Sunday, January 18, 2009

Back from Miami

I just came back from the SCBWI Florida Regional Conference and had a wonderful time! The weather was cold for us Floridians, but most presenters coming from NYC loved the weather! It was really beautiful! There were about 150 people and about 5% maybe 10% were illustrators. I was surprised to find that we were so few in numbers!

This was my first conference, so I was taking it all in! I heard some wonderful speakers on Saturday talk about the ins-and-outs of the business as it relates to authors. They were very well prepared, very funny at times and just great people in general. Here’s a little summary of who was there, and what they said:

Publisher Arthur Levine spoke about who you are as a person (likes, dislikes, culture, ideas, outlook) influences the work that you like as a publisher, which in turn influences the work that gets published.

Author Lisa Yee Spoke about why who you are dictates what you write. It seemed similar to Levine’s except that this was from the writer’s point of view. Quite interesting! She also brought Peepy and took a picture of him for her blog I may be somewhere in the background!

Agent Ginger Knowlton Spoke about the Do’s and Don’ts of the Agent Search, and referred to the book the 4 agreements. Especially the part about not taking it personal! (I think we could all use this advice!)

Editor Alexandra Cooper spoke about how and why a manuscript is acquired, and the best way I can summarize her in-depth talk is by saying ‘it’s a game of chance, luck, and being in the right place at the right time!’

Illustrator Mark Teague (love his work!) spoke about how to make lively picture books. I was very interested in his presentation and he did not disappoint. He has a new book coming out from an already established series with character Ike LaRue. He talked about the process of writing and illustrating his new book. Fascinating!

Agent Tina Wexler spoke about exploring the agent/author relationship and to consider aspects like chemistry and personality when selecting an agent.

Authors Elaine Landau & Ruth Vanderzee spoke about writing non-fiction. Apparently, there’s a big demand in this area and very rewarding for writers!

Editor Liz Waniewski spoke about how to WOW an editor with your writing. She shared a checklist of items she constantly thinks about when reviewing manuscripts. She also shared what were the most submitted topics in the last three months and interestingly enough the top three were: bedtime, monsters acting un-monster like, and cats / kittens. She also said that visiting grandparents and the first day of school were always at the top of the most submitted subjects.

Lastly, Writer Linda Sue Park talked about how to handle revisions from the editor. Basically you say ok. You go back and try it their way, then you try it your way, and more often than not, the work ends up stronger.

There you go! See, I paid attention even though it was not all about illustration!
Oh, and if you are still reading this, this week I will write about my one on one critique with Mark Teague and then his workshop on drawing interesting characters. He gave some great tips and advice that I will share here!


Tom Barrett said...

Sounds like an interesting time. A lot of good info. Look forward to your comments on Mark Teague's comments on your work (how neat to have him do the critique).

Kate said...

Awesome! Can't wait to read more...I'll be back. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

Bella Sinclair said...

Sounds like time well spent! What a wealth of information. And a one-on-one with Mark Teague?! Fantastic!!! That ALONE must have been worth the trip. Can't wait to read more. Thanks so much for sharing.

Carli said...

Interesting! I can't wait to hear what Mark Teague had to say.

Annie said...

Wow - sounds like quite a conference and what resources there to teach you from their experience. If you want to share more notes, I'm looking forward to reading and learning more. Thanks so much.

Did you meet and greet - a lot is who you know and being in the right place at the right time; I'm sure you made a great first impression!