If for some reason you missed the tumblg,tagging and tweeting from the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York City, pull on your riding boots for the conference round up.
In this corral over here we’ve got we’ve got the VIP cocktail party Friday night. Agents, editors, and art directors schmoozed and enjoyed “Artisian Cheese Displays,” after their hard day at work. I spoke to some of those but also rubbed elbow with the assistants who told me that things had been pretty quiet. That must mean that they’ve recovered after the December lull, and it is prime time to start subbing again.
Over here, we’ve lassoed some industry professionals. This group: Jean Feiwel, Barbara Marcus, Nancy Paulsen, and Rubin Pfeffer, is chock full of historical knowledge about the publishing industry having built Scholastic to what it is today. Now they are at MacMillan, Penguin, and East West Literary. They discussed their impressions on the present and future children’s book industry and brought us some new vocabulary. “E-tailers” are purveyors of e-books, “Discoverability” is the chance the consumer had to find your book in the millions that are out there. This used to happen through indie bookstores when the awesome retailer hand sold your book. This panel mentioned that with the demise of Borders, indies have actually had their best season in years and that the support of all of us is really helping. (Shop local.) “Transmedia” is the addition or transportability of your content into other media formats.
Throughout the weekend, speakers agreed that publishers are moving towards more commercial, hard-cover best sellers, and that these best sellers allow them to publish the midlist. High concept is definitely on their mind. This idea was repeated by the agent panel on Sunday with the caveat that you have to have a “hook.” This doesn’t mean that you need a paranormal YA to get published. Agents Regina Brooks, of Seredipity, and Ken Wright, of Writer’s House, explained that publishers are always thinking: “Where is this book going to go? How are we going to get it there? How is the author going to get it there?” Certainly this is marketing and Regina Brooks has even added a Social Media strategist to help her authors develop their online presence. Ginger Knowlton spoke about the many web related links that she checks in on each day so that she can be in the loop about publishing developments. Note: you do not have to read all of these and if you do- you will never write/draw again. Here they are:
The Passive Voice
The Shatzkin Files
When we weren’t in the Ballroom, we were moseying into the breakout sessions. My favorite was the revision workshop with Cheryl Klein. If you went to that session, she posted the links that she mentioned at her own roundup. Yee-Haw!
At the Saturday night hoedown aka the Gala Dinner, the tables were arranged by region and I was thrilled to meet some of the Northern New Englanders who showed up. We ambled away from our tables to join the larger group from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It was great to see everyone and we hope you’ll come to our New England spring conference April 20-22nd in Springfield, Mass. If you think you want to come, do it quickly. Joyce Johnson (one of the co-directors) kept us up-to-date all weekend with the registration numbers. (300, 350, 400, 450) A speedy sell out seems inevitable.
The big news from the conference is a new grant for midlist authors, funded by New England’s own Jane Yolen. The rules for the grant are not on SCBWI.org quite yet, but if you are interested, keep checking the grant tab at SCBWI.org. I’ll announce when it is up as well and post a link on my twitter feed @annawritedraw. The money, as much as $2,000, is award to a nominee who had published at least two PAL books but has not been published in a year or more. You must be nominated and the money is intended to help you reinvent and reinvigorate your career.
Here’s a few personal pictures from the trip.
The bathroom in my hotel room (for Cindy Lord)
Anna and Casey (the NESCBWI Illustrator Coordinator) at Mary Poppins
92nd Street and The Jewish Museum, Anna at the Jewish Museum to see the Ezra Jack Keats Exhibit
Joyce in the rain through the orchids.
New York City dogs wearing rain coats (Maine doggies just wear their own fur coats)
If you’d like to see more pictures or post your own, visit the NY12SCBWI tumblr. http://ny12scbwi.tumblr.com/
As always: Any opinions expressed here are entirely my own and not the views of the SCBWI. FMI www.scbwi.com