Friday, July 31, 2015

#LA15SCBWI – My Top Ten Verbs For The Conference Ahead

The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' 2015 Summer Conference is going to be an amazing event, bringing together over 1,000 of my fellow writers and illustrators and agents and editors and publishers and art directors of books for kids and teens. All of us passionate about telling great stories, and about the power of stories to make kids' lives, and our world, better.

I will be...

On Friday, from 5:00 pm-6:00 pm, I'll be moderating the SCBWI Success Story panel, talking with Martha Brockenbrough, Mike Curato, Stacey Lee, Lori Nichols and Anna Shinoda about "Tips On How To Realize Your Dream." They're a brilliant and varied group, and I'm excited to learn from them! (This is a plenary panel in the main conference space, the California Ballroom.)

Later that same evening, from 7:30 pm-9:00 pm, I'll be hosting the LGBTQ Q&A. I love this informal, sit-in-a-circle, share and talk about creating works with LGBTQ characters and themes with conference attendees and our wonderful faculty guests. This year we've confirmed the participation so far of bestselling author Ellen Hopkins, legendary editor Emma Dryden, art director (and debut YA author) Laurent Linn, and my own wonderful agent, Danielle Smith of Red Fox Literary. (This awesome event will be in the Westwood room.)

On Monday morning, along with Jim Averbeck, I'll be co-facilitating the Intensive, "Your Plan For An Effective and Successful Blog: Audience. Content. Discoverability. Synergy." Jim and I have been having a lot of fun pulling this workshop together, and we're excited to get hands-on about blogging with the intensive participants!

Adam Rex! Dan Santat! Varian Johnson! Shannon Hale! Kwame Alexander! And those are just a few of the keynoters!!!

The editors panel with Jordan Brown, Julie Strauss-Gabel, Allyn Johnston, Rotem Moscovich, Sara Sargent, Alison Weiss and Wendy Loggia! There's so much insight to be gained from getting to hear these editors in person!

The "Diversity in Children's Books: Challenges and Solutions" panel with Joe Cepeda, Brandy Colbert, Varian Johnson, I.W. Gregorio, Nicola Yoon and Miranda Paul. This is such a "hot" topic right now, and I want to listen closely to see how I can be part of the solution to making books for kids and teens more diverse!

From my fellow attendees to my fellow faculty members, I feel like everyone has something to offer. I'm going to stay open to the experience ahead, and know that it's often the unexpected moments of talking with someone that can be the most rewarding.

The theme of the Saturday night party is "Sparkle and Shine." I've got a plan (a secret plan...), which is happily both conceptually fun and not too hard to pull together. I hope.

This is my tribe. My community. My colleagues. My friends. It's a great feeling, spending these days, being my authentic self in a community that values and honors me for being exactly me. It's is time that I truly relish.

Even when I'm super busy at a conference, I try to get up a half-hour earlier than I have to and squeeze in a few minutes a day of writing. Because writing reminds me that I am a writer. That I create worlds, and characters and stories. And there's power in that!

Oh, and I almost forgot... of course, I'll be BLOGGING!
Once again I'll be leading the powerful SCBWI Team Blog (Martha Brockenbrough, Jaime Temairik, Jolie Stekly and Don Tate), live-blogging and tweeting from the conference floor. Follow along on social media with the hashtag #LA15SCBWI and at the Official SCBWI Conference blog here.

Let me know what your top verbs are for the conference ahead!

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