Writer on a Horse
And a Dog

The world looks better from the back of a horse and the roads of life are easier with a good dog beside you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Look out Nashville here we come

This weekend I will be attending the Mid-South SCBWI conference in Nashville, TN. Three weeks from this weekend, I will be attending the SouthernBreeze conference in Birmingham, AL. Why am I spending my money and time to attend two conferences within a month? I try to interact with writers at least four times a year. I attend SCBWI workshops, go to the Killer Nashville (which I didn't get to attend this year and everyone said it was great) Springmingle in Atlanta, Ga and the conference of Mid-South and SouthernBreeze. Here is an article I wrote a few years ago for an e-newsletter.

I’ve attended several conferences and workshops in the last few years and have found that the information gained at each one has been helpful to improve my writing. As a member of the Society of Children Book Writers & Illustrators, I keep up with local conference information at www.scbwi.org. Check out their site, you don’t have to be a member of the SCBWI to use the site or to attend conferences sponsored by local SCBWI chapters.

What should I wear when I attend a conference?

You should wear something that is comfortable. You wouldn’t wear jeans or shorts but you don’t have to dress formal. I’ve always wore dress slacks with a nice shirt and jacket or a sweater. I’ve seen attendees in dresses or suits with high heels and I’ve also seen jeans and t-shirts. Remember you want to present yourself as a professional and should dress to project that image. In my opinion, the most important item of your attire should be your shoes. Wear shoes that are easy on your feet because you will be walking a lot.

What should I bring with me to a conference?

Pen, paper, business cards, and a smile are all you need to have a wonderful experience. I did not know anyone at the first conference I attended, but the regional advisor and the conference coordinator greeted me at the front door then introduced me to members of their chapter. I remember how I felt that day, so when I attend a conference I make a point of looking for anyone sitting alone or looking lost. A simple hello can change a person’s conference experience. Just remember every author at the conference, published or unpublished, started at the bottom and worked up. Mingle and network because you never know when a conference contact will help you in the future.

What is the purpose of conferences?

A writing conference is like any other conference, where people that are interested in the same thing get together to learn. Authors, educators, publishers, and editors are the instructors of mini-workshops that last about 50 minutes. There are usually three or four sessions at one time, so you need to study the schedule and attend the workshops that will be helpful to you.
I would suggest that you have questions ready to ask the speakers. Every conference I’ve attended has had a workshop where an editor or publisher takes you step-by-step through the manuscript submission process. This would be the perfect workshop for beginners to get those nagging questions answered by an editor or publisher.

At a conference this fall in Birmingham, Alabama, I met Marilyn Edwards editor of Hopscotch for Girls, Boys’ Quest, and Fun for Kidz. She didn’t have two heads or a rejection stamp in her hand ready to use. She was wonderful. She talked to us about how she hates to reject good stories that don’t fit the magazines theme list. Authors should always check guidelines and theme list before submitting to children magazine publishers.

Conferences are like critiquing groups or college classes, if you go in with an open mind and soak in all the information available, you will have a great time. If you don’t mingle and interact with the other attendees, you probably won’t benefit for the experience.

1 comment:

Katie said...

So good to see you again, Patricia! Best of luck with your writing :)