Posts Tagged ‘Lin Oliver’

Mar

4

2014

The 2014 NY SCBWI Winter Conference – Part 1

Filed under: Conferences, Publishing, SCBWI, Writing for Children

It’s time for your 2014 NY SCBWI Conference Recap!!! But I have to start with an apology–I wasn’t able to figure out where the heck I “packed” my good camera. *pulls out hair* It drove me crazy all weekend long. I love my iPhone but for some of those shots, I really needed my Canon. But since there is nothing I can do about it–we are just going to have to use our imaginations. Pretend all those pics are crystal clear and fabulous.

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It’s not an international SCBWI conference without Lin Oliver giving the conference stats. I know I’m a dork, but I look forward to this every time I go.

*1,085 people in attendance

*867 women

*153 men

*65 people who refused to state what they were.

*We hailed from 47 states. What’s up with those two damn Dakotas? And yes, we’d all rather be in Hawaii too–so they get a pass this year. LOL!

*20 countries were represented–meaning 19 foreign countries and Canada. Love you, Canada!!!!!

*In addition to my local Shop Talk clown (which Lin stated I can not take credit for unless I AM the clown ROTFL!) We also had a Waldo Impersonator that no one ever found. Tricky little devil–where is that Waldo? And an Expert in No Particular Subject. I kid you not. It has become apparent that I need to get more creative with my registration packet.

*Because we writers are directionally impaired, this year there were extra staff at hand herding us in the right direction as we wandered around the hotel. The illustrators (with the amazing spatial awareness) were encouraged to go about their business as usual.

Then, as an inspirational treat, we got to listen to SCBWI success story and cancer ass-kicker Kristin Fulton. Go check out her website and read about her recent 2 book deal. *fist pump* photo

 

And besides Kristin being fabulous, the bonus we discovered when chatting, was a mutual friend–one of my fabulous critique partners. <3 Commence singing It’s a Small World.

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I was so captivated by Jack Gantos I never took a picture of him speaking, but here he is signing books at the end of the conference. I think that Jack may now hold the title for the longest Keynote title. What do you think?

Keynote: How everything I learned about fiction and nonfiction in picture books, poetry, short stories, novellas, or, angst, dialog, a hundred drafts, and good luck all end up in the crown jewel of literature: THE NOVEL.

After Jack was done with his keynote, I leaned over to a friend (a first time NY SCBWI attendee) and whispered…”FYI–if you went home right now, you would have gotten your money’s worth.” And it’s the truth. I wish you’d been there to take it all in. It was amazing. Because I love you, here are some of my favorite highlights from Jack Ganto’s keynote…

*A great character will carry a weak plot, but a plot will not carry a weak character.

*The reader has to feel what the character feels…without empathy you don’t have a good book.

*There is not one good ending–there is always two. (the external ending and the emotional one)

*If you see it, you want the reader to see it too.

*The reason we read books is to change. As writers we have to infuse change into our writing so the reader feels it. “If that character does not change–I would be ashamed to write the book.”

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Next up was the Keynote Panel: The Future of Authorship

PA–Paul Aiken (Executive Director, The Author’s Guild)

JF–Jean Feiwel (SVP Publishing Director Macmillan Children’s Books)

JFriJane Friedman (Web Editor, Virginia Quarterly Review)

AGAbbi Glines (Author)

TT–Timothy Travalini (Director of Children’s Acquisitions, Open Road Media)

Moderated by: LO–Lin Oliver

 

Here are their best bits of advice…

JFri–New tools and trends are driving the discovery of work in a noisy industry. Now that everyone  CAN publish, the DO publish.

PA–It has always taken persistence in this industry. What has changed? We’ve lost 60-70% of our shelf space. Picture Books need to be picked up and held to be discovered.

AG–I was turned down by agents 55 times, so I self published my first novel. It got really bad reviews because it was really bad LOL!

AG–Writing a book is like a muscle–it gets better with use.

AG–You want your followers (twitter) to be organic –they should want to hear what you are saying.

JFri-An author platform comes out of your body of work.

JFri–It isn’t going to take much more erosion for bookstores to be unsustainable.

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AM Breakout Session with my FABULOUS editor Anica Rissi  <3 — Writing Contemporary Fiction

There is soooooo much good stuff!!! I couldn’t even write it all down–but THAT was no surprise to me because Anica is an amazing editor. Here’s her best…

*If you continuously find yourself to be the exception to all the rules–you might need to reevaluate.

*Be a brave soul.

*NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR FIRST DRAFT!

*Revision is what makes you a publishable writer.

*Give the reader something to wonder about.

*We learn about people (characters) in context.

*Kids won’t wait around–write opening lines that engage

*Your story needs to have a plot arc and an emotional arc.

*Stories are universal–it’s your details that matter.

*You should be writing the story only you can tell.

*You can’t decide who your characters are and you can’t force it–teens will smell a fake a mile away.

 

I find myself at a natural pausing spot as I’m pouring over Anica’s advice and inspirational words all over again. Guess this means it’s time for all of us to stop here and savor what’s been shared. I know it’s already made a HUGE difference in what I’m currently working on.

What is the most recent piece of advice or inspiration that’s found it’s way into your process and informed your writing?

 

 

 

 

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Feb

6

2013

The 14th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference February 1-3, 2013 Part 1

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Community, Conferences, Reading, SCBWI, Wolfson Literary, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Welcome to Kim’s wild and wacky conference recap. I’m so sorry, but this was the first year since 2008 that I didn’t get to attend the Friday Intensives. I was going to do the novel writing session this year, but due to a busy schedule, all the slots were filled when I registered. You SCBWIers are busy little monkeys. If you’d still like to find out about how it went, I recommend checking out the SCBWI blog.

I did make the most of my fabulous free Friday though. It was the 100th Anniversary of Grand Central Station. What a treat for me to “accidentally” be there.

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I have a soft spot for the clock. This is where I told my husband that I was pregnant with my first child. *heart squish*

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I also went into Posman’s Book store in Grand Central Station and took a picture of my book on the shelf 100 years after the doors to this beautiful transportation hub opened.

And it’s even more exciting because look at the company I’m keeping on the shelf. I’m such a fan-girl!

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Then, I had lunch with my wonderful agent, Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. I know you hear me say this all the time, but I love her!!!!! I also hit another NYC bookstore and signed stock.

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In an interesting twist, I was able to hang out with my husband and meet some of his colleagues. His building has a great view of Grand Central, the Hyatt (where the Conference is held) and the Chrysler Building.

By evening, everyone who was coming on Friday, had either rolled into the hotel or out of the Intensives in order to hang out. Lots of folks hit Kid Lit Night at the Wheel Tapper. And as is typical, the hotel lobby was overflowing with the buzz of chatting writers and artists. A lovely sound.

On to Saturday morning and the official kick-off of the conference…

Seriously, it wouldn’t be a conference without Lin Oliver giving us the conference stats:

*There were 999 of us in attendance, but Lin rounded up in order to make it easy.

*There were representatives from 17 countries outside the United States.

*FIVE states were no-shows and are now on Lin’s list. (Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Mississippi and Hawaii) It was determined that the first three were probably frozen solid and couldn’t make it and Hawaii would have crumbled in this freezing NY weather. But Mississippi–we’ve got our eyes on you!

*There were 796 women, 138 Men and 65 people who shouldn’t use their names as the MC of a novel because no one will know what bathroom you should get to use.

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*287 in attendance were published! Woot!!!!

Now let the Keynotes and Break-out sessions begin…

KEYNOTE: So When Are You Going to Write a Real Book, You Know, For Adults? by MEG ROSOFF

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I’m just going to come right out and say it. Meg may have put the screws to some celebrity authors. ROTFL! She was hilarious. Now I’m aware that not all celebrity authors, are celebrity authors. For example–the amazing Julie Andrews (whom you’ll hear more about later) is an author who just happens to be a celebrity. And I feel that way about Jamie Lee Curtis too. But…

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This one is harder to argue with LOL! I can’t claim to have personally read it, so I’ll leave the ultimate decision on this up to you. While you’re mulling it over, here are some of Meg’s best bits (besides her small reading from Fifty Shades.)

*When I was a teenager, I was the right age to have my life changed by books.

*Most of the best books I’ve ever read, I read before I was twenty.

*The best children’s books are about the the same topics as the best adult books.

*Books that are very good are worth reading, no matter who they’re written for or why they were written.

*Picture Books are #18 on the Goodreads list because how hard is it to write picture books? All you have to do is draw a duck. *insert sarcasm here*

Next up was a KEYNOTE PANEL DISCUSSION: Booksellers Panel: What’s Selling?

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Moderator–Lin Oliver (LO)

Mary Brown (MB)–Owner of Books, Bytes & Beyond, a children’s specialty bookstore

Robert Brown (RB)–National Sales and Program Manager at Scholastic Book Fairs

Jon Fine (JF)–Director of author & publisher relations at Amazon

Here are the best take-aways…

(MB) 70% of her market is schools and libraries. Non-fiction is increasingly important due to the core curriculum. *FYI you can download a free app with the core curriculum for our iPad and other devices.

(RB) It’s about getting books into children’s hands.

(JF) There is no finer group of authors than the SCBWI!!!!

(JF) The core concept is to tell a great story. If you do that, your words will be heard.

(JF) The benefit of today’s technology is that anyone can tell their story. (Access) But the down side it that anyone can tell their story LOL!

BREAK-OUT SESSION #1: What Hooks Me: Editors and Art Directors Tell All with Molly O’Neill (Editor, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins)

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Some of my favorite thoughts from Molly…

*Having a marketing background never leaves you. (Making her an editor with a double filter.)

*Pay attention to the balance between the specific and the universal.

*Kids are the primary audience.

*An editor is an advocate for the reader.

*When you boil it down, books are about what it means to be a human being.

*There needs to be things that ring so true in your writing that readers want to ingest it–tattoo it on themselves!

*When the reader is done with the book, are they unwilling to let go of it?

*Write what you know emotionally.

*Decide as an author, what part of your book or writing is non-negotiable and stick to it.

Also…Molly has made me crazy to read WILD AWAKE by Hilary T. Smith. It looks fabulous and I’ve always loved Intern Spills.

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After lunch (in which I ate a giant healthy salad followed by a large, chocolate cupcake from Magnolia Bakery. *yum*)

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it was time for…BREAK-OUT SESSION#2: What Hooks Me: Editors and Art Directors Tell All with Rosemary Brosnan (editorial director of HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Gahhhh *pulls out hair* I was so entranced listening to Rosemary, I forgot to take a picture. So sorry.

*I love starred books and great reviews, but readers still have to buy the book. (Can I get an amen?)

*I LOVED the story about how my fellow Apocalypsie sistah, Anne Nesbet, author of CABINET OF EARTHS, met with Rosemary while she was sick in bed at a conference. It goes to show you, you never know what’s going to happen in publishing LOL!

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And SQUEE!!!! Rosemary also highlighted the books of a personal friend and member of my local SCBWI Shop Talk, Jennifer Castle!!!!

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I loved The Beginning of After!!!!

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And I’m dying to read You Look Different In Real Life–Available June 4, 2013.

THE LAST KEYNOTE SPEAKER OF THE DAY: Internal Migrations by Shaun Tan

I have to start off by telling you, that it never ceases to amaze me, how much I’m affected by the illustrator or illustrator/author presentation at the SCBWI. They are so amazing. I’m very glad our diversity is our unity.

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I WANT!!! Not only the book (it wasn’t available at the bookstore) but I want ERIC to come and stay at my house. This is one of my favorite book characters now!

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I did get THE ARRIVAL signed!!!! Amazing and I played it cool, but Arthur Levine helped me get my books ready to sign when a conference helper had to step away. Between Tan and Levine, I was a tongue-tied fan-girl, muttering gibberish. *sigh* I may have said something about awesome and great and fabulous, but I can’t be sure.

And just so you know, Shaun’s words and thoughts are as beautiful and magical as his artwork…

*Never listen to what an artist says–the truth is in the work.

*The dark side of familiarity is complacency.

*Migration can be internal.

*The truths I’m most interested in are the ones that can be spoken of directly.

*I imagine my stories as really happening.

*I’m very suspicious of artists that have neat and tidy studios–I admire them–but I’m suspicious.

*Comprehension is over rated–what’s more important is a feeling of imaginative empathy.

AND MY FAVORITE…

*The thing that matters most in art, is that thing you can’t explain.

Ummm I may have been too busy lounging across the MASHED POTATO BAR at the Cocktail Gala Meet and Greet to take pictures, but you can’t blame me, it had a toppings bar. Just know that Day #1 was so inspiring, I stayed up way too late in order to discuss it with anyone who had feet. (Yeah, my criteria for bookish conversational comrades is very high LOL!) And in fact, my roommie believes that I fell asleep mid-sentence that night. A new milestone. *grin*

I’ll be back with Sunday (Day #2) on Friday’s blog post. But in the mean time, talk to me, I’m still awake–sort of. What’s inspiring you, my arm chair conference buddy? Anything that resonates? New authors/illustrators to check out? Any editors just added to your Must Have list? Are you saving your pennies for the next SCBWI Conference?

PS–Chris Crutcher, you were missed in the lobby. Everyone was wishing you were there for another fabulous night of conversation. (((hugs)))

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Aug

12

2012

The 41st Annual SCBWI Conference–Part 3–Sunday

Filed under: Class of 2k12, Conferences, SCBWI, The Class of 2k12

I think I mentioned earlier that this conference had some of the best panel discussions that I’ve been to at a SCBWI event. Up first on Sunday morning was the AGENTS PANEL–REALIZING YOUR CREATIVE DREAMS:WHAT THE PUBLISHING WORLD CAN OFFER YOU. (LO) Lin Oliver (Moderator)

(JC) Jill Corcoran

(DW) Deborah Warner (Filling in for Rubin Pfeffer)

(LP) Linda Pratt

(JA) Josh Adams

Here are their best pieces of advice…

What are you looking for?

JA-We don’t look for perfection, we look for potential that needs to be highly polished.

JC-Do your research. Pick 5 ideas you love , then pick the one that seems the most exciting. Be sure to research comp books. You can change the setting to make an idea you love more unique.

JA-We are looking for something that is truly unique. If we love something, we will find a home for it. What is expected of an author besides writing?

JA-Social media, tours, school visits, marketing. First books allow you take lots of time but after that, you’re expected to produce.

LP-Second books can’t be obscure and quirky. Your sales are being tracked (Book Scan) and you have to be pragmatic about what you pick in the beginning of your career.

JA-There is less time today to build a career.

Advice?

DW-Placing your second book is just as important as placing your first.

JA-Do your homework first. LP-Make decisions that progress your work, not just add another book. Selectivity. And be professional!

JC-About social media: Why do we all have to say EVERYTHING we feel. Have a filter. Be cautious and professional.

LO-Ask…Is this the highest and best use of your time.

Money?

JA-Children’s and YA have historically done thing differently than adult publishing and that is why we’re doing well.

 

Now on to the picture book panel. I’ve dabbled with picture books but don’t consider myself a picture book writer at this point in my career, but I am so glad that I stayed for this session. The wonderful insight and messages transcended the world of picture books and I walked away with a large amount of wisdom and inspiration–plus a whole bunch of laughs.

(JK) Jon Klassen

(AP) Antoinette Portis

(DY) Dan Yaccarino (Moderator)

(EY) Eugene Yelchin

(LW) Lee Wardlow

Trends?

EY-Trends? I don’t know what that means–we are in a very specific cultural moment. We must consciously be aware of being in THAT moment. We are helping to create the culture

JK-Trends apply more to novels because PB’s don’t have as much trouble explaining themselves. Don’t need comps the same way.

DY-We never get tired of hearing the same stories–we just want to have a unique delivery.

EY-You do your research, but it still has to filter through you.

JK-What makes a classic? It has something unreachable about it that makes you want to keep returning to it to try to figure it out. (GOODNIGHT MOON; GO, DOG, GO!)

 

The first breakout session of the day was one that is close to my heart. The Class of 2k7 (The founding class of 2k’s) is celebrating it’s 5th anniversary and of course that makes me a member of the 5th class to come through. Of course I had to attend this session by Greg Fishbone, Jay Asher and Greg Neri called CLASS OF 2K7: SOCIAL NETWORKING YOUR WAY TO THE VIRTUAL TOP.

Here are some of the stats on the Class of 2k7…

39 Members (13 Middle Grade and 26 Young Adult)

Releases: 17 Spring, 12 Summer and 10 Fall

When they started…

*They may have started as a group of balding male writers. LOL!

*Online marketing was very new and not the primary focus.

*MySpace was the big thing LOL! But it shows that social media is a moving target and you can put a lot of effort into something that just goes away.

Why group branding?

*Lends credibility to the authors–looks professional. There are groups beyond the Class of 2k series that do this also–like the Apocalypsies and the Lucky 13s.

*Joint presentations/signings make something an event.

*You better control your own spin.

 

Class of 2k’s Websites:

*Class of 2k7

*Class of 2k8

*Class of 2k9

*Class of 2k10

*Class of 2k11

*Class of 2k12

*Class of 2k13 They are just getting started!

Up next was the SCBWI Golden Kite Luncheon. If you’re not familiar with the SCBWI Golden Kite award, you can find out more about it HERE. The awards given out at this luncheon also include the illustrator awards, the humorous Sid Fleishman Award and the SCBWI Member of the Year Award, which was deservedly won by Suzanne Morgan Williams.

 And this year was also very special for me because Kate Messner won the Golden Kite Picture Book Award. Kate is a member of my SCBWI Eastern Upstate New York and one of the authors I used as a role model when I first started this journey. Congratulations Kate!!!!

And here are the other amazing winners…

So proud to see what the SCBWI is producing. Each book is a stone in a path that we are all creating together. I’m so amazingly proud to be a part of this tribe. After the luncheon I got to go to another breakout session with Ruta Sepetys!!! This allowed me to get an up close look at a Golden Kite award…too stinkin’ amazing!

Who needs an Oscar when you can have one of these? And of course, Ruta sent out a message of thanks to all of Verla Kay’s Blue Boarders when she saw Verla in her session too.

 

Okay, back to topic–which is–SELLING, PROMOTING & TOURING IN FOREIGN MARKETS. I wasn’t sure how much I’d get out of this session because I have 3 young kids and hopping on a plane and touring overseas isn’t going to be the easiest thing for me to do, but I’d learned so many fabulous things in my other sessions with Ruta that I couldn’t pass it up. I wasn’t disappointed. I learned a ton of information that will give me lots of advantages to dealing with foreign markets even if I’m staying right at home.

Here are some general tips that everyone will find useful…

*If you send video content–attach a script for easy translation.

*Have a selection of author photos because tastes vary widely.

*Create your own Q & A.

*Send thank you notes.

*sob* The last Keynote speaker of the conference. I hate saying goodbye to this kind of inspiration.  Gary Schmidt–THAT KID IN THE BACK ROW, THE ONE WITH THE RED SHIRT ON. Gary is the author of one of my favorite books–THE WEDNESDAY WARS.

*We are at our best with good and healthy routines. We need to pay attention to our surprises.

*I was put into Track 3 in first grade–I didn’t learn to read for a very long time.

*Never doubt your stories will effect kids.

*You write the stories that give your readers more to be a human being with.

*You will never learn to love art well until you learn to love what it mirrors better…the world.

-Love the world

-Love the stuff of your craft–words.

-Give your readers the deepest questions not easy answers.

-Pay attention

*Does the writing serve? We do not want to be hacks who simply seek fame and fortune. We are in a culture where we cease to cherish our children. We are called to cherish our readers.

The child deserves…

How do we get started?

Look.

 

Yes, it’s a miracle that I’m still alive today because by all rights, after that speech and all the others I heard at the conference, no one would have blamed me if my heart had burst. But that is how you should leave a conference so full of inspiration, hope and motivation that the touch of a feather would cause it to leak out of you. Now it’s time for the autograph party or as I like to call it…Kim gets to hug her heroes.

Of course, everyone feels the same way I do, so the line is outrageous LOL! But it goes rather quickly and it’s so worth it.

After hearing Eugene Yelchin in the Picture Book Panel I had to have this book, BREAKING STALIN’S NOSE. Can’t wait to read it with the boys!

 The second page of KINDRED SOULS by Patricia MacLachlan has a Red Tailed Hawk on it. Perfect.

Awww Bryan Collier blew me away with his keynote. From that moment on I became a life long fan. The SCBWI doesn’t get better than this.You must read DAVE THE POTTER!

I love Clare Vanderpool and can’t wait to read MOON OVER MANIFEST!

It’s Karen Cushman!!! Karen has published seven books since she started writing at age 50, including Newbery award winner THE MIDWIFE’S APPRENTICE.

OMG!!! My kids are going to be soooo jealous. They LOVED reading Gary Schmidt‘s  THE WEDNESDAY WARS together. It was such a wonderful experience to share my children’s enthusiasm for his writing with him. We can’t wait to read his next book, OKAY FOR NOW together.

Pictures are worth a 1,000 words and sometimes us writers CAN just leave it at that–or maybe I’ll have just a little bit more to say about Ruta on Wednesday LOL!

And then it’s over…waving goodbye to LAX.

This is still the only view I’ve ever had of the Pacific LOL!

Turning back around over the ocean and doing an LA fly by on my way home.

 

Can you spot the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza?  It’s the low building with a curved shape next to the white tower.

On Monday there was also a wonderful day of Intensives but I didn’t attend, I was ready to head home and see my family. On my way out, I did see this little cloud and I can only imagine that some day it will show up in one of my stories LOL!

Don’t forget that you still have a chance to win a Pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE!

Now that you’ve had a virtual SCBWI Conference, what do you think? Interested in joining the tribe? Already a proud member? Find any authors that you would love to hear? Make sure you request them with your SCBWI RA for your local conferences. Or just check out their amazing books and if you do love them, be sure to take the time to write a review for Amazon, B&N and Goodreads. Your positive support means the world to all authors and illustrators. It will never go unappreciated.

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Aug

8

2012

The 41st Annual SCBWI Summer Conference in LA–Part 1–Friday August 3rd

Filed under: Apocalypsies, Conferences, Contests, SCBWI, Touching the Surface

I always like to start of the recap with some of Lin Oliver‘s Conference stats. I’ll be honest, it’s soooo much funnier when she lays them out, but I do still think they are interesting even when she’s not delivering.

The 41st Annual SCBWI Summer Conference had…

1,234 Attendees
46 States (Yes, the Dakotas and a few more were missing again!)
15 Countries
411 Published and the remainder Pre-published
171 Males (Yes–we stole their bathroom again.)
941 Females
122 Undeclared (They had more bathroom options than anyone LOL!)

This year’s opening ceremonies included an Olympic theme and we even had a torch match to help kick things off. And kicking things off meant we got to hear about TIMELESS books from the great Arthur Levine.

 

The question was asked…Should we look at a book with timelessness in mind? Do you have an answer? Opinion?

For this Keynote, we looked at the books that spanned Arthur’s career–the ones he felt were timeless.

*GOODNIGHT GORILLA
*MIRETTE ON THE HIGHWIRE
*THE ROUGH-FACED GIRL
*THE GOLDEN COMPASS
*WHEN SHE WAS GOOD
*HARRY POTTER
*HOW ARE YOU PEELING?
*MILLICENT MIN
*THE ARRIVAL
*THE SNOW DAY

Throughout the whole conference, this theme was revisited in many other keynotes and sessions, all with differing opinions on what makes something timeless, but almost everyone seemed to agree that it couldn’t and shouldn’t be predicted.

*PREPARE FOR SHAMELESS PLUG*

On that note, I will not be so bold as to say that my friend Mike Jung‘s up and coming Arthur Levine book will be timeless–but I’m pretty sure that GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES is going to be made of awesome!!!!!

*BACK TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING*

The second keynote of the morning was NEVER ABANDON IMAGINATION by the very funny Tony Diterlizzi.

 

Tony started out with an amazing quote…

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
― Albert Einstein

Ummm how did I live my life not knowing that one?

But here are some of Tony’s best lines too…

*Imagination has to be instilled at a very young age. In my opinion–when they pop out!

*Each year, as I get better at my craft, I’m another year further away from the kid in me.

*All that Dorothy, Wendy and Alice ever wanted was to go home. There is a longing to be in a place that makes us feel safe and loved.

*I’m a Jedi. (On Star Wars love…all the best ones are *wink*)

It’s Apocalypsie Time!!!!!

One of my buds from the debut group of authors called the APOCALYPSIES is the lovely Lissa Price, author of STARTERS. And she had a wonderful breakout session called HOW TO APPLY SCREENWRITING TECHNIQUES TO MAKE ANY BOOK BETTER.

Lissa helped explain high concept movies and books.

*High concept is to be thought of as an internal phrase, not something we should be using in queries or throwing around with editors. It’s how we need to visualize our own work to make it very competitive.

*High concept creates an “ah-ha” moment in one or two sentences–often with a touch of emotion and/or irony.

Lissa then became hands on with the crowd, helping them to tweak pitches and first lines to their best advantage. She was also very clear that not all books are high concept and literary works can be equally as successful, but how they capture the attention of agents, editors and readers is very different.

And there may have been some Apocalypsie goofing around that Lissa had to deal with also LOL!

Next up was Sara Shepard talking about SCANDALS, LIES AND MURDERS: HOW TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM IN A SERIES.

Sara is the author of the PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and LYING GAMES series. Here are some of her best bits…

*Know who your murder is before you set out.

*Always incorporate a red herring into the series.

*Leave a bit to chance. The narrator has to be a little bit unreliable, especially is suspicion is cast upon them.

*You have to be willing to change.

The next Keynote of the day was Patricia MacLachlan–REVISING MY LIFE.

I really didn’t take many notes, I sort of just soaked her up and enjoyed every minute of her speech. Aside from writing HILARIOUS!!!!! and putting hearts all over the page, I captured this one to keep…

Childhood is powerful–children experience life along side us. We are all children.  The child knows all…

My next break out session was with Ruta Sepetys. I’m going to warn you. You are going to be hearing a lot about Ruta from me. I am going to refrain from gushing like a fool right off the bat, but consider yourself warned. You may want to come to the blog prepared for full-on-hero worship because it is inevitable.

Ruta–don’t hate me. I have many flattering pics of you and I fully plan to use them, but this one just captured how funny and accessible you were and it made me smile. This breakout session, MEDIA PREP: AUTHOR TIPS FOR RADIO, TV AND PRINT COVERAGE was part of the PRO Track–classes designed for the student who has different needs now that they are published.

I now have an endless amount of information to contemplate. Here are some of the broad strokes…

*Develop message points

*Distill them down to sound bytes

*Bridges allow you to communicate your message with a less than perfect question

*Pivots allow you to take something negative and turn it positive

*Never wing it…EVER!

The last Keynote of the day was HOW A DUMBASS LIKE ME GOT 100 BOOKS PUBLISHED by Dan Gutman. As you might imagine, this speech was funny, irreverent and very smart. Dan started off by giving us a list of advice starting with…

#13  Ignore all advice

#12  Join SCBWI (which negates number 13)

#11  Be persistent

#10  Try everything

#9    Don’t get stuck in a rut

#8   Become famous (like Madonna and then you can write anything and someone will print it LOL!)

#7   Find something really popular and then write something better

#6   Never write on an empty stomach (use paper)

#5   Break the rules

#4   Promote the hell out of yourself

#3   Take the Bull by the horns

#2   Use your strengths

#1   There is NO SECRET…when you do what you love, you love what you do.

Time for the Pizza Party and Book Sale honoring SCBWI Published Attendees. *yum and squee* Next year I’ll have pizza AND a book!!!!

Jodi Moore holding down the fort while Verla Kay had to step away. Seriously, doesn’t every one want to be Verla, mom of the Blue Boards?

Woo hoo!!! Got to meet fellow Apocalypsie Robin Mellom (Author of DITCHED) with her new MG novel THE CLASSROOM. Already loved DITCHED so had to get a copy of this one for me and the boys!!!!

I didn’t list the event times like I sometimes do, but in case you’re wondering…Jodi and I, registration and the Starbucks line were in full swing by 7:30 am and the Book Sale finished at 7:30pm. Somewhere after that hunted down dinner before I stayed up too late talking.  For clarity, there was a quick break for lunch and I got to share a meal with my lovely RA for SCBWI Eastern Upstate New YorkNancy Castaldo. (Fun pics coming in future installments LOL!)

Don’t forget that I have an on going contest to win a pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE right HERE! The contest will be open the whole time I’m recapping the conference. Stop over to win!!!

Are you tired yet? Any presenters that I’ve convinced you that you must see? Oh, my friend, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Be back on Friday with more.

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Feb

3

2012

The NY12SCBWI Conference-Part 2

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI, Uncategorized

One of my favorite parts of the conference is Lin Oliver‘s stats and joke during the welcome.


I’ve come to look forward to them. So with out much ado…the 13th Annual New York Conference stats…

*1,148 people in attendance (a sold out show)
*301 were published authors and the remainder are pre-published because that’s how we role in the SCBWI
*392 were women, 56 were men and 700 were UNKNOWN. I met a few of the 700 and they were confused but very nice.
*There were 867 writers in the house and 485 illustrators
*19 different countries were in attendance, including Aruba and Jamaica. Yes, you are correct if you guessed that Lin was singing.
*We also had 49 out of 50 States in attendance but because South Dakota actually showed up this year, Lin was stumped as to who was dissing us.

You have to have the right kind of person to follow Lin Oliver and we were not disappointed.

9:00-10:00 KEYNOTE: TURNING REAL LIFE INTO FICTION – Chris Crutcher

Here are some of my best walk-aways…

*If you want to make life important…shorten it.

*The language of grief, the language of hard times–they need to be told in their native tongue.

*We tend to write for the censors instead of the people who are reading our books.

*The truth you know is the one that will get you published.

*Jesus had an older brother named Esus! Who knew? Chris’ older brother, that’s who. Bwahhhh!!!!

10:15-11:30 PANEL: CHILDREN’S BOOKS: TODAY AND TOMORROW” FOUR EXPERT IMPRESSIONS

Moderator: (LO) Lin Oliver
(RP) Ruben Pfeffer, Agent, East West Literary Agency
(BM) Barbara Markus, Strategic Innovations Advisor
(JF) Jean Feiwel, Senior Vice President and Publishing Director, Feiwel and Friends (MacMillan)
(NP) Nancy Paulsen, President and Publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books, (Penguin)

Question: Significant changes in publishing? (LO)

*(RP) Much more energized and commercial publishing going on.

*(BM) We have bestseller hardcover children’s books that sell better than adult books.

*(JF) The closing of Boarders the changes in Amazon, self-publishing etc…

*(NP) Social Media. Remember, you can use it to help support local bookstores.

Question: How do you characterize the market? (LO)

*(JF) In the last 10 years you could publish just about anything. The market has forced a correction–in order to be effective you need to know your core strengths.

*(RP) Because we publish fewer titles, we have to publish titles better.

***GUEST SPEAKER ALERT!!!!***

Yes!!!! It’s Henry Winkler!!!! *heart squish*

Henry is dyslexic and he was wonderfully funny and thoughtful in his speech but I simply can’t capture his talk effectively, but I would like to add this link to a recent interview he did about his dyslexia. Henry Winkler on The Doctors.

11:15-12:45 1ST PRE-ASSIGNED BREAKOUT SESSION—YOUNG ADULT FICTION with Tara Weikum, Executive Editor, Harper Collins

Tara gave a brief history of YA and some thoughts on it…

* The OUTSIDERS–wasn’t the first book for teens but it was the book that made people stand up and take notice.

*Printz Award launched in 2000

*YA is in a major state of flux. Editors ask themselves–What is different about this book from the others I have read? Do I LOVE this book?

*Teens want to read about what is important and relevant to them.

*Voice is different for every editor.

2:00-3:00 KEYNOTE: LOVE TRIANGLE AND FORBIDDEN LOVE–CREATING AND MAINTAINING ROMANTIC TENSION IN YA LITERATURE by Cassandra Clare

*Forbidden love
-By Family
-By Society
-Because it’s unsuitable or dangerous

*Love Triangles
-Epic love vs Indecision

*The kind of love story that is fun to live is not fun to read about.

3:15-4:15 2ND PRE-ASSIGNED BREAKOUT SESSION–REVISION with Cheryl Klein, Executive Editor, Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)

*Revision=Re-visioning

*Revision requires courage and love–be kind to yourself.

*Take the truth and put it in a story that makes money. (the best of both worlds)

*It’s much more exciting to be in the action than talking about the action that is coming up.

*Write a synopsis from the enemy’s point of view–to show balance.

*SAID is transparent, it disappears–the other tags don’t.

*Keep a copy of everything

*Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.

4:30-5:30 3RD PRE-ASIGNED BREAKOUT SESSION–THE NOVEL with Wendy Loggia, Executive Editor, Delacorte Press

*Take the familiar and raft a narrative that makes me see things in a new light

*If you have a clear sense of what you want to do–it shows in your writing.

*There has to be a consumer for your book.

*Keep your reader hooked.

*If something doesn’t feel natural to you–don’t write it.

*Be aware of trends, but if you’re writing to a trend it’s too late.

I also have to mention that Wendy gave a huge shout out to my fellow Apoclaypsie Lissa Price and her up-coming debut novel STARTERS.  Of course I was *squeeing* like mad–out loud when she was talking about Lissa’s book!!!  And it gets better…Wendy gave me the ARC she was reading from!!!!!  I started it on the train and LOVE it!!!!  Contest coming soon!!!! Thank you Wendy and Lissa!!!!!

And don’t think you can sit down now–it’s off to the Gala where they had *drum roll* a mashed potato bar with toppings!!!  If I hadn’t died and gone to heaven, I would have taken a picture. But here are a couple shots from the night.

Kim and Greg Fishbone-Founder of the Class of 2k7

Kim and Lynda Hunt MullalyClass of 2k12

And of course, long after the Gala was over, I was still talking to old friends and making new ones in the lobby…

 

Hanging with my Simon Pulse peeps–Hannah Moskowitz, Kim and Michael Strother. <3

Yes, that is Chris Crutcher hanging out with us!!!!!  Life is good.

I’ll be back on Monday with the final installment from the conference, but in the meantime, have a great weekend!

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Feb

1

2012

The NY12SCBWI Conference-Part 1

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI, Uncategorized

I’m going to start my conference blog a little unusually. I’m going to begin with John Green and his newest YA novel THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. I’d decided that I wanted to read this on audiobook and I’m so glad that I did. The voices–they brought one of the most beautiful stories to life that I have ever read. Now I bet your asking what this book has to do with the conference. Well, I was five chapters from the end when I boarded the train to head to the city for the Marketing Intensives. I knew it was foolish to try to finish this book in such a public place but I couldn’t stop myself.

 

Yes, I cried on the train–no–that’s a lie. I sobbed on the train. I frightened the conductor. I tried to pass it off as the side effects of the cold that I had, but when the train stopped and I stood up to gather my things, I saw a writer friend sitting a few rows over. Seeing that one friendly face was my undoing. I put up a finger and and tried to explain, with tears running down my cheeks, how I was forever changed because I had read a book.

Yes, the regular commuters exited the train briskly, mouths gaping–glad I only ride the morning train once in a blue moon. But I’m not ashamed. It was that kind of book and I don’t think that there is a better way to kick off a conference than to walk into it with you heart open and your soul bared. I can’t really write a review of this book, because the truth is I’m not that good of a writer. It will take me a lifetime and many rereads to this story to be able to adequately express what it means to me. So, for now, I shall simply say…thank you John Green.

No longer slobbering, friend in tow, I was happy to easily navigate my arrival tasks of checking in, registering and eating a bagel slathered in cream cheese.  I also got a chance to hook up with a few old friends and meet a new one before kicking off the Marketing Intensives.  I’m going to share some of best nuggets of the day with you…

9:00-10:100 USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR BEST ADVANTAGE

(SD) Sarah Dickman, Senior Account Executive, Odyl.net

(SR) Susan Raab, President, Raab Associates, Inc

(DS) Deb Shapiro, Founder, Deb Shapiro & Co.

*Once you have a clear sense of what you bring to the table, the better able the publisher is at working with you in marketing. (DS)

*If you have to choose between a website and Facebook, pick FB because you already have 850 million users at your disposal. (SD)

*Think in terms of stages and move forward from where YOU are. (SR)

*How do you quantify the money you spend on marketing? You have to look at it long term, but even then, it’s hard to say. (DS)

*Kids will notice if you are disingenuous with them. Don’t try to fake who you are. (DS)

*Have on page as an author–You are your brand! (SR)

*It’s important to communicate with your publisher so you don’t duplicate efforts. (DS)

 

10:00-10:30 CREATING BOOK TRAILERS AND OTHER RANDOM ACT OF PROMOTION

Darcy Pattison, Author/Teacher

*Book trailers are a decade old.

*There are three types of trailer-the power point aesthetic, the movie trailer aesthetic and the YouYube Aesthetic

*The idea matters more than anything.

*An autograph allows a reader to take away a little piece of you–a trailer is like this too.

If you’d like to check out some of Darcy Pattison’s trailers–a really fun one is THE BISON vs WOMAN ICE SKATING COMPETITION.

 

10:30-11:30 PROMOTE  YOURSELF VIA CURRICULUM AND SCHOOL VISITS

(NG) Nick Glass, Founder, Teachingbooks.net

(DHT) Deborah Hochman Turvey, Founder, Visitingauthors.com

*Getting your school visit information up on a website is imperative because librarians do not have the time to be on the phone with you for too long. (DHT)

*Suggestion: Do five visits free and then start charging (DHT)

*On pricing: Not getting enough visits–charge less.  Getting lots of visits–charge more. (DHT)

*Prepare yourself for schools and classes!!!! (DHT)

*DON’T GO IN THERE AND READ YOUR BOOK.  They want to hear about your process, your childhood, your experiences.  Bring Pictures. (DHT)

*I read books that are “not my kind of books” because the author won me over with their passion and personality. (NG)

*Creating lesson plans: It’s about using the test. (NG)

*You can apply to speak at conferences. (NG)

*Many schools do not let students play You Tube videos, so embed your trailer on your website.

*Never underestimate what a librarian will do if they like you. (NG)

*Teachingbooks- “A Google for reading.”

 

11:30-12:15 DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE WEBSITES

Maddee James, Owner, Xuni.com

*Why do you need a website?

-Homebase on the internet.

-Readers and Publishers expect you to have one.

-You’re responsible for creating your own online presence.

-Readers want to find out more about you.

-You’ll be amazed at how many visitors you get.

-Collect fan names-newsletter.

-Can even help you find an agent/publisher

*MAKE SURE YOUR WEBSITE IS UP TO DATE!

*Your name is your brand.

 

12:15-1:15 LUNCH!!!!

 

1:15-2:15 WORKING COLLABORATIVELY WITH PUBLISHERS: WHAT SHOULD YOU DO AND WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?

****Side note–Cindi Tamasi Hamilton just so happens to be an old friend that I hadn’t seen in ages.  It took us a minute to figure it out LOL!!! But so nice to see her again and now we can keep track of each other in the cyber world!!!****

Cindy Tamasi Hamilton, Director of Publicity,HarperCollins

Tracy van Straaten, Vice Presiden of Publicity, Scholastic, Inc.

*What should I be doing before I get a Publicist?

-Create a list of any personal media contacts, booksellers or librarians

-Provide your editor with information regarding inspiration for your book, back story, things that might be interesting and helpful in pitching your book.

-Build your social media presence on FB/Twitter etc…

*If there is a trend-group marketing might be very beneficial. (ex-Paranormals)

*Sometimes seasonal or topical books from different houses can be beneficial because they will get lumped together.

*Your book being in the catalogue is one of the single most important things for your book!

 

2:15-3:00 TWEET PROMOTE AND BRAND YOUR WAY TO MARKETING SUCCESS:” STRATEGIES AND REAL WORLD SCENARIOS

(TB) Tracy Barrett, Author

(RM) Roxie Munro, Author/Illustrator

(LO) Lin Oliver, Author/SCBWI Co-Founder

(SR) Susan Raab, President, Raab Associates, Inc

*A mid-list author needs a specific brand-your style and your choices mold you. (RM)

*Throw yourself a launch party. (LO)

*Invite your author friends to the party and highlight their books too–what is good for one is good for all! (LO)

*Make a trailer-it can be done for little or no money. (LO)

*Spend money on a website and put your website on the cover of your ARC and book. (LO)

*When you FB/Twitter–DON’T JUST TALK ABOUT YOURSELF. (LO)

 

3:15-4:00 NEW DIRECTIONS IN PUBLICITY: EMERGING TRENDS

Jason Kintzler, Founder, PitchEngine

*This social media thing is just a baby-no one has the answers no matter what the size of the brand.

*My initial info comes from FB/Twitter–I only go to websites when I need to go deeper.  It’s not about the website.

*It’s becoming less about reviews and more about what your friends are reading as marketing goes mobile.

*You shouldn’t worry about devices when branding–worry about content.

*Try to find ways to make yourself more relevant.

*Grow your brand by hi-jacking the conversation. Look outside the box.

 

4:00-5:00 WHERE NEXT? MULTIMEDIA, MOBILE, ELECTRONIC AND GAME PLATFORM

(MK) Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media

(JF) Jon Fine, Director, Author & Publisher Relations, Amazon.com, Inc

(PR) Peter Reynolds, Founder, Fablevision

Moderator: (LO) Lin Oliver

*On Publishing: The means of production have been democratized. (JF)

*Discoverability is how you can push your book to the top of that tidal wave. Lots of different ways to tell and sell a story. (JF)

*Apps have only been around for 3 and a half years. (MK)

*On the future of publishing and marketing: There is going to be a lot of money spent and a lot of money wasted.  Consider this the Wild, Wild West. (PR)

*The container for the story keeps changing, but in the end, it still needs to hold a wonderful story. (PR)

*On paper books: They are going to try to digitalize a teddy bear, but in the end, you’re always going to want to snuggle up with the real thing. (PR)

*It used to be the cover that mattered, but now it’s the meta data. (JF)

 

Phew…that was a lot!  The rest of the intensives wound up with a lightning round of questions and then it was off to dinner and Kidlit Drink night.  Where I got to meet up with some of the Apocalypsies and some of the members of the Class of 2k12.

Kim and Sarvenaz Tash (Class of 2k12)

If you find any of this information in this blog post useful or intriguing, I highly suggest that you follow up  with the links to find out more about these amazing speakers.  They were a wealth of knowledge. So, are there any that you think are really interesting?  I know I’ve already explored a few.  Plus, if you have any other marketing tips–feel free to share them! Coming up on Friday!! Saturday of the NY12SCBWI Conference.

 

 

 

 

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