Thursday, June 9, 2016

Are You Investing in Your Writing—That Might be Your BEST Next Step

Edie here. Today I'm excited to introduce you to a good writing buddy of mine, Felicia Bridges. Her first novel, CzechMate will definitely put her on the list of novelists to watch. It's great blend of YA intrigue with a missions slant. I can personally recommend it as a new book to put on your to read list.

Are You Investing in Your Writing?
by Felicia Bridges @FBridges272

What is the single most important step you took toward becoming a published author?

If I could offer up one piece of advice to the writer who has been scribbling or tapping away for years, dreaming of some day seeing their words bound up in a glossy cover with their name on the front, it would be to attend a regional writers conference.

I know, for many it may seem like a huge leap of faith to invest hundreds of dollars or more when you haven’t published anything and aren’t even sure if you are a “real” writer.
Here’s why it is worth every penny:
1. By taking that leap, you are declaring to the world, but more importantly to yourself, that you ARE a writer. There are no real writers and not-so-real writers. When you attend the conference, you will discover a family that you’ve been part of without every having known it. You will hear others share the same doubts and fears that have kept you hiding behind a laptop but never hitting ‘SEND’ on a proposal or query letter. Even keynote speakers and multi-published authors confess the anxiety they have when they launch their latest work into the mailbox of their agent or publisher and await the verdict.

2. You’ll also learn how much you have left to learn. Even if you’ve been writing since childhood, taken college level creative writing classes, and written articles for the local paper, attending a conference will leave you gasping at the vast array of knowledge you have yet to learn. But that is a good thing. Recognizing what you have yet to learn is absolutely necessary in order for you to learn those skills. Take in as much as you can. Order the audio tapes to continue your learning in the months ahead. Follow the blogs of conference faculty. Apply what you’ve learned to everything you write.

3. Finally, attending a conference and taking advantage of the opportunities there to network and build relationships will be invaluable to you as you take the next steps in your writing journey. Whether it is prayer partners, friends to encourage you when you start collecting rejections, or mentors who provide the harsh truth with diplomacy and compassion, each person you meet at a writer’s conference will contribute to the path you are paving toward publication.

My Personal Experience
I attended my first writers conference in 2010, after about two years of contemplation and procrastination. A friend finally pushed me to go ahead and do it and when financial struggles threatened to provide an excuse, God stepped in with a scholarship! I drove toward the conference thinking that perhaps I would leave with a contract on my book – and I drove home acutely aware that my books was not ready for publication and that I had a great deal of work to do. With a full-time job, a full-time ministry and a full-time family of four, the work was slow and painful and, admittedly, I was terrified to finally send the work I had poured so much of my self into for so long only to be shot down, ridiculed and rejected. Hitting ‘send’ on that proposal felt a lot like dropping off my baby at college and praying I had done enough to prepare her for success.

The publishers I submitted my proposal to were ones I had met at a writer’s conference.

The agent who agreed to represent me I also met at a writer’s conference.

The friends who have prayed for my proposal, who have graciously allowed me to guest blog for them, who have shared and retweeted and favorited my posts to help me build a platform, I met at a writer’s conference.

Within ninety days of finally submitting the proposal and manuscript that I had worked on for over ten years, I had signed a contract with Vinspire Publishing for both the first and second book in the series.

Which writer’s conference are you going to register for to take your writing from a dream to a reality?

Are you investing in your #writing - @FBridges272 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Nicole Wise loves her new life in Prague almost as much as she loves telling people about Jesus. But when an election upset changes the balance of power in the formerly communist country, Nicole’s outspoken attempts at evangelism lead to her parents’ arrest on espionage charges. Teaming up with Jakub, a handsome, young Romani Czech, who has grown up homeless, Nicole and her little brother, Adam, evade corrupt authorities by hiding out in underground tunnels of the ancient city while hoping to find evidence of their parents’ innocence. Their last resort is to make the proof public in a desperate bid to save them before it’s too late. When Nicole and Adam’s parents are caught in a standoff between political forces that threaten to erupt into a bloody civil war, Nicole finds herself standing alone against an army, faith her only defense.

Felicia Bridges’ nomadic childhood as an Army BRAT created a passion for missions and travel which energizes her writing. The International Mission Force Series, featuring teenage missionaries around the world, begins with CzechMate, available now. Book two, BoliviaKnight will release in December 2016.

Felicia has a B.A. in Psychology/Human Resources Development from North Carolina State University. Her ten years experience as an HR Manager provides for interesting stories and as a Dale Carnegie Course graduate, she is equally comfortable speaking to a stranger or an auditorium full of people.

Catch up with Felicia’s adventures at:, where she focuses on living on mission wherever life's adventure leads. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.


  1. Thanks Felicia. I am currently at the Write-to-Publish conference in Wheaton, IL. I, like you, learned 2 years ago when I attended WTP that I was nowhere close to publishing my book. I connected with people from the industry, made friends, and started building my platform over these last couple of years. This weekend, I am able to meet publishers, editors and others to say "Thank you" for helping me on my journey. I am getting closer to a book publication, but still have a ways to go. I definitely would agree that a writing conference is vital in a writer's journey. Thanks again.

  2. Felicia, I have attended 4 conferences within the last 2 years. I now have an agent and my first book is under contract. I was awarded scholarships and worked extra hard to make the money to go. My husband took on extra work too. The investment is worth every penny. I will attend the New England Christian Writers Retreat and plan to go to the Greater Philly Conference. I get educated and encouraged at conferences. Thanks again for your post.

    1. Cherrilynn, thanks so much! Would love to do New England Christian Writers Retreat - one of the greatest "finds" at my first conference (in addition to Edie!) was my dear friend Lori Roeleveld who is teaching there I believe!

  3. I agree whole heartedly. I attend Crimebake each year and have made excellent connections as well as learn so much on the craft of writing each year. By attending something regionally it's affordable.

    1. Linda, thanks for the feedback. I hadn't heard of Crimebake- sounds intriguing. Where is it?

  4. Thanks Sheryl! I know you must be having a great experience at Write to Publish. Be sure to check out Jim Watkins classes! He is fantastic and so funny!