By Del Duduit
This past week, I was on staff at the North Carolina Christian Writers Conference where I met with authors and writers to hear their pitches, and I tried my best to offer advice and encouragement to assist them in their writing journey.
It was also my first conference as a junior literary agent. I know I have a lot to learn but this side of the “industry” is exciting and intriguing.
I also taught a course called “From Conference to Contract” where I told attendees to be bold and ask for the commitment from publishers and agents and editors. One of them took me up on it, literally.
After dinner that evening, Lori approached me and put her faith into action.
She took a bold step and asked me to represent her as part of her dream to sign a book contract with a traditional publisher.
I accepted and we all celebrated. Lori is an excellent author, and I’m excited and humbled to represent her. She has an impressive platform and has already been published.
Then I met another man.
He was attending his first conference and doesn’t have any real platform to speak of. His work needs to improve, and he knows that. But he has a great idea, and a broad vision. He was there for a reason. He was searching.
He soaked up all the advice and loved the atmosphere. He told me that he never knew what to expect at his first writers conference but was blown away when it was over.
Brad reminded me of myself four years ago when I began my writing journey.
Most attendees attend a writer’s conference to learn, to network, to re-energize, to pitch to publishers, and to seek representation from agents. This is why Brad came. To learn.
This is why I went to my first conference three years ago. It was as if I was seeing me all over again — but with shorter hair.
When we talked, I felt impressed to offer my services to him – much in the same way Cyle did with me.
Cyle could have told me three years ago to build my platform, work on my manuscripts and get back in touch with him a year later. I could have said the same thing to Brad.
But something – it must have been a God thing – told me to give him the same opportunity I was given.
Brad and I have a lot in common. He was the same age I was three years ago, and he attended his first conference for the same reasons I did. He was entering a journey.
He has an inspirational story to tell, as I did. He just needed some guidance, encouragement, and a writing family, just like I did.
Brad has that now.
There were several budding authors at last weekend’s Serious Writer event who have stories that need to be told. Some of them made big decisions about their commitment to their writing careers, and they discovered that they have a family of professionals who will advise them along the way.
The point here is to never forget when someone takes a chance on you, to give back.
I am honored and humbled they put their trust in me. I will do my best, but I am also learning.
I’m excited for what lies ahead for Brad and Lori, and I want to be able to celebrate with them when their manuscripts are picked up by a publisher. Who knows what’s ahead? Only God.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7: 12 KJV)
Have you ever returned a favor given to you? Have you ever seen potential in someone? How did you respond?
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
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