Don’t Waste Your Pre-Conference Time

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by Christy Lashae-Smith

When I say Pre-Conference Time, I’m referring to NOW: August 9th to September 16(or 17th) when you get in your car or board the plane to head to Denver for conference.

You’ve probably prioritized your time all year. You’re balancing a job, family, and all those other extra-curricular activities you wonder why you got involved in and how you can scrape together more time to write. Still, you’ve some how managed to organize it all and find time to write whether its when everyone in the house is asleep and you’re up in the middle of the night pounding away at the keyboard or you’ve shaved time off your work day to sneak home and work before everyone else gets there.

Don’t throw all of that organization out the window. This is the time to get a hold of your priorities and organize your time!

One year, I became obsessed – well, maybe that’s an overstatement – with business cards and sell sheets. I poured so much time over what my tag line was going to be. What was my brand?

Did I really know what a brand was, anyway…?

I mean, am I a writer or am I a Pop Tart? (No matter what folks say behind my back, I say I’m a writer, not the latter.)

I spent time trying revising my sell sheet, trying to make sure I had the perfect mini-synopsis for the novels I’d written. I sweated over making the words line up just right, making sure my photo was perfectly straight, on the left hand side.

What I ended up doing was wasting a full month worrying over business cards and sell sheets. That year was my first conference ever! I was going to learn, going to pitch my book and hoping I’d receive a request. Well, what do you know… I didn’t get the request. I didn’t awe the agent so much that he wanted me at his side the rest of the time, so he could promote his next greatest author. All of that may have happened in my dreams, but in reality, it was a bust.

I learned a lot that year. I realized I should have been working on my manuscripts instead of putting so much time into promotional material. There is plenty of time for promotion once you have that contract. When you’re new, it’s a good time to hone your craft and go to conference with an open mind and an open heart.

This ACFW conference will be my second. I took my photo off my business card and decided if someone wanted to get to know me they could visit my blog or look me up on Facebook. I’ve revised my sell sheet and will have a copy or two with me, but I have reprioritized my time to where I know I still need to become the best writer I can be to really succeed in this business.

Christy LaShea Smith writes contemporary and historical romance. Though unpublished, her dream is pursuing her passion for writing to enthrall and entertain others while celebrating the Word of God. Christy is a 2009 Genesis Finalist in the Contemporary Romance Category and a 2009 finalist in the Inspirational category for the Maggie Award of Excellence. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and serves as treasurer for her local chapter. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers. She lives in Georgia with her husband, daughter and is expecting her second child in January.

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