Friday, October 4

How to melt your brain, gain friends, and increase your capacity to be a children's writer and illustrator superhero all in 3 DAYS.

Okay, so it's been two weeks since the SCBWI's midsouth conference. 2 WEEKS!! And I wanted you to let you all know how it went. Awesome. It was awesome. I'm telling you I am an addict to these things. Gain strange, unusual, and talented friends? Yes please. Work on my craft as a writer and illustrator? Forever and ever. Get more tips on how to survive in the Jungle of the children's publishing world? Absolutely.
This conference made my brain so publishing savvy that it grew me a beard!

Here's a few things I learned or relearned at this particular conference (brace yourself):

1. Every page in your dummy picture book needs to have an action in it, whether it's subtle or dramatic.

-Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director at Peachtree Publishers) 

2. "Never give up. You'll come across something that only you can write."

-Jay Asher (Author of Thirteen Reasons Why)

3. A distinct, authentic, relatable voice is probably the most important element to writing a good children's picture book.

-Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids)

4. “This is not the music business, there are not high stakes, we don’t make that much money, and someone already has your idea."

-Micheal Bourett (Agent of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management) in response to a question from the audience asking if we need to worry about others stealing our ideas or stories.

5. “I’ve had your postcard on my bulleton for 1.5 years and have been waiting to hire you."

-An Art Director told Ms. Susan Eaddy (freelance illustrator)

6. It takes chocolate, fastfood, vodka, friends, and an unwanted dog.

-Answers from the artist/writer panelists to the question, "How do you buoy yourself when you are at the bottom of the cycle of despair?"

7. Orient all the pictures in your portfolio the same way.

-Bonnie Bader (Editor & Chief at Grosset & Dunlap) and Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director At Peachtree Publishers)

8. "A wrong agent is worse than no agent."

-Micheal Bourett (Agent of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management)

9. "Please do not info dump."

-Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids) on telling your audience too much when introducing a new character.

10. Be consistent  when you send out your mailers.

-Loraine Joyner (Senior Art Director At Peachtree Publishers) & Lisa Cheng (Editor for Running Press Kids)

11. Read, read , read.

-Jordan Brown (Editor at Walden Pond Press and Balzer + Bray) on what you can do to advance your career

Phew… are you still with me? Well, imagine all that good advice x20. After the conference was over, my head was buzzing about things I needed to do, how to better my craft, which houses better fit my style, and as always I felt the loving support that always happens through my connections at these conferences.

Can't wait for the next one. :)

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