By Tamara D. Fickas
Statistics show 70% of writers won’t follow through on a request at a conference from an industry professional to send their work. Shocking, I know. I always wondered about those writers. Why would they go to all that work and not follow through? It didn’t make sense to me.
Then I went to a conference. I worked hard before. Still, I didn’t feel my book was quite ready, but the fear of talking to an agent was great, so I challenged my fear and made appointments for practice.
More than one agent asked me to submit work. It motivated me, but as an introvert, it took a lot for me to go through with the meetings. I took a few days off after the conference to rest and refocus. A few days turned into a week, then a month. Next came a promotion at the day job and life got crazy quick. I kept setting new goals under the auspices of “if they asked, it’s never too late.”
It’s now 18 months and I still I haven’t sent my requested submissions.
It occurred to me the other day that I’m now a 70% er and that disappoints me.
How does a writer end up in this daunting statistical category? Here’s how I ended up there.
First off, I forgot to listen to the truth in my life. I let the lies of the enemy draw me off the path God has set me on. It’s true that if a professional doesn’t want to read your work, they won’t ask for it. I forgot that. The lies sounded so true I believed them.
Second, I kept putting it off. Life is so busy for us writers that it’s easy to put writing on the back burner. Don’t do that. Our goals and dreams are important. We should prioritize them appropriately. We need to believe in our writing enough to make a place for it in our schedule.
Third, the amount of work that would come my way if an agent really liked my work overwhelmed me. I made excuses about how my day job paid the bills and it was important I focus on it. I thought delaying this task of submitting my work a few weeks or months, until my schedule was more in control, wouldn’t be a big deal. However, our schedule may never calm down. We need to learn to work within the constraints of it.
Here’s the reality. A friend and I both received requests for submissions at that conference. She was previously a 70% girl, but last year she said no to that. She went, she met, she submitted. Today, one year later, she has a book in bookstores and number two in the series is due out soon.
If you’re going to the ACFW Conference and you’re meeting with professionals, make yourself a promise right now. Don’t follow my lead. Plan time for when you get back to follow-up. Be a 30%er!
Tamara Fickas – Christian, storyteller, writer, speaker, encourager. She lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her beloved kitty boy, Wilson. When not writing she loves adventures, time with her dad, reading, and making people laugh. Life experiences, her vivid imagination, coffee, and Hot Tamales fuel her writing.