I had a fantastic opportunity to join some fellow authors at our Regional SCBWI Conference this month. It is a chance to hear from published authors, agents and editors, and learn in workshops. We had some great speakers this spring and I was glad to snag some time from my busy schedule to hear them.
Here are some quick highlights of the event:
Thanks to Kim Jakway, our Regional Advisor, the quaint village of Baldwinsville, NY was our destination. Even though it was March, we lucked out with some pleasantly warm weather. Our venue was the lovely First United Methodist Church, and it gave a sense of spirituality to our work.
Our first speaker was freelance editor, Kate Angelella. She told us what to look for, and what to run from, when finding and hiring an editor. Her valuable information will help me when it comes to finding that special person to edit my most recent “baby” of a book. I already have an editor for The Ruby’s Cell, but future books might require a different fit.
Carrie Howland, an agent for Donadio & Olson, gave an energetic speech on conventional, and not so conventional, ways to find an agent. Through query letters, our connections with SCBWI, online pitch contests, and other social media platforms, we can stalk…I mean search for that agent to represent us and win them over.
Frank Cammuso, author and illustrator of the graphic novel series The Misadventures of Salem Hyde (Amulet Books) and Knights of the Lunch Table (Graphix/Scholastic), gave us fresh perspective on producing these illustrated stories. From scripting the story to inking and coloring the panels, he explained how he creates his brand of storytelling. He also inducted all of us into the Salem Hyde Squirrel Scouts. “Critters aren’t quitters.”
Our final speaker was Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times-bestselling-author of Speak (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) and Chains (Atheneum Books for Young Readers). It was refreshing to hear her humorous tales of how she started, and her 7 secrets of the writing life. I was surprised to find out how much we were alike, well, except for her being a New York Times-bestselling-author and me…not so much.
All of this was followed up by a panel discussion with all of the speakers, a pleasant lunch, and educational workshops.
I specifically attended Kate Angelella’s workshop on query letters. Our large group learned about what to include in your letter and how to formulate it. I even got a chance to read my copy for The Ruby’s Cell, and have it critiqued by the group.
As I drove home from the conference, I had a renewed feeling of hope and accomplishment. I was able to meet new authors and catch up with old friends. Thank you to all the speakers and coordinators of this event. It was great!