November 13th was Illustrator's Day! I was a volunteer this year - so fun! We had a great line-up of speakers and an awesome turnout.
- I missed author/illustrator Brian Floca's keynote speech because I was outside helping with the portfolio reviews!
- Agent/author Jennifer Rofe gave a presentation on how to promote your book. She and illustrator Mary Peterson just published their own book with Charlesbridge. One of her tips that really convicted me was "Learn to Write!!!" She said writing AND illustrating are gifts from God if you can do both, because they provide you with best of everything. Every time I think about writing, I feel overwhelmed - there's so much to learn! It's going to take a lot of practice, which means if I'm going to try I better start NOW.
- Rich Deas, designer and director at MacMillan Publishing, gave an inspirational lecture about his career and also shared insider tips of how he goes about finding and hiring artists. His advice: Get out there! You never know when you'll get a call. Send out samples, and make sure your compositions work as a thumbnail. Designs need to get the point across quickly. Also, networking and knowing people are your best in. He really praised everyone for being at the conference because usually he only responds to emails if he has met the person in real life.
- Editor Abigail Simon gaves 6 easy (difficult) steps to becoming a Kid's Book expert. 1) Do your homework (read 100 children's books). 2) Read Uri Shulevitz' book Writing with Pictures and Molly Bang's book Picture This. 3) Know the picture book format 4) Join a Kid's Lit Community (SCBWI) 5)Attend a Book trade show like ALA or Book Expo America to get a sense of the market. 6) Think like an editor. Answer these questions....why should I acquire this book? Who is the target audience? What are the competitive titles? What are the key selling points? What is my platform? What resources do I have to promote my book?
- Illustrator Dan Santat shared his career story with us - amazing! Some advice from Dan: 1) Never say you don't have enough time to work towards your goals. 2) Learn to say NO. 3) Befriend everyone you can on Facebook, network like crazy. 4) Never settle. Make the best, bring your best game if you want to run with the best.
Illustrator's Day was long (I'm proud to say I was the first and last car in the parking lot!) but it was WAY worth the energy. Children's book people are incredibly friendly and every time I attend a conference put on by SCBWI, I feel more connected, inspired, and knowledgeable than I did before. I am already looking forward to the next one!