Last Friday, I traveled to the Seattle area to join fellow Damsel Emilie Bishop at the–get ready for super-long title–Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators – Western Washington’s 18th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Children Conference. Whew! Now you know why it’s usually called SCBWI.
About 400 people attended the two-day conference in Redmond, Washington, to participate in sessions led by editors, agents, illustrators, and authors of all types of children’s literature. Among the breakout sessions, my favorite was “Career Management 101” given by Steven Malk, an agent with Writers House. He reminded us it’s important to be patient and that each decision you make impacts your career.
I also enjoyed hearing Michael Stearns of Firebrand Literary talk about plot, and Krista Marino, a senior editor at Delacorte Press, discuss what she acquires and why. Over all, Marino said, Delacorte publishes work with strong female voices.
The keynote speeches were entertaining and inspirational. Author Jon Scieszka, who is serving as the first National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, kept us all laughing as he related tales of growing up with five brothers. Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank and other bestselling young adult novels-in-verse, encouraged attendees through the story of her life and writing journey.
Writer’s conferences can be both exhausting and educational. And processing everything you come away with can take time. But if you get the opportunity to attend one, take it!