SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 2

Filed under: Conferences, Cover Art

Yes, I didn’t get far. It’s still Friday morning. But I’m liking how the awesomeness of Bruce Coville is followed by the amazingness of Jerry Pinkney.


What I loved about Jerry Pinkney was learning that he took special care to find the smaller stories, hidden in his own illustrations.  I wish I could show you the art work.  The example he used, that really allowed me to understand what he was saying, was a red wagon.  In the first picture, the wagon, a prized possession of a child, was amongst the things needed to be packed when a family had to leave their home behind.  In a later picture of the house, now vacant, the wagon was left in the yard.  There was no room for it to be taken.  This one little detail, told so much about what was happening in the lives of the characters in the story, yet it was not the story itself.  It was hauntingly sad and beautiful at the same time.  His artistry had amazing depth.

Additionally, I was encouraged to discover that Jerry was dyslexic and a very reluctant reader growing up. As many of you know, my oldest (10) is dyslexic and I love to find positive role models that he can look too. <3  We spent time talking and he was a very gracious and kind person.  I was so proud to bring a signed book home for my son.

I know you’ve been sitting for awhile so it’s time to get up and switch rooms for the first Workshop of the Conference.  I decided to do something I’ve never done  before and attend an illustrators session.  Why?  Well…*squee* My cover is being worked on at this very moment and I’m finding it hard to think about anything else. LOL!!!  Also, this next speaker just happens to be Art Director for Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers AND he was a puppet designer in Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop.  That is just cool!  It was too tempting of an opportunity to pass up.

This session was a journey of beautiful covers coming to life.  I was fascinated by how one idea after another grew and changed over time.  But the thing that really moved me was recognizing a familiar passion.  It was obvious to me that cover art means as much to the people who create it, as words and stories do to writers.  As someone who is dreaming, waiting, hoping, wondering about her cover–I was reminded that while publishing is a business, it is filled to the brim with people who love and take pride in what they do.  I love that.
Woot!  We’ve made it to lunch!!!  Now if you want the full effect of the lunch experience, fill a tote bag full of books and stand in a l-o-n-g line for a sandwich.  The upside is that you will get to chat with amazing friends while waiting.  And if you’re anything like me, you’ll have at least three chocolate bars stashed in that bag of books.  Chocolate makes everything better.  
When munching turkey on a crusty roll, you can’t go wrong listening to a panel discussion–unless you’re a vegetarian.  *sorry*  
(from left to right)
AJ-Allyn Johnston, VP and Publisher of Beach Lane Books 
JSG-Julie Strauss-Gabel, VP and Publisher of Dutton Children’s Books
JH-Jennifer Hunt, VP of Acquisitions and Development and Editor-at-large for Dial Books for Young Readers 
BH-Beverly Horowitz, V. P.  Publisher of Delacorte Press
DD-Debra Dorfman, VP, Publisher Paperbacks, Non-Fiction & Licensing Publishing at Scholastic

*Moderator-Lin Oliver

Here are the best and most interesting comments that I took from the panel discussion…

BH-Don’t be too tough on the electronic future, it has potential.  It is bringing in new readers.

JSG-There is no one right way to sell a book.  Every path is different.

JH-Kids are always at the forefront of innovation and technology.

JH-No matter what the format, content is key.  Great writing is key.

BH-Sometimes you can be “before” the trend.  A strong back list-repackaging.  Need to be nimble and think in a new way.

JSG-The only time social media works is when it’s genuine to the author.  When it feels natural to the author, they capture their writing voice in their social media voice.

JH-While there is an upside to social media, it can cause a lot of stress and take up writing time.

JSG-I firmly agree in voices finding their way, when publishing doesn’t serve, but at the risk of being unpopular, I firmly believe in publishing.

DD-Adults are buying YA

BH-The teen market has only about 4% of the ebook market.

I know that this was a bit of a mash-up of thoughts from the publishers, but those were the things that jumped out at me.  Before I sign off (until the next installment) I thought you might like a peek at the hotel…

This was the Hyatt Regency and I’m just going to put it out there and say that they had one of the nicest hotel staffs I’ve ever met.  They were really, really sweet and friendly and I LOVED riding the elevator and chatting with them.  My favorite person was the adorable lady helping me get into my room when the key didn’t work.  She didn’t even laugh, when she pointed out that I was trying to break and enter into room 1656, when all of my own personal belongings were clearly in room 1652.  *head thunk*

This was the line of people at Starbucks in the lobby.  Each morning, our eyes propped open with tooth picks, we all descended upon the coffee people.  We picked their barista bones clean, leaving empty shelves and discarded coffee sleeves in our wake.  The whole scene made me want to write.


When the morning sun wakes up,
We writers come to get a cup.
We come from almost all the states
So Starbucks gives us discount rates.
I check my watch, I need to go,
Why is the freaking line so slow?
The staff is nice, they really are,
But god, I wish I had my car.
Should I get a cake pop? NO!
I settle for a cup of Joe.
And perhaps a bagel.  :o)

First up on Monday…Libba Bray!!!!

Tags: , ,


6 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Ha! Love your poem. And now I wish I had a bagel. :o)

  2. Me too! *tummy grumbles*

  3. Hehe awesome poem. I also feel like I am at the conference now with your summaries… ha, I don't even need to go! 😀

  4. Ha! You should get a cake pop. You know it. And a bagel, clearly! Nice recap and poem, both. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks Greg! I need both right now—starving!

  6. LOL! Love it! And the recaps – you're the BEST!!!

Leave a Reply

By submitting this comment you consent to your contact details being stored in accordance with this website's Privacy Policy.

  1. Now Available

    Touching the Surface
  1. Follow Kimberly


  1. Archives



    agent Anica Rissi Apocalypsies blogging Bookanistas Book Review Class of 2k12 Conferences Contest Dad drafting Ellen Hopkins giveaway Jane Yolen Jodi Moore John Green Kimberly Sabatini Kimmiepoppins Kim Sabatini LA11SCBWI laurie halse anderson Lin Oliver Michelle Wolfson NaNoWriMo Oblong Books reading revision running SCBWI Simon and Schuster Simon Pulse The Class of 2k12 The Opposite of Gravity Touching the Surface WHEN A DRAGON MOVES IN by Jodi Moore Wolf Pack Wolfson Literary writing writing style YA Author YA Book YA Books YA Novel YA Outside the Lines YA Writer
  1. Links

  1. The Apocalypsies
    The Class of 2K12