ACFW has only been around since 2000. I was the 94th member to join in January of 2001. At that time, it was the ACRW, the "R" standing for Romance. When I joined, I didn't consider myself a romance writer (still don't), but I was convinced that all genres would be represented in the organization. In 2004, they adopted the new title, American Christian Fiction Writers.
Although ACFW is a relatively young organization, it is considered one of the best around for Christian fiction authors. I've heard it said that the annual conference has become the premiere Christian fiction conference in the country. I agree 100%.
When I knew I wanted to get serious about achieving my goal of becoming a published author, I started to attend writer’s conferences. There’s so much to learn of the craft, and I found face-to-face instruction the best way to gain that knowledge. The ACFW conference was the first national conference I attended. I went there knowing only a handful of writers and left having made many new, lasting friendships. Despite its size, the ACFW conference has a warm, welcoming air to it.
So if you've never attended writers conference and you're considering taking your career to the next level, plan on attending the ACFW conference. It will propel you into the heart of the Christian fiction industry where you'll learn more about the craft, have the opportunity to get some face time with agents and editors, and make amazing friendships with fellow writers. Perhaps you'll even have a spiritual encounter with the Author of Life. This conference has a designated prayer room where there's always someone available to pray with you.
I credit ACFW and their annual conference with being instrumental in helping me to achieve my long-time goal of becoming a published author. I began attending the yearly event in 2004, and in 2006 I had a serendipitous meeting with Jan Stob (acquisitions editor for Tyndale House) over lunch on the last day of the conference. That lunch resulted in Jan requesting my proposal and ultimately presenting me with a contract in March of 2007. This past AprilSearching for Spice was released, and the sequel, Out of Her Hands, will be available in October.
So if anyone asks me if the ACFW Conference is worthwhile, my answer is YES!
I hope to see you in Minneapolis!