Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NJSCBWI Conference - My Experience

After I posted the conference recommended books, Romelle commented she couldn't wait to hear about the rest of my experience. *winces* You see, my plan was to put the book list out there and then not have to actually share anything else about the conference. Without any big news (y'know, like an agent or a contract) I wasn't sure my conference experience was anything other than pretty standard:

- I learned a ton from excellent presentations,
- I met agents and editors which is a million times better than their online bios,
- I saw old writing friends and made new friends,
- I ate a lot of cheesecake.

Yep, pretty standard really.  But I guess I can be brave and share my other experiences.

I had a manuscript critique with an editor. She gave me an excellent critique which was well worth the money.  Then she asked about me (isn't that so nice when people do that?) which of course I wasn't prepared for. (Funny, I'm pretty close with myself, but it's always so hard to talk about me.)  She also asked if I had an agent. Perhaps she was making polite conversation, but I heard "You should get an agent!" So that was nice. But the best part: an actual quote in her critique: "I think poop is funnier than poo." She gets me. She really gets me!

(by Billy Frank Alexander
via freeimages.com)
I pitched to an agent for the first time, which was not nearly as scary as I expected. (It was Jill Corcoran, who is really kind of awesome. She should just put that in her bio.). After the pitch, she asked if I had the manuscript with me (I did!) She read the whole thing right there (it's a pb, so it only took 1 minute of the 4 allotted minutes.) And she offered a helpful suggestion to amp it up. So that was a pretty solid way to spend a few minutes.

Unfortunately, I spent the next minute picking up all the papers I dumped out of a folder while attempting to smoothly extract my manuscript. She didn't seem to mind. Oh and when I got home that night I realized I had worn edgy gold earrings and a dainty silver necklace all day. (NEVER dress before drinking coffee.) And no one told me. (For future reference, if you see something, say something!) I like to think my hair was in front of my ears, or perhaps I just looked like one of those artsy creative types.

Anyhow, those foibles don't really matter - it's the writing first, right?

Hey how about you tell me embarrassing things which have happened to you at conferences to make me feel better? You're such a palJ


  1. Woo! Forward momentum! You'll be published soon, I know it -- especially if you change all those "poos" to "poops".

    1. I have been revising like crazy. So many poos to update :) I feel really good about some changes I've made, but then again I also felt great after revision 3 and revision 8 and revision 12... so feeling good about revision 16 may not mean anything.

  2. Keep revising!!! I have 91 saved drafts of one that I think is finally ready!!! It's amazing how much a manuscript can grow! Your conference experience sounds wonderful and productive!!! So glad you enjoyed it and shared it on your blog :•) Good luck with that story!

    1. That's what I'm talking about! No sense getting all pumped up about this revision if I have 70 more tries ahead to find the heart of the story. I hope I get better at doing these with fewer drafts, but I guess you can't rush learning.

  3. If an editor says to GET AN AGENT, I'd say that's VERY positive feedback :D :D :D

    And as far as embarrassing, my lack of brain function can 'cause me to feel embarrassed 'cause I forget MANY things I should remember, and I think people get insulted when I don't. Seriously, when I'm dealing with a lot of exposures (I'm chemically sensitive), my brain function can be SO inhibited. As a perfect example of how bad, I had a pretty bad "duh" moment at this one when I actually had to ask what I was supposed to do with MY raffle ticket, having seen a tub of stubs on the podium when I was helping Kathy before the Market Report, thinking I was supposed to do something with it. DUH! It's a RAFFLE TICKET! lol You know----keep your coupon to see if the MATE is called! lol Yes, my brain can be THAT bad...

    The one thing that sticks out as truly embarrassing, though for only a split second, was a couple of years ago at the Hyatt. I dropped one of my many bags and some of the contents spewed onto the floor. The editor I'd just had a critique with was with me and I can only say I'm grateful it was a woman! lol

    And as far as your jewelry, Lauri, I'm sure no one NOticed! They were too busy admiring your pretty face or simply enjoying talking to you to notice a mismatch of jewelry :) But I agree----TELL ME if you see something I need to know about, especially something hanging from my nose or stuck in my teeth! :D

    1. Thank you so much for also dropping all of your stuff! I mean, for telling me about it so I my cheeks can be slightly less blushed and I can just laugh at myself. :)

  4. Replies
    1. You hear how quick editor and agents make decisions, but seeing her like the pitch, read the story, give a comment and an attaboy on it all within 4 minutes was pretty mind-blowing!

  5. At the last SCBWI event, I was part of a panel. I'm sure I said/did something embarrassing, but I can't elaborate, because I've blocked it all out. Every minute that I was at that table in front of the group is missing from my memories. I imagine this stuff gets easier with practice?? :)
    Have fun adding P to poo.


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