Friday, June 05, 2009

Is ACFW for You?

I've been a member of ACFW for more than four years, and credit belonging to the organization with helping me launch my writing career. If you were to ask me what you should do if you're serious about writing, I'd point you to ACFW.

Recently, our president developed answers to commonly asked questions about whether ACFW is for you...

Have you spoken with writers who are unsure if they should join ACFW? Are you a writer who joined but is unsure this is where you belong?

We sometimes hear questions like these. You might find your own concern among them.

I'm not published yet. Do I belong in ACFW?

MOST of our members are unpublished, but are working TOWARD publication. You're welcomed with open arms. Here you will find training in fiction writing and information about the Christian fiction industry that will help you reach the Lord's goals for your writing. Note that His goals may or may not include publication, but we will work with you, encourage you, and pray for you while you find out.

I write non-fiction exclusively. Do I belong in ACFW?

Although some of our members write both fiction and non-fiction, almost everything ACFW does is geared toward the novelist and the Christian fiction market. Good writing principles carry over into both "camps," and using fiction techniques brings new life to non-fiction. But unless you write fiction, you may find it more beneficial to join one of the organizations that addresses non-fiction writing, publishing, and markets. Whatever you decide, you'll want to note that discussion on the loop needs to stay focused on fiction writing topics.

I just want to promote my book here. Do I belong in ACFW?

Our primary objectives are training writers, educating them in Christian fiction, and serving as an advocate for the Christian fiction industry. Promotion of our authors is not a key function but a great byproduct of the relationships made within ACFW. The connections you make here--as well as the opportunities for enlisting book reviewers and getting your book considered for New Releases and our Author lists on the website--will help get the word out to other authors and the readers who frequent our website. But your strongest promotional endeavors will come from other sources than ACFW. However, education ABOUT promotion and marketing is one of our strong suits. Sharing information about promotional opportunities happens all the time within ACFW.

I'm self-published. Do I belong in ACFW?

ACFW's mission and vision are to prepare novelists for success in traditional publishing, helping our members strive for excellence in the craft and develop skills that will help their books attract the attention of CBA publishers. Other groups may focus more on self-publication goals. From the beginning, ACFW has sought to prepare authors and their books for acceptance by CBA publishers. We aren't tailored to guide writers to well-respected self-publishers or to help promote self-published books. Self-publishing has a different dynamic, especially in the world of fiction. But there are still ways in which you may benefit greatly from ACFW membership. As you take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and information in our craft-training classes, our website archives, and our main loop, you will grow in your craft and become even more skilled at the kind of writing the Lord has designed for you, no matter what type of publication outreach He has in mind specifically for you.

I'm multi-published and have a strong marketing team, a great agent, and more contracts than I can manage. Do I belong in ACFW?

Do you need to know that other writers understand your challenges? Do you appreciate the encouragement of those who are blessed by what you write? If you are multi-published, you no doubt have learned the secret--that a writer can never stop learning. Just as a prolific author always is digging into (or back into) a craft classic, he or she can benefit from fresh ways of looking at subjects like POV, deepening emotion, writer's block, character motivations... Or you may find your greatest joy in ACFW membership is the opportunity to help other writers over the hurdles you conquered long ago, or in some aspect of mentoring through your knowledgeable answers to the main loop. You'll find both camaraderie with other multi-published authors and plenty of opportunity to assist the yet-to-be-published in their writing journey.

ACFW is always looking to expand and enhance what we offer to both the newcomer and the veteran novelist. We understand that we can't meet every need, nor can we fully focus on every aspect of fiction that deserves attention. But we're working very hard to show that if you're serious about writing great novels, this is where you belong!

1 comment:

CarlybirdH said...

Hi Cara, that was a really great post! Thank you. I have been trying to decide if joining ACFW is right for me. I am actually not interested in being a published writer. I am more interested in the more behind-the-scenes of the publishing world, very interested, actually. I have my own blog and I write book reviews, but I am looking for a way to start a career in the Christian publishing world. Do you suggest ACFW for someone with my interests and goals? Thank you again for your input.


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