Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers under the various headings below
How can I know if this conference is right for me?
People at all stages of the writing journey attend Mount Hermon to find professional direction and divine guidance. If you love to write, come to Mount Hermon to learn how to improve your craft. If you’ve sensed God calling you to share your story or message through writing, discover how the Christian publishing world works. If you have a passion to get what the Lord has given you into the hands of readers, come discover what your options are.
Maybe you’ve already had some writing and publishing experience. Come to Mount Hermon to learn how to turn your hobby into a career. Multi-published authors can connect with peers for continued learning, encouragement,and spiritual refreshment.
You don’t need to come with a manuscript to submit. Just come with anticipation of what God will do for you here, through education, connections, exposure to industry professionals, and having fun with like-minded people who share your passion!
How do I submit the two free pre-conference manuscripts for review or critique?
Visit Advanced Submissions to learn more about the Two Free Pre-Conference Manuscript Submissions included in your conference registration. You’ll find the Manuscript Submission Form there as well.
Writing Projects & Proposals
Can I bring writing projects or proposals with me?
Yes. (Your own manuscripts, not the work of someone else.) Be aware that all manuscripts must go through the Manuscript Retrieval System. Bring extra copies of the manuscript(s) you sent in ahead of time—just in case someone else is interested in reviewing it, other projects or articles that you would like to pitch to an editor or agent while you are at the conference, copies of projects or articles that you can take to the critique team for suggestions on polishing or publishing.
Important: Bring extra 9 x 12 manila envelopes if you anticipate receiving additional requests from editors or agents to view your project samples.
What do I do if an agent or editor requests to see one of my manuscripts while I am at the conference?
All agents and editors of publishing houses or magazines will have forms for additional manuscript submissions at the conference. This allows each agent or editor an opportunity at the conference to review manuscripts beyond the pre-submitted manuscripts (those manuscripts sent prior to the conference according to the pre-conference submission guidelines).
If the agent or editor would like to see your project, you will be given a half-sheet form they have signed. Check to confirm that they have signed the form. The manuscript retrieval team cannot accept an unsigned form.
Fill out the top half of the signed form and take the form and your manuscript to Manuscript Retrieval in the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room, bottom floor of Dining Hall). Work with a Manuscript Retrieval team member to prepare your manuscript for processing. Please do not leave your manuscript at the table without completing the process.
The Manuscript Retrieval team will have a few extra 9×12 envelopes available, but please bring extra 9×12 manila envelopes to the conference if you anticipate receiving requests from editors to view your project samples. Be certain that you turn in your manuscript to a Manuscript Retrieval team member in the Hospitality Center. Otherwise, we cannot guarantee that your manuscript will be routed as you desire.
Important: Although the editor may request to see your manuscript, his or her first priority is to review the pre-submitted manuscripts. Be patient as you check at the Manuscript Retrieval Center in the writers’ Hospitality Center for your returned manuscript.
Can I make copies or print samples of my writing project while at the conference?
For a small charge, copying and printing is available at the conference in the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room).
Meeting Editors & Agents
What are the best ways for me to connect with agents and editors at the conference?
Spend time ahead of the conference becoming familiar with the editors and agents who will be there. Research their publishing houses, magazines, and agencies to determine which might be the best fit for the writing that you do.
Attend the Faculty Meet & Greet on Friday at 3:00 pm in the Fieldhouse.
Attend an editor’s or agent’s workshop where you can hear more about him or her, their publishing house, and interests.
Agents and editors are more than happy to answer questions when they are out and about walking to and from events. Be courteous and respectful and check to see if that moment is a good time for your question or if there is a better time and place.
Agents, editors, and teaching faculty host tables during the lunches and dinners, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, beginning with dinner on Friday. If you sit at an agent’s or editor’s table, you may have an opportunity to share your 30-second elevator pitch for your project or an overview of what you enjoy writing. You may also ask questions about the agency, publishing house, or magazine. Important: Be courteous to allow time for the editor or agent to eat his or her meal and to speak to meet and hear from everyone at the table. If the editor is interested in your project, he may request to see the project. If so, you would take your writing project sample and a signed request form to Manuscript Retrieval in the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room).
Be prepared to answer the most common questions that will come up, like: What are your writing interests? What are you writing right now? And some editors might ask: What are you reading right now or have read recently?
After an agent or editor reviews your manuscript, he or she may request an appointment with you. Locate the editor at his or her table during lunch or dinner to set up a time and location that will work for both of you.
How can I make an appointment with an agent or an editor?
A blank appointment schedule is included as part of the materials you’ll receive in your Conference Folder when you arrive at the front desk to check-in. Use the blank schedule to note appointments with editors, agents, or freelancers. Editors and agents have these schedules available as well. Some may choose to wait until after they have reviewed the manuscripts they have been given. Others may want to schedule appointments from the beginning of the conference.
If an agent or editor expresses interest in your project, ask if they’d like to schedule an appointment with you to further discuss it or to look at a sample.
Decide on a time and location and make sure these are written down on both of your appointment calendars.
Be on time for the appointment. But sometimes the editor or agent is running behind schedule. They appreciate your patience.
How do I prepare a 30-second pitch for my project?
Basically, a pitch is what you prepare to say in fifty words or less. Include the name of your project and its intended audience, tell what it is about in an interesting way. You may write it out and memorize it, but the key is to share it naturally and with enthusiasm.
Don’t miss the First Timers Orientation or the Returners’ Reunion as this is something that will be addressed. Also, feel free to stop by Manuscript Retrieval in the Hospitality Center. A team member would be happy to provide guidelines to prepare a pitch or listen to your pitch and offer feedback.
Tracks & Workshops
Will there be handouts or outlines for the sessions/workshops?
There will be no printed handouts given at the conference. All handouts are available in the online conference binder. You may want to download this binder to your laptop or tablet that you plan to take to the conference. Or print out the pages for the sessions or workshops you plan to attend.
If I need help choosing my Major Morning Track, workshops, or generally how to plan my conference time, who can I talk to?
You can stop by the Hospitality Center (Multi-Purpose Room, bottom floor of Dining Hall) and talk to a Manuscript Retrieval Team or Critique Team member. The team members are professional writers and have been Mount Hermon conference attendees and faculty for several years. They are familiar with the conference and are available to work with you to devise a conference plan of action tailored to your interests, including potential editors that you might like to talk to. You may do this anytime during the conference as you see your interests or needs change. Conference faculty and hospitality team members are available to encourage and to help. Don’t be afraid to ask.
How do I dress for the conference?
Dress is casual. Be comfortable as you learn and connect. This normally means slacks or jeans. Our campus is hilly with many uneven walkways—wear comfortable footwear.
My clothes and such, but what else should I bring with me to the conference?
Extra Things You Might Want to Bring
- Extra copies of your writing samples
- Empty 9×12 envelopes in case you have an opportunity to submit a writing sample to an agent or editor through the Manuscript Retrieval System during the conference.
- Business cards with your name, address, phone number, e-mail, website, and any pertinent information. Use these to introduce yourself to faculty members, editors, and agents during meals and consultation appointments.
- Portfolio of previously published works. If you’re not published, bring samples of your best work to date.
- Umbrella, other rain gear
- An extension cord, if you’re bringing any kind of electric appliance, phone charger, computer.
- Comfortable walking shoes. Maybe even hiking shoes.
- Coat or jacket. Evenings are generally cool, so layering is the way to go.
- Big bar of soap, extra hangers, extra towels. All housing at Mount Hermon includes the provision of linens, towels and starter soap. Towels are changed once, mid-conference. No daily maid service on any units.
- A small, high-intensity lamp might be helpful for in-room study or writing, as most sleeping rooms have only “atmosphere” lighting.
Will basic supplies and writing resources be available at the conference?
Yes. The Mount Hermon Book Shop carries some clothing items, CDs, Bibles, general Christian books, and has a limited sundries section with items you may have forgotten, including toothpaste, aspirin, postcards, etc.
Our separate Writers’ Conference Bookstore in Ivy Dining Room stocks writing resources and faculty-authored books. Look for the special selection of books on writing recommended by the faculty, plus the latest titles authored by faculty and registrants. Books will be sold throughout the week and be available for the Autograph Party Monday evening honoring all our authors.
Note: Visa® and MasterCard® are accepted in both the Mount Hermon Book Shop and the Writers’ Conference Bookstore.
What NOT to bring:
Don’t bother lugging a print-out of your complete manuscript in the hopes that an agent or acquisitions editor (or even a freelance editor) will take it on the spot. Everyone has limited luggage space! A one-sheet, mini-proposal, or a few sample pages will be sufficient. If a faculty member wants more, he or she will request that you email it after the conference.
Fragrances. Please do not bring perfume, cologne, scented lotions, etc. Since many people have allergies or sensitivities to various smells, we have a fragrance-free policy. Please note that this applies to cigarettes (tobacco or vape/electronic) as well. All of our housing is smoke-free. Since both perfumes and smoke can linger on your clothing and in your hair, causing potential discomfort for others, please refrain from those things throughout your time at the conference (including transportation from and to the airport).
If you must use essential oils for medical reasons, we ask you to limit your use to inside your room and take appropriate measures so the fragrance isn’t on your hair or clothing when you leave your room. To help us with lodging assignments, please advise the Registrar if you require essential oils for medical reasons or if you have a strong sensitivity to fragrance.
A hard-and-fast agenda of what you expect to get out of attending this conference. You may not be able to meet with the faculty members of your choice. The agents you speak with might not fall in love with your concept or your writing. The publishers you talk to may not see a way that your project fits into their plans. Come with a heart and mind that are open to whatever God has in store for you this week.
If I have authored a book, is there a way to sell it at the conference?
Yes. Registrants who are published book authors may bring their own pre-priced books to put on consignment at our Writers’ Conference Bookstore in Ivy Dining Room.
- There is a 20% consignment fee for all books/product consigned to the Writers’ Bookstore.
- Please price all books on the BACK cover, even numbers. For example: $5.00, not $4.99).
- The consignment form is here. Please have the form filled out prior to the conference and sent to Joy Harrison (see e-mail address on top of form), or bring a completed hard copy with you to turn in at the Writers’ Conference Bookstore.
Making the most of the Conference
How do I make the most of my conference time?
The most crucial way to make the most of the conference is to spend time in prayer prior to attending.
Prepare your heart and mind for the busy schedule and for the unexpected. Be aware of your expectations and remain open to allow God to take you in new directions with your writing goals.
It could be that the best way to spend your time at the conference is by meeting other writers who can support you on your writing journey, or by focusing in on how you can improve your writing and make it stronger.
The conference is not about publishing what we brought as much as discovering how we can become prayerful professionals who are more informed about the industry and where God is leading us to find our place in it.
Pray about specific personal and professional goals that you’d like to keep loosely in mind for the conference. “Loosely” because the conference experience will have the greatest impact when you remain open to the new possibilities and opportunities God might bring about during this time.
Writers’ conferences are essential to an author’s career. They are a great place to connect with editors and agents, network with other writers, and learn. By choosing Mount Hermon you will be attending one of the best! But conferences can also be intimidating, especially your first one.
Here are some additional tips to help you make the most of the conference:
- Review all of the information provided on this website
- If this is your first time at Mount Hermon, be sure to attend the First Timers Orientation, Friday at 1:45 pm
- Study the options for your Major Morning Tracks before you arrive at the conference.
- Read over the tentative list of Afternoon Workshops. Some may change, but it won’t hurt to have an idea of those that are of most interest to you.
- Read the Editorial Needs Listings from the Agents and Editors, even if you don’t plan to submit anything ahead of time. Then if you are brave enough to pitch your idea at the conference, you’ll know who to talk to.
- If at all possible, take it easy the week before the conference. Chances are that several days of travel, workshops, appointments, community, and late nights is not your daily norm. You don’t want to be tired before you begin.
- Pray that you will be open to what God wants to lead you to, show you, and teach you at Mount Hermon.