Happy Wednesday, everyone, time for our final Conference Challenge, woo-HOO!
Okay. Perhaps this might be taking the easy way out, seeing as how we’ve used the same final challenge for the past … oh, what, four conferences? But Susan and I like to view it as being traditional. Tradition is good, right? I’m pretending you said yes, so once again, your last challenge is easy but necessary for all conference attendees: Spending at least thirty minutes preparing for a successful conference!
Is this your first conference?
Awesome! We’re so happy you’re taking a major step to better your career. Refer to our Conference Critique Workshop #4 post that has general tips. I always prepare by:
- Printing business cards. Nothing fancy, just your name, phone number, and email address on standard business card paper from Staples is fine! You never know who you’ll meet and business cards are a lot easier than scribbling on scrap paper.
- Previewing books that our presenting editors and agents have represented in order to get a better feel of their tastes.
- Printing directions to The Claggett Center or loading the GPS now rather than waiting until Saturday morning when you’re already late! (Been there, done that.)
- And reviewing the schedule to decide which breakout sessions you’d like to attend.
Are you ready to get your Twitter on?
No? Then be sure to refer to our previous post by Tracey Gold: 5 Ways Writers and Illustrators Can Use Twitter, Plus #Lucky13 to get the scoop on Twitter and learn how to interact with other attendees by using #Lucky13 in all your conference tweets!
Are you interesting in signing up for a critique group but don’t know how?
No worries, just refer back to our post by critique coordinator, Shelley Koons for all the details.
Did you get an email with last-minute conference details?
Everyone who is registered should have received one. Make sure you read it for important bits of information!
Have you paid for a critique?
Then refer to the same above Workshop #4: Surviving your first critique and prepare by:
- Printing a copy of your manuscript so you can follow along without having to crane your neck to read your reviewer’s copy.
- Making a list of specific questions about your manuscript or publishing in general so you’ll be ready if there’s any spare time and you’ll get the most for your money!
- And for a bonus: Memorizing a short, intriguing pitch for the manuscript you’re having reviewed and any others. That way, if an editor or agent asks, “Tell me about your story,” or “What else are you working on,” you won’t become all deer in headlights, and mumble, “Um . . . it’s, ah . . . you know, about a girl.” Again. Been there, done that.
Don’t have a pitch for your manuscript?
No worries, you still have time. Check out our Workshop #5: Perfecting Your Book Pitch post for tips!
Are you going to participate in the First Page/First Looks session?
If your answer is no, then seriously reconsider. They are AWESOME! And if you’re lucky enough to have your page selected, where else will you get the chance to receive instant feedback from the pros . . . for free??
If you are participating, then now is the time to spit-shine and polish the sucker. For some tips, refer to Workshop #1: Opening Lines, Workshop #2: Amazing First Pages and to be sure your submission is formatted correctly, Workshop #3: Formatting.
Once it’s ready, be sure to follow these guidelines from the SCBWI MD/DE/WV website:
For manuscripts, bring four copies of the first page of your manuscript, strictly limited to 200 words. Do not include your name, but do include the working title of the manuscript. Indicate the genre: picture book (PB), middle grade (MG), or young adult (YA). We will break into genre groups. Deposit your paper-clipped pages at the registration table on Sunday morning. One submission per attendee only.
Illustrators, you’ve already finished your work, since the deadline for submissions was September 9th. All you have to do now is show up!
And might I offer one suggestion for participants? While your submission is being read, have a friend or neighbor jot down notes along with you so nothing is missed. In the past, I became so overwhelmed while my first page was being critiqued that afterwards, I was like, “Huh? What did they just say?”
Have you been taking your vitamins?
Seriously. No fooling with this one. Have you?
Anyone who’s been to a two-day conference knows that they can be very, very tiring. Sometimes by the end of Sunday, I’m in serious information overload and my brain feels like total mush on the drive home.
Some ways to prevent this is to drink plenty of water, step outside for fresh air whenever you need a break, bring some healthy snacks if muffins and cookies puts you to sleep, wear comfortable shoes (yeah, right, like I ever listen to that advice,) and take your vitamins! Your brain will thank me come Monday morning when you are inspired, pumped, and ready to write or draw.
Have you read all our pre-conference interviews? If not, here they are again:
Have you missed our previous challenges and still want to be entered in the drawing for our giveaway basket?
No worries, you still have time to catch up, but our deadline is Friday and you must leave a comment on each challenge post that you’ve completed for your entry to count. And for motivation, here’s the yummy arcs I scored at the BEA that are going in the baskets, along with other goodies:
It’s not too late to start! Just follow the links:
Do you have any other questions?
Please feel free to leave it in the comments section below and if I don’t have the answer – I’ll find someone who does.
Have a great week, and an even better conference!