Write On!

11 Oct

On Friday and Saturday, I attended the NC/NE Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual Editor and Agent Conference.  I have spent several years writing and revising a middle-grade novel.  And I would dearly like to sell said project.

I approached this conference like a job interview.  I read up on the participating professionals (stalking a couple of them on Twitter and Facebook).  On the advice of a friend, I came up with a 30-second “elevator” pitch about both my work-in-progress and a YA novel I hope to write.  I lined up babysitters and activities for my kids, and made up an hour-by-hour schedule for my husband as to who was doing what, when.  All that enabled me to spend two working days—from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday—full engaged in the conference.

On top of that, I vowed to meet other writers.  Now, I like other writers.  With the exception of three years in TV news (where I did a ton of writing, BTW), I’ve spent my entire career as a writer.  And I value the relationships I have with my editors, especially.  But fiction feels like a whole new world, these kids’ authors a whole new animal.  Plus I’d rather listen than speak in almost any situation.

Nevertheless, I promised I’d chat up six separate folks.  I’m delighted to report that I exceeded my goal.  I spoke with THREE literary agents and THREE editors (one from Random House; the other two from Scholastic).  I plopped myself beside an agent the first night at dinner.  And I offered my opinions on various books, some of which didn’t gel with hers.  On the other side of that agent was her client, Oklahoma-based author Sonia Gensler; her YA debut novel, THE REVENANT, was published this summer, and it’s terrific.  She’s lovely, too.

Personal meet-and-greet goals aside, I most benefited from a shot of “you-can-do-it!” enthusiasm.  My heart beat faster to hear high-powered pros talk about how they love (love!) working with new talent.  Recession aside, children’s fiction is experiencing a boon, both creatively and in terms of market share.  (Unless you write or sell picture books…more on that, perhaps, another time.)

As a mom, it’s gratifying, too, to realize teams of professionals are working like crazy to put out quality, enriching material that will educate, excite and inspire babies to older teens. It’s all the more motivation to put the polish on my piece!

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One Response to “Write On!”

  1. Neeks October 19, 2011 at 1:16 am #

    Your enthusiasm is inspiring. It’s a smart move on your part to attend that conference, we need to avail ourselves of any resource we can. Glad that it worked out so well for you!

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