So today I am at the regional Spring Spirit conference for the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators. I can't take specific, detailed notes because the presenters would like everyone to attend future conferences :). I will share my impressions, ideas, and more, though, because I want to catch any great thoughts :) I'll update the post as the day goes on. This is my first writing conference ever so I'm excited. I was broke back in the days before kids (still mostly broke but saving for important stuff like this :)). When the kids came, time simply evaporated. So it's fun now to explore this world. Writing was my first love even when I was ten years old writing my first novel about a kidnapped princess from another planet.
First advice of the day: Know your genre, know your audience, know yourself.
Meeting with editors now. A large room with at least 50 people. We get to listen to editors from Learner and Flux. Good advice to write what you know emotionally. Be emotionally honest.
My question for the end of the day is about publishing for the electronic media. Because I believe the next explosion will be with electronic publishing. How can I catch that wave?
I was brave and asked about electronic publishing. Both editors said they planned to sell electronic versions of some print books, but no plans to develop books for electronic media. Bummer. The huge wave is still seen as far off out at sea and they want to see which platform rises to the top.
But, oh, it's such an opportunity to reach kids. These devices are their world. Especially extraordinary kids. Waiting will only let someone else catch that wave. I will keep on paddling out :). I'll catch it!
Onto a workshop for first page critiques. Interesting to hear responses from the writers and editors. The main message that I'm hearing is to keep the opening page simple. A connection to the story and characters. With action and movement. A sense of place keeps coming up as a goal or missing piece. Set the stage.
Be careful about popular themes, like wanting a pet, because you really have to set your book apart in order to be noticed.
Don't start a story with the character getting out of bed. Too common.
Grab your reader. Yep, sense of place, sense of character, sense of story. That's my ending message.
So lunch and now a workshop for synopsis. Which is summarizing your novel to pitch it to publishers, agents, editors. I've written quite a few, but I'm always looking to improve.
I have so many ideas. I'm buzzing with ideas. I wish I could sit with one of these editors and have tea, or coffee, or margaritas :) and talk about making great stories for kids. I guess I am, sort of, except I'm here with about 199 other people, too :)
Learned a little about synopsis. It actually was a great session with a lot of tools. Pare down the story to the plot. Keep it detailed without bogging it down in tangents. It really can give the query more punch than all the stuff about background, biography, and the rest.
Now I'm in a session about book trailers. About using technology as a marketing tool. Which is useful.
This is interesting. How to get videos found through search terms on search engines. Phew, publishing is changing. Writing the story is just the beginning.
Some great ideas about getting noticed online from Digital Weavers. I wasn't that excited at first about book trailers and advertising through book commercials, so to speak. A huge part of the presentation was getting your link through social networks in order to raise your link in the search engines. So I'm excited to try that out. Good news.
Now it's question and answer session. Interesting because I feel like an ocean has separated me from the publishers, editors, etc. It's pretty amazing to see the room full of people that create stories, edit stories, and publish stories. Building bridges. I'm not sure what will grow from the seeds I'm tossing around in my own creative gardens today, but I can imagine some pretty cool stuff blooming.