Disclaimer: These are my thoughts/reactions/responses/interpretations to what I heard and at the New England SCBWI conference last weekend. My intention is not to relay to you the exact events or words from the conference or to represent any of the participants or speakers or the organization.
1. ON REJECTION
- Vent your disappointment in private and be professional. Don’t put folks on blast in social media or talk smack at a conference. Translation: Be a lady first!
- Don’t be so quick to think getting an agent/book deal means This it it! I’m set! There were lots of stories from established authors who faced rejection, even after being published.
2. ON OVERCOMING REJECTION
- Onward! One foot in front of the other after wounds are licked or coddled. Name of this game is Persistence (intentional capitalization).
- Be encouraged by rejections that say something GOOD.
3. ON SELF-ESTEEM/EGO
- Envy KILLS the art and craft of your writing.
- Blaming yourself as to why you aren’t published isn’t always based on truth. Way too many aspects that are out of your control (market, personal taste of agents/editors).
- It’s not about YOU but the work. Get the hell out of the way.
4. ON DREAMING
- We writers all want a book deal, all dream the big dream, and yet the realities of this do not measure up to the expectations we have. Even with established writers. Well, maybe not Sharon Creech. (God, I love her!)
5. ON MARKET/BRAND/GENRE
- Don’t write for the trend (too changeable), yet you still need to be AWARE of the trends.
- You have to write the book that you hear inside your brain and your heart the one that you WANT to write, have to write.
- Know your brand.
6. ON CRAFT
- One thing you can “fix” is your craft, and many “practice” with 2 to 10 manuscripts. (Personally, I’ve heard this for YEARS! This reality typically SHOCKS the newbie conference go-er. Not I. I’m on book numero 4 :)
- Be loyal to your characters . . . as if character is a really close friend, a real person.
- Don’t be in such a hurry to finish the draft. Take the time you need. Be in the moment.
- The idea of writing a book is one that involves the art of engaging the reader, of asking the reader to come along on this little journey with you, to trust you.
7. ON YA
- YA is a wide age range and wide maturity range. This makes it difficult, at times, to know what kinds of books to recommend to parents and teachers for their kids and students.
- It is debatable whether or not it’s proper protocol to have parents and teachers flag material possibly not suited to age group. Should children make the decisions themselves?
- We can all agree that censorship is NOT okay.
8. ON INSPIRATION
- Someone else’s words (from a song, poem, book, speech) can hit you in particular ways that ignite ideas and stories.
- It’s okay to be inspired by other folks, but we need to write and express from with our own voice.
10. ON SELF-PUBLISHING
- Many writers are having a hard time and feeling like their publishers are not taking the best care of them or meeting their basic needs.
- Self-publishing is booming and a lot of it seems to reflect a more SELF versus PUBLISHING.
- It’s okay to self publish, and you can even do both self and traditional.
- Marketing is the single most difficult task whether you are self-publishing or traditionally published.
- Self-publishing is a business venture as well as an artistic venture and writers need to consider that as they make the decision to self-publish. Make the product (your book) the very best you can. Invest in editors and marketing consultants if you truly want to honor your readers.
- Researching and hiring the proper consultants is VITAL when you take on this task.
Workshops/Lectures I attended
Learning To Live Within Rejection with Christine Brodien-Jones.
Save My Cat: How to Rescue Your Manuscript in a Single Bound with Dawn Metcalf
The Art of The Outline with Elizabeth Papademetriou
Independent Editors and New Models for Publishing Our stories with Emma Dryden
Keynotes that made me cry
Panels that made me ponder
Edgy YA with Scott Blagden author of Dear Life, You Suck (who is a REALLY cool dude!)
Books I purchased for self and daughters
No Cream Puffs Karen Day
Sea Monsters First Day Kate Messner and Andy Rash
Crooked kind of Perfect Linda Urban
Dear Life You Suck Scott Blagden
Self-editing for Fiction Renni Browne and Dave King
Writing the Break Out Novel Donald Maas