Advice from the Appointment Guru

ACFW Agents, appointments, Editors Leave a Comment

One of the most important areas of the convention are the editor and agent appointments. You agonize over who might be interested in what you’re writing, you sweat over one sheets and proposals, you practice your pitch until you can recite it in your sleep (and probably do) and then just when you think you’re as ready as you can be, something happens. What now?

Depends on what happens… let’s go over some of the scenarios and see if we can answer everyone’s questions.

1. The editor I had chosen has just canceled. My number two and three choices are booked solid and my number 4 choice isn’t accepting my genre after all. What do I do?

Nothing. If you’re an early registrant, it doesn’t matter if your second choice is booked solid or not. I go back and slide you in, bumping out the last conferee to request that editor. Your appointments are booked by your registration number, not the date.

But, if you’re a late registrant, you can always email ( me four new choices.

2. I just noticed that Mr. Editor at my favorite publisher is now attending the conference. Can I still get an appointment with him?

Yes. Just email me ( and ask me to place him in priority number slot 1, 2. 3 or 4.

3. I already have an agent. Can I get 2 editor appointments instead? (also applies to agents)

That is an option. However, please understand that everyone gets one editor appointment first and if there are any left over (and usually there are some), then those second appointments are scheduled.

4. I just realized that my number two choice isn’t looking to acquire my genre right now. Can I put him/her at the bottom of my priority list and move my number 3 choice up to second place?

Yes, you can. Just email me ( and explain what you want to do. I’ll take care of it for you.

5. How do I know what an editor is looking for?

Go to the website and look at their editorial needs- it’s right by their bio. If they don’t have any listed, go to their website and look for it there. If you can’t find editorial needs on their website, you can do a little “google” research and see if they posted editorial needs at any other conference in the last six months or so. If that fails, check with Sally Stuart’s Market Guide.

6. I noticed that Bethany House has 4 editors coming. Will it matter which editor I choose?

Not really. The four of them are splitting up their times so that everyone will spend some time taking appointments, but they will not all be taking 32 appointments. If you ask me for Dave Long and he’s booked, I will automatically put you with another Bethany editor. Please be aware…. they will all be looking for the same thing. It will not benefit you any more to see one than to see another.

7. Okay, call me an idiot, but I’ve totally changed my mind since I first registered. I want a totally different list of editors and agents. What do I do besides kick myself?

Email me your new list and I’ll take care of it.

NOTICE: Deadline on all emails is one week before the conference. After that, you’re stuck. 🙂

Now, hopefully I’ve covered all of your “worst-case” scenarios. But, let’s go over a couple more things. If you have any problems or questions–email me. If you have any changes to make–email me. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing– email me. 🙂

Your appointments will be scheduled during workshops. There is nothing we can do about that other than ask editors and agents to work through the middle of the night and I’m not asking them to do that, are you? I didn’t think so. Your workshop teachers KNOW that you will have to step out of your class to go to an appointment. They will think nothing of you slipping out and slipping back in.

If you know you’re going to be leaving your class for an appointment, try to sit in the back of the class (or closest to the door) so that you can slip in and out with disturbing the rest of the class. If you’re just sure you’re going to miss something important, ask a friend to take extra notes while you’re gone for you, or order the tape of the class. It’s always a good idea to order the tapes anyway… you will go back and listen to them many times.

Arrive at the appointment area no more than 5 minutes before your appointment. Assemble quietly near the appointment desk and wait to be called. As soon as your editor/agent is available, you will be called to “go on back”.

Be considerate and keep to the 15 minute time limit. Either there is someone else waiting patiently or the editor is scheduled for a break. Either way, keep an eye on your time and try not to run over. It cuts into someone else’s time (and you wouldn’t want them to do that to you) or it cuts into the narrow space of time the editor has to run back to his/her room and retrieve something, find a restroom, or run down for a coffee or soda.

And if you don’t get the editor or agent you really, really wanted to see? Trust the Lord with your writing future. He knows what He wants for you and sometimes, it’s not what we want for ourselves. Know that your appointment form has been prayed over. Take advantage of whatever opportunity the Lord places in your path and see what He has in store for you. It’s always better than opportunities we force to happen. Always.

One final word. I go over this every year, but it’s important. Do not follow an editor into a bathroom and shove a proposal to them under the door! Yes, it has happened. Bathroom or not, you get the point. You will see these editors at meals, in the lobby, strolling with their associates, or sitting in the coffee shop. You may see them walking in the mall, riding in the elevator, or standing in the coffee line. Be considerate of the fact that there are only TWO times during the conference when they are open to talking to you about your writing. During scheduled appointments….and during hosted meals. If you see them at any other time, be considerate of the fact that they are not “ON DUTY” and don’t pitch to them.

PAID CRITIQUES: If you sign up for a critique, make sure you meet the deadline. Don’t make them or me come chase you down. It isn’t smart to aggravate the woman that has your editor or agent appointment in her hands. If they are scheduling their own critiques, your critiquer will contact you about when and where. Make sure you respond to them quickly. If you do not hear from your critiquer about scheduling, it means that I am going to schedule that for you and it will be with your appointment schedule when you arrive at the conference. Your job is to make sure you get that critique material sent in before the deadline.

Okay, it’s now deadline day and you have been so overwhelmed taking care of Aunt Thelma, nursing a broken leg, dealing with a hard drive crash, and babysitting your sister’s kids while she has surgery, that you aren’t ready with your material. See?You should have gotten it ready back when I first told you and not waited until the last minute. Don’t you know that last minutes rarely work out? Don’t email me… email your critiquer and beg for an extended deadline. If they are unable to accommodate you, you are still liable for the charge of the critique. If they can accommodate you, bless them greatly and bring them chocolate. They’ll deserve it.

As for your favorite Appointment Coordinator? Well, I’m still partial to caramels and tootsie rolls. 🙂

Comments 0

  1. Oh, first to post a comment. Kind of like walking in new snow, isn’t it?

    GREAT post Wanda. Full of important information.

    Carmels, eh? 😀


  2. Poor Wanda! I sure hope all the registrants will think hard and research before they make those appts. Otherwise, I sure wouldn’t want to be Wanda that last week. Talk about shuffling schedules!!

    You’re the best, Wanda!

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