Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don't Overlook Valuable Writing Connections

by Lynn H Blackburn 

Last month I wrote about some of the things I wish I’d known when my writing journey began. Today, I want to share something else that may be beneficial, whether you’ve only dipped your toes in the writing waters or have been swimming along for a while now.

Here it is . . .

In my humble opinion, your fellow writers are at least as important and in many cases are more important to your success than any agent or editor.

Now hear me out on this. I have the BEST agent. BEST. There is no way I would be where I am today without her. I have been privileged to work with AMAZING editors. The kind of editors who tell you half the story works and half of it doesn’t and you wind up being so glad you listened to them. There are a couple of awards on my mantle that would NOT be there without my editor.

So don’t anyone read this and think I’m saying that editors and agents aren’t important. They are. In fact, they are often referred to as the gatekeepers of the industry. Which is true. And that’s why it makes sense that writers often feel the opportunity to pitch to a particular agent or editor is the holy grail. The key to their publishing success.

And, in some cases, it is. But . . . not always.

In fact, it has been my personal experience, and the experience of many others, that the “holy grail” for their career has been the relationships they have with other authors.

In my case, it was authors who encouraged me to enter a contest. Authors who critiqued my work as I submitted it to each round. Authors who rejoiced with me when I got a contract.

It was an author who introduced me to her agent. It was an author who put out feelers for me when I was wondering about interest in a series idea. It was an author who introduced me to her editor at a conference.

And here’s why I’m bringing this up.

Right now, lots of writers are preparing for conferences. They are entering contests and polishing manuscripts and one sheets and proposals and when they are trying to decide which conferences to attend and which appointments to make, they are hyper focused on one group.

Agents and editors.

In the process, they all but ignore the opportunities to hang out with authors. It’s not that they aren’t interested in meeting authors, but they see those relationships as the icing on the career cake, rather than what it is . . . a very crucial layer.

I can say this because I’ve lived it. I chose my first conference because of the editors and agents who would be there. At every meal, I made it a point to sit with—you guessed it—agents and editors.

But guess who else was at that conference? Authors. Lots of them. Award-winning, best-selling, indie, traditional, hybrid, multi-published in every imaginable genre authors. And the kind of authors who teach at writing conferences also tend to be the kind of authors who are willing to share their experiences with new writers who are learning the ropes.

So as you look at your precious writing dollars and try to decide which conference is the best one for you, don’t ignore the options that don’t have as many agent/editor appointments but abound with opportunities to get on a first name basis with big name authors.

Don’t assume if a national conference isn’t in your budget that all is lost. Get yourself in a local ACFW chapter or a Word Weavers group. Go to a regional conference or an author led event where the student to faculty ratio is small. Be friendly. Make friends.

And when you do go to the huge conferences, don’t squander the opportunities to hang out with the authors, whether there’s an agent in sight or not.

Because guess who those authors are already on a first-name basis with?

The very agents and editors you want to meet.

Let’s talk about this in the comments.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, releases June 2017. You can follow her real life happily ever after on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and at


  1. Excellent post, Lynn! It's all about building friendships and connections, one shared laugh at a time. Because who gets us better than another writer?

  2. This is one of the reasons I love Word Weavers. All are peers, regardless of position in the literary field.

  3. Well said. Relationships encourage fellow writers to knock on perceived barred doors. Thanks for sharing your discoveries with us as we prep for future conferences, Lynn.

  4. Good job,Lynn! I say Amen! And we invite any who live in driving distance to visit our next ACFW-SC chapter meeting, Sat., April 22, 2 to 5 PM at North Anderson Baptist Church, Anderson, S. C. Edie Melson is our speaker for April. Our meetings consist of a free class the first half and critique sessions the second half. For more info, writers can check out our chapter blog at Or contact me through my web site at
    Elva Cobb Martin,
    Pres. ACFW-SC Chapter

  5. Agreed! I've gotten to know some wonderful authors, who have made this journey worthwhile... :)

  6. Lynn - such an insightful post. Thanks for sharing and encouraging.

  7. Your writing is very great. You told about five best tips. If you share best writing tips with grammatically errors, Its become better.