So, I decided that I would do what I said (months ago) and tell you about the SCBWI conference I went to. I tried to take some pictures with my iPhone and be all awesome in my blogging, but the pictures turned out horribly.
However, here is a picture of my schedule of the days events and whatnot...
Overall the regional conference was pretty awesome. It was held at a high school near my apartment and people from our region came and hung out for the day. The fact that it was at a high school is important. Why? You may ask... Well because I am a young adult. 24. Not old. I look a lot younger. AND I was the youngest attende of the conference, by at least 10 years. Most of the people there were my parent's age or older. I'm pretty sure they all looked at me and were like, does she go to this school? No, ohhh... she's here for the conference. Yes, I got lots of weird looks.
At first it was really intimating. But then, when I went to hide and freak out in the bathroom, I realized something. I was lightyears ahead of these people. Sure, some of them were more experienced than me in lots of ways, but here I was, 40-10 years younger than them, and I was rocking it out along side them. I was a peer (or sorts) and I was badass.
And then it got even better. I went to my little workshops on how to get out of the slush pile and what literary agents look for and yes I learned a lot (which I will share with you here in a minute) but I also knew the answers to lots of questions that other people were asking. Why? Because I'm getting a MASTERS in creative writing. I get exposed to all sorts of information at school on this stuff. So bam! I was younger AND knew all kinds of info that others didn't. I felt like a little rockstar. Talk about getting some reassurance.
Here's what I learned from Lisa Yee (published author) and Alexandra Cooper (editor at Simon and Schuster)
- What really gave Lisa Yee a big push was going to a SCBWI conference and meeting people there. She said she felt like she "meet her tribe" there. (I know the feeling, but I get that more at school...)
- Lisa said, "Don't think, just write" (Something I need to do more often) and that she wrote her frist novel like it was an e-mail. It took the pressure off.
- You really do need an agent if you want to get published
- Cooper said to find something that works and is working (something kind of popular ((not vampires!)) ) and then put a twist on it
- When your work doesn't get picked up by an editor it's not always your fault: the editor can only take on so many books at a time a may have signed something similar to yours already (and by similar it could just be genre or time of year that the book is going to be published aka picture book about chickens would come out around Easter and they might already have an Easter book)
- Tips: A) Do your homework: See what's getting attention and see what there's too much of and B) Aim your pitches for people who have done similar books... meaning check out the acknowledgments at the end of books, figure out who in the publishing world published a book similar to yours and then shoot for them
Would I go to another one? Hell yes.
It was scary and amazing all at the same time. I found my place and realized that I'm not like a lot of these second career/ hobby writers. I know the genre, I study it. I know things and I know what I want. I have put myself in different environments to get what I want. And yes, I will get a book published. It's just a matter of time.