This is my second SCBWI Summer Conference and I can't get over how professional and inspiring the event is every time I go. It's incredible to be in the same room as so many amazing people. I don't just mean the authors/publishers/editors/agents that go, but the people who come from all over the world because they love to write for children. They may not be published yet, have an agent or even have a completed manuscript but they feel compelled to be part of this. Everyone is friendly and supportive.
Instead of a blow by blow, I'll give some of my favorite highlights.
Here are some of the nuggets of information I walked away with:
How to approach agents without scaring them off. (Hint: Don't leave your query letter on their hotel pillow, how creepy is that?).
An inside look at what certain houses are looking for and what catches their eye.
What's hot, what's not.
There are some incredible artists illustrating for children.
Dressing like Where's Waldo means you'll get your picture taken a lot. (I was Waldo for the Heart and Soul Ball).
Non-fiction is really hot right now.
So are funny middle grade books.
Peer group critiques are helpful and you meet some awesome people.
Writing to trends means that the vampires win (Justin Chanda).
There is a massive amount of people and money involved between acquisition and publication.
I would listen to Ashley Bryan recite poetry any day of the week.
I also had the privilege to meet Jennifer Rees as she did my manuscript critique. She was funny and insightful. I came away from the meeting overflowing with ideas and the drive to revise!
The Heart and Soul Ball
The whole conference was overwhelmingly helpful and I can't wait until next year. If you've never been, I recommend saving up for it. It's worth every penny.