SCBWI Summer Conference Day 3 (August 5, 2012)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Despite the late night partying Saturday night, almost everyone turned up bright and early for Sunday’s first event: the agent’s panel.

Agents Panel

Moderator Lin Oliver, and agents Jill Corcoran, Deborah Warren, Linda Pratt and Josh Adams

Moderated by Lin Oliver, the  agents in the panel included Jill Corcoran of the Herman Agency, Deborah Warren of East West Agency, Linda Pratt of Wernick & Pratt Agency and Josh Adams, of Adams Literary Agency.

Each agent introduced himself/herself, mentioning not only what their agencies are about, but also what kind of manuscripts they’re interested in.

Jill Corcoran ran her own marketing company before becoming an agent for the Herman Agency. She represents everything from picture books to YA novels.

Deborah Warren started the East West Literary Agency ten years ago. She’s always on the lookout for debut talent and has a particular love for picture books.

Linda Pratt and her colleague Marcia Wernick, began the Wernick & Pratt Agency last year. Although she represents everything from picture books to YA, she has a sweet spot for middle grade.

Josh Adam and his wife Tracey Adams founded the Adams Literary Agency. Adams Literary is a boutique agency dedicated solely to children’s and YA books. They are looking to represent authors, not books, and so are always highly selective of who they represent. They love to find books they’re passionate about.


Memorable Quotes from the Agents Panel:

* Josh Adams: You can expect money, but don’t do it for the money. You can expect to earn anywhere from a year’s living expenses to seven figures.

* Linda Pratt: You can earn money, when you’re dead, too.

* Jill Corcoran: The advance is only the beginning. Some people self-publish and put their books out there for $2.99. That’s what people think books are worth. Think hard before you do that.

 Advice to writers:

* Jill Corcoran: Get a fantastic concept, write a great book. Find an agent who really believes in you. Be positive. Think positively,you will have a lot more success. Be professional, don’t make mistakes online. Don’t badmouth people, or be vicious. Whatever you put on your blogs will stay there forever. I would’ve signed three clients except for their online behavior.

* Deborah Warren: Cherish your gift. Respect the gift you give to children. When publication comes, that’s icing on the cake, but the cake is good nonetheless.

* Linda Pratt: Persevere, be flexible. Always remember the joy in your work. Don’t get stuck on your first book. Finish it, polish it, but move on to the next project.

* Josh Adams: Love what you do. Confidence. Discipline. Perseverance. Don’t give up. Go after your goals, and just keep working.


 Picture Book Panel

The picture book panel moderated by Dan Yaccarino included picture book authors Eugene Yelchin, Antoinette Portis, Lee Wardlow and Jon Klassen.

I missed this session in favor of some much needed sustenance. Luckily, the awesome SCBWI bloggers wrote great summaries from each of the panelists perspective:

Jon Klassen

Lee Wardlow

Eugene Yelchin

Antoinette Portis


Workshop 1: Deborah Halverson “How to Talk Like a Teen When You’re So Not One”

Deborah Halverson

Deborah Halverson’s workshop was one of my favorites this year. She packed her presentation with so much helpful information, that I ended up with five pages worth of notes.

Deborah Halverson was an editor at Harcourt before she crossed to the other side and became an author herself. She wrote Big Mouth and Honk if You Hate Me, and one of my favorite writing books: Writing YA Fiction for Dummies.


Deborah Halverson’s Memorable Quotes:

* Dialogue must entertain, intrigue and inform readers.

* Dialogue has three roles: Revealing things about characters and plot, Pushing the plot forward, and Convincing the readers that the lines sound like a real person talking.

* Strong dialogue is realistic, not real.

* There are techniques to making believable tween/teen dialogue: blurt things, choose simple words, lighten up, make the conversation about the speaker and exaggerate.

* Relax your grammar, embrace casual syntax, even throw in some bad grammar, as long as you keep your meaning clear.


Golden Kite Luncheon

After the morning workshop, we headed back to the main ballroom for the Golden Kite Luncheon.

The ballroom had been transformed from main conference hall to a dining hall within the hour. After we found some seats, we all settled in for a wonderful lunch and the SCBWI annual awards.

Mentorship Winners as well as the winners of the Portfolio contest were announced. The fabulous SCBWI blog has a breakdown of the winners below:

Suzanne Morgan Williams was awarded with the SCBWI Member of the Year for her generous donation of time and talent to the group.

Afterwards, the Golden Kite Awards were presented and each winner came up on stage to give a little speech.

Golden Kite for Nonfiction: Candace Fleming, for Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amerlia Earhart

Golden Kite for Picture Book Illustration: Melissa Sweet, for Balloons Over Broadway

Golden Kite for Picture Book Text: Kate Messner, for Over and Under the Snow

Golden Kite Award for Fiction: Ruta Sepetys for Between Shades of Gray

Sid Fleischman Award for Humor: Chris Rylander for The Fourth Stall


 Workshop 2: Tracy Barrett “The Ten Commandments of Writing Historical Fiction”

After the wonderful luncheon and awards ceremony, we all broke away from the main ballroom and headed to our respective workshop rooms.

I was interested in learning how to write historical fiction, so I attended Tracy Barrett’s session. Tracy Barrett wrote the Sherlock Files series and Dark of the Moon. She gave us a helpful handout, listing all the ten most important tips for writing historical fiction.

Tracy Barrett’s Most Memorable Quotes:

* When writing historical fiction, don’t provide uncommon knowledge.

* Verify the facts, especially when they’re fun.

* All the things you know about fiction are also true for historical fiction.

* When you’re doing research, you’ll always find more stuff than you can use. Keep them.


Keynote: Gary Schmidt “That Kid in the Back Row, the One with the Red Shirt”

Newbery award winner Gary Schmidt is the author of Lizzie Bright and Buckminster Boy. He was the last keynote speaker for the conference, and his talk was both funny and inspiring.

Gary Schmidt’s Memorable Quotes:

* Border collies can teach you a lot about herding–and life. They teach you to pay attention to everything.

* In middle school, all of the Jewish kids and the kids with religion were excused from this particular class, to attend their own religion based classes. I was the only one without religion, so I was left behind. My teacher didn’t know what to do with me so she made gave me the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and asked me to read it. We never discussed what I read, or talked about it, but I enjoyed reading Shakespeare.

* Write poems and stories that will give your readers more to be human with.


SCBWI Autograph Party

One of the highlights of the SCBWI Summer Conference was getting to  talk to some of my favorite authors during the Conference Autograph Session.

My new friend Monika and I agreed to help each other out during the autograph session. I took her pictures with her favorite authors, and she took mine. Thanks to her, I have some wonderful photos to remember the autograph party by.

Here are some of the authors I got to chat with:

With Sara Shepard, author of Pretty Little Liars


With Matthew Kirby, author of The Clockwork Three


With Linda Sue Park, author of A Single Shard


With Pamela Wells, author of The Heartbreakers

With Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why

With Chris Rylander, author of The Fourth Stall


With Dan Santat, author and illustrator of Sidekicks


With Tracy Barrett, author of the Sherlock Files Series

 And last, but certainly not the least, the man with the longest autograph line ever:

With Tony DiTerlizzi, author of Wondla and Illustrator of the Spiderwick Chronicles

 After the awesome autograph party, I headed upstairs to the lobby for the Kidlit hangout session. Monika and I got there early so we started chatting about the conference and writing in general. Minutes later, our new friend Drue, whom we met while waiting at Tony DiTerlizzi’s autograph line, joined us for drinks.

With new conference friends Monika and Drue

 Talking about writing and life in general with new friends Monika and Drue was a wonderful way to end the conference.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s summer conference!


******Special Thanks to Monika Moreno for taking my autograph pictures!!!




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11 Responses to “SCBWI Summer Conference Day 3 (August 5, 2012)”

  1. mooderino says:

    Another excellent round up.


  2. Great post! Wow, you were everywhere! Thanks for sharing for those of us who didn’t make it to this event.

    Loved Jill’s comment regarding online behavior and positive thinking. I’d hate to be the author who lost the contract due to poor online behavior.

  3. Spacerguy says:

    Hey Nutschell I can tell your having fun, meeting the authors! You’ll remember these times forever, I love all these writing tips btw. The joy in writing a good story is positively rewarding.

  4. You are amazing. Did you ever sleep? From all of these pictures I’d say no. Are you and Linda Sue Park sisters? You sure look like it! So pleased you had a wonderful experience.

  5. Bish Denham says:

    OMG, you and Linda Sue Park look like you could be sisters! I so want to attend one of these one day.

  6. Jess Haight says:

    I love that you took so many pictures and such fabulous notes. I feel like I am getting to live through you. :) I really liked the advice the agents had for authors. So good to hear- and important. I can’t get over all the amazing authors you got to meet! I am so happy for you! Awesome that you were able to have someone take your picture with each of them. WOW!

  7. michelle says:

    I really like some of the memorable quotes!
    It looks like you had loads of fun… great pictures too!

  8. Jay Noel says:

    Great pics! You were rubbing shoulders of some incredible people there.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Writer on Fire

  9. Elisa says:

    Fun! I need to go and look up Sidekicks right now! What I imagine it will be sounds awesome.
    What a great time and so lucky you made a good conference friend to take pics :)

  10. Karen Strong says:

    Another great recap Nutschell. The Agent Panel tidbits were really interesting.

  11. Sophia Chang says:

    Man you are really ROCKIN’ the recaps!!! It makes everyone feel included.

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