Monday, October 4, 2010

SCBWI Conference

For those of you who don't know, SCBWI is the tongue-twisting acronym for Society of Children's Bookwriters and Illustrators. It's a professional organization for writers and illustrators, and would-be writers and illustrators, all looking to make contacts, improve their skills, and generally be better at their craft. SCBWI holds a yearly conference during the summer in Los Angeles, where the headquarters are, and regional conferences all over the country and world during the whole year.

This past weekend I had a great time attending the regional conference in Spokane, Wa, my home region. If you're serious about writing you should consider attending some kind of conference. The guest speakers are usually other writers or illustrators, and editors and agents who are available to also do critiques for the attendees. This is a good way see how you writing looks to someone from the biz and not just your spouse or even critique group. It's also a good way to make contacts. I met my agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton of Andrea Brown Lit. at the regional conference two years ago, so it's well worth the effort to get to one.

I suggest if you are going, check out the speakers beforehand, find out what they write or the kinds of work they represent, and taylor your conference attendence accordingly. If you find a conference with an agent who just loves your style of writing and reprpesents the genre you work in, it just may help you to go and get some face-time. That's why it's also important to get an idea of who's who in the industry, so when they do show up, you know enough to make the right connection. The more you know about publishing, the better your chances. Of course you still have to be able to write, or illustrate, but know where and who to sell to puts you that much further ahead.