Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 5 Monday August 10th

SCBWI 2009 Conference day 4

Day 4 of the conference started off with a key note by Dinah Stevenson:

May the 4 C’s Be With You: An Editor Suggests Strategies for Hard Times
Creativity: imagination, thoughts, what if’s, making stuff up.
Be brave enough to live creatively.
Creativity is something you do, not something you search for outside yourself.
It is an endless journey to discover yourself. The work of art is what you do after you find yourself.
Saying what you mean in your own way is being creative.
Write something only you can create.
Craft: craft resides in the details.
Community: never let anyone tell you that reading is not important.
Chocolate: you are doing a difficult job and for that you deserve a reward.

And after a very short break was followed by the wonderful Ingrid Law the author of Savvy which sold out before I could get a copy.

Writing Magic: From the Head to the Heart
Put everything you experience into your work because it is a part of who you are.
Wrote savvy after her previous book’s 45 rejections.

I was so captivated by her story I forgot to write much of anything down. She is a fantastic storyteller.

After the morning key notes I went to another of Steven Malk’s sessions:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting: An Agents Guide from Query Letter to Published Book
Writers House is one of the largest independent agencies in the world.
His grandmother opened one of the first children’s book stores in the world in South Africa called the White Rabbit.
Slow down- rushing will never ever help you. Think about your career as a whole not about getting the project out there before it’s ready.
Understand that all your decisions will have consequences.
Always right a personal letter not a form letter.
Don’t leave anything to chance.
Focus on what you can control.
Make everything you can is flawless.
Don’t let anyone else outwork you.
Query letters: make them count.
What made them [the agent or editor] seem like the right person to send your letter too.
Query Letters should not be more than a page.
You need to make sure the agent accepts multi sub queries and state that you are doing so in the letter.
If one person picks you give the others a chance to make an offer as well even if you still go with the first person.
He likes the phone more than email.
Three types of deals:
The publisher takes advantage of the author/artist and the creator walks away feeling resentful.
Both sides walk away happy.
The publisher walks away feeling bullied.
Understand everything that is in your contract.
Strike the balance between the eager author and the over eager author.
Make stores aware of your book before it comes out.
Start with regional book stores and organizations and work outward when starting to build networks.
Your book will succeed over time not right away.
Don’t obsess over your Amazon rating.
Everything you do has a long standing effect.
Your hard work will pay off.
Publishers said All in a Day was too Californian but it got a lot of blog coverage and is now the writers first best seller

After lunch I went to Susan Sherman’s session:

The Publishing Process: An Overview of the Design & Art Direction Process

Walter Lorraine discovered Katrina Hyman
Computers liberated design
They read everything as it comes in.
Good manuscripts circulate around to everyone.
They work on the book as a team; art director, editor, author and illustrator.
They look to illustrators to expand the manuscript.
She likes receiving emails with a line about yourself and a few low rez attachments and link to website.
Art circulates around the office much the same way as the manuscripts.
The characters are more important that anything on a cover.
She starts with kooky fonts first then refines them till she finds the one that’s perfect.

After that we had our final key note by Kathleen Duey:

Transmutation: Books that Matter
Write down conversations you had at the conference.
Go back and annotate your notes.
When you go home go through the business cards of those you met and write down things about them. Contact everyone who gave you a card and thank them for talking to you.
Stay in touch with the people you met here.
Put quotes on the wall that people said here at the conference that meant something to you.
“We write by the light of all the books we have read.” Richard Peck
“All cultures teach their young through story.”

After all the wonderful sessions and key notes were done I went to collect my big back of books then have signed and meet some of the people who had meant a lot to me growing up.

I got to meet Karen Cushman whom I had wanted to meet since I was 12. I am dyslexic and reading was very difficult for me when I was young. I actually hated read a lot until in the 7th grade we read the Midwife’s Apprentice. I absolutely loved the book and historical fiction and went on to read her other books on my own. Thanks to her I now love reading, read every day, not because I have to but because I want to. We also own 7 book cases over flowing with books. I got hard covers of my favorites of hers The Midwife’s Apprentice and Catherine Called Birdy signed and soft covers signed for my two little cousins.

Next I got to meet Holly Black and tell her how fantastic her speech was. I was just going to take a picture of her but she insisted we take a picture together. So here’s us leaning over the table. Oddly enough the Spiderwick book they had for sale at the SCBWI book store was the same one I had brought from home. I did however have to pre movie copy of the Field Guide.

After Holly Black I went to get my copy of Terrible Things signed by Eve Bunting.

While having a friend hold my place I ran over to have Sherman Alexie sign a copy of his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian before he left. His speech was so compelling I am greatly looking forward to reading his book.

I also got to meet David Wiesner whom I have wanted to meet since I was 8 and Tuesday came out. Like I said before reading was extremely hard for me so his wordless picture books were some of my favorite books. I managed to find a hard copy of Tuesday at a Borders half an hour from me so I got that signed along with hard copies of The Three Pigs, Sector 7 and Flotsam.

After waiting in David’s impossibly long line I had just enough time to catch Ingrid Law before she felt. I told her how fantastic I thought her verbal storytelling was and that I would have had her sign a copy of her book for me if they hadn’t sold out before I could get one. Savvy is next on my list of books I need to go pick up.

With my trove of signed books in tow I went to meet up with my boy friend in the lobby and found out they had been filming an episode of Lie to Me all day in the pool/bar area. We hung out for awhile to let traffic get less hectic and then headed out to or next hotel in Anaheim. On the way we saw someone cruising down the freeway in their Tesla Roadster. We got to our nice comfy hotel and got to watch to fireworks from Disneyland. And for the first time in many weeks I actually got to relax.

All the people I met at the conference were awesome and I hope you all keep in touch!

For more photos & video from the conference feel free to visit my FaceBook

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