I'm a published author because of ACFW.
Here is a pic of me at the book signing last year in Denver.
I've been attending ACFW conferences since 2004. The first year I hoped to attend I dumped out a large bottle of change and came up with just enough money to pay the registration that year. I really wanted to hear Francine Rivers speak and she was the keynote that year. My husband bought the plane ticket because he loved Francine Rivers, too. And I met my first roommate on the ACFW loop (she only took me because I told her I didn't snore...just kidding.) We became fast friends and she is currently my editor and the owner of Sheaf House. I was so inspired by Francine Rivers and my new friend/roommate that I decided to keep plugging away at writing and learning the craft. I also met my agent that year and signed with their agency in early 2005. How's that for early success? Did I mention I was elected to the ACFW board for a two year term? That was a nice surprise. When I signed on to participate in the election process I never expected to actually win.
Here is a pic of me at the 2008 banquet announcing the winner of the volunteer of the year award. I was the Volunteer Officer.
In 2007 I signed my first book contract. Without ACFW that never would have happened. I could go on an on about all of the things I love about the organization, but that would take a long time to cover. I especially love the people. The first year I attended I was trying to figure out how to get to know people and the Lord gave me a great idea. I hosted a chocolate party in my room. There were about 40 people total who stopped by that night and I did break the ice that way. I still host a party in my room every year. This year's party will be Friday night due to the change in schedule for the conference.
Here is a pic of me with Gail Sattler at the chocolate party last year.
Joining an organization like ACFW is a "must" for aspiring authors and book lovers. My favorite place to hang out during the conference is at the book store. I admit, I'm addicted to books. I also love getting autographs. I have quite a collection. So why should you attend the ACFW conference this year (or next?) It's the place to find out the latest and greatest when it comes to the industry. It's fun, entertaining (love Brandilyn's emcee role), and the place to meet editors and agents face to face that you've only heard about. I have so many books coming down the pike through 2012 that I'll be looking at 2013 for future contracts myself. This year I am going to see all of my friends again. It's like one big happy reunion every year and spiritual retreat at the same time. There is worship, prayer, great food and fellowship, etc. I look forward to ACFW every year. I can't wait to see you all there.
Last, here is a picture of me with Julie Lessman at the ACFW bookstore. She's a great friend and author. I never would have met her or any of my other awesome author friends in person, if not for ACFW conferences I've attended over the years.