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?