Monday, November 17, 2008

SCBWI Conference

The Prairie Writer's Conference was held November 15th at Dominican University in Chicago.  It is part of the SCBWI (aka) Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
The day included presentations by several Editors and Agents and included topics such as "The State of the Industry," character and plot development and revision.
 There were reps from some well-known  publishing houses, such as Greenwillow Books (an imprint of HarperCollins), Wendy Lamb Books (an imprint of Random House Children's Books), and Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic.  
 Jennifer Rofe, from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency gave insight as to what a literary agent does and what they expect from a writer.  I especially enjoyed Harold Underdown's view of  the children's book industry...the pessimistic and optimistic thoughts.  It seems that everyone and their dog has a book they want published and there are too few 'slots' in the publishing houses.  On the 'happy place' side, traditionally, when the economy is bad, children's books still can hold their own!  Harold Underdown is a freelance editorial consultant and is the author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide of Children's Book Publishing."

I was, however, frustrated that there was virtually nothing for educational writers and very little for writers of non-fiction.  Although, I'm not sure what categories my "Singing Books that Teach" fits into...Educational, Music, History, Social Studies, Historical Fiction, Non-Fiction, or all of the above!?  I guess what I'm trying to put out there is for a very specialized market and I need to do more searching to find my niche.


The SCBWI people are very friendly and encouraging and provided a wonderful conference for the almost 200 people who attended.

Even though, my projects didn't quite fit into the 'curriculum' of the day, I made some valuable contacts and met some very nice folks.  So, I strongly urge any of you who are a writing "newbie" to join this group and attend their programs.  It really is worthwhile...if for nothing else, to keep those creative juices flowing!

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