Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prairie Writer's Day 2012



This month I was fortunate enough to attend the SCBWI-IL yearly conference, Prairie Writer's Day. Not only was it fun to mingle with other writers, but the speakers were phenomenal.

Guest speakers included  Dianne Hess (Scholastic Press editor), Beverly Horowitz (VP/Publisher of Delacorte), Meredith Mundy (Sterling Executive Editor), Elizabeth Parisi (Creative Director at Scholastic Trade), Lisa Yoskowitz (Disney-Hyperion Editor), and Marietta Zacker (Nancy Gallt Literary agent). Most of these professionals were greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy, so we were even more thankful that they were still able to attend.


Favorite quotes of the day

"It's not publishing that makes you a writer; it's writing that makes you a writer." - I forgot to write down who said this (I want to say it was Susan...) so my apologies to the wonderful speaker who said this! Anyone there remember?

"Our lives are a daily improvisation." - Diane Hess

"I am who I am because of where I was when." - Susan Campbell Baroletti

"Every decision you make counts." - Beverly Horowitz

Agent Marietta Zacker was a delight, too. She was informative and funny. She and Susan staged an Editor/Agent negotiation which was very interesting.

The packed day included a workshop and two breakout sessions so the conference definitely tailored to individual needs, (though I would suggest a marketing breakout at the next conference). I was also lucky enough to have a manuscript critiqued by the Sterling editor and have lunch with her,  Lisa of Disney/Hyperion, Marietta (who is Hilary Wagner's fab agent) and my picture book pals, Lori and Laura. I cannot say enough how wonderful it was to talk with and learn from leaders in the publishing industry.

Have you attended any writing conferences or events lately? Which ones do you recommend?

23 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Every decision couts? Scary! Glad you learned so much.

Anita said...

Did you stay overnight? Who was your roomie? If you do this again and need a roomie, let me know...almost done with MFA and so will have more time and $ to travel. :) Is that pushy enough...er? :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sounds fabulous. It makes me want to go to a conference. I haven't been to one lately because we've been trying to cut back on our expenses. Sigh.

Kim Kasch said...

Great post! I love the "it's not publishing that makes you a writer, it's writing that makes you a writer."

:D

SA Larsenッ said...

Baroletti's quote is so true!! I've had to remind myself of that so often.

Regrettably, I've yet to make it to a conference. I live way up in the sticks in the US, but fairly close to Canada. Most conferences are so far away.

Kelly Polark said...

Alex- I guess I've heard every sentence counts, so it is scary!
Anita- Actually it was in driving distance so I came home. You can stay with me!
Natalie - Which is another reason why the free Writeoncon is so wonderful!!
Kim- I love that too.
Sheri- And yet another reason why Writeoncon is so fabulous. No matter where you live you can attend! :)

Susan Oloier said...

Glad you were able to go. I have never been to a writers' conference. I'm hoping to go to Pikes Peak next year.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I haven't been to any since the RWA nationals this summer. I love that one, but unfortunately won't be going next year. :(

Anita said...

Yay! I can stay with Kelly, I can stay with Kelly. Everyone, cut, paste and save that somewhere.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I adore Marietta! She is so full of life. :)

Lydia Kang said...

That sounded so cool! What a great line up of publishing people. :)

LTM said...

AND! You got to see Susan Quinn! (Or did you?) So many folks I know went to that conference. I wish I'dve known about it sooner--then we could've met up! :o) That Agent-Editor pitch session would've been interesting to me, too! Sounds like a great time, Kelly! <3

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Conferences are awesome! Looks like you are doing well, Kelly! Thought I would peek and see what was up. :)

Missed Periods said...

Sounds wonderful. That staged agent/editor negotiation must have been super interesting.

Marcia said...

Thanks for this glimpse into the conference. I love the quotes. And what a great idea to stage an editor/agent negotiation!

Gina C said...

Conferences are so inspiring! I haven't been to one since this summer (SCBWI NJ weekend conference). But I'm going to a 1-day SCBWI writing boot camp in NY that I helped organize. Can't wait for it :)

Nas said...

Sounds like you had a fabulous time! Thanks for sharing!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm jealous! Sounds like a fabulous opportunity - one of these days I'll get to a conference!!

Theresa Milstein said...

Love these quotes.

Each year I attend NE-SCBWI. It's always a lot of fun and there are great speakers and workshops. Even better are the query and first page pages opportunities. I can't wait to attend the next one in May.

cleemckenzie said...

"It's not publishing that makes you a writer; it's writing that makes you a writer."
This is a wonderful quote not matter who said it!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

ACK! You need to email me when it's time for this conference....I'd love to go to it with you next year.

It is so wonderful to mingle with people of like minds.

E.J. Wesley said...

Very jealous! Sounds like a wonderful collection of wisdom. Just in case I get snowed under (ok, not real snow here in South Texas), wanted to wish you and yours a "Happy Holidays!" :-)

Angela Ackerman said...

That agent/editor negotiation would have been so awesome to see. That part of the process is something we can only guess at. It would be cool to see what terms were negotiable, and which were ones that a publisher wouldn't budge on.