3 S.R. Johannes: SCBWI LA - Day 3

Monday, August 10, 2009

SCBWI LA - Day 3

Today was a fun day! duh! I'll post pictures next week b/c Ive been using Katie's camera :)

I skipped the first session for a quiet coffee and laughs with Lindsay leavitt and Lisa Schroeder. I haven't changed. I do not feel cool unless I skip something. It's leftover from my school days. It makes me fee like a rebel! :)

1) I tripped in front of 921 people and screamed in a large room. This is not very surprising if you knew me.
2) I saw a man try to hand a manuscript to an agent. when she would not take it - he opened her laptop and put it inside.
3) after an editor said, " I do not take zombie books or board books" a guy asked this question: "Do you take zombie board books?" do we not get rejected enough that we have to ask for a double rejection?
4) someone saying to me - You look so cute in your blog picture (what not in person? :()
5) someone saying to me - your funny in person (what not on my blog?)

Holly Black - Fantasy
  • Only a small combination of fear and awe separates fantasy and horror
  • get the concrete stuff down - the real stuff must be real even though the fantastical elements surround it
  • know your world - think about rules, system, formal policies vs informals, how does your world work. are their laws?
  • World building - fantasy can resemble historical fiction b/c you have to convince readers must go to a place they have never been or where they can never go back, they feel like they've been there.
  • Two types of logic - day logic - there are rules and everything is the same. You get the same results, it is a science; night logic - rules are unpredictable. you must know your rules.
  • Two types of magic - closed magic is magic that is hidden (harry potter - real world doe snot know about wizard world); open magic - it is a part of life (Trueblood - everyone knows about vampires.)
  • Fantasy has two story archs - fantastical and human. Human stories starts earlier and ends later than the fantastical story.
Elizabeth Law - Egmont
  • Don't be afraid to talk to editors and agents
  • Follow your strengths when you write - not the market or what you WANT to write. If you are good a PBs then don't do historical fiction o
  • 100 years in UK with no american branch
  • new - the next Bloomsbury and Candlewick
  • non profit publishing house - all profits go back into business and children's charities. (unique set up)
  • children's book industry is stable and growing.
  • competition among writers is tiff - alot of great writers out there
  • use books as inspiration not a formula that you copy
  • know why your book can sell and what the pitch is
  • book scan - shows how book did in $
5 Tips
  1. Social networking - publishers interested in social networking to reach readers. Get online and start your platform now. However, if you are not writing, you are online too much.
  2. Voice - Voice is not enough in a story. You must HAVE a story.
  3. Strengths - better to do what you do well than what you THINK you do well
  4. Take control of career. It is ok to follow up with submissions after reasonable amount of time. usually 3 months.
  5. don't complain - especially online. If i see something negative about someone, I wont take it
  1. don't write to trends. write what you are passionate about
  2. dont change the age of your character to fit the market.
  3. don't be afraid to talk to your agent.
  4. take control of career
E.B. White quote: I wake up with the desire to improve the world or enjoy the world, this makes it hard to plan my day.

Richard Peck - Golden kite lunch

Sat next to Marietta from Nancy Galt agency. She was hilarious. I highly recommend her as an agent. down to earth and passionate. she is looking for all kids books especially if they have passion.
  • Don't be afraid to take risks, we can not be fired, we are already unemployed.
  • Kids create their own secret worlds the minute parents turn their backs, why not give them books.
  • stories are roadmaps to show the illiterates out of town
  • we are getting older, but somehow our readers stay the same age.
  • all stories turn on an epiphany - when everything changes and you know you can't go back.
  • You wonder if there is a boy down the hole if you can safe him. Can the story help? That is what we do, that is who we are.
Frank Portman - King Dork
(panel with his agent Steven Malk and editor Krista Marino/RH)

  • He was a musician.
  • Steven Malk heard him play and thought his songs were funny.
  • His song titles include: Even Hitler has a girlfriend, King Dork etc
  • Steven approached him about writing a book and invited Krista to hear him play.
  • he wrote 30 pages of king dork and Steven sold it to Random House
  • he is brilliant at marketing.
  • Humiliation is key in promotion
  • use all your contacts
  • build relationships
  • market your own books/be creative
  • figure out who would like your work
  • always be nice, friendly and approachable
Main points:
  • take from everywhere in your life
  • read a ton of books
  • market your books hard
  • find editor that gets you and your voice - they need to love it.
  • put in time and beat the streets
  • blog!!!
  • use your connections
  • remember the process is collaborative - don't be afraid to revise
Since this is the last night, we all went to dinner. me and katie, SF Hardy, Kimberly, Paul, Bill Cochran, Tyler, and Stephanie - great asian place with waterfalls.

hung outside and laughed until about 10:30 our time.

I leave tomorrow at 2pm for airport.

PS this conference is worth the money - if not for the classes and energy. But for the networking and meeting people.

PSS I met two editors who want to see my work when it goes on sub! yay!


BJW said...

Cool! Especially the part where the guy forced his manuscript on an agent. Yeah, that's not going right in the bathroom trash and being mocked for a good while. Most writers carry a healthy dose of desperation but come on already. Get a clue. And we wonder why agents and editors have their guards up at conferences.

Lori Degman said...

Thanks for giving us a peek at the LA Conference - though it just reinforces my self-loathing (maybe a bit strong) for not attending!

Well, 2010 is another year!


You were in the Egmont workshop yesterday morning? Darn it, I am the blindest non-blind person I know!

Susan R. Mills said...

Thanks for all these posts about the conference. I wish I had been able to go. Oh well, there's always next year!:)

storyqueen said...

Thanks for giving so much detail about the conference. I had to stay home, but I am really eating up your posts!


Kirsten Hubbard said...

thanks for the coverage, shelli! I hope to make it next year :)

Kelly H-Y said...

A huge 'thank you' for all the great information!!! Oh my goodness ... your highlights cracked me up ... you have GOT to be kidding with some of those! I can't believe people actually do that ... stick a manuscript in an agent's laptop?! No, no, no!

Mame said...

I just had a weird thought spontaneously pop into my head. I wonder if there is so much more competition because there are SO MANY MORE PEOPLE on the planet?

Hm. I need to think about that more.

Lauren said...

Wow, there is so much great info here! Thanks for collating all of this :) Wonderful :) It sounds like you had a fun and informative trip :)

C.R. Evers said...

Wow! Sounds like a fantastic time! I hope maybe to go next year.

It's great reading your blurbs! It's the next best thing to being there. :0)

Christy Raedeke said...

I am so glad you are a note taker! This is fantastic.

So great to meet you in person. You actually exceed all the expectations people have of you from your blog!


Unknown said...

Amazing notes! Should we pay you?

Cuppa Jolie said...

That's so funny! You were the tripper. We nicknamed you at the blogger table. That was right behind the blogger table, right? No...we didn't. But I do remember you tripping and let out a little shout. :)