Monday, April 30, 2012

A Pep Talk in Richmond

I love SCBWI events, so when my friend Julie Phend asked if I wanted to go to Richmond with her for Everything I Needed to Know: Paths to Success in Writing for Children, it didn't take too much arm twisting to get me to agree to make the two-hour drive. Mostly I wanted to have some time to spend with Julie as she lives about an hour and a half away, and seeing a good friend twice a month just isn't enough.

Castle in the Swamp

The first panel was specifically geared towards picture book authors/illustrators. While I love picture books, I don't have any interest in writing them myself—at least not at this point. But if there's one thing I've learned from SCBWI, it's that you can't discount advice just because you don't think it was meant for you. Hazel Buys, Brian Rock, Carol Cole and Kim Norman all spoke of the importance of perseverances and looking outside of traditional means to accomplish your goals. But Brian's use of Monty Python to illustrate his point was what really resonated with me. (Only the first minute of this clip is what Brian referred to.)

"If insanity is doing something over and over again expecting different results, than success is insanity squared... You have to assume that someone out there is going to say 'Yes!'"
—Brian Rock
author of Don't Play With Your Food and Piggies
Backyard Chat

The lovely Lana Krumwiede spoke with her agent Molly Jaffa about the process from manuscript to publication. I was excited to see Lana and Molly on the agenda as I first met them at an SCBWI event back in 2010, right after Lana got her book deal. It was wonderful to catch up with both of them and see how their careers have really taken off over the past two years. And that success is mostly due to their amazing writer–agent relationship.
"Decide what you're looking for and what you have, and then hit the internet hard searching for what you need [in an agent]."
—Lana Krumwiede
author of Freakling
"I think it's important to do what's best for your career, not necessarily what's most convenient for the agent... There's a lot of crying in children's literature—it's not at all like baseball."
—Molly Jaffa
agent at Folio Literary Management
If only Molly had watched the Chicago White Sox game quickly followed by the Washington Nationals game that evening, she would have realized there's plenty of crying in baseball, too.

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