I write romantic suspense and warm, family relationship type novels, often with a touch of humor. Many of my books have featured animals as key players--dogs, cats, llamas, cockatiels, horses...even our son's pet albino corn snake, Sssssid, who appeared in my first Superromance back in 1999.

Animals have been a big part of my life since I was a child. How about you? I hope you'll become a "blog follower" here (see the right-hand column for a place to click) and will come back often. So...let's talk about our pets!

Friday, June 4, 2010

ACFW vs RWA....which is best for you?

Today, instead of posting  about creatures   I'd like to veer off a bit and tell my writer friends about a wonderful conference opportunity with ACFW!!

I've been a member of Romance Writers of America  (RWA)  for many years.    RWA membership offers opportunities for regional and national conferences, local chapters for networking, learning and support,  dozens of annual chapter-sponsored contests (great for receiving feedback on your work, honing your craft, and getting your work seen by the editors and agents who may be final round judges) and a monthly magazine offering articles on craft and the industry.  This summer, I'll be attending my fourteenth  national conference,  where there will be many dozens of workshops to choose from, opportunities to meet editors and agents, great networking. The benefits of attending far outweigh the cost.

RWA is excellent, and I recommend it highly.  But, if you are wanting to write inspirational fiction, there's an even better  option! 

I  moved into writing inspirational fiction in 2007 and until then had never heard of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.)  I was positively stunned when I discovered the wealth of information and opportunities available to ACFW members!.  Free online classes every month.  A highly active e-mail loop.  A website with an incredible amount of  information for every level of writer, plus free promotional opportunities for those who are published.  For a very low membership fee, one can tap into a world of support, and information, just like RWA, but geared for the inspirational genre.

But what I'd really like to tell you about today is the annual  ACFW conference, which is coming up September 17-20th in Indianapolis, because registration is opening soon!

How do the ACFW and RWA conferences compare?  Well, as much as I love RWA, I'd have to say this:  if you are an inspirational writer (aspiring or published), could only choose one, and
wanted the most benefit for your money, I'd recommend  ACFW, hands down.

After attending  all of those RWA conferences, I'll admit---I didn't have high expectations when I attended my first ACFW conference.  I figured it would be much smaller and offer  less.  Was I ever in for a surprise!  If not for the ACFW logo, I would not have seen one bit of difference in quality between the two.  And honestly, the ACFW conference offered much more of exactly what I was looking for--a chance to learn, and grow, and network within the Christian writers' community.     I can only imagine the endless hours and hard work that go into putting one of these ACFW conferences on, but the results were seamless and highly professional.  And the opportunities---oh, my!

RWA offers a big line-up of workshops geared to every level of writer.  So does ACFW---a wonderful array of workshops for every level of writer, every aspect of the business.  The added benefit at ACFW is that the workshops are all geared to the inspirational genre--you'll have a chance to listen to editors, agents, and successful authors from every aspect of  the genre.  The workshops are carefully vetted  and extremely well done.  I know about the vetting part first hand.   I've done around eight or nine workshops at the national RWA conferences, but my proposal for ACFW this year didn't make the grade!  The committee is clearly working very hard to give attendees the very best conference opportunity, and they truly succeed.  I cannot wait for September!

What about opportunities to network with editors and agents?  Here, there's a world of difference, and ACFW wins again.  At RWA, you may be able to get an appointment.   Editors and agents have tight schedules.  If not  working through their heavy schedule of appointments or giving a  workshop. they mostly disappear, because they have  hectic schedules for meeting with their authors in groups and individually, taking authors out to luncheons and dinners, and so on.  I cannot image how exhausted they must be on the plane trip home! 

At  ACFW, you have a much better chance of getting the appointments you hope for.  Even better, the editors and agents are highly visible at breakfast, lunch and dinner--sitting at prescribed tables, where conference attendees can join them for a meal.  It's not a place to make a harried pitch.  But, it's a chance to chat, get to know each other, and ask questions.  To me, that alone was worth every penny spent on the conference, hotel and plane tickets!   Not that any one person should dominate an editor/agent's attention in that setting, but by just listening in on the table conversation, you can learn so much about the industry, publishing houses, and even that editor/agent's  "wish list" of what they would like to see.

I love the camaraderie at RWA.  With every year you attend, you know more people, see more old friends, have a more wonderful time.  At ACFW  you'll have that same warm, welcoming experience --but with something extra--an indescribable, uplifting atmosphere of faith and joy and support.  If I could only attend one big  conference this year, it would be ACFW.

Finally, on a practical note, you will see that ACFW costs a little more. However, far more meals are covered--and again, those meals were wonderful networking opportunities.  I hope to see you in Indianapolis this fall!!  Here's a link for it: 

Roxanne Rustand
June 2010:  END GAME,   Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense


(PS:  if you are reading this on Facebook, it has originated at the All Creatures Great and Small Blog, at http://roxannerustand.blogspot.com.  Come on over and say "Hi!"


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