, you can practice your pitch and they can give you pointers.
During lunches there will be agents, editors and mentors around at different tables. Find the ones you want to sit with and stake your claim to that seat quickly. At some point in the meal, you will pitch.

11. Sit with people you don’t know. I sat next to a gal named Heather Burch last year who has exploded in the CBA, YA market since our meeting. She is still a good friend and has given me great advice. Can’t wait to see her next week!

12. The conference is a NO PERFUME event! However, perfume for your mouth is fine and recommended. Keep mints in your pocket. Not Tick Tacks! They are too loud.

13. Bring a suit of armor and wear it under your clothes. Although your book may be the next best seller, you might be turned down. A lot. That’s ok. God decides the path of your work. Last year, an agent told me nobody wanted the book I was pitching and there was no market for it. He told me to forget about it and focus on my YA M/S instead. It hurt to hear and was hands down the best advice I got at the conference.

14. Laugh lots and learn even more. Get sleep, eat well and give yourself some grace. You might mess up a pitch, maybe go blank a couple times, you might burst into tears and rip your Spanx at the same moment. So what? You think those professionals haven’t seen that a million times? Again, God is in charge and your purpose in His kingdom will not be thwarted by your brain, tears or fat compromised lycra. He’s a big God.

See y’all there! 


Linda Kozar said...

Carla--great job. If I were going for the first time, this would be my guide! Love the part about ripping your Spanx. I've often felt that way sitting across from an editor...

Annette O’Hare said...

Great post Carla! Can't wait!!!

Stacey said...

Thanks so much, Carla! I loved all the tips. I just ordered my new business cards. I think sitting next you on Saturday was a God moment. Looking forward to seeing you next week!

Linda Kozar said...

I can't wait for the conference! Are you guys as excited as me? The best part is just being with so many other people who share the same passion and really really "get" you.

Anonymous said...

I am no longer positive the place you are getting your info, but great topic.

I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more.
Thank you for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

My web page: colombian coffee beans

Anonymous said...

Nice blog right here! Additionally your website lots up fast!
What host are you the use of? Can I get your
affiliate link in your host? I want my site loaded up
as quickly as yours lol

Also visit my web site -

Category 5 Winners Announced at:

Category 5 Winners Announced at:
the Meet The Christian Authors Event!

Contest Deadline Extended!

Our Category Five Contest deadline has been extended to August 31st, 2011. If you missed the previous (July 31st) deadline, here's your chance to send your entry(s)!

Contest Details--UPDATE

Hi friends,

Janice Thompson here. I'm sending an updated version of an earlier email about our Writers on the Storm Category Five Fiction Writing Contest. We've added more information. We would like to ask three things of our WOTS members and/or Houston area writing friends:

1). If you are unpublished (on not traditionally published) please consider entering the contest.
2). Please help us spread the word to other writers by placing this information on your facebook page, blog, etc.
3). Please pray for our organization as we move forward with this, our first-ever writing contest.

Thanks so much for your support. Now, here's the updated information about the contest (per Linda Kozar):

Dear Writers,

Details for entry to the Writers On The Storm "CATEGORY FIVE" Writing Contest are below. The contest is open to unpublished and non-traditionally published FICTION authors, both members and non-members of the Writers on the Storm group. NOTE: If you have previously been "traditionally" published, you are not eligible. However, if you paid to publish your book(s), you are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of our chapter. Entering a writing contest is a great way to get feedback or accolades, and we hope you will enter this one with great enthusiasm! The WOTS Chapter Board invite you to BLOW THE JUDGES AWAY with your fiction writing brilliance!

Our Cat Five Writing Contest OPENED on JUNE 1st and CLOSES on Friday, JULY 29th. Judges will receive entries for review on August 1st, 2011. Winners will be announced at our MEET THE CHRISTIAN AUTHOR event on September 17th, 2011 and winners will be notified by phone.
Our Five Categories (novels and/or short stories)
1. Romance (Historical and Contemporary)
2. Women's Fiction
3. General Fiction
4. Mystery/Suspense
5. Young Adult/Children's
Contest Fees:
Members-$20 per entry (Two or more entries $15/per entry)
NonMembers-$25 per entry (Two or more entries $20/per entry).

Make checks out to: Writers on the Storm

The overall grand prize (for the highest scoring entry) is the FICTION WRITING MASTER COURSE from, a $249 value. The grand prize winner will also receive a plaque, a press release he/she can share with others and a news splash on our website. The category winners will each receive a free edit of the first chapter of their book from a multi-published author, along with a certificate. Their names will be listed on our website, as well. We will also post the list to facebook, twitter, the ACFW loop, etc.

Send the first 15 pages of your novel or short story. If you have a prologue, you may send the prologue and part of chapter one or just 15 pages of chapter one if chapter one exceeds 15 pages. The total pages of your entries may not exceed 15).

Entries must be double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point on white paper.
Entries should reflect a Christian world-view.
Entries with inappropriate content (i.e. profanity, pornography, extreme violence) will not be considered.
Entries will not be returned to contestants via the U.S. Post Office unless a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) is enclosed with each entry submitted.
Judges are all published authors and/or industry pros, though not members of the Writers On The Storm chapter.
Send your entries via SNAIL MAIL to:
Linda Kozar
7 South Chandler Creek
The Woodlands, Texas 77381
Questions? Contact Linda Kozar at

Category Five Contest Entry Form

Registration Form Name:_____________________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________City_______State____ZIP_____ Email address:_______________________________________________________ Member of WOTS: Yes….. No….. Category Entered: 1. Historical/Contemporary Romance ______ 2. Women’s Fiction ______ 3. General Fiction ______ 4. Suspense/Mystery ______ 5. Young Adult/Children ______ Amount Enclosed: __________ Check:___ Money Order:______ Make Checks out to: Writers On The Storm Checklist: Correct Manuscript Form ___ SASE Envelope ____ Registration Form ____ Check or money order ____ Mail entries to: Linda Kozar 7 South Chandler Creek The Woodlands, Texas 77381 Contact: If you have questions. Linda Kozar: Martha Rogers: Janice Thompson:

SATURDAY, May 7th from 9:30-11:00 followed by a booksigning 11-12:30

The Multiple-Author Booksigning will feature Patrick Scott, Martha Rogers and Linda Kozar!

Patrick Scott currently serves as the Founder / Design Architect for Creative Solutions, Patrick Scott is the creator and author of the Archangels: The Saga™ comic book series. First published in 1995 - 2010; the series has sold over 1.2 Million copies.

Patrick Scott pioneered the Christian comic book market in 1995 and is a 12 time published author, a trading card game creator (Timestream: The Remnant™) and has developed and published 15 inspirational posters. Under his leadership, Cahaba Productions, Inc. received the International Christian Retail Show’s highest honor by receiving an “IMPACT AWARD” in 2003.

Patrick Scott has over 17 years of graphic design, venture capital fundraising and business experience within mainstream and the International Christian Retail Marketplace. Over those years Patrick Scott has developed a professional working relationship with Lovell-Fairchild, Dynamic Marketing, Focus on the Family, Propeller Consulting, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Dickson’s Inc., Cactus Game Design, Universal Designs, Lifeway Christian Stores and many more.

Writers On The Storm presents...

Writers On The Storm presents...
Category Five Writing Contest

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker

Patrick Scott--May 7th Speaker
Christian Comic Book Author

Popular Posts