Posts Tagged ‘Conferences’




Starting with the Bloopers from LA12SCBWI and a Pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE

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


Had an absolute BLAST at SCBWI LA 2012!!! Duh! I can’t imagine having a bad time with my crazy, wonderful tribe. I’ll start blogging on Wednesday but I thought, since I have a couple minutes in the airport and a blog post due for today that I’d give you my conference “bloopers” first LOL!

Every year the tribe gets together on Saturday night for a themed dance party. This year was a 60’s Hippie Hop. And while I’m not one for dressing up–I am one for dancing like a fool. Mission accomplished….

Ummmm…moving on. So after staying up late dancing and talking to my friends until the late hours of the morning, I found getting up at 7:30 the next day a bit on the tragic side. But I did it it because I hate to miss any speaker or a single minute with my best buddy, Jodi. So, I dragged myself down to the overly long Starbucks line only to find out I’d left my SCBWI name tag in my room. Crap! Of course I run back up to the room to get it….Gahhhhhh….only to find out that I my key was in my name tag holder from last night’s Hippie Hop. *Pulls out Hair* So back down I go to get Jodi’s key and they I’m back up to retrieve my stuff. It’s a testament to how long that coffee line was that I still had to wait in it when I got back. *growls at barista* And just for the record…the coffee didn’t even help. Luckily for me I get a massive adrenaline rush from hearing fabulous speakers and the day was full of them.

I guess as far as bloopers go–dancing like a spaz (my girls at Workshop would be so embarrassed proud) and taking a few extra elevator rides with caffeine withdrawl really aren’t that bad. My recap posts will be full of awesomeness!

And can I tell you a secret? I may have also–in addition to looking like a spaz–looked so happy because of my book. I couldn’t stop thinking that the next time I come together with my tribe–I will be an author. And that, in and of itself, makes me want to dance and just not care what I look like. It just makes me feel good inside.

So, to celebrate my impending book and my earth shattering bravery at publicly posting a *clears throat* less than attractive, can’t be blamed on alcohol, picture of myself for your entertainment–I’m going to give you a chance to win a pre-order of TOUCHING THE SURFACE.

This contest will be open through all of my #LA12SCBWI recap posts and is open internationally. You must remember to put your contact information in your comment, because you can’t win if I can’t get in contact with you. What do you have to do to win? You can make a caption of my “lovely” picture. You can share one of your bloopers–picture or story. You can ask a question about the conference or conferences in general. You can even just tell me what you’re looking forward to about TOUCHING THE SURFACE.

Opps…my plane is getting ready to board and I don’t need that kind of blooper so time to go! See you on the east coast!


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Short, Sweet and SCBWI

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI

I’m leaving tomorrow for SCBWI LA…SQUEE!!!! The conference is sold out again and I can’t wait to go hang with the tribe! As you might have suspected, I’m keeping this short and sweet because I have a zillion, trillion things to get ready before I leave. But I have to give you some information…

Last year I went to the LA Conference for the first time and it was AMAZING!!!! But being my first time, it also meant that there were many years when I was living vicariously through the tweets, blogs and FB posts of those in attendance. Yup, I was trolling the net to find out what was going on. You can absolutely do that too. Virtual fun and information is a writer’s right of passage–it’s the next best thing to being there.

If you’re not familiar with the conference or *gasp* SCBWI, here is my wrap up posts. SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference Parts 1-9

You can follow live tweeting of the conference on Twitter by using the hashtag #LA12SCBWI. I’ll absolutely be tweeting, but I won’t be alone.

Another FABULOUS way to get information about the conference is the SCBWI Blog.  

Team Blog consists of…

And you absolutely do not want to miss them. They put in so much hard work to make this conference accessible to everyone. (((group hug)))

Of course, I’ll mini blog from the conference as best as I can and you can guarantee I’ll have a full recall for you when I get back. In the mean time, check out the SCBWI, my old posts and start following the blogs and tweets, but if you have any questions about this conference or conferences in general, I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Also, what’s the best conference you’ve ever been to? Best tip for attending conferences? Is there a conference or speaker that got away and you’re kicking yourself for not attending? Dream speaker at a conference???? Come on…distract me from packing…it’s so easy.

Also–If you’re going and you’re by yourself, have no one to eat with, and are possibly feeling a little overwhelmed and TERRIFIED!!!! Let me know and we can connect!!!


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Fan-girl Heads to the SCBWI Poconos Mt. Retreat

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI, Touching the Surface, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’m heading off the the Eastern PA SCBWI Pocono Mountain Retreat today!!!! So much fun–I love this conference. I’ve been going for years. It’s an intimate conference that has a professional, yet homey feel. It all has a nice mix of workshops that inspire and provide craft. And this year one of the keynote speakers is…


SQUEE!!!! It’s Laurie Halse Anderson.

No, you don’t have to clean out your ears–I AM SPENDING THE WHOLE WEEKEND IN A STATE OF COMPLETE AND UTTER FAN-GIRLINESS!!!!!! There are also lots of other great people and events that I can’t wait to share with you. I’ll be tweeting live on Twitter with the hashtag #SCBWIPA. So follow along–join the conversation. I’ll try to get on FB once in awhile too. Off to finish getting ready. See you on Monday!

So, if you could spend the weekend with any author at all…who would it be?

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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.


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!!!!


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.


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.


*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 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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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…


(SD) Sarah Dickman, Senior Account Executive,

(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)



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.



(NG) Nick Glass, Founder,

(DHT) Deborah Hochman Turvey, Founder,

*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.”



Maddee James, Owner,

*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


*Your name is your brand.


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



****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!



(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)




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.



(MK) Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media

(JF) Jon Fine, Director, Author & Publisher Relations,, 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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Some Packing Tips for Conferences

Filed under: Conferences, SCBWI

So, I’m writing this post pre-conference because I know how tired I’ll be when I get back on Sunday evening, but surprisingly…I’m tired now too.  Ya know–from all that packing and the dirty rotten cold that I’ve been fighting with all week.  So, before I take some Nyquil and fall asleep, I thought I’d share with you some of my best packing tips for a conference since they’re fresh in my mind.  Yes, I know this post would have been fantastic about a week ago, but I wasn’t packing then.  Think about it as a well-prepared post for all those spring conferences coming up. Now on to it…

1. Dress in layers-you never know what the temp in the room is going to be like and it can change from room to room.

2. Wear comfortable shoes.  Your fancy shoes should be comfortable and then also bring a REALLY comfortable pair and plan your outfit around them for Sunday–because by then your feet hate you.  Also for Sunday’s outfit–I’ve learned to wear a really cool shirt (like a short sleeve) as my base layer because often that is book signing/I’ve already checked out of my room day and you are carrying enough stuff to make a pack mule look dainty.  And because of that you might sweat…a little. I’ve learned this the hard way–trust me!

3. Pack enough chocolate for you and all your friends.  I feel this should be self explanatory. If it is not, we will schedule a private tutorial.

3. If you already have books from an author that you want to get signed–pack them!  Sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many times I’ve forgotten mine. Grrrr

4. Camera!!!!  Especially if you have family and/or blog.  For the family–(private use only) I try to take pics of things that I couldn’t possible adequately explain to them.  If you’re blogging about the conference, your reader will get so much out of having visuals to go with your recap.  I  personally feel it really makes a difference and I know I always gravitate to the recaps with l0ts of eye catching pics.

5. Pack a sturdy bag for all the books you buy.  You always think you might not buy so many but when a speaker talks about a book it becomes personal and it’s hard to resist buying it.

6. A list (even if it’s a mental one) of gifts that you might need to give.  An author signed book is great for family and friends, charity (I get one or two for my children’s school library) or for a contest on your blog.

7. BRING BUSINESS CARDS!!!!  I can’t stress this enough.  Part of the fun of a conference is meeting wonderful new friends.  You want these new friends to be able to stay in touch.  I’ve meet the BEST PEOPLE EVER at my conferences.

8. These next items are going to be light in your suitcase but they are still important to bring with you–an open mind. Take it all in.  Take notes.  Take time to digest it.  Let it all wash over you.


10. Bring kindness–not everyone packs #9 when they prepare for a conference, especially their first one.  Be a friend.  Do not let people eat alone, sit on the sidelines or feel like they do not belong.  It costs you nothing to be kind, thoughtful and to remember what it felt like when you lack confidence.  Be a leader.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with some after-action conference review.  In the meantime, what’s your favorite conference tip?  Did any of my tips make your to-do list? Do you have a link to a review of the conference you’d like to share?  Come on–give me something because *yawn* I need to stay awake.


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