Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Reasons you will Love the ACFW!

Last night I went to a meeting of my local American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Association. Angela Breidenbach, multi-published author, beauty queen, brain donor advocate, and cat lover, gave us powerful advice on how to maintain a professional, but real, image online and off. Angela was hilarious, warm, touching, and most of all, real. I loved how her actions and interactions with the group of authors matched her message to a T.

I had such a great time last night that I wanted to spend the morning singing the praises of getting involved with your genre association. So without further ado, here are the top ten reasons to participate in your local ACFW chapter (or other genre association.)

  1. Fellowship. That's the church word for getting together with people who understand what you are going through and who can offer their support and sympathy.
  2. Networking. That's the business word for meeting people you like who you would like to work with. At our genre association I have connected with editors, proofreaders, mentors, and designers who I can use or recommend to other writers.
  3.  Advice. The speakers who come to our meetings have experience and wisdom. They've learned the hard way, and they will share with you so you can learn something new the hard way.
  4. Snacks. (I like to eat. ) ;)
  5. The Secret Handshake. It's not a literal handshake at our local chapter, but there is a lingo, a jargon, to this business, as there is with anything. The best way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself in it!
  6. The End of Loneliness. Lots of writers are introverts. I am not. I am an extrovert. When my batteries need to be charged I go to Wal-Mart because there are so many people there! Writing is such a quiet, alone kind of job. These association meetings bring people together and help end that loneliness. I got more hugs than I could count last night.
  7. Strength Training. Most people have more than one skill. When you participate in your local association you can use some of those talents that you don't tap into while writing. Every chapter needs a treasurer, someone to make snacks for Traci, someone who likes to organize a room, someone who likes to network with speakers. If you have a talent of any kind, your genre association could be blessed by it.
  8. New Things to Read. Speakers bring books to sell. Other authors bring books. I also left with an advanced reader copy I am excited about. What writer doesn't love shiny new books?
  9. Critique Groups. This is separate from Networking not just because I needed another item. Crit groups are that important in and of themselves. Anyone who has read Foreclosed and Good, Clean Murder (My first book and my most recent book) can see what a difference a good critique group makes.
  10. Opportunity. This probably encapsulates everything else I've listed. Your genre association represents a great opportunity to get involved with a community of writers. I can't predict all of the doors that will open for you when you get involved, but I know for sure you will not be sorry that you did!    

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery Series, and one of the authors in the The Tangle Saga series of science fiction novellas. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. Traci serves as the Vice President of the Portland chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association.
Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

More of Traci's work can be found at http://www.tracihilton.com



  1. Traci,
    This is so true. If it hadn't been for ACFW I don't know if I would have ever published. The support and teaching is beyond great!

    Deborah Malone
    "Death in Dahlonega"
    "Murder in Marietta"

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I agree--Angie is wonderful AND so is ACFW. Are you going to the conference this year?

  3. Not this year! Wish I could though. I'm going to try and go to the Oregon Christian Writers conference this year, and God willing the ACFW next. :)

  4. Are they letting in indie authors yet? Sounds like a wonderful group.

    ~Nancy Jill

  5. Yup!

    There are limitations to what indies can do regarding their promo opportunities, but the fellowship and learning is open to anyone. I have several really good friends who are indies and in the ACFW the same as I am. :)


  6. Nancy--yes indie authors are always welcome! However, you can only enter contests if you're traditionally pubb'd. A lot of trad-pubb'd authors are indie pubbing on the side, so there's a lot of company:) There's so much to learn--every time I go I return home with a head full of new ideas and ways to apply them. Love it.

  7. There's just so much more to it than the contests, or even the fiction finder function on the website. It's such a great organization for fellowship and learning. :)

    I was nudged and nudged to join by a family friend (name drop warning: Kim Vogel Sawyer), but when the inestimable queen of the cozy, Lorena McCourtney told me to join on facebook (and no, I don't think she'd remember me or the conversation! lol) I knew I had to do it!

    I had put it off out of fear that I wasn't a "real" author, or wasn't good enough, but the group is so open and welcoming to writers at all levels, that I wish I had joined sooner.

    I've been impressed again and again at what a lovely, supportive group it is. They share and share alike, rejoicing with everyone who finds success. :)

  8. By which I mean, rejoicing as each writer passes whatever their newest milestone is, from finishing their first WIP, to getting their first clip in a magazine to getting another great multi-book contract. The events are all treated with respect and even joy. :)

    I'm gushing, I know, but it was a lot of fun last night.

    1. Going to check it out again. Thanks, ladies.

      ~Nancy Jill


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