Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Top Five #NY12SCBWI Conference Highlights and a peek at my Conference Journal

#1  The LGBTQ&A session I moderated and hosted was wonderful, and seemed to really fill a need - the over 40 attendees were so enthusiastic to be having the conversation.

With Alvina Ling, Editorial Director at Little, Brown)

T.S. Ferguson, Associate Editor Harlequin Teen

Jennifer Laughran, Agent at Andrea Brown Literary


Ellen Hopkins, Best-Selling Author

The LGBTQ&A Session Faculty, left to right: T.S. Ferguson, Alvina Ling,  Me (Lee Wind), Jennifer Laughran, and Ellen Hopkins

Attendees mixing it up after the panel discussion

We covered a lot of territory, but I'll just share two highlights:  Alivna, T.S. and Jennifer all said that they get under 5% of submissions with any diversity at all (Queer characters or characters of color) - which means that 95% of the stuff being submitted to them is about straight, white, middle-class or rich kids.  There's an opportunity there, and all of them voiced that they wished they would get more submissions that had GLBTQ content.

And Ellen Hopkin's words are still echoing in my ears,

 "Write Bravely." 

My thanks to Alvina, T.S., Jennifer, Ellen, and all the attendees!

#2  Blogging at the SCBWI Conference Blog with my fellow awesome Team Bloggers: Martha Brockenbrough, Jolie Stekly, Jaime Temairik, and Suzanne Young.

Team Blog, from left to right: Suzanne Young, Me (Lee Wind), Martha Brockenbrough, Jaime Temairik and Jolie Stekly

We also tweeted and other social-media-ized up a storm!  Together, we are the best!  Thank you Jaime, Jolie, Martha and Suzanne!

#3  All the very kind people who came up to thank me for blogging, both for SCBWI and here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?"

#4  Feeling like I was with my tribe, and embraced.

#5  Community, which I'm learning I sometimes spell K-a-r-a-o-k-e!  Hanging out in the hotel bar, and at the Saturday night party and all throughout my Conference stay, talking with other people - friends old and new - as passionate about creating children's books as I am.  It was so much fun.

Here are some moments from my #NY12SCBWI journal:

Lin Oliver acknowledging and praising the writers in the Friday Writers Roundtable Intensive, saying that it is a "very brave thing" to put your work forward.

"Readers go where tension is" - Cassandra Clare

"There is always a market for awesome books." - Jennifer Laughran

Little Brown Books for Young Readers Editor Kate Sullivan sharing that they ask before acquiring a book, "Do you like this book or do you want to marry this book?"

"If you're going down the tragic road, you want to go just as far down the comic road." - Chris Crutcher

"The Truth that you know is the one that will get you published - Chris Crutcher

Print = story+illustration
Digital = story+illustration+experience
- Rubin Pfeffer

"Protagonists are more aspirational than regular kids at the same age, especially in fantasy because they're going to need to be to deal with what's coming." - Courtney Bongiolatti

Alexadra Penfold's tip:  "Google yourself and make sure it's what you want agents and editors to see with your submission."

Jordan Brown said of his job as Senior Editor at Harper Collins, "You're in the business of acquiring authors, not books."

"Tell the truest truth you can and tell it in the language it needs to be told in." - Chris Crutcher

"When readers feel the characters in a story have the same feelings they have - it's a relief." - Chris Crutcher

"Your content should touch heart, soul or funny bone." - Rubin Pfeffer

Rubin Pfeffer on ebooks, enhanced ebooks and Apps:  "If it's not a story, then it's really not anything."

The idea Rubin brought up about custom font sizes when you read on a screen being a way to reach reluctant readers.

"The bigger the obstacles the greater the love needed to overcome them." - Cassandra Clare

"People like really big obstacles.  Go there.  High stakes are good." - Cassandra Clare

"The greater the un-put-down-ability, the easier it is for me to sell." - Jennifer Laughran

Cheryl Klein's description of Fermatas, a last line that holds the emotional resonance of a scene.

"Your success is directly proportionate to your ability to take rejection." - David Gordon

"Whatever that character needs is the story."  - Dan Yaccarino

Regina Brook's theory on the popularity of Fantasy, in that publishers want to look at books that have a global reach, and Fantasy isn't locked into the U.S. domestic marketplace.

Also Regina rattling off six new YA imprints from the top of her head as a sign of the kid lit market's robustness.

And her line, "There's an agent on this Earth whose divine assignment on this Earth is to represent you."

Kathryn Erskine saying that after two years of writing and trying, she thought maybe she should give up.  But then she heard a speech where the agent or editor said to her and the rest of the SCBWI attendees that if they keep at it, they'll improve, and they will get published.  And she kept at her craft.  From her first writing class to getting her first book published took 10 years.  And now she was giving the closing keynote of the Lucky 13th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference, and ended it with this fermata,

"Go out there, and go create."

My Thanks to everyone at #NY12SCBWI - faculty, staff, Regional Advisors and attendees, for making January in New York so fantastic!


1 comment:

Annie said...

Kind of shocked about how few submissions there are for any kind of diversity. I'd have guessed that maybe for books that get published, but not at the submission level. Gotta get writing immediately!