Wednesday, January 30, 2013

#NY13SCBWI Conference Prep - 7 Tips To Consider... and to keep in mind for your next conference!

1. Do Your Homework

Read the conference faculty bios now.

Check out the pre-conference faculty interviews.

There's also still time to stop at a bookstore, your library or download the books they've written, illustrated, edited, art directed, or agented to your ebook reader.  Having read their work will change what you hear, understand and feel about what these luminaries in the world of children's literature share.

2.  Be Prepared To Talk About Your Work

It shouldn't be the first thing you say, but you will have moments where you are asked about what you are writing and/or illustrating.  You shouldn't be surprised by this question.  It's often called the elevator pitch.  You should be able to briefly (30 seconds) summarize your current work-in-progress or work that you think is ready to submit.

If they're interested, it would be great if you're prepared to share more.  Consider talking about what gets you excited about the project.  With luck, they may get excited, too!

Your fellow writers and illustrators will ask you this... tell them.  This isn't just something you should do with agents or editors.  Talking to a peer may not be the break-through you're hoping for career-wise, but you might start a conversation that sparks a life-long friendship, and the practice will help you be better when you are talking with a gate-keeper.

3.  Be Professional

Don't get drunk and messy at the gala, or in the hotel bar.  Really.  Keep it professional, because ultimately you want to work with these people professionally.  That doesn't mean you can't sing karaoke poorly, or have a drink.  You don't have to (and shouldn't try to) be 'perfect' - just be yourself, be human, have fun... and keep it professional.

4.  Networking Is Not a Four Letter Word - this is YOUR community.  Enjoy that.  Revel in it.

This is a weekend of hanging out with your tribe.  Indulge in that.  Make new friends and catch up with familiar ones.  Everyone here is crazy for children's books, for teen novels, and open to hear what you love, too!

Nametags serve three functions - they let you know someone's name, give you an excuse to say hello (ask them about where they're from, what sessions they've attended...), and most important they let you know that they're part of the tribe, too.

Wear your nametag ALL the time at the conference.  Really.  Okay, take it off to sleep, but otherwise, when you're out and about in the hotel (and even in the food court in Grand Central) wear your SCBWI conference nametag with pride.  It's how you'll find your people, and we'll be able to find you!

5.  Be open to inspiration.

Keep a notebook with you.  Sketch.   Doodle.  Free-word associate.  Brainstorm.  Work on a character sketch.  Figure out how a scene might work differently.  Let the conference re-charge your creative batteries and leave you humming with purpose and direction!

6.  Follow along with the conference on twitter. 

The hashtag is:  #NY13SCBWI - it works lower-case, too:  #ny13scbwi  You don't have to have a twitter account to do this.  Just click here.

7.  SCBWI's Team Blog will be reporting live from the conference floor starting Saturday morning.  Check out all the great information and excitement at the Official Conference blog here.

I often say that SCBWI offers Business, Craft, Inspiration, Community and Opportunity to those of us in the children's literature community, and this 14th Annual Winter Conference in New York City will be bursting with all of those!

Safe Travels!


1 comment:

Michelle Cusolito said...

These are great suggestions, Lee. Have a great time everyone. I'll see some of you at the SCBWI-NE spring conference in May