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Thursday, August 17, 2017

10 Tips for a 1st-Time Conferee

by Ane Mulligan, @AneMulligan

Someone recently said they were about to go to their first ACFW conference and they asked for advice. As a conference veteran—I've attended close to two dozen—I offer the following:

1. Don't be terrified. I promise you'll love it. Look for names you recognize. Don't be embarrassed to look at name tags. ACFW gives you Zone (regional) stickers to add to your name tag to help recognize other zone members. If you've been active on their e-loop, you'll likely recognize names. Look for your favorite authors.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Don’t Be Afraid of The Story

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

A couple years ago as I fast drafted a novel, I realized I had this tension in my gut.

What was going on?

Yea, it’s tough to hammer out a first draft on a tight deadline but I was pleased with my progress. I wasn’t behind schedule. Though the story wasn’t really popping.

Hmm… the tension? I concluded I was actually afraid of my story.

We talk about being afraid of the blank page, but it’s really being afraid of the story.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

You Might Need to Wake Up

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

After I won the Christy Award Book of the Year, a Carol Award for speculative fiction, and the ACFW Mentor of the Year last year, my son Taylor came to me and said, “Uh, Dad, do you think maybe it’s time you do more than teach workshops at conferences?”

“What do you mean?”

“You got published, hit the bestseller list, and started winning awards in four years. It takes most novelists ten on average, right?”

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Many Books Are Too Many?

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Which would you rather have your favorite author do . . .

Pump out three books a year, maybe a little lighter in content, the characters not quite as complex, and the plot is a bit predictable.

-- or --
Write one book in a year with multi-faceted characters, a twisty-turny plot, and a theme that makes you wonder about life's big meanings.

Your choice? And no, you can't have it both ways, not consistently. So pick one. Go ahead. I won't judge you . . . leastwise not on this issue. Shoes are an altogether different topic.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

3 Steps to Overcome Idea Hoarding

by Cathy Elliott, @CathyElliott10

When I wrote my first cozy mystery, A Vase of Mistaken Identity, ideas flooded my brain, vying for attention and fighting to be first on the page. I typed at a crazed pace, anxious to release all this creativity. I was on-a-roll, to use an overused cliché, until some wayward questions shoved their way into my mental space and began to bellyache.

What if I run out of ideas? How do I find more when these are all used up? Since I hoped to have a second Thea James adventure after this one, I worried nothing interesting would remain for the next book. No clever puns, no sparkling dialogue, no captivating scenes. Where do they come from if I put all I have into my first tome?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How to Grow Your Email List with Ryan Zee

by Patty Smith Hall, @pattywrites

One of my goals for 2017 has been to develop a quality newsletter that I could release each quarter. A nice goal, but with only 32 names on my list--I’ve got to remember to put out those sign-up sheets--it almost seemed like a waste of time.

Enter Ryan Zee.

For those unfamiliar with this marketing website, Ryan Zee works with authors to grow their social media presence through 1) building email lists for author newsletters and 2) growing your following on Amazon and Bookbub. For our purpose today, we’re only going to focus on email lists.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Kintsugi Creativity

by Allen Arnold, @TheStoryofWith

We all have scars. Most are unseen. But visible or not, every scar cuts deep. Betrayal from those we trusted. Silence when we needed support. Conditional love based on our performance. It’s amazing how many ways a heart can be shattered.

And for the most part, these wou
nds weren’t accidental. We have an enemy whose aim is to steal, kill, and destroy - both the Story you're living and the ones you're writing. And his strikes are strategic, attacking you at your points of purpose. Which is why the areas of your life that have been the most opposed often hold clues to your unique calling.