Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm back from the SCBWI Winter conference part II - Some good stuff some not good stuff

Well I'm getting back to this a little later than i wanted to but here's a continuation on NY:

One of the two disappointing things was the lack of one-on-one meetings that are often available at the regional conferences. I know the chapter that I am in, midsouth region, and the Southern Breeze region (AL, GA, MS) allow you to sign up for portfolio critiques which is just invaluable (see my earlier post). Such was not the case in NY which I knew going in but I thought there might be a little bit more of a chance to talk personally with the speakers. However after every session each panel was swamped with people wanting to do the same thing. It was a situation where there were just so many people i deemed it not worth it to stand and wait, its not like they would remember ME with 1000 other people trying to get their attention. The other disappointment, and i really think SCBWI could remedy this, was the lack of information on who viewed the Friday night portfolio show. I thought that we would be given a list of who attended so that we could follow up with mailings etc. However when i asked that night as I picked up my book i was told no, if the attendees wanted to get in touch with us then they would have taken a mailer. Well true, but I DID pay close to a grand to attend this conference and I AM a card carrying member of SCBWI so I kind of THINK that they could help us out a little bit more than that. I mean it would have been pretty simple to do: attendees would have had to show an invite to get in, they could have collected all the invites and then made a list from that. Even if it was just a name and publishing house, those of us industrious enough could have tracked down the rest. For all we know there were 2 art directors and the rest of the attendees were other hotels guests looking for food. I don't really think this was the case but I'm jus' sayin'.

BTW if you want a really complete play by play version of the conference check out Kristi Valiant's blog. And just for the heck of it here are my break-out session notes from a conference round-up e-mai. Each of these sessions were about what each editor wants to publish:
David Gale
VP and Editorial Director Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
This is their flagship hardcover imprint and it is retail driven.
They are reducing their list: 2008 is 76 titles, 09 and 10 will be even less, his personal list is 18 titles about a third of that are pictures books. In PB he looks for kid friendly, quirky. Does NOT want something intended for adults, does NOT want idealized kids. Looks for few lines and is not crazy about rhyme. In older books, he thinks teen horror will be the new fantasy. He read from a couple of manuscripts that he had bought that were horror. I have to say this guy was not that all that encouraging. He pretty much said it was better to send samples to the Junior staff instead of him "because the junior staff can make a name and get raises by finding new authors." As far as art submissions go, he seemed to think it was better to send to the art directors, i did not get the impression that he would really look at art samples alone.

Caitlyn Dlouhy (da-LOO-ee)
Editor Simon and Schuster imprint Atheneum. She has been there 15 years. She said was she is looking for can be summed up in one word - Voice. And she thinks illustrators have a voice too in their work. She considers style a voice, a consistent intriguing style is a consistent intriguing voice. She said she does look at everything, even art samples. She said she almost prefers things to come without an agent because "then no one has judged it before me." She said she will look at things that come with SCBWI NY conference marked on envelope. She edits 16-22 books a year and it is even split between PB, YA, and middle grade. She does look for artists for chapter book art and cover art. I have to say this lady was really refreshing after my first breakout session, she seemed very interested and open to new voices.

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