Monday, February 6, 2012

FIRST OF THREE POSTS by Ava Pennington

My First Writers Conference                                    by Ava Pennington

I attended my first Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC) full of hope and a suitcase packed with five copies of three different book proposals. Why so many copies? Because I was sure editors would fight over my work, and I wanted to ensure enough copies for everyone!

Not only did no one offer me a publishing contract, editors were less than complimentary about the quality of my writing. In tears, I called my husband that Friday night and apologized for wasting his money on what was clearly an out-of-reach dream.

As you can imagine, I had much to learn about publishing!

Was my first writers conference a disaster? Absolutely not! At that same conference, I learned just how much I did not know about writing and publishing. I learned about queries and proposals. I discovered acronyms such as POV and RUE. I met agents and editors who took the time to explain the basics of this industry to a neophyte who didn’t know how much she didn’t know.

I found prospects, too. One magazine editor reviewed my writing and gave me an opportunity to submit a magazine article to him…which he published a few months later!

Other editors and agents encouraged me to persevere. Over and over, what I heard was not No, but rather Not yet.

That was in 2006. I returned to the FCWC in 2007 and 2008. Each year I learned more, honed my skills, and was encouraged to continue persevering. I built up a substantial portfolio of publishing credits writing for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

During the FCWC in 2009, I met the editor who acquired my one-year devotional, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell). At that same conference, I met the editor who acquired a co-authored project called Faith Basics for Kids, including Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? (Standard Publishing).

In 2010, I taught a workshop on writing for anthologies which I will teach again this year.

Have I arrived? No. I’m still learning, still writing, and still attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

How about you?MY First Writers Conference


  1. Ava,thanks for sharing. I so wished I could attend this year, but my schedule did not permit, but I have not giving up. I have published my first book and am fully aware that I still have a lot to learn. This blog was so encouraging. Thanks again. When you PAUSE, visit Be blessed Sheri

  2. Thanks Sheri. We're all still learning!

  3. I highly recommend Ava's workshop on anthologies. Multi-published in anthologies, she knows whereof she speaks. And Ava, you demonstrated a quality I find essential for success in publishing (and most other ventures as well): teachability.

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I look forward to more!

  4. Ava, just wanted to say thank you to you...last year I attended your workshop on writing for anthologies, and I submitted an article to several of the sites you gave us...WOW! I am so excited and honored that my essay, Comfort Measures Only, was selected for the recently published book, "A New Song: Glimpses of the Grace Journey, an anthology of essays, poems, stories and photos celebrating God's grace on life's journey" (Edited by Diane Kulkarni).

    Click here to order "A New Song: Glimpses of the Grace Journey"

  5. That's great news, Beth! Congratulations!


Chime in!