Writing and selling books is a tough market to crack. A writer has to convince an agent, a publisher, and then as many readers as possible to buy their work. And so it helps to network with fellow professionals who can encourage, teach, and generally provide support. For children’s books, the primary networking opportunity comes from SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, with chapters all over the world.
SCBWI offers two major conferences a year, one in Los Angeles and one in New York. Additionally, many chapters offer conferences that bring in two or more editors, agents, and established writers that offer tips for success and provide opportunities for networking.
This year, the Los Angeles chapter offered “Writer’s Days”—a weekend event held March 7 and 8 at the Skirball Center. Here’s a look at the schedule for Saturday:
For an extra fee, one could submit the opening of a manuscript for evaluation by one of the visiting editors. One was Angie Chen, Assistant Editor at Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers.
In her presentation, Angie discussed how to write strong protagonists. She recommended Janice Hardy’s essay, “10 Traits of a Great Protagonist.”
The other editor was Julia Maguire from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Her topic: “We’ll Never Run Out of Stories to Tell.”
Many publishing houses no longer accept unsolicited submissions. Exceptions are made when an editor visits an SCBWI event, when they allow a limited time for submissions by attendees.
Learn more about Writer’s Days in SCBWI-LA’s Kite Tales blog, here.
In my next post, I’ll talk about something exciting that happened to me at the event.