What to bring to the ACFW conference

For starters, you are going to the conference, right? I went to my first ACFW conference in 2009, but had been to two other writer’s conferences before that, so I had an inkling of what to expect. Multiply that times ten and you have the wonderful experience I call my first ACFW conference.

Shall we start with clothes? I wore one outfit each day. I needed to pack light since I didn’t check any luggage. I’d recommend a nice pair of capri’s or slacks, a light top and couple that outfit with a button down sweater–just in case! The awards banquet on Sunday evening is pretty fancy. Chip MacGregor will wear his kilt, but don’t think everyone wears a kilt. Just Chip. Because. It’s comical yet normal at the same time. Val will kill me, but here is a picture with two of my critique partners last year. Think sparkles.

Food. There are a couple of meals that aren’t included in the conference, but the Circle Center Mall is connected to the hotel by a skywalk. There are places to shop and a number of restaurants (some very inexpensive). Here is a list of the shops at Circle Center.

If you are new to conferences or new to the ACFW conference, make sure you join the email loop for first-time attendees. There is a wealth of information shared and answered on that loop. It goes over one sheets and conference veterans will give examples that you can follow.

One sheets – how many to bring? No matter what you bring, chances are that no agent or editor will actually take anything of yours home. No one sheet, no first chapter, no proposal and no business card. They may touch them. They may write on them. They may read them. But they will leave all that paperwork with you. If they are interested, they will ask for an electronic copy. So you need to decide how many fresh sheets to bring. I usually bring two copies of my first chapter or proposal, enclosed with a binder clip. I bring four to five one sheets, simply because I like a fresh copy for each meeting (don’t forget those opportunities you’ll have during lunch and dinner to pitch to agents and editors.)

Make sure to have business cards. I got mine from VistaPrint for FREE. And I used this page for examples of professional business cards.

The conference is exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Allow yourself down time. If you purchase the conference CD’s, skip a class and take a nap. Or have coffee with a fellow attendee. Or go to the bookstore and breathe in the aroma of new books.

Networking and fellowship. Meetings with agents or editors are wonderful experiences. Learn. Listen. Grow. Meet or touch base with other attendees. This is about networking and friendships that will last the length of your career, nurture them!

Above all, relax and have fun 🙂


5 Responses to “What to bring to the ACFW conference”

  1. And you get surprise seating next to the nicest people!!

  2. Thanks, Heidi!

  3. I do 🙂 That was the neatest God-incident ever Christa! Looking forward to seeing you again in September!!!

  4. Great post, Heidi!! Can’t wait!

  5. Nicole – I’ll finally get to meet you in person 🙂

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