Friday, October 15, 2010

Publication and the ACFW Conference by Jamie Carie

Author Jamie Carie visited Seriously Write in September and talked about character development and how she handles “stubborn characters.” Today, she’s returned to share some pieces about her own journey to publication and experiences while attending the recent American Christian Fiction Writers conference. Welcome back, Jamie!

Publication and the ACFW Conference

This fall I attended my first ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference. I'd heard that this was THE place to attend if you wanted to break into the CBA fiction market, and I have to say that between this conference and Mt. Hermon, they were probably right.

Back when I was trying to break into publishing I don't believe the ACFW conference existed (the internet was just getting up and running so that tells you how long it has been!). But I did everything that I could to help myself learn about this business: I joined a local group of writers who were very kind to me and helped me learn the basics of POV, dialog, and plotting. I scoured the library shelves (Writer's Market Guide) for information on romance publishers and took extensive notes about each pub house. I was a big fan of Romantic Times magazine and the RWA (Romance Writers of America) organization.

I attended a couple of smaller writing conferences ( and a RWA conference when it was in my hometown. I remember Brenda Joyce was the speaker and I thought she was the most glamorous women I had ever met! I complimented her in the hall at the Omni Hotel and she asked which book I liked best. I blanked. Totally blanked. Couldn't remember a single title or character name from any of her books that I had read. Finally I said, "oh the one with Fabio on the cover!" LOL! Wow. Was that embarrassing. But I digress.

I have to say that I would highly recommend going to the ACFW conference if you are looking to break in to CBA publishing. There were lots of big name authors there (I met James Scot Bell!). All of them were very friendly and willing to give advice to anyone who asked. More importantly there were editors from almost every CBA publishing house and several agents. Everyone I spoke with who had an editor or agent appointment was asked to send in a full manuscript and they were so excited.

It reminded me of the time I drove three hours in the early morning to Ft. Wayne, Indiana to sign up for an editor appointment (it was first come first serve) and then drove home. The next day I drove up again, early in the morning, to attend the conference as after paying the conference fee I couldn't afford to pay for the night at the hotel. Whew! When I got that editor appointment and was asked to send in the full manuscript for Snow Angel, I was thrilled! It ended up going all the way to committee, but wasn't accepted at that time as this pub house didn't publish very much fiction. Ironically, it was an editor from B&H who years later decided to ramp up their fiction department and I was the first one signed to spearhead the new program!

I'm saying all of this to say, I know conferences are expensive (pray and trust God for finances!) but they are a great way to bypass the catch 22 that says you can't submit to a publishing house without an agent, and it's almost impossible to get an agent. Conferences provide that opportunity to make connections, learn about the business and craft side of writing, and hopefully score that golden ticket - a request to submit your work, rushing you past the slush pile and into the hands of an editor who just might be very excited about your story. So give it try and if you see me (I'll be the one not being sensible in high heels) say hello! I'd be glad to help you along on your road to publication.

Jamie Carie is an inspirational fiction novelist who believes in the power of “story” to touch hearts and change lives. She is the author of Snow Angel, a USA News Book winner for Best Romance of 2007, a ForeWord Magazine award winner and a RITA Awards® finalist. She is the author of several historical romances and her first novella, The Snowflake, in stores now. Jamie lives in Indiana with her husband, three boys and a giant of a dog named Leo.

To learn more about Jamie and her books, please visit:

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1 comment:

  1. I love this latest book cover, Jamie, and have really enjoyed your books in the past! Thanks for visiting SW! :D


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