|View from Kathy and Corrie's hotel room at SCBWI|
About two months ago, I attended SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in LA. Although I knew of people and authors I'd conversed with on the internet who were going, I was essentially going by myself. I didn't have any expectations other than wanting to learn as much as possible.
I'm not new at doing things on my own, but I was nervous as I tried to figure out parking and where exactly this thing was being held at (the hotel was ginormous). But once I was into the swing of things, it turned out to be a lot of fun.
If you're considering attending a SCBWI event in the future and want to know what to expect, here's a quick list of everything I learned!
|Dani (met her at the newbie orientation), |
Jenny, and me at the Italy dinner.
2. Look at the workshop schedule beforehand so you have an idea of where you'll want to go. Chances are you'll want to be in two places at once because everything will sound so good.
3. Bring a pen and notebook. Lots of good information being shared.
4. Talk to people! Introduce yourself, especially if you've heard of their book/enjoyed the workshop they presented/have seen people on social media and want to say hi in person. Chances are you'll become good friends! :)
|Stephen Chbosky and Jay Asher workshop|
6. People you meet will ask if you're a writer/illustrator, what genre, what you're working on, etc. It's best to have at least a two sentence pitch memorized in your head. Or, what I really preferred from pre-pub'd or pub'd authors, was a small hand out that had the book's info on it.
7. Layer up. SCBWI took place a few flights of stairs under the hotel, and it was cold. Bring a sweater.
|Sunset evening post-conference|
9. If you're trying to save money, bring your lunch and snacks. There is a mall outside of the hotel as well as places to eat in the hotel, but it can add up after a few days.
10. Take advantage and go to as many workshops, keynotes, and presentations as you can. You paid a lot of money to be here, and I promise you'll gain something from each one.
|I love these ladies dearly!|
12. Keep your handouts. I loved those who provided them in workshops. I didn't retain every single thing because my brain was completely overwhelmed, but it gave me something to look over afterwards.
13. Speaking over being overwhelmed, chances are you will be. From listening to dozens of presenters, mingling with friends, and stuffing your brain with all this good information--I could barely string a coherent sentence together at the end of the day. But it was all well worth it.
14. To end this on a positive note, Kathy Kottaras and Jenny Moyer both sold their YA debuts shortly after this conference! Dreams do come true :)
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