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31 May 2010 @ 11:36 am
Being brave, needing advice  
I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and am going to the Florida conference this coming Saturday. It scares me, since I will be driving down in the early morning and back that night and I feel like I don't know what I am doing. I keep reminding my self that that is why I am taking the picture book track: I don't have to know what I am doing! I'm there to learn. Nevertheless, I am a bit nervous.
I have been trying to come up with a story for my character, Mike Magnoliacone, the one with the red seeds in the userpic. I think I have one: Mike Magnoliacone and the Big Bad Bug. (Now don't you play with the big bad bugs! Yes Mommmm!...)
I have also written and self-published two pictureless picture books for the children  of veterans who come home with PTSD and I don't know whether to take them with me on the off chance someone might be interested. I have never illustrated them because I can't figure out how... I will have a bag of stuff with me so I guess it won't hurt to take them, but is that acceptable behavior? Advice would be welcome.
I can't tell from the classes if there will be agents there. And I don't know what you can ask them or show them.
A lovely woman posted this on my guestbook at patiencepress.com:
Thank you so much for using your considerable talent to benefit so many. Your articles are a godsend for survivors, their families, and for therapists who try to help. Translating so much clinical jargon into emotionally compelling, useful language is a daunting task, and you've done it over and over again!
She put into words what I know I do, but couldn't express. If only I could get the VA and the Military to understand that. It is so frustrating to read their publications on PTSD.
I am having a lot of fun writing about Mike, and Bob will take pictures for me to take too.
We've had rain a lot this week, so the woods are overwhelmingly green and the mosquitoes have come back, but it is still beautiful. We start for Maine on the 18th via Detroit and Niagara Falls. Little Jack is riding with us as well as the oldest cat (Missy) and the dog (Maggie). It should be a lot of fun.
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
writerjenn: KeepWritingwriterjenn on June 1st, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Congratulations! Since it's your first conference, I would recommend listening a lot, getting to know the other participants, and having fun. Generally, pitching agents or editors is only done within the context of pre-set appointments. (You may see people pitching them at lunch or in the bathroom, but that is not recommended!)
If you have business cards or bookmarks with your email/website on them, you can exchange them with people you meet where you have a mutual interest in keeping in touch.
People are pretty friendly at these conferences, and we have built-in icebreaker questions: "Are you a writer or illustrator (or both)? What do you write?"
patty1943: pic#85360854patty1943 on June 1st, 2010 12:41 am (UTC)
Thanks for replying. I will make up some cards and take them. I sort of thought pitching would be out of line, so thanks for answering that uncertainty.
Amy Butler Greenfieldamygreenfield on June 1st, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
Good for you for being brave and signing up for the conference! You've gotten great advice already -- listening and connecting with like-minded people and having fun are the best ways to get the most out of the weekend. And cards are great for keeping in touch later. It's rare to make a sale at a conference, but often the seeds for a later sale -- or a new book -- are sown there. I hope you have a wonderful time!
Susan Taylor Brownsusanwrites on June 2nd, 2010 06:58 am (UTC)
Give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for signing up for the conference. Concentrate on absorbing as much as you can and making your connections that will grow as you nurture them over time.

Most of all, let yourself HAVE FUN!

And then tell us all about it when you come back.
sarah_createsarah_create on June 3rd, 2010 07:45 pm (UTC)
I've only been to one SCBWI conference--in Bologna, so it was different, with no classes.
It never hurts to take a manuscript with you. What you do need--a pitch, short, a sentence or two that you can share if you get an opportunity.
Just go, enjoy and soak in the atmosphere and enjoy learning. There is a LOT to learn about writing picture books. They aren't easy.

Feel free to email me. I just finished my semester and can do a PB critique for you. (I took the PB semester at VCFA.)