The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ 40th annual summer conference is in two short weeks. And for the second year in a row, I plan to be there – back in California, my home state! How I miss the smell of the Pacific, the cool nights and warm days, the dry air and the millions of things to do.
I’ll be a tad south of where I grew up . . . that little farm town of Oakley (population 1,110 – at least when I was there). Instead I’ll be in Los Angeles (population a whole lot more).
Last year’s conference was a tad intimidating. I spent most of my time awed by my proximity to such a great line up of writers and editors. Lucky enough to have editor Jennifer Reese of Scholastic Press critique the excerpt from my book. She gave me some awesome suggestions for tightening up my story. Which is what I’ve been doing since. I’m taking an excerpt from A Different Kind of Ugly and also workshopping Between The Cracks during Monday’s intensives. I expect to be thoroughly exhausted when I get home!
Conferences like these are great for writers. They give us the opportunity to submit our work to houses that would otherwise be closed to unsolicited manuscripts. We get to meet agents and publishers and network with other writers and illustrators. I’ve taken to buying books offered by the guest authors and getting them signed before I leave. I find they make awesome gifts for my nieces and nephews. Sometimes I even read them before giving them away (shhhh… don’t tell the kids).
To cut costs, conference attendees typically find a roommate. Last year I roomed with a woman from my critique group whom I’d only met a couple of times. Nervous about the impression I’d make – would I snore like a freight train like I’m known to do sometimes? Would I make loud bodily noises in my sleep? Or talk in my sleep . . .drop the F-bomb a few times like my dorm roomie did back in college?
To my knowledge, I did none of those things. And neither did she. And it took about a nanosecond to learn how much we had in common. We ended up with a fabulous friendship that worked into a writing partnership. But alas, she’s not going this year, opting to stay home and write instead. I was lucky enough to find a new roommate though. Nervous about the impression I’ll make! But wondering (hoping) this too will lead into something good. Not to mention the rest of the conference!
So here I go, off to start packing.
Hope I see you in L.A. !!!