Sunday, April 13, 2014

IN SCBWI Conference Recap

I attended my first conference over the weekend! I had a really great time and it was just... so nice to be around other people who love books and writing. Also, I laid eyes on an agent for the first time ever- so yeah! =) And, no, I didn't try to pet her or tackle her, so it's all good. *tee-hee*

This was the first pic I took upon arriving:

 
The conference was held at Canyon Inn at McCormick's Creek State Park. I love the brick, and you'll see that it was featured throughout a lot of places inside the inn, as well. 


Then going on around the corner, here's the main entrance. Very stately!


A festive Easter display in the entryway. 


Some art work on the way to my room(and a reflection of me, looking weird). The inn was full of wildlife paintings and photographs and would be a nature lover's delight. It was very quaint/rustic.


My bedroom. It was tiny, but perfect for just me. 


Snapped this on the way to the vending machine.


And got this at the vending machine- snacks! I had a bit of time to kill before the official welcome so I munched and worked on my WIP and got in 600+ words. Which was great b/c I didn't think w/packing that day, dropping off the kidlet at the in-laws, and then driving, that'd I'd get any writing in. 


This pic and the next were taken during the autograph/mingle time, after the keynote speaker, LeUyen Pham spoke, and she was amazing! She was super funny and is an incredible artist. If I remember right, she's done over 60 books! After she spoke, then it was Blue Slip Media, and they had really good insights on promoting your work.


These pics don't do the number of people there justice. I'm horrible at estimating, but I'd say there was probably close to one-hundred attendees. They had appetizers afterwards, and the cheese ball and the ranch dip I ate both had green onions in them. I tried to talk w/out breathing much! =)


All three of the above pics are of the Oak Room, where I attended all my sessions except for one, which was in the Sycamore Room in the basement(forgot to grab a pic). I thought being in the basement it'd be all dreary but it had windows and felt more bright and cheery than even the Oak Room did. Of course, I have a passionate dislike for paneling, so maybe that explains my preference for the Sycamore... *passionate, I tell you, passionate!*


Then the next morning was breakfast, at seven a.m. *yawn!* B/c even though I went to bed a little after 10 the night before, the pour soul in the room next to me must've been hard of hearing. I laid in bed until after 11 hearing every word of the crime drama he/she was watching. Yay. Anyhoo, at breakfast they had us sitting in a long side room fully enclosed w/windows. A few birds visited, and later at lunchtime, a squirrel. So stinkin' cute.


The sessions I attended Sat were:

Mike Mullin: Going from "Tell" to "Show", or How To Make A Scene in Your Writing
~ He's a super funny guy, and gave some great information.

Grace Kendall: Building Character with Community
~ An associate art director w/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, who did a neat exercise by pulling excerpts from books and breaking down what they showed about the characters involved.

Erica Finkel: Inside The Editorial Meeting: What happens when you are out on submission?
~ A sweet girl who gave insight on...well, the title says it all!

Erica Finkel/Minju Chang: First Pages for Middle Grade and Young Adult Manuscripts
~ I didn't submit a first page, but I enjoyed sitting in and listening to what an editor(Erica) & agent(Minju) had to say. A definite reminder that this business is so subjective!

Minju Chang: Storytelling and the Art of Fascination
~ Minju(BookStop Literary) was so funny, loved some of the stuff she said off the top of her head. She also used two videos in her presentation to drive home some points, and that was a nice switch-up.

Mike Mullin, Janna Matthies, Alina Klein, & Laurie Gray: Tackling the Tough Stuff.
~This was a panel type discussion and was really good. I might have teared up a few times...*sniff*

I also traded business cards w/a few people, as I always enjoy checking out new sites. If you do, too, here they are:

http://www.rsprunger.com/
http://www.shannonisteaching.com/
http://www.mygrandestadventure.com/
http://www.heartboxstudio.com/

All in all, I did better than I thought I would w/talking to people. I am SO AWKWARD in person, and tend to fall back on my shy childhood days when faced w/a bunch of people I don't know. I should have tried to approach more of my fellow conference attendees, but I didn't want to push the limits of my deodorant... 

Now, back to pictures!


Shot of the lobby from the stairs.


Fun display of spelunking helmets. 


Daffodils!


Took this as I was leaving, so you could see what a super nice day it was. Now we just need some green stuff on the trees.

 
And, yeah, I know, a selfie. Boo(normally I like selfies about as much as paneling). But I realized on my way home that I didn't have any pics of me at the conference. See, in my head, I'd planned on getting all kinds of pics w/authors, but there was the shyness and sooo...I had to resort to a selfie. But you can see my bags and my conference folder, so that kinda counts, right? =) At actual author events, I'm not as shy about it b/c it's sort of...expected? But at the conference I felt like I'd have been crowding their personal space if I'd ran up brandishing a camera at them.


Though I was brave enough to get some books signed. My two Mike Mullin's books, and the book I bought for the kidlet, Penguin Cha-Cha, by Kristi Valliant. She even sketched a penguin for him!

So there you have it- my first conference experience all documented and yakked up about. I had a fantastic time and appreciate all the hard work that was put into it. I hope it's not my last conference, and hope one day I can attend and see my own book sitting over on the bookstore table. That's the dream, anyway! =) 

43 comments:

  1. Oh, what a beautiful venue and the rooms are so warm and inviting. Laughing about the selfie ... but I am also shy about trying to get pictures with authors, because you have to talk to not just the author but another hapless bystander to take the photo. Last year I did really good. Got FOUR photos. Glad you had such a terrific time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I thought about that too! It would be really nice to get to go w/a friend- they could be your pic taker, and someone to chat to when striking up conversation w/a stranger feels too overwhelming.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like you had wonderful time. Awesome! And all those workshops...I would love to attend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were fantastic and I learned a lot!

      Delete
  3. Thanks for sharing! So glad you enjoyed your first conference--may it be the first of many!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Woo hoo! Writers' Conference! I love your room at the inn and the brick. Very atmospheric for writers. Also, I am so jealous. I've been trying to go to my SCBWI conference for years but something always comes up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want you to be able to go someday too! If I lived close enough I'd babysit for you. No...that wouldn't work- b/c of course I'd want to be your conference buddy. =) It really was a beautiful place. The plaque on the back of my door in my room said it was Indiana's first state park inn to ever be built.

      Delete
  5. Thank you, Leandra, for taking us along. I especially like that room with the beautiful quilt... and I'm so glad you didn't pet that real-live agent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, that probably wouldn't have worked out well, would it? ;) I was happy to be able to share, some of my fav posts are when other people share highlights from conferences or conventions or signings that they get to go to.

      Delete
  6. One of these days I'll make it to a writer's conference!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fingers crossed for you that it happens- and when it does that you have a fantabulous time! =)

      Delete
  7. Sounds like you had fun (despite being shy about it). I think your selfie looks great. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, thanks! You should have seen some of the others... ;)

      Delete
  8. oh I love this!! GREAT pics and how great you got the book signed for your kidlet-- something he can always treasure! Hoping I get to a conference one day! Preferably with you because we could be shy together (I'd be so nervous talking to industry people!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be awesome! It's been a dream of mind for a long time to get to BEA- that's around your neck of the woods, isn't it? I'm determined to get to go someday. And speaking of nervous, there was an open spot next to one of the editors at lunch, but I swerved away from it like a scared rabbit, lol!

      Delete
    2. ha! and yep BEA is in my backyard!

      Delete
  9. It looks like you had a WONDERFUL time! Wasn't it so energizing, to be amongst so many like-minded people! I'll never forget my first conference experience. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love seeing these pictures!! I went to my first conference last year and felt the exact same way you did - it was so wonderful to be around so many readers and writers!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wonderful photo recap, Leandra! I am in love with the setting and the venue they picked for the conference. Sounds like you really enjoyed yourself and I find that these gatherings are always so invigorating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a really great inn! If I'd had time, I would've liked to have walked to the waterfall that's there in the state park. Maybe another time!

      Delete
  12. That sounds like a perfect first con experience. My first one was Scbwi too. It's a great way to start out IMO. And you are too cute! Love the selfie!! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, thanks! There's another conference this summer in IN, that isn't SCBWI, but it's a little more pricey. Maybe I'll save my money for it next year. I just want to experience all the learns now! ;)

      Delete
  13. That looks like so fun! I get totally shy at conferences and can't ask for pictures, so I totally understand the selfie! Glad you get to spend some time around other book people!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad my selfie is being justified, lol! And book ppl are the best ppl, am I right? =D

      Delete
  14. So exciting!! My goal for the next year is to make it to a writers conference. It's so good to see it from your perspective, complete with some great pics! Thanks for the insight! And the selfie is adorable :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! And I really hope you get to go to one, they're so worth the time and effort. And even the uncomfortable chairs... =)

      Delete
  15. Looks like you had a great time. I miss going to the conference that was 10 minutes from my house every year. They moved the location. I want it back. lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 10 mins would be fantastic! I can understand your displeasure. =)

      Delete
  16. This sounds like such a great conference and all that lovely atmosphere--perfect for books and reading, writing and learning to write. I'm so glad you had a super good experience!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's SO funny--a Penguin Cha Cha is literally right next to me as I type this. I took it at the last SCBWI conference here and had it out from when I was getting my own bookmarks designed. (Not that mine looks anything like it--I just thought it was nice to have a guideline!) Your conference was at such a charming location. Ours is usually at a hotel, which is nice, but it lacks the character your conference had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a funny coincidence! And, yes, the inn definitely had character in spades!

      Delete
  18. how cool! congrats! I'm still waiting to get to go to my first and I hope to have a blast!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you'll have a fabulous time! Hope to hear all about it!

      Delete
  19. Don't make it your last. They are terrific. I look at them like oiling your baseball mitt. We all need that from time to time. I admire your sense of a balanced meal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheese and chocolate- what every meal needs! ;) And I hope it's just the first of many. (conferences, not cheese and chocolate meals...lol)

      Delete
  20. Hey, this is my third attempt to leave a comment. My fault! :-) But I love this post! A real kindred spirit vibe happens when us writers get together. I'm so happy you went! I'd love to attend one of the big conferences one day, too. They look like great fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you get to go one day too, Venessa! And yes, mingling w/other writers is so worth having to endure those uncomfortable conference chairs... =D

      Delete
  21. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, Leandra! Those talks by editors and agents must have been incredible. I'm VERY AWKWARD in person, too, so I'll probably be smiling a lot and speaking very little if I were at conferences. It's great you got another 600+ words in while waiting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They were really incredible. It was a lot of fun to see real life industry professionals here in Corn Capital, USA! Lol! ;)

      Delete

I love comments! And appreciate the time it took to leave one, so THANK YOU!!!