So, I’m posting late about my recent trip to New York for the SCBWI conference. (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). It really was a great experience. As per request, (you know who you are) :) I will post a few details from the trip.
Lois Lowry, author of many great stories such as, The Giver and Anastacia Krupnik—and many more, spoke of how she came up with ideas of her stories and told of her sister’s death and her father’s dementia and how she drew from those hard times for ideas for her stories. She suggested to “Look for stories from the past with emotion.” She also said how kids always ask her if she has a dog…yes she does and he is cute!
I listened to two great agents speak—Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, and Dan Lazar of Writer’s house. They spoke of what makes a great query-- and read examples of both good and bad. What they are looking for etc. They generously answered many questions by the group.
I should mention that a fabulous lunch was served on Saturday—we can’t forget the food, right?
Jen Besser, publisher from Penguin was there. She mentioned that those at the conference could submit within the next two months directly to them. (As opposed to through an agent.) It was interesting to hear from the eyes of a publishing company.
Sara Zarr, author of, Once was Lost, Sweethearts, and many more spoke on Sunday. Her words were very touching. She spoke of struggling in the industry for a long time and of how frustrating it was for her in the years previous. I really enjoyed listening to her and she rang very true to heart.
R.L Stine, was a riot. He told a funny story about how a kid once said to him, “I’ve read like 62 of your books, and I’m wondering why they’re so bad?” I could be wrong on the number of books he said, but it was so funny! He seemed so down to earth and kind.
Linda Sue Park, author of A Long Walk To Water, and who contributed to 39 Clues. She wrote book 9. (Plus many more novels of course) spoke on Sunday as well. She spoke of believing in yourself and how she has struggled with that. She said that people will say to you, “Believe in yourself!” But she went on to ask how can you believe in yourself if you just don’t. She then suggested, don’t worry about believing in yourself—believe in the work. Believe. In. The. Work. Good advice, right? She also spoke of a boy who came to one of her book signings with one of her novels to sign. It was tattered and weathered and when he got up to her he seemed all flustered. He said he’d forgotten the exact number of times that he’d read that book, and had wanted to tell her but it was at least 60 (again I forget the exact number she mentioned, but it was a lot) She always remembers that boy because isn’t that why we writers do what we do? So that someone will appreciate and enjoy our work? Sweet story.
There was a funny group of people that spoke of how to do funny for young readers and why. The guy that sat at the right of the table—who was a fill in I may add—stole the show. It was a real comedy fest. I wish I’d taken more notes to tell you some jokes—I guess you’ll have to check out a conference sometime soon.
Throughout it all, there were books to buy and book autographing sessions by the authors and an all-around good time. If you can get to a SCBWI conference sometime, I would highly recommend it.