Posts Tagged ‘scbwiny10’
Filed under: Conferences
This is it…the missing blog. I know you’ve been wondering how it all ends. Let me see if I can get you there.
As Jane Yolen would say, it all starts with BIC (Butt in Chair). What is everyone waiting for? The Agent Panel Discussion of course.
ASK THE AGENTS: 3 AGENTS ANALYZE THE MARKET
LO-Lin Oliver (Moderator)
GN-George Nicholson, Sterling and Lord Literistic
RS-Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio
TW-Tina Wexler, ICM
The session started with everyone telling a little bit about themselves, their agency etc…
Due to unfortunate technical difficulties, George Nicholson was very difficult to hear for his opening remarks.
RS-You should have come to the conclusion that an agent is an important thing to have.
-Things in publishing are moving at lightening speed.
-The area of sub-rights is changing drastically.
-Stimola Literary Agency is a boutique agency (home office/flexible hours/virtual staff)
-Publishers are in a "land grab" because no one knows what is coming down the road.
TW-Agreed with the earlier comments, but added a reminder…All of us are here because we love books. We (agents) don’t have a job without all of you.
LO-How would you characterize the current climate?
RS-Its challenging, but that is what makes it exciting.
-Write a kick ass story and then let the professionals help with the rest of the process.
GN-Mediocre and ordinary simply will not sell
-Remember that this business is subject to personal taste.
TW-Be mindful of the market but understand that what you see now was bought 1+ years ago.
-Be passionate and smart.
-Know who your competition is.
LO-Do you believe in trends?
RS-I SET TRENDS!!!!!! (She reps Suzanne Collins author of the HUNGER GAMES. This gives her HUGE bragging rights LOL!)
-After the Hunger Games, all the Dystopian/Futuristic subs she is receiving seem familiar.
GN-Suggests reading adult books also, to know what is going on in children’s fiction.
TW-The manuscripts that she’s sold in the current market had one thing in common, the authors all had interests in other areas. It informs their writing. Your outside passions make your writing better.
LO-Are you willing to look at writers who have not yet been published?
TW-75% of my clients were unpublished when I took them on.
RS-Nothing more exciting that finding a new fabulous voice out there.
-Everyone you bring in is deserving of a portion of my time. So I have to ask myself…."Can I do this?" That is why I am selective.
-Publishers are being selective too, but that may not be a bad thing.
My thoughts? That last line is both frustrating and reassuring at the same time. I can live with the idea that the best get published and it motivates me to keep working harder to be one of the best. I know its not an easy venture but won’t it feel sweeter when you’ve had to work that hard? We can always use some extra guidance and the next speaker has rolled out the yellow brick road for us.
Now its our job to have enough brains, courage and heart to make the journey.
Yes, yes, yes! It is none other than Jane Yolen with a keynote speech titled I STILL LOVE BOOKS.
*Too many of us want to be famous millionaires instead of being writers (whole room hangs head in shame). Trying to win the big prize is like looking for fairy dust. All YOU can count on is the joy of discovery, the process.
*Why do authors network?
-To avoid a lot of mistakes.
-To keep current of the who, what, when, and where in children’s publishing.
-You will make good friends on your own level and above.
Look around you right now…you may be sitting to the next award winner or best seller, if you’re not one yourself.
Remember, when you do make it…we can’t pay back what we’ve gotten, but we can pay it forward.
Being part of SCBWI gives you knowledge to help protect you from being disenfranchised and screwed…or at least it helps you understand why you were.
JANE’S 20 WRITING POINTS
1. Eschew the exclamation point. Use your words to paint the emotion instead.
2. Go easy on adverbs.
3. Don’t let your characters float on the page…anchor them with action.
4. Have fun writing.
5. BIC-Butt in Chair
HOP-Heart on the Page
P no F- Passion not Fashion
6. Don’t write what you are allergic to.
7. No one expects everything to have a happy ending. Don’t be afraid of a different ending, of hard choices.
8. Fall through the words into the story. Sometimes simply simple is the best.
9. Not everything should be simple.
10. You need to find the right word. One word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightening.
11. Call me Ishmal. Its not the opening line itself, but how it carries the DNA for the whole book.
12. Exercise the writing muscle. Work on your craft every day.
13. Every writer/artist is either nurtured or a nurturer…few claim to be both.
14. You NEED an editor. Our words are like wayward children-they need tough love. Learn to love the revision process.
15. Money flows towards the author, not away from the author.
16. Too many writers ignore landscape to their peril. Learn to see, then hear.
17. Read what you’ve written aloud-it gives you an unusual perspective.
18. Writer’s Block…its all in your mind. Turn to a different writing project.
19. There are actually projects you will never complete.
20. Write small while waiting to prepare for a larger project.
After hearing Jane, everyone wanted to crawl into a quiet corner with their over-excited thoughts and begin writing. We might have if there weren’t so many wonderful author’s signing books.
Lin Oliver signs some HANK ZIPZER and DANIEL FUNK books for the boys and the Fishkill Elementary PARP Program.
Me and *SQUEE* Libba Bray, the 2010 Michael Printz award winner and fantabulous author of GOING BOVINE!
The amazing and inspirational Jacqueline Woodson. All I can say is that if she’s written it, we should be reading it.
Francesco Sedita and Paul Zelinsky autograph some books for some very special readers of the Fishkill Elementary PARP Program.
Linda, Jodi and I hanging out with Jane Yolen. WOW! (Sorry Jane…had to use that exclamation point.)
Last but not least, Peter Sis and I had a good laugh together. I spent some time telling him how (while living Germany) I went to visit Poland and The Czech Republic. In fact, I was the first person in my immediate family to visit either place. Unfortunately, on the trip I encountered a mean stomach virus and made a spectacle of myself in numerous public places. (By spectacle I mean that I suddenly lost all control over the contents of my stomach) Peter’s response was…"That was you?"
As we both had a good laugh, he happened to glance at my name tag and see that I was from Fishkill. I wasn’t sure why he was laughing so hard, but it turns out that he once stopped in Fishkill so that his daughter "could make a spectacle of herself." Who knew? We decided to call a truce. )
Its time to close the book on another wonderful NY SCBWI Conference. I’ll be attending the Eastern PA Poconos Conference in April so until then…its back to our regularly scheduled programing.
Filed under: Conferences
It was a tough morning. My roommate Linda Hanlon and I were very happy in our cozy little beds when the alarm went off. Ugh…time to check out, store the luggage, haul the giant cache of books to be signed, hunt down a muffin and make it in time for the first speaker of the morning. Illustrators…I tried my best. I didn’t mean to miss you. I love you, but I love coffee too. Please forgive me…you all ROCK!
We started off the morning with Susan Raab and WHAT’S SELLING, WHAT’S NOT? Let me give you a run down…
*Middle readers are very popular right now.
*Vampires (although the duration of this trend is in question).
*Mystery and Ghost Stories are growing. Shout out to my very own GHOST GIRL.
*Dystopian…kicked off by the HUNGER GAMES.
*Picture Books are sticking close to the classics or to books that feel classic like LIBRARY LION.
*Books with staying power.
*Girl books, particularly series that have a quick turn over rate ex.-GOSSIP GIRLS.
*Inspirational/Spiritual/Hopeful…but not religious. (Very encouraging news for TOUCHING THE SURFACE and THE OPPOSITE OF GRAVITY) )
*Interesting nonfiction (not institutional) story based.
Things you can do…
*1 to 1 relationships are critical
*Network and build attachments
*Help generate traffic at store visits
*Be a strong community member-be actively involved.
*Try to look strategically and at the whole picture.
*Use your strengths
*Focus on a particular aspect of the market and make it work for you.
*Give people an idea of what your voice is in the industry.
*It may take time for things to grow and establish.
And some final tidbits…
*Publishers are streamlining the number of books published and the number of books printed.
*Cost IS a factor.
*Multimedia approaches to books plays a roll.
*Things are changing so quickly. Don’t freeze and get stuck. Push forward knowing that the answers are unclear for everyone.
*Write from the heart
Next up is Sheldon Fogelman…talking about SHAPING A CAREER IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS.
First off, I wanted to hug Sheldon Fogelman of of the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. He’s that adorable. Then you realize how savvy he is and you want him for an agent. He represents children’s authors and illustrators, not books. See, you’re falling in love already. His mantra is to support authors and illustrators for as long as he can, in good times and bad. Where do I sign up?
So let me give you a few of the nuggets that he shared…
*If you are going to be an author-keep writing.
*You have to be professional and remember your job-your job is to write.
*Once you submit your work, you are in the "business" of writing.
*The best way to get published is to have a good agent.
*You can’t really work effectively if you are burdened with unreasonable financial pressure.
*Understand the pulse of the market.
*Be willing to expand to new areas.
*Work with at critique group.
*In order to proceed you will have to have a plan.
*Read as many books as you possibly can.
*Be open to editorial input.
*Self promotion depends on how much time you have.
Sheldon spoke highly of Jerry Pinkney. He told the story of how Jerry’s ability (with the guidance of Sheldon) to rethink his plan and branch out in other directions, led him to multiple awards and recognitions with the most recent being the 2010 Caldecott Award for THE LION AND THE MOUSE.
Sheldon left us with a few key ideas…
*Learn as much about the business as you can.
*Be open to criticism-LOOK FOR IT!
*Don’t be distracted, this is hard work in a hard business. It is a serious business even though it is a fun one.
*When submitting, the work speaks for itself. Don’t tell me how to use it. Don’t tell me what your kids think.
Now, fasten your seatbelt….things are about to get seriously funny. There is the possibility of an injury from laughing. Our next speaker is funny man, Jim Benton, THE COMPULSIVE CREATOR.
Jim was kind enough to agree to let me post some of the work he shared with us, so don’t forget to stop by and give him a big thank you on Facebook.
Jim started off by admitting that he had a "problem"…he’s a compulsive creator. By the end of his talk the whole audience wanted to snag a just a small piece of his creativity. He’s that good folks. He started taking us through his process…
His specialty is licensing and he loves it because he can draw something once and sell it over and over again. He also wanted us to know that he’s never done just one thing. He’s always got a pan on the fire somewhere. In fact he even spent 12 years illustrating articles for Writer’s Digest. Because he had to read all the articles in order to illustrate them, he’s quite the expert on everything you need to know to be a successful writer.
Jim encouraged everyone to follow the creative impulse even if it doesn’t take you anywhere in the end…some times you just have to go down that road LOL!
Jim openly admits that he has boxes of orphan art all over the place, but sometimes there is that one piece that nobody wants but just keeps hanging around.
Although no bunny loved happy bunny in the beginning, he’s was eventually picked up by Hot Topic and became go-to wardrobe item for teens who wanted to tick off their parents, (but not get their shirt taken away.)
By the way…if you are interested in licensing, remember the community is small, so keep your nose clean and don’t tick anyone off…
Jim also passed along a couple other nuggets from working on his books DEAR DUMB DIARY and FRANNY K STEIN…
*Your editor will make you better if you listen to them. They are rooting for you!
*If you are a writer you should write everyday for fun.
*As tough as this business is, it beats the hell out of REAL WORK! In fact his message to kids is that when the lawyers and the scientists go home at night, they put on music, look at art, read books…It is the artists who feed the workers.
Before he let us go we had a little creative fun. Throwing out random ideas so we could see how the creative process worked…
I’m going to leave you with one more Jim Benton masterpiece…this is for all the dad’s (spouses) who stayed home with the kids for "DADDY PARTY WEEKEND" so that we could attend the SCBWI Conference…
The final blog installment coming soon…
Filed under: Conferences
Lunch is over and now I’m going to admit the truth. I had no real idea who the post-festivus luncheon keynote speaker was. Let me clarify, I did know that it was going to be Jacqueline Woodson and that she would be speaking about LOCKING THE DOOR TO OURSELVES:THE IMPORTANCE OF WRITING IN TODAY’S WORLD. (I can read the little green schedule.) What I’m trying to say is that I didn’t KNOW. I had no idea that I would start listening to her words and my jaw would hang down to my feet in awe. I had no idea that my ears would be captivated by the perfectly captured rhythm of her voice. I had no idea that my eyes would fill will tears as her thoughts resonated with me soul.
Now I know.
I must apologize…I took less than stellar notes because I simply sat in the audience stunned, mesmerized. I can share the bits and pieces that did manage to make it to my notebook.
*We all start with the work of someone else…reading, observing, listening.
*There are lots of people who don’t read our work because we write for children.
*…"I have a right to tell my story."
*…"Shut up and go write it." LOL!
Madeleine L’Engle-we should write for the child we were. The essence of the emotion doesn’t change.
*A lot of stuff I learn about my books, I find out when I read the reviews of them.
*Fiction is so the reader can have an experience. It should also be "emotionally biographical."
Jacqueline doesn’t believe in outlining (Shout out to her and Richard Peck) and she also doesn’t believe in writer’s block.
-What stops us from writing is our fear.
See…I told you that I spent all my time being captivated. Check her out, read her books, listen to her voice, aspire…you won’t regret it!
Break-out Session #3 was a complete change of pace but loaded with wonderful information.
Jennifer Bailey’s session was THE REAL DEAL ABOUT: VIRAL MARKETING AND PROMOTION. Jennifer is a Graphic Designer and Professional Blogger.
WHAT IS VIRAL MARKETING?
*Generating word of mouth.
*Passing on a message.
*increasing Brand awareness.
*Increasing product sales (the end result).
Jennifer gave a historical example of good and bad viral marketing.
PAUL REVERE-silver smith and patriot
WILLIAM DAWES-tanner and patriot
On the night of that famous midnight ride, it might surprise you to know that William traveled further and faster than Paul, but Paul Revere was the messenger who made the most impact. He was the "virus" because he knew who to target to get his message out there.
STEPS TO GOOD VIRAL MARKETING
1. Build your community
-what are your other areas of interest?
2. Create a "Call to Action" list.
-have an easy message (The Redcoats are Coming!)
-relinquish control…let the message go out on its own. (Paul didn’t stop to chat.)
3. Plant it in fertile soil.
-connect with the right people in your community.
4. Encourage conversation and sharing.
-have a free product.
-feeling good for participating can be its own reward.
6. Give ‘em a sequel.
-once your community is riled up, then you have to do something to keep the message going.
SOME CURRENT PAUL REVERE’S IN THE WRITING COMMUNITY
-She had an auction to raise funds for a school who needed books. She raised over $15,000 in a few short weeks.
-Had a Halloween Party Contest for Independent Book Sellers. He would come to the best party.
-Created a movement. Nerdfighters.com where people gather to increase awesome and decrease suck!
-The book Launch. A video contest of people doing the chicken dance. The video idea didn’t work as well as she had hoped but despite that her book went into a second printing before it was released.
HOW DID THESE SUCCESS STORIES UTILIZE THE STEPS TO GOOD VIRAL MARKETING?
1. Building a community.
-Cynthea Lui linked all her sites together. She made it very easy to get from one place to another. If you were participating in the auction you had easy access to her books and other information about her.
-John Green and his brother started an interactive message board.
-They also created Nerdfighters, giving everyone a name that they could own.
2. What was their call to action?
-Cynthea Lui used Twitter and combined the name of her book PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE with the auction calling it the DARE Auction.
-Neil Gaimon uses his blog and writes very personal posts, posts pictures and even answers fan mail on the blog.
-Tammi Sauer had her videos on YouTube. (Remember every 1 in 2 searches takes you to YouTube)
-The Green Brothers did video blogs with public "punishment" if they missed an installment. They also had a clear message…Decrease World SUCK! They made it fun to be a nerd.
*Don’t forget to ASK. If you ask, people will help you.
3. Fertile soil
-Know who your back up is. Who is your wing man?
4. The Conversation and the Love
-Show passion. It was a snowball effect of authors, editors and agents donating critiques. Everyone wanted to help and be a part of Cynthea’s passion.
-Decreased world suck! Can’t beat that.
-Neil Gaimon showed up to 2 book stores instead of two (for the Party Contest)
-Cynthea Lui allowed everyone to see the kids and the books that were a result of her effort.
6. The Sequel
-We are all interested to see what will be done next.
GETTING YOUR MIND RIGHT
*It takes patience-building your social media reputation takes time.
-Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web…she had to write more than one message to save that pig.
*Follow the 80/20 Rule
-80% of what you do should be about other people
-20% should be about yourself
-You’ve got to be a friend to get a friend.
*Know your audience
-Tom Sawyer knew how to get those boys to paint that fence LOL
-Gear the message towards your audience.
*Beware of TMI (Too Much Information)
*Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
*Listen to your "Jedi Council" the people that you trust in your life.
*Its social for a reason
-You have to be having fun for your community to have fun.
*You’re the BRAND, the book is the PRODUCT.
The last speaker of the day was not the least. Peter Sis was another powerful and amazing speaker, illustrator and writer. His journey was a story in and of itself…once again I was so engrossed listening to him, that I barely wrote enough notes. Just so you know…
*He was born in a country that no longer exists-Czechoslovakia. He grew up in Prague. His father was a film maker and his mother was an artist and they encouraged him to draw from a very early age.
*Growing up behind the Iron Curtain, he is very aware that children are brainwashed because they don’t know that they are being brainwashed. From time to time, something from his youth will still surface, reminding him how impressionable children are.
*Someone once told him that his books are for dreamers and seekers…
Read his books and you will know that it is true. We are very lucky to have him.
What would make a tired group of writers wander out into the freezing cold NYC night? THE VERLA KAY BLUE BOARD DINNER of course!
Here I am with the FANTABULOUS Stacy Moser, who organized the whole event. Thank you, thank you, thank you Stacy! We had a wonderful evening. )
Catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
Jeff told a lovely story reminding us to "feed each other" and of course…mingle during dessert! Here are some of the Blue Boarders doing just that.
I know what you’re thinking, this must be the end. No day could be that good and still have more fun left it? You are wrong. If you haven’t gone GEOCACHING in the dark in 19 degree weather…you, my friend, have not lived.
Amy even wrote my name down because I was a great sleuth. I would have made Nancy Drew super proud! And after a mad cap search through the city, there is nothing nicer than warming up with friends and planning the future for District 14.
What is District 14? I’ll have more information on that in the weeks to come…come on, a girl has to have a few secrets *wink*
I’ll be back soon with another blog post and I just want to let you know…Sunday was just as awesome as Friday and Saturday!
Filed under: Conferences
Filed under: Conferences