Earlier this month I attended the MO-SCBWI conference in St. Louis. The high point of attending a conference is, of course, the speakers and all that they have to offer to both aspiring and published authors. Here are some high points from this particular conference:
from Emma Dryden, consultant and former editor—Your website is key. Editors and agents check your web presence. If you’re not published yet, at least secure your domain name, which should be your own name.com, then create a simple page with your bio.
from Ellen Hopkins, YA author and poet—novel writing is ‘story-telling,’ and is not didactic; poetry is ‘painting pictures with words.’ She talked about writing bravely.
from David Harrison, author, on poetry collections—Know the common core state standards and what kids are studying in school. Choose a theme and make a list of possible poems to go with that theme.
from Will Terry, illustrator—The story is most important, then perfect your craft. The ‘tides are changing’—he does illustrations digitally now, and gathers his audience on places such as blogsites, facebook, flickr, twitter, UTube, and eblogger.
from Joyce Ragland, MO-SCBWI Regional Advisor— find a critique group; go to conferences and national conferences; network with other authors and editors.
Some other perks of attending conferences for children’s writers and illustrators—gathering together with others who understand what writers really do; meeting with old friends and making new ones; networking—sharing experiences and learning from each other’s past; getting face-to-face with editors, agents and authors and having an opportunity to ask those ‘burning’ questions.
Some perks of volunteering to help at a conference—spending one-on-one time with speakers as you drive them to the airport or time their critiques, and schmoozing at dinner the night before the conference starts.
There’s always so much to absorb and follow through on following a conference! Look for conferences for children’s writers and illustrators in your region at the SCBWI website at www.scbwi.org.