Friday, February 19, 2016

To Conference or not to Conference?

by Elva Cobb Martin

Yours truly with an agent at BRMCWC May 2015

Many writing conferences are coming up, and all of them look good! See a partial list below. Conferences are one of the best ways to get your writing in front of prospective agents and publishers, and network with other writers and publishing experts. Attending and directing writing conferences has greatly helped me along the path to publication. I feel every conference I've directed or attended has been worth the effort, time and money.

And I do believe in "praying in the finances." God can and will provide as you pray. I look on money spent for conferences as an investment in my writing career. I also pray for divine connections to the right editors, agents and new friends.

But how can you decide which conference is best for you?

Here are some neat questions and to ask yourself presented by our sister North Georgia ACFW Chapter. Ask yourself these questions about any conference you are considering. If you don't answer "yes" a lot, you need to do a bit more praying over it.

- Can I afford the conference (including tuition, hotel, travel and food)?
- Will it help me take the next step in my career?
- Are the publishers/agents I'm targeting for my genre going to be there?
- Do the workshops look helpful for where I am in my career?
- Am I up for an award? (Don't forget to enter contests so this can happen!)

If you do decide to attend a conference, knowing how to pitch, organize, and present your book is vital. We cover these things in many of our chapter meetings and will share more on the next blog.

Good conferences include small classes where you can interact and ask questions of experts.
Award-winning author and instructor Yvonne Lehman leads a class in Anderson.
Here's a list of some conferences we have posted on the calendar page of this blog.

March 11-12 Carolina Christian Writers Conf., Spartanburg First Baptist  Tuition early bird  $125, then $145

May 22-26, Blue Ridge Mtns. Christian Wrtrs Conf., Ridgecrest, N.C  Tuition $325  or call 1-800-588-7222 to register. (our VP Edie Melson is co-director of this great conference!)

August 25-28, ACFW National Conf. Nashville, TN  Huge Premier Christian Fiction Conf.  See the web site for full information.

Oct. 16-10  Blue Ridge Autumn in the Mountains Novelist Retreat w/Yvonne Lehman and others!   at Ridgecrest, N.C. Tuition $350 but check the early bird discounts! Call 1 800 588-7222 to register. Or go to

What part of pitching, or preparing for a conference, is hardest for you? Do you have a tip for other writers? Leave a comment or question below and please do share this blog on your social media.

Blessings on your writing!
Elva Cobb Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have published her articles. She has published a  Bible study, Power Over Satan, available on She has recently signed a book contract with Prism Book Group for her first inspirational romance, Summer of Deception. She has also completed a second novel, first book of an historical series, In a Pirate’s Debt. Elva is represented by Jim Hart of Hartline Literary. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives with her husband Dwayne and a mini-dachshund writing helper, Lucy, in Anderson, South Carolina. She also leads an internet prayer task force praying for a Great Awakening. Connect with her on her web site, her blog on Twitter, on Facebook and Pinterest


  1. I went to the ACFW Conference in Dallas this year. It was wonderful! I can't wait for Nashville.

    1. Good for you, Carlene! I hope to attend my first national this year since it's meeting as close as Nashville. (:
      Elva Martin