Monday, May 12, 2014
My First SCBWI Conference
A couple of weekends ago I took a big plunge into the children's literature world. I went to my first New England SCBWI conference in Springfield, MA.
If you're not aware, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators or SCBWI is the largest networking organization of children's writers, illustrators and publishing professionals in the world. They offer critique groups to members, conferences, a member's magazine and newsletter, and many other perks that I'm still learning about.
I truly had a wonderful experience. I met many positive and friendly people who were also excited to talk about their work and love for children's writing.
I did feel a little overwhelmed on the first day of the conference on Friday. I knew that as soon as I said goodbye to my husband George in the hotel lobby that I would have to put my introverted self on a shelf for the weekend, and embrace the reality of meeting dozens of new people, in a new place, and learn lots of new things. Which I gratefully did.
I went to several workshops which were helpful and informative on many levels, and I had a picture book manuscript critique with an editor from local publisher, Islandport Press. The critique was helpful, and I'll be looking back to the notes I received closely in coming revisions.
I even worked up the nerve to introduce myself to an agent. She didn't seem bowled over by my somewhat nervous picture book pitch, but she kindly wished me luck with it. I do feel proud of myself for taking that first awkward step.
I knew before coming to the conference that one of the major goals of the event is to create a place where networking relationships can happen, and to demystify the work of editors and agents so that authors and industry professionals can communicate more freely. They are, of course, people with goals and deadlines to meet too.
Looking back on the conference experience, and my experience with my SCBWI critique group so far, I really only have good things to say. I'm thankful for the help, support and keen advice of fellow authors on the road of writing children's literature.