Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Conference has started ( An insider's look).

Day 2 SCBWI 13 annual winter conference In the Big Apple.

       Wow, can't believe another day had just passed. It was an over whelming one full of lots of enlightenment and good news on all genres from picture books to young adults and beyond. I will try to put In the important information in here in a a few paragraphs. I have 11 pages of notes but will try to make it brief.
   It was a list of amazing guest speakers which included authors, agents, editors, publishers and other people involved in the business. The day started with breakfast, and the first keynote speaker was Chris Crutcher. He was a very inspiring speaker, that inspired the room that represented 49 states and 20 countries. The conference had 1400 people. He spoke about the importance of balancing out stories with tragedy and comedy. Here is a brief list to inspire you guys of what he talked about 1) Look into your life to find information 2) Put this into every story you write. 3) Power and connection of family is important. 4) Just write your story. 5) Hear it in your language and voice.
     The next speakers was panel children book pros which included two editor directors, a marketing person and agent. They covered lots of information, but I will l.limit the list to three basic important ideas.
1) Independent Book stores are growing 2) Picture Books are not dead 3) The Digital publishing market is expanding. In general now is a good time to get your book out there in the publishing industry. You also must understand that it takes a village to make a book. That it is important to also work as a team on each book.
    Our next speaker was a great surprise for all of us. It was Henry Whinkler. He was one of the best speeches of the day. He got a standing ovation today. He only spoke for ten minutes, but his ideas, comedy and inspiration touched us all.
     We then broke up into small groups I went to a fantasy meeting first. Then after lunch I had  two picture book small groups. Before the two afternoon sessions we had another key note speaker her name was Cassandra Clare she spoke of Love triangles and forbidden love in YA adult books. She was interesting speaker but not very inspiring to me, since it was not my kind of topic.
    I will just list the basic things of what editors are looking for in picture book manuscripts:
1) Characterization 2) Narrative guilty 3) Voice 4) Humor 5) Universal appeal. 6) Clear ideas and simplicity.
       In conclusion, the day ended with a wonderful cocktail party, and dinner that gave us two hours to network with other people in the industry. The day ended, and I got back on the train home full of inspiration, new ideas and hope for the future of children's books. There is now one more day left for this conference that I look forward to tomorrow.  I will make my last post this month called All great things come to an end.  


Friday, January 27, 2012

SCBWI Winter Conference 2012 ( The Heart Children Books)

    There are very important factors when it comes to being any kind of writer. It covers a whole range of books. As everyone know putting together a children's book has many people involved. It is a team effort that takes many years to master and complete. For the next three days I will take you all on a journey into this event. It is a huge gathering of people in the children book industry and covers a very important idea that every author has to do. This is called networking and creating a platform. The post will be updated daily from 1-27-2012 to 1-29-2012. Each day I will give you guys an inside into this business. So get ready for a wild ride. I blog my experience on this journey enjoy.

Day 1 Writer's Intensive

     Today started just like an ordinary gray day, the rain tapped the roads and my journey had began. Strong winds and heavy rains very strange weather for New York State especially in the middle of winter. Only two snow storms so far and that it.
      I took the train in from my home town. New York was wonderful like usual. The rains were strong at first but as the day went on it all changed. I started the day psyched to finally have the SCBWI conference, I could not believe it came so fast. Where does this path called time really go? Does it just vanish in a puff of smoke or where does it end up?
     So back to business the day started with registration and breakfast not much of a filling one but it was good enough Coffee and Bagels the real New York local food. My nerves shaking and my hands gasping the 500 hundred words we were supposed to bring here. Hundreds of questions inside my hands? Who will I meet? What will the professional say? Is my manuscript good enough? At registration our tables were given to us? I got Table 17 and  18.
      When I was getting my food a strange thing happened the hot water was gone. I am usually a tea drinker, but I needed that jolt, I needed that caffeine. I wanted something hot but it was the bitter black stuff we call coffee. I guess many tea drinkers came here? Oh well I guess I had no choice. 
    I found my table, my mind moving and my body shaking, it was it, the moment I have been waiting for, another year had passed. The session started by a panel on voice. Three editors spoke. What is voice? Each of them had there own view. What I can tell you guys is it needs to be fresh. It needs to be authentic. It has to stand out from the crowd.
    The editor panel spoke about the kind of books they buy. Here is just a very quick summary: Characters have to have personality, you have to get into your character's mind, and the story has to stand out for the individual editor and always make sure to do you research. You have to be in the moment and write the best story you can. 
     Then the time began my table had eight writers at it and one professional. We each were given 12 minutes for our 500 words. The critique process is very important and it is great to have a group of your own. The setting here was much more family like. Every manuscript was discussed by everyone. I have to say I got a lot out of it and had many wonderful suggestions and commends from both critiques. There is no need for me to go into detail of them.
     The day went by quick and it was closed by a panel of both agents and editors. They talked about the process of a book and the steps it takes to get a contract. I will write briefly on this. Here is a summary for everyone to look at. Most books usually are only accepted if you go through an agent. Always understand that everyone involved is a team and are trying to make your book better. Do not get emotional of into disagreements with your team.
     Here are the basic steps in how a book gets brought. 1) Find an agent but there are exceptions to this rule. 2) Send a Query to editors make sure it is short and to the point. 3) An editor has to love a book 100 percent to buy it. 3) If your book is brought it becomes like a marriage for the long term, and the editor will buy more books from you. 4) It takes from three to seven drafts to get the book complete. 5) You will get a few editorial letters and try to do as much as you can and do not answer the editor right away, but look these letters over carefully.  These are the basics.
    In conclusion, the first day went by fast as I took my pile of critiqued manuscripts and notes and got back on my train. I felt an overwhelming confidence in my work. My hands stopped grasping and my body was once again calm. You know what I concluded it really was not that bad after all.
    Thank you guys and good luck. Please stay toned for tomorrow's evening post "The Winter Conference has started ( An insider's look).