After two days at the 2012 SCBWI Rocky Mountain Chapter Conference, I am back home. I must say that the Conference was amazing, but it does not compare to coming back home after these two days and having my 3-year old running to me screaming: “Mommy, mommy! I missed you, mommy!” Unfair competition, I know.
Seriously, I would certainly recommend that anyone interested in becoming a published children’s book author attend the SCBWI conferences. I have never been to the international conference and I hear it is very expensive, but I sure would love to attend it as well. Anyhow… As you must expect, I cannot really share any of the tips or details I heard during the conference due to copyright issues, but I can comment on how they affected my plans.
First of all, the most depressing effect of attending the conference was finding out I should not use my beautiful portfolio as a tool to market myself. It turns out that only illustrators are supposed to have portfolios, but my cards were useful. I connected with a few people and have already sent two manuscripts out to editors and agents. I'm trying not to be too hopeful, but it is impossible to not be at least a bit hopeful. After all, one of the best things that I thought happened during the conference was when I had a one-page (18 lines) of one of my picture books quickly critiqued by an agent and an editor. The comments were actually positive, though there were a few concerns that needed to be addressed. You can only imagine how nervous, anxious, and sweaty I got when they read those 18 lines out loud in a room full of people, even though it was anonymous. I also loved the session about Standout Picture Books and the tip about how to construct the plot. It has already helped me out.
Now, it is a matter of following up, fixing things, preparing manuscripts and continuing to pursue this dream. I have just started and have so much to learn; I do not plan on giving up any time soon. Keep your fingers crossed!