N-OH SCBWI Conference Wrap Up...
I drove very far then I talked for like eight solid hours. Here are the highlights of my SCBWI conference experience in Cleveland:
- Opening Session: Nicole and Jeremy Tugeau kicked off the conference by discussing children's books they love and why. This was a fun way to start the day--I especially liked seeing my childhood pal, lovable furry old Grover, in The Monster at the End of This Book.
- Prizes: They gave away tons of doorprizes including CWIM and other Writer's Digest Books titles. The grand prize was a package for next year's conference.
- My Talk #1: 22 Tips to Help You Get Published. Conference-goers actually pulled in extra chairs for my session, which surprised me since there were three others going on at the same time. This was a fun session, and I hope those who attended came away with a useful tip or two.
- Critiques: I met with seven writers to discuss their manuscripts. They wrote everything from rhyming picture books to YA fantasy. I really enjoyed discussing their work with them--so much great potential.
- My talk #2: Everything I've Learned about Children's Publishing (But Mostly Don't Talk About in CWIM). I ended this session by talking about how tough it is to be a writer, whether you're trying to get published for the first time or you've got a few books under your belt. I hope the group took to heart the three P's: persistence, perseverance, and passion.
- First-Page Critiques: Besides the opening, this was the only conference session I was able to attend due to being heavily scheduled. A panel consisting of Cecile Goyette (Knopf), Randi Rivers (Charlesbridge), and Nicole and Jeremy Tugeau (Tugeau 2) read aloud first pages of manuscripts pulled from the slush bucket (a charmingly decorated alternative to the slush pile) and each panelist commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the writing. If you're ever at a conference offering a first-page critique session, be sure to attend. It's enlightening to see off-the-cuff reactions to story openings from publishing professionals. The most common comment: "This is confusing."
- Driving Home: The Good: The Goasis-- gas station/restaurants/Starbuck's/purveyor of fudge/cleanest on-the-road restrooms I've ever seen. The Bad--Mr. Shaved-Head-Red-Convertible-Mustang-Guy just south of Columbus at approximately 7:23 p.m. I wish you very bad driving karma.