We are now one week away from the From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI Conference, only one week away! I’ve tried to figure you how many years I’ve been attending our region’s annual conferences … wow, around fifteen, give or take? But I do know that I’ve loved each and every one. Why? Because everyone there understands the significance of this scene from Wonder Boys so well:
You get it, right?
Right. So today, I’m sharing a collection of tips, links, and information to help you plan for an amazing conference. After all:
So here goes!
Get ready to be social!
If you plan on tweeting or posting on other social media sites over the weekend, (and we love it when you do,) be sure to use the official conference hashtag: DreamToDo17
Remember to tag our Twitter account as well! @SCBWI_MD_DE_WV
Are you getting a Critique for the First Time?
Wonderful, I applaud you! If you’re nervous, that’s perfectly normal. Here’s some tips to get you through:
It is too late to sign up for a critique or portfolio review, but you can get a query letter or first page critique by a PAL (Published and Listed) member. Speaking of which…
Are you getting a Query or First Page Critique?
Awesome, remember they will be taking place in the lobby of the Christiane Inn (drop-in, $10.00 for a 10-minute critique.) It will depend upon your reviewer whether they accept credit cards or just cash, so it’d be a good idea to be prepared for both. Also, for first pages, there is a 250 word limit.
Need some tips to polish up that first page to perfection? Be sure to check out these past posts.
Did you miss any of our Presenter Interviews?
No worries, here are the links!
- Veronica Bartles, author
- Julie Dietzel-Glair, freelance writer and library consultant
- Mary Fan, author
- Katy Kelly, author
- Andrea Morrison, Literary agent with Writers House
- Leila Sales, Publishing Manager at Viking Children’s Books
- Laura Shovan, poet, author, editor, educator
- Thao Le, Literary agent
- Patricia Hruby Powell, author
- Alyssa Nassner, illustrator and designer
- Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Susan Stockdale, author and illustrator
And finally, TIPS! Lots of tips!
From Veronica Bartles:
My biggest tip is to remember that the presenters (agents, editors, visiting authors) are people too. They may be just as nervous to meet you as you are to meet them, and they definitely enjoy chatting about non-writing things from time to time. So feel free to talk about your favorite cookie recipes or the funny video you saw on Facebook last night. Some of the best connections can be made when you’re not actively pitching your book!
While this older post has some dated information, there’s still some good tips!
And finally, because I haven’t overloaded you enough, here’s my…
Top Twenty Tips!
- Come prepared by previewing our available breakout sessions and highlight the ones you’re most interested in.
- If there’s an agent, editor, or author you’re particularly interested in meeting, check out their website, Twitter feed, or other sites to get a feel for them.
- Pack business cards to give to new contacts. Nothing fancy—the kind you print from the computer are fine, with your name, phone number, email address and website, if you have one.
- Don’t forget your sweater if you’re like me and freeze if the temperature dips below 70!
- Pack a travel mug if you’re paranoid about spilling coffee or tea all over the place. (I also tuck a few Truvia’s in my purse since I’m particular about my sweeteners. Oh, and mints, because coffee breath–yuck.)
- Bring your laptop, smartphone–plus a portable charger, paper, pens, and what have you to take lots and lots of notes on.
- Also bring snacks if you have certain dietary needs.
- Practice your book pitch (here’s a post that might help.)
- Arrive at the start of sign-ins so you have plenty of time to get a snack, mingle, and meet new people before the conference starts.
- If you want a book by a certain author, be sure to buy it in the morning before their presentation or they may sell out.
- Mingle during breaks, lunch and social times. At my first conference, I met someone who became a very important part of my life this way!
- Have patience with the organizers if something goes wrong. Our goal is for you to have an amazing conference experience so we will be working hard to make this happen!
- Keep an open mind. If none of the workshops offered during a particular session apply to your needs, try attending something new! You never know what you’ll take from it and some of my favorite presentations have been on topics far away from my genre, like ones given by illustrators.
- If you have a critique scheduled and must leave during a workshop session, try to sit in the back. (Don’t worry about hurting a presenter’s feelings by leaving – they know all about critiques.) Arrive early and check it with the critique timer on duty.
- It’s okay if you need some down time – Saturday is going to be a very long day with tons of information, so if you feel overwhelmed, find a quiet place to take a breather.
- Participate by asking questions at the end of a presentation. (I try to jot them down as I think of them so I won’t forget.)
- After exchanging business cards with someone, jot down a few notes on the back about how you met, what you talked about, etc., so next week, you won’t look at the card and say, “Who was that again?”
- Follow up after the conference. If you had an excellent critique by an author, send them an email thanking them for their thoughts. If you connected with another writer or illustrator, get to know them better by making contact!
- Share! If you have a blog, write about your experience and what you took away from the weekend without giving away too much valuable information that conference attendees paid for. Be sure to also send us a link or submit to be a guest poster here!
- Afterwards, we’re hoping you go home pumped and excited, reading to attack your writing or illustrating projects with new energy. Capitalize on this by rolling your sleeves up and getting to work!
For those who have registered, be on the lookout for an email from our regional co-adviser, Sue Poduska next week for final instructions! If you have any questions, be sure to leave them in the comments below and I’ll find you the answer.
I can’t wait to see you at the conference and as always, happy writing and drawing!