One of my top priorities this year is to take my writing seriously, even though most of it is playful in nature and meant to entertain the "under 5" set! However, writing for children is indeed a serious business (some call it a "bunny eat bunny" world). I've been educating myself about this business for a little over a year now, and am very excited about my upcoming trip to NYC for the "Lucky 13th Annual Winter Conference" of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This is a really fantastic organization that seems to be all about helping one another succeed, giving some question to the idea of bunnies eating their own kind.
Although I have been to a regional conference (the New England chapter of SCBWI has an annual Spring conference), this will be my first "national" spin. What better place than New York, I'm thinking, to find out all I can about the publishing world. The conference will be chock full of agents, editors, and marketing specialists. One of the keynote speakers I'll be interested to listen to and possibly meet is Regina Brooks (Serendipity Literary Agency), who has written a book about writing and marketing your memoir. I'll also have my eyes and ears peeled to meet and greet (or, be excited just to be in the same room with!) some fantastic authors and illustrators, including Sophie Blackall (Big Red Lollipop and Ivy and Bean) and Jane Yolen (How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, among many others...).
Besides two days of intensive learning, I'm also looking forward to two additional fun events, a "KidLit drink night" on Friday 1/27 at 8:00 PM at the Public House (41st and Lexington), and a Saturday night Gala, for which the dress is "smart casual." I've heard that in the past, at the Summer SCBWI conference in LA, the dress for the Gala was pajamas. Now that's my kind of Gala! Maybe we'll get New York to follow suit one year.
Between now and the conference, I'll be hunkered down, following one of my favorite pieces of writing advice (from Lin Oliver, a keynote presenter at the 2011 NESCBWI Spring Conference and one of the founders of SCBWI):
Do The Work.