Raise your hand if you've logged in to the ACFW website lately. Daily? Once a week? Once a month? Until I became president of the Indiana chapter, I have to admit I rarely used acfw.com. Even now, I still don't avail myself of all its treasures.
Note to self: check what's new at ACFW on a regular basis.
Meanwhile, I'll explore several options with you, kind of hopping on and off this merry-go-round called ACFW.
First, let's visit the CONFERENCE tab since it's just around the corner. Click on that and you'll find everything you need to know from registration instructions to the schedule, to hotel info, even who to contact if you want an author photo taken. My photo is now six or seven years old, so I signed up!
The CONTEST tab is one you'll want to study. Submissions open for First Impressions next month. Guidelines and rules for submission are available there. Some of you love entering contests; others find them discouraging--they're so subjective. Genesis and First Impressions are no different, but the feedback received from the wiser judges is priceless.
Moving? The CHAPTERS tab can show you the chapter nearest to your new home.
STORYFEST is a new tab. Geared more for readers than writers, anyone can register for this mini-conference side by side with the annual conference in St. Louis. ACFW has lined up several authors who will give readings from their books, then meet with their audience for some Q&A, and I assume book signing.
All of the above is available for web browsing for the whole world, but wait until you log in as a member!
If you're published, you can ask for an interview or apply to have your novel accepted into the ACFW Book Club under AUTHOR OPPORTUNITIES. Any of us can join the book club and see the latest releases from ACFW authors, or we can join a small group to read and discuss a selection.
CONNECTIONS means what it says. You can connect with email loops (plural) and critique groups. You can take online courses for free. Attend a webinar, also free. Do want to be held accountable for your writing progress? Join "Novel Tracks." You can listen to podcasts. The last time I checked, Brandilyn Collins was offering a booklet on personalizing your characters.Check it out near the bottom of the connections page.
Under MY MEMBERSHIP you can connect with anyone in the membership directory. (That's how I find some of your email addresses. 💁) This is where you'll also find opportunities to volunteer.
If you click on MEMBER RESOURCES, you'll find all kinds of help from research to marketing. Now that my web designer has retired, I'll be using the link on the right side of the page to interview other web design companies within ACFW.
Do you want to know who's operating this merry-go-round? Click on BOARD, STAFF, AND VOLUNTEERS, or check out the BY-LAWS.
As you get comfortable with ACFW, consider judging one of the contests. First round is open for member volunteers, and information is available on the CONTEST JUDGES DASHBOARD. (If you haven't been a judge, I'm not sure that button shows up, but the email loop always puts out a general call for judges, which will get you started.) Before you judge a contest though, enter one of them yourself. It will give you a much better idea of what it's like on the receiving side of comments. You'll know which criticisms to take to heart as well as which praises hold the most merit.
So, join me on the merry-go-round called ACFW.
You can take things slow, hopping on and off at will, or you can hang on for a wild ride of activity. If you're planning to be in St. Louis for the conference, please contact me, through this blog or ACFW Indiana's Facebook page, via my website or my email, and we can figure out a place to meet other than the Zone Breakfast. So far, I know five of us plan to attend. Are there more? Hop on and enjoy the ride!
Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She has completed a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister and is currently working on a women’s fiction series.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, and grandmother to eight, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web: