This past Saturday I attended a fabulous conference — the annual SCBWI Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day at Harper College in Palatine, IL. (Okay, I might be slightly biased because I’m on the conference planning committee, but all the attendees I spoke with were thrilled with the event!)
The theme of this inspiring one-day conference was “Opening Doors.” SCBWI Illinois Co-Regional Advisor, Debbie Topolski started off the day in her own exciting way — with clever “Knock-Knocks”, “Ding-Dongs”, and “Slams!”
So I thought I’d open up a door for Picture Book Builders and share a few memorable quotes and tips from some of the fabulous conference presenters.
2017 faculty with PWID committee
Joe Cepeda, Author/Illustrator extraordinaire (who started off the day with an inspiring keynote):
“The quicker you run to research, the quicker you run from pure invention. Defer to pure invention first.”
“Are you willing to let go, be free, and let the story sweep you away?”
“Are we willing to listen to what is uncomfortable?”
Caitlyn Dlouhy, Vice President, Editorial Director, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books:
“If something is clunky, not smooth, or forced in your manuscript it usually means you’ve lost your Voice.”
“You don’t have to worry about your character if you have your voice.”
“I’ll get goosebumps if the voice is great,”
Alex Arnold, editor at Katherine Tegen Books:
“The willingness to revise & a spirit of collaboration is key to a successful book.”
“The magic of reconstruction can only happen if you’re open to it.”
“If the voice has pulled me in from the 1st page, I’m going to want to fight for the book.”
Kelly Delaney is an Associate Editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers:
“1st draft is for the writer, 2nd draft is for the editor and the 3rd draft is for the reader.”
“Revision is not an attack on your book.”
“Your hero is only as strong as the villain he/she overcomes.”
Susan Hawk, agent at Upstart Crow
“Make yourself stand out — agents read thousands of queries.”
“There’s the writer part of you and the business part of you…and you have to keep both parts alive.”
“The Universal experience is felt through the specific. Small particular moments.”
Tanusri Prasanna, agent at Foundry Literary + Media
“Diversity should matter to everyone.”
“37% of US population are people of color. 11% of Kidlit in last 2 decades features multicultural content.”
“Diversity in children’s books is very personal to me.”
Hannah Ehrlich, Director of Marketing and Publicity at Lee & Low Books
“Even when a book is needed, it still takes work to find it’s audience.”
“Someone is out there to advocate for your book. It’s all about getting your book into the right hands.”
“Create a great 1-liner about your book.”
AND Hannah also shared one other helpful marketing tip: Revise/reuse content for different media platforms. So that’s what I did! This post contains some of my favorite quotes from the conference.
Hopefully one (or more) will be just the right key to open a new door for you!
Throughout the day I heard many wonderful comments about two faculty: Merial Cornell, owner and founder of Cornell & Company who represents illustrators and author/illustrators, and Karen Kohn, Senior Art Director for Cricket Magazine. They spent most of their time providing individual feedback to artists on their portfolios. Unfortunately,I didn’t hear their insights to share.
PS Hope to see you at next year’s Prairie Writer’s & Illustrator’s Day!
Photo Credits: The fabulous Terri Murphy and Anitra Rowe Schulte