Thursday, March 1, 2012

SCBWI winter conference in NY

This was my first time to attend the SCBWI Winter conference in New York. John Rocco started the Friday Illustrator's Intensive on self marketing. John mentioned that it is important to brand yourself online. Make everything you do have a common thread. John also took it upon himself to make book trailers of his books for his website. Later the publisher paid him for the trailers so that they could be put onto their publisher's website. John is part of a group of illustrator's called the Book Maker's Dozen. Besides having their blog, these illustrators work together at book signings and presentations. They feel that their is more power in numbers.

Dan Santat is a great illustrator with a grand personality. He told us to be consistent, build a network of peers, and put your work online where everyone can see it. Book trailers are also the way he markets his children's books. He is a frequent blogger and on face book daily. Dan says we should all be a supporter of independent book sellers.

Sophia Blackall is a lovely lady. She had a book published recently called missed connections. It is about different stories that she had acquired over the course of a year about connections people had made while commenting on the New York Subway. It is very nicely illustrated by Sophia. She said "we must all cross over to the audience in our books."

I had the pleasure of meeting Dan Yaccarino. He is the creator of the backyardigans series and the oswald characters on Nickelodeon. Dan also says you must connect with your audience. Know your topic, keep it simple, and create a theme. His best advice for school visits, "don't shake their hands and give them only yes or no questions." Another interesting advice he gave was to market to established mommy blogs.

Roxie Monro told us to market to librarians and independent booksellers. She was on a panel at the end of the illustrator's day. They did a lightning round, which is where someone pitches their story idea and then the panel critiques it. I stood in line to ask questions but they ran out of time just as I was about to talk. Oh well, their is always next year and another story to share.

As an Illustrator Coordinator I was invited to view the portfolio showcase party. It was fun to view all the many portfolios, meet old and new friends. There are so many talented illustrators in our Society. It was amazing to see all the different styles of artwork represented. Not to mention hanging out with the semi famous illustrators and writers.

Saturday morning Lin Oliver introduced the next speaker. She said we must all rely on ourself for discoverability. How do we get our book into the hands of the reader?  Chris Crutcher was the first speaker in the morning on Saturday. His writings have been banned by many. I just loved to hear his stories about how his brother was such an over achiever. And would invite him to do something NEAT, and then Chris would always get into trouble for that NEAT thing that his brother talked him into doing. He says, "You can't be a writer if you don't read." He also quoted from Henry Winkler, "Write what you know and the story jumps off of the page."

Martha Rago presented next and she had 4 points that she believed is what you should have for the perfect book. 1. Characterization, 2. Narrative Quality, 3. Voice, and 4. Skill
She also said "images and text are interconnected."

More to come...soon.