Monday, August 17, 2009

SCBWI 2009 Conference day 1

Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie was fantastic! His speech was so compelling I simply had to go out and get his book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Here are a few quotes from his key note I wrote down:
“As a writer people hand you your lives on a daily basis, so what do you do.”
“Adults are already set in their ways but kids change by what they are exposed too. Treat that with respect.”
“People read books to escape, to become the characters.”
Sherman Alexie's website

David Wiesner
David Wiesner’s speech was quite funny, entertaining and full of pictures. I took a lot of pictures from his key note and the can be found here.
David Wiesner’s website

Steve Malk
After key notes I went to Steve Malk’s session on The Big Picture: How to Build your Illustration Career.
Illustrators make up about 40% of his list.

Educate yourself:

About the market. Spend time in independent stores along with big name book stores. Also look at award list books.
You should have a sub to horn book.
Look at Barbra Cooney’s work.

Have a career model:
Think about how you would like to fit in the market.
Find models and analyze their careers

Don’t Dibble Dabble:
Don’t just make children books a hobby, it must be a passion.

Only you can own your career decisions:

Each decision you make affects your career. Everything is important.

Getting your work out into the world:
Your portfolio tells them what type of person you are. The time you take to layout your portfolio says a lot about you.
Have 12 pieces in your portfolio but no more than 20 pieces.
Show them you understand the conventions of children’s books. And that you can tell a visual story. Always show a few sequential spreads.
Be neurotic about your portfolio.
Look at Marla Frazee’s work more closely.
The Magician’s Elephant
Send out promo postcards early spring, early fall and summer.

“Work 5 times as hard as everyone else.”AG ford
Art directors and agents love to find new awesome people.
Put a few spreads from a story and then mention the whole dummy is available.
Publishers like author/illustrators.
Make dummies as finished as possible so it doesn’t look half baked.
Big publishers pay advances of 8-10k or 10-15k to new illustrators or new author/illustrators.
Talk about your work in your blog, what inspired you
Cover letters are important to him. Send them via email with website link and offer hard copies.

A few great sites he recommends:

Success Stories: Four Editors Distill the Secrets of a Successful Book
Courtney Bongiolatti: simplify spreads, make everything there for a reason.
Jordan Brown: People will always interpret your book in way you will not to attend.
Ari Lewin: top five reasons the Heir series did well.
#1 Companion books not a series.
#2 Good pace, it keeping the momentum going. Making it impossible to put down.
#3 Books are set in real modern world not an outside fantasy world. It’s normal and modern.
#4 It appeal to boys and girls equally.
#5 Cover design! The covers are awesome.

Elizabeth Parisi

In the Afternoon I went to Elizabeth Parisi’s session Book Covers: How to fit your style into the current market.
Design books that look good at 1 inch tall.
Make covers simpler and more iconic.
Don’t show too much of the character because the reader likes to see themselves as the character especially in YA. awesome book jacket site
Middle grade covers are mostly illustrated covers
Limited pallets are in
Covers are given usually a 1-2 month deadline. You are usually given the first two weeks you make rough designs.
For picture books you really need and agent.

Betty Birney

Here are few quotes from her key note speech:
“Every book needs something to root for. Something must be at stake; something that matters.”
“Every story needs a well defined world with rules.”

At the Wine and Cheese Reception I met a lot of the cool people I follow on twitter like Cynthea Liu, Fran Cannon Slayton, Elizabeth Dulemba. And a few awesome people I met last year who knew me as “the girl with the purple kitty cards” apparently Kiki has made my cards infamous!

The Illustrator Social was even better than last year. Met many friendly illustrators I saw throughout the conference. David Diaz was kind enough to advise me on which pieces I should leave in and take out of my portfolio before the show on Saturday.

The night ended once again with a bunch of us hanging out in the lobby chatting and sharing our work.


Tora said...

thanks for sharing the advice and awesomeness!

Katgirl Studio said...

your welcome Tora