Thursday, November 15, 2012

SCBWI-IL Prairie Writer's Day Conference

Tip of the Day: Check out this interesting article about self-publishing, and side note, Jackie Collins is self-pubbing some books now too-- interesting!

I went to my very first ever writer's conference this past weekend-- SCBWI-IL Prairie Writer's Day. And it was pretty fun. The highlights were getting to hang out with writer friends and listening to interesting editors talk industry. And it was really cute in the opening when we all wore finger lights and they played the Chicago Bulls opening song as the editors and agent walked in.

The editors that came were Dianne Hess (Scholastic Press), Beverly Horowitz (Delacorte), Meredith Mundy (Sterling), Elizabeth Parisi (Scholastic Trade), Lisa Yoskowitz (Disney-Hyperion), and Marietta Zacker (Nancy Gallt Literary).

My very honest thoughts are that it was an amazing conference, well-put together and packed with information, but...I wish I would have gone to it like 8 years ago. The information was mostly geared toward new writers-- how to get an agent, how to write a query letter, how to perfect your first page and so on. And when I looked around the room I saw many people that have been in SCBWI for years and years so I'd think a lot of this information wasn't new to them either. I know the basic writer 101 stuff is needed at conferences but I wish they'd include sessions for published writers too. Like, how to effectively promote my book, how to throw an awesome book launch, maneuvering social media and what authors today need to do, how to make your book stand out from the rest, negotiating future book sales, getting foreign and film rights, how to break out of the mid-list and I could go on and on. I'd also love to see sessions on epublishing and all that goes with that: finding a cover designer, where to upload, formatting mistakes to avoid, how to promote your ebook, managing your hybrid author career ("hybrid author" is a term I just learned from the link in the tip of the day. It's for the many traditional authors who are publishing both with their publishers as well as self-publishing.).

So yeah. I'm happy I went, I had fun chatting and I always love to meet editors and hear their thoughts on the current industry. But if I go to another conference I'm going to try to find one that covers a broader range of writers.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action


Kate Fall said...

I agree, Kristina. After a few years, you've heard the same "what it takes to stand out" kind of advice over and over. That's why I'm looking forward to going to SCBWI New York!

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

The New England SCBWI conference (held every spring, registration usually in February) has sessions for writers at all career stages, and a lot of published authors attend it. I've been to great promotional and career-building sessions there. I try to take a mix of craft and business workshops.

Kristina Springer said...

How do you think SCBWI New York will be different? Will there be more advanced sessions? Maybe I'll have to take a road trip next year! :-)

Thanks for the tip Jen. I think I'll take a look at what you guys do and maybe make a suggestion to SCBWI-IL. :-)

DeenaML said...

Tina, the NYC conference has an intensive that Kate is taking that focuses on CRAFT and really sharpening your writing, something everyone can use at every stage, but without the "how do I write a query letter?" type of questions. They also do "what am I looking for" sessions with the editors so we can sub to closed houses. The last time I was at NYC SCBWI with Em, there were lots of inspirational keynotes as well. But I agree with the sessions you were asking for as well!

Jen, I would love to get to NE SCBWI soon -- I've heard great things about it and it's not far from me.