Today was chock-full o’fun with the wonderful SCBWI Houston conference. We had a bevy of wonderful presenters who inspired, encouraged and educated a sold-out crowd of aspiring authors and illustrators.
The day kicked off with the award-winning author Cynthia Leitich Smith. My favorite highlights of her speech were her suggestions to “take your writing seriously, even if others don’t” and “craft is the key. Nothing else matters”.
Next up was the charismatic Harper Collins editor Ruta Rimas. Unfortunately, I missed most of her discussion in lieu of my manuscript critique. I did catch the end of her speech when she shared an inspiring quote from John Gardner, “It’s the sheer act of writing, more than anything else that makes a writer”.
Patrick Collins followed. He’s the Creative Director at Henry Holt. Patrick guided us through the development of a variety of book covers. Who knew that changing a font or a color could so dramatically change the appearance of a book?
Our star agent of the conference was Sara Crowe. She spoke on how to find the perfect agent and how as writers we needed to “embrace revision”!
Nancy Feresten from National Geographic provided us a bounty of information about the ever-evolving nature of the publishing industry. She also informed the crowd that National Geographic is looking for writers of serious reference, innovative narrative nonfiction and fun reference materials.
Lisa Ann Sandell, author and editor for Scholastic gave us advice for writing the perfect query letter. Pointers included being straightforward, concise and to never include rhetorical questions.
The conference concluded with the wonderful Alexandra Cooper, senior editor for Simon and Schuster. She walked us through the intricate acquisition process.
It was a fantastic day – thanks to all the magnificent organizers and attendees!