I’ll see some of you at ACFW in Dallas in a couple of weeks. Getting ready takes courage, especially if you’ve signed up for agent or editor appointments. Here are some tips to help you get ready:
First, make yourself familiar with what that house is looking for. Read up on their books, especially in your chosen genre. Make sure you’re targeting the house that will be the best fit for your manuscript, and be prepared to tell the editor why you think that is. Go to the house's website and read their writers' guidelines. If you're meeting with an agent, familiarize yourself with their agency and the authors they already represent.
Next, find out what that specific editor/agent would like to see. At the ACFW conference website, they’ve listed information about what each agent or editor wants to see during your appointment. Some prefer to see the first few pages. Others, the first three chapters. Some want that, plus a one-sheet. If you’re scheduled to meet with me, please bring a one-sheet and the first few pages/first chapter of your manuscript. Here's a link to Pelican Book Group's writers' guidelines as well.
While the days count down, create your one-sheet, polish your first few chapters, and prepare your proposal. Have your critique partners take a look. Let other writers peek at the first few pages of your manuscript too.
Craft and practice your elevator pitch. Get it down to twenty-five words or less. Some editors and agents will want to hear this pitch. You may want to include it in your proposal or on your one-sheet. The concise summary you pen may one day be used as part of the back cover copy or on your press release. You may even use your pitch in an actual elevator. You never know.
Also, most houses require unpublished writers to have the manuscript completed before submission. The same is true before you query Pelican Book Group. (Though at conference, I will be glad to discuss your work-in-progress.) So, write on, and finish that story!
Finally, and most importantly, pray. Pray for divine appointments. Pray for God’s timing. Pray for grace for both you and the other professionals with whom you’ll meet. Be courteous and kind. Put others first. And relax. All those editors and agents are as human as you are.
Enjoy the conference!