Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Inspiration, the Winning Intangible of SCBWI

There are lots of reasons to join SCBWI, but we often look at the tangibles when it's the intangibles that can ultimately help us into the winner's circle. Take inspiration, for example.

When I attend a conference, I may not always get great feedback on my latest manuscript. I don't always walk away with an agent's interest, and it's been forever since my First Page has been chosen. But I know I will come away inspired.

And one of the most inspiring aspects of our conferences is the Book Launches. At this year's SpringMingle, long-time Southern Breezer, Lisa L. Stauffer, shared her story; so many people loved it--and were inspired by it--that I asked if she'd share it here. Lisa graciously sent the following:

If you tell a writer…
By Lisa Lowe Stauffer

(With apologies to Laura Joffe Numeroff)

If you tell a writer about SCBWI, she’ll want to go to a conference.
When that conference is over, she’ll want to go to another—
and another…
and another.

When there are no more conferences, she’ll want to go to all the workshops—
even if they’re about writing poetry.

(At least she could hang out with her friends. She was no poet!)

But when she goes to the workshop, she’ll find playing with words is lots of fun.
So she’ll keep playing when she goes home.
She’ll draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit,
until she’s got a weird little poem about monkeys taking over Noah’s Ark.

Then she’ll send it to the Southern Breeze SCBWI contest,
where, to her surprise, it’ll win second place!

(She’s entered lots of novels into these contests, and they never won.)

So she’ll take the judge’s feedback,
draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit,
until the weird little poem flows.

When she thinks it’s finally perfect, she’ll ask critique partners to take a look.
Draft and edit…
draft and edit…
draft and edit.

Finally, she’ll send it to her agent—who she met at an SCBWI conference.
And she’ll wait as the poem goes out on submission.

(waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting…)*

So when the book comes out, it’ll remind her of that poetry workshop so long ago.
And when she thinks about the workshop, it will remind her of SCBWI,
and chances are when she thinks of SCBWI,
she’ll want
to go
to another

*(Five years from first draft to sale. Two more years to publication.)

A big thank you to Lisa Lower Stauffer, and here's hoping that she's inspired you! (P.S. See you and your new book at the next Book Launch at wik'20 in Birmingham! Keep up with us here for more details coming soon!)

~ Cathy C. Hall, ARA
SCBWI Southern Breeze

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

TEN Tips for Conference Attendees (And P.S. A WINNER!)

The doors open on Springmingle'19 this Friday, March 15th! And it's a whirlwind of activities and sessions and speakers and friends and fun, so you'll want to be ready. Thanks to our Southern Breeze Co-Regional Advisor, Claudia Pearson, you can be! Take a look at these ten tips she's collected, good for any SCBWI conference you might attend:

1. Volunteer! It's the best way to get to know new people!

2. Comment on the Southern Breeze conference Facebook, Twitter and blog posts. People will remember your name.

3. Attend the conference with your critique group or writing buddies if you can. If you each attend different sessions, you can share notes after the conference.

4. Get organized: Prepare a clear view binder prior to attending. Keep the conference schedule in the front cover and a checklist of items to bring in the back. Use clear sleeves inside the binder for "homework," handouts, writing samples, business cards, etc, for easy access.

5. Keep it compact. Big bags can be barriers and small (no larger than 14") illustration portfolios are better suited than large ones for presentation space and critiques.

6. Write out "must know" questions handy for the breakout session speakers or the Roundtable discussions. Refrain from questions that can be easily "Googled," (i.e. what is point of view, what's a dummy?) and instead address specific craft/marketing issues that maximize the speakers' expertise.

7. If you plan to take notes on a laptop, insure laptop battery is fully charged. Plugs near work space may be scarce.

8. Don't "buttonhole" faculty, and don't offer them your manuscript at the conference (you will have a chance to submit after the conference), but have your 30 second pitch ready just in case they ask what you are working on.

9. Get together with your Local Liaison and members from your area. They can be great friends and resources after the conference. (Membership Coordinator Paula Puckett will be at SM'19 with a display of members and LLs. Look for her near the registration table to find more info!)

10. Prepare to be engaged, challenged and inspired! Drinking water from a fire hose is not so easy, so get some rest, arrive early, and be ready to learn and share. Everyone has something valuable to offer.
There you have it, Breezers, ten terrific tips! And as promised, here's our winner of the Spread the Word Contest: Meredith York! Congrats, Meredith, and thanks for helping us spread the word about Springmingle'19! Meredith will win a $50 discount on her registration, just for spreading the word on social media. So maybe we should add another tip for next year: Participate in Southern Breeze contests and win BIG!