Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Conference Appointments
So how’s this appointment thing work?
Casey Miller, our ever capable Appointments Coordinator, is the man with the plan. He will put together the appointments in the days leading up to the conference. Appointments are scheduled for Friday and Saturday of conference. They won’t interfere with meals or general sessions. He’ll look at all of the mentors, agents, editors, etc. who are taking appointments and figure out how many they have time for and when so as to not interfere with their teaching obligations, etc. He takes your requests, your volunteer schedule, and other official ACFW obligations into account. Then he goes through his list, on a first registered/first scheduled basis, and slots everyone in, doing his best to accommodate everyone’s first choice. Many people will end up with multiple appointments, but only one is promised.
It’s not always your first choice – or it may conflict with a class you really want to take or the time you planned to spend hanging out with your critique group or scheduled a meeting outside of the conference appointments. Everyone understands how the conference appointments work and those plans sometimes need to be fluid to work around appointments. Faculty members know people will be moving in and out almost constantly. Just do so as discretely as you can and try not to be distracted by others coming in or leaving around you.
But God’s there.
Because this entire process is absolutely BATHED in prayer. There are probably programs out there where Casey could plug it all in and have schedules spit out, but he spends time doing this by hand and praying over every appointment as it’s made. Others will be walking the hallways in the appointment area praying over every meeting time.
Wait? So I won’t find out until I’M IN NASHVILLE?! For real?!
Yep. That’s the way it works. And they’ve been doing it this way for years. And it does work! I know this from personal experience. Casey (and Robin, the conference director) have been doing this for quite some time, and they really do know what they’re doing.
So…if I don’t find out who I’m meeting with, how can I prepare? They ALL want Some. Thing. Different. AH!
Trust us, we’ve all been there. Sitting nervously in the chairs waiting for our time to be called. Practically tripping into the seat across from our dream agent/editor/mentor and… promptly forget our name, much less anything about the book we want to pitch.
These men and women are professionals. They’ve been there, done that. And they’ll help you through it.
So how can you prepare? Throughout the rest of these FAQs and in the loop, we’ll talk about what kinds of things are essential to an appointment (One sheet?! What’s that? Proposal? I don’t want to marry this person!) and how you can be prepared for whoever you meet with.
But I have this appointment that I don’t need or want anymore. Can I get another one instead?
Short answer…maybe. There will be a procedure in place for you to “give up” and “pick up” extra appointments. It varies a bit from year to year, so Casey (or someone else on his behalf) will explain it when we get there. If you need to adjust your requests prior to the July 19, email Casey at appts at acfw dot com – you CANNOT change these yourself in your registration on the ACFW website.
Casey may be able to work with you as late July 31, so send a (polite!!!!!) email if you need to. Especially if you need to take someone OFF your list for some reason (maybe you sign with an agent and no longer need an agent appointment), email him up to the day before you arrive. If you decide not keep an appointment for any reason (for instance, you find out an editor absolutely does not want anything in your genre so you decide not to keep the appointment), please be sure to let Casey know via that procedure he’ll tell us about when we get there. That way someone else will be able to fill a slot you no longer need.
So take a deep breath. We’ll help you get ready. And no matter what…
God’s got this!