What to Expect
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to bring?
We always encourage you to bring the essentials. You're welcome to bring your swimsuit, although our pool will be closed. If you're brave enough to try out Lake Michigan, well, more power to you. (We do have hot coffee to warm you up afterwards!)
How do I dress for the conference?
I've heard I can sell my publications in the bookstore. How does that work?
Yes! As a registered attendee, if you have publications you'd like to sell in our bookstore, we will gladly do that for you. You are responsible to bring the products and set the price. Please put prices on the front cover with an even number. ($15, not $14.99) MCWC keeps 15% of the sales. Email email@example.com for permission and more specifics.
Registration & Lodging
I'm not sure I can afford it. Are there any discounts available?
Yes! There are a few options:
Take advantage of our Early Bird Registration discount - $400 before June 15th - $450 after June 15th.
Student Discount - available to current high school and college students - email firstname.lastname@example.org from your school email address for details.
Scholarship Form - look for the Scholarship Form and fill that out. Scholarships are not guaranteed, but we will respond to you as soon as possible.
Consider a roommate - we now have the option for cheaper lodging accomodations if you are willing to stay with one or two other people.
I'll need a ride from the airport. How do I arrange that?
We have a shuttle service available for $50 round trip. Our transportation director will make arrangements with you once you have registered. Make sure to add the shuttle service to your registration.
How do I prepare for my one-to-one appointments?
(Material written by PeggySue Wells - Copyright 2016)
Research beforehand so you know what an editor is looking for. It is inconsiderate and a waste of time to pitch a children’s book to a magazine publisher. Editor of the Christian Communicator, Advanced Christian Writer, and Church Libraries, Lin Johnson said, “Don't propose a topic that doesn't fit the publisher. Doing so tells me you haven't studied my magazine or newsletter and don't know who the readers are. It's a guaranteed rejection. Also don't propose a word length that contradicts what the writers guidelines say. I'll automatically know you didn't take time to read them, so why should I take time to read your manuscript?”
Be efficient and effective in the short time you have. Prepare a one sheet that you can hand to the editor. This single-sided, typed list quickly provides the editor with your contact information, elevator speech (one sentence description), audience you are writing for, word count, and a date when the manuscript will be complete. Bring several copies of your one sheet so you can leave a copy if an editor requests that you do this. A second author bio sheet can bullet your background and experience that makes you the best one to write this project. Typically, an editor that is interested in your idea will give you a business card and ask that you email the query or proposal.
Follow through. If an editor tells you to send in your project, do it! Editors report that only a small percentage of writers actually email their manuscript to the editor who requested it. In the subject line of your email, type the words ‘requested material.’ In the body of the email remind the editor that you met at the Maranatha Writers’ Conference. Editors get lots and lots of emails and attend lots and lots of conferences so make their job easier by helping the editor remember where the two of you crossed paths.
Make changes. If an editor recommends that you make changes or restructure the order of your chapters, do it! Industry professionals only offer suggestions if they see potential in the writer and/or the writing. Do the rewrites right away and resubmit with a note that says ‘Thank you for your suggestions to improve my writing. I followed your advice and appreciate your time to reconsider the new and improved version.
Be professional. Be courteous of the time. If you signed up for a 15-minute appointment to meet with an editor, publisher, agent, or author, arrive a few minutes early, wait patiently for your turn, and finish up on time. If you arrive late and overstay your appointment, this can reflect a lack of discipline for those all-important deadlines. Remember, in our industry if you cross the line, you are dead and those who counted on you will be reluctant to work with you again.
Smile and shake hands as you introduce yourself at the beginning of your appointment. Arrive in clean and professional attire – not a tux but certainly not your gardening clothes either. Check your teeth to be certain a poppy seed is not lodged between your front teeth, and kindly have pleasant breath. Introduce your project in two or three sentences. “My novel is about a judge who is asked to preside over a murder case he himself committed.” Leave a business card that has your photo on it.
Make a good first impression. What not to say is every bit as important as what to say. Statements that do not make friends and influence editors include: "The Lord told me your company is the one to publish my book.” “God gave me this.” “It’s an instant best seller.” “I watched all the Lord of the Rings movies so I know this story will sell for you.” “This is the next Left Behind series.” “This is the Christian version of Harry “Potter (or Twilight).” “I can see this as a feature film starring Cindy Crawford and Brad Pitt.” My mom (spouse, children, critique group, pet parrot, Aunt Tillie) love this so I know you will too.”
Have integrity. Author and director of the Professional Writing Department at Taylor University, Dr. Dennis Hensley said, “My pet peeve is when someone says,‘Dennis Hensley read my manuscript and thought it was wonderful,’ when, in fact, someone showed me the manuscript and I said it had potential but still needed a lot of copyediting and revision work.”
A manuscript that is not industry standard screams ‘novice who has not done their homework.’ In addition to your one sheet, bring a complete proposal with three sample chapters. Present a clean, single-sided, double-spaced manuscript in 12 point Times Roman – devoid of coffee and chocolate stains. Leave a one-inch margin on each side. In the header, include the title on the left side and the author’s name on the right. Page numbers centered in the footer.
Editors and agents typically can tell within the first couple paragraphs if a project interests them. One who is not interested in your initial idea may be interested in another one of your projects. Or not. Common questions an editor asks include: Who will read your book? Is there a need for this book? What makes you the best person to write this? Do you have publishing experience? How will you market this project? What is the length of the work and when will it be complete? Do you have a social media platform? What titles are already on the market in this topic? Long time editor at Harvest House, Nick Harrison said, “Whenever I see in a proposal or in a query letter, ‘there’s nothing else like it on the market,’ I cringe. First of all, if there’s truly nothing else like it out there, there’s probably a good reason – like no one is interested in that topic. Secondly, there often is something else out there but the author is simply showing his or her ignorance by not being aware of the competing books on that topic.”
Due to time constraints, appointments are scheduled during workshops. Quietly slip out for your meeting and feel free to return during the session. The conference is being recorded to allow you to catch up on material you missed while meeting with an editor.
If the person you want to meet with already has a full schedule, look to sit with them at a meal or talk during a break. Do not slide your manuscript to an editor under the bathroom stall.
Have fun. Breathe. Editors, publishers, agents, and authors are people like you who rotate their tires, and appreciate humor and authenticity. An editor that says a project is not a fit for their publishing house is not calling your baby ‘ugly.’ This is business and not personal. The goal is to learn from the feedback you receive and to connect your writing with publishers who share the same vision. Be open and teachable.
What if I want to change who I meet with? Or I don't know who to meet with?
We're here to help! The sooner you let us know you want to change appointments, the better. But we know that sometimes these decisions happen at the conference and that's fine too! If you want to change beforehand, or need help knowing who to meet with, email us at email@example.com or fill out our contact form below. We'll talk at the conference about how to change appointments and/or workshops while you're there.
How do I register for my one-to-one appointments?
Click on Register in the menu above (or call 231.798.2161), and purchase your registration. Make sure to include your email address, and we will email you a private link where you can register for all your appointments and workshops. If you register for the conference after September 1st, you will no longer be able to request your one-to-ones online and instead will need to sign up for them upon arrival at check-in.
During the Conference
Do I have to stay with the workshops within my "track"?
So, you're following the General track, but see a workshop in the Fiction track you'd like to do instead? No problem! Feel free to attend the workshop that best fits your needs. And because people are coming and going during workshops for their one-to-one appointments, it's okay for you to change your workshop even if you've already sat down to attend it.