Monday, February 6, 2012

And the Final Day at SCBWI: Sunday, Jan 29, 2012

Having stayed up way past my bedtime the night before, I looked like a sleepy raccoon on Sunday morning. Thank God for the coffee and cake in the morning. The sugar rush helped as we headed back into the huge ballroom for some final doses of advice, panel discussions and information.

It started out with the announcement of the Tomie dePaola Awards and Art Showcase winners. All the entried were shown and they were beautiful. The judges must have had a tough choice.

Lin Oliver kept us laughing (and awake!) with entries from the Joke Contest: Pick a character from a children's book and create a campaign slogan for him/her/it. Here's one I remember: Captain Underpants - You can't get more transparent than this :)

Jane Yolen came on stage with a lovely announcement: she had started a grant to help midlist authors and had nominated a couple of writers already. It was heartwarming to hear of such a lovely gesture!

The illustrators were not left out in the cold and we had a chance to see the Bookmakers Dozen Panel comprising artists and illustrators in the Brooklyn area. This was moderated by Laurent Linn of Simon and Schuster. Amazing and talented panel which included: Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown, Brian Floca, David Gordon, Brett Helquist, Aileen Leitjen, John Bemelmans Marciano, Sean Qualls, John Rocco, Sergio Ruzzier and Dan Yaccarino.

The last panel was about The Current Market for your Work: Four Agents' Views and comprised Ginger Knowlton (Curtis Brown), Regina Brooks (Serendipity Literary Agency), Chris Richman (Upstart Crow Literary) and Ken Wright (Writers House). A great discussion moderated by Lin Oliver.
The Good News: The market is still robust and there's always a place for a good story. But this is a "bestseller business" and the competition is fierce so your manuscript really has to stand out for it to get published.

What are they looking for?
  • A great hook
  • A classic story that is timeless rather than following a trend.
  • Do not follow trends (they were all unanimous about this)
  • Good, clean writing.
  • Universally identifiable theme with a global reach.
  • A twist on a known theme or an unusual POV. EG: A baseball story told from the POV of the Umpire.

And finally, a warm and inspiring talk from Katherine Erskine who told us to FOCUS on our work.

Finally it was time for the autograph party and goodbyes with promises to return. And I shall...soon.

Hope you enjoyed these posts. And hope to run into you someday, at a future conference. Ciao.

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