Things I learned at the New England SCBWI conference

I attended the New England SCBWI conference last weekend in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. There were 590 children’s book authors, illustrators, editors, agents, and publicists in attendance–I met so many great people!

I saw an entertaining cabaret (some of those authors, illustrators, editors, agents and publicists can sing!); watched a movie about why adults should love children’s books; listened to keynote speakers, workshop presenters, and fellow conference attendees. I walked away with 30 pages of notes, tons of resources, and a whole lot of great ideas that left me both energized and exhausted.

So here are a few things I learned (or relearned):

* As an author, your brand is yourself.

* You may put your heart and soul into a manuscript, but all the editor sees are the words on the page.

* Describe only one action per panel in a graphic novel.

* If what you are writing about is incredible, give your story a skeptic.

* Always ask for proofs before you agree to a print run on anything.

* No matter how many books we’ve sold, we are all shallow.

* Beware of out-of-print clauses that never revert rights.

* When working on an extensive series, it’s not that the story is so big it’ll take three books to tell it, it’s that there’s an overarching thing that you can fit many stories into.

* Very young kids don’t get puns.

* Unlike music, books don’t require a gizmo to be read.

* Never say no to anything. Eventually you’ll find your connection to the project.

There was much more . . . but I’m still digesting.

Thank you to the great organizers and volunteers who managed to pull together such an intricate event and make almost everything run on time. You guys rock!

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