by Jenne Acevedo

Our annual conference opened in Grand Rapids with keynote Robert Hudson, author of The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style. Although like a celebrity in our industry, Robert had a kind heart and encouraging message that instantly captured our attention.

PENCON 2018’s experienced faculty challenged us to dig deeper into developmental edits, find new ways to hold the attention of an online audience, master The Chicago Manual of Style, create better style sheets, and stop the doubting voices that say we are imposters. We learned from editors and publishers about the steps to publish a book, starting a new freelance business, when to use the different style guides, and how to work for a publishing house. And that’s only a snapshot.

New freelancers with merely weeks of experience and experienced editors with more than forty years in the industry sat together and learned from one another. One attendee said “[God] brought me unique opportunities at PENCON, for which I am humbly grateful.” Freelancers and in-house editors found the workshops informative and even entertaining. Everyone was eager to learn something new. Attendees and faculty alike made lasting connections in this industry that is so much more about networking that most of us realize.

Chatter continued throughout the conference as attendees tried to figure out where the 2019 conference would be held. The room broke into applause at conference closing when Nashville, Tennessee, was announced. Everyone talked about how they look forward to attending again next year. And a senior editor at Baker Publishing Group is already planning on sending her in-house editors!

Keep an eye out for more announcements about next year. Let us know if you wish to join the planning team or have suggestions for Nashville.

If you couldn’t make it to the conference this year, you can still learn from our incredible faculty. Preorder the audio recordings online now. The full set is $125.00 and individual sessions are $10.00 each. The audio is being processed this week and will be available for instant download by next week. One attendee said the workshops had “so much solid content I can apply right now,” so be sure to check out what you missed.

Jenne Acevedo is a freelance editor, writing consultant, and editing instructor who encourages and assists both writers and editors. She is a co-owner of Christian Editor Network LLC, the director of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network, the director of PENCON (an annual conference for Christian editors), a member of the Christian Editor Connection, and an instructor for The PEN Institute. Jenne also leads the Chandler Writers’ Group (Arizona), which she started in 2011. Find out more about Jenne at