Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So I mentioned on Monday that I'm going to the fabulously awesome SCBWI Winter Conference in NY.  Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.

But I have to admit something...

I have no idea what to expect.  Sadly, I couldn't afford the Intensive, so no super awesome critique of my first chapter by equally super awesome agents.  :(  But what about the rest of it?

Have any of you, dear readers, ever been to a writer's conference?  How does it work exactly?  What should I do to prepare?  What should I bring?

Please help me!  :)


  1. I wish I could help, but I've never been to one either. Maybe when you get back you could write a detailed expose to share all of the things you learn!

  2. I haven't been to one of the big conferences but I have been to smaller regional conferences and I would say to go ready to absorb a lot of information. Bring pen, paper, laptop or whatever so you can take notes. Business cards with your contact info for connecting with other writers. Have fun.

  3. At WFC last year, I learned 3 things...

    1) Talk to everyone you can. Do not be too afraid and let the opportunity slip by.

    2) Bring biz cards. You can get free ones from Vista Print. Make sure you put your name, contact, and what genre you write in. Link to your web/blog.

    3) Dress nice. You don't have to dress up, but I went for casual jeans/t-shirts. I wish now that I had brought more blouses and khaki pants for a "snappy casual" look. There were lots of casual dressers, but I think a more professional atire helps you stand out as a professional. I know my next con I'll be a bit more well dressed. Still "me" though. As an artist, you want to make sure you stay as you.

    Best of luck!

    Scribbler to Scribe

  4. Ditto what Carrie said, above. Also, with some conferences you sign up for (or just choose) from lectures or workshops occurring simultaneously. Don't worry; you'll get a schedule when you check in that you can look over and take stock of what's going on. That will help you decide where to go. When you have a one-on-one critique, it often pulls you out of a main lecture or workshop, so perhaps it's good for your first conference that you don't have that.

    For our local conference here in Oregon, they suggest dressing "business casual." I don't know if NY is different, but hey, since it IS in NY, I'd err on the side of dressing up nicely.

    The SCBWI national site may have more info on what to expect at a conference, or perhaps the Discussion boards. You could always post a question there, too.

  5. Here's a link from someone who's going, and what to bring/think about:

    Iggi & Gabbi

  6. Expect to get tons of business cards, eat lots of cookies, and be overwhelmed by all the people in the writing world that you had no idea existed.

    Maybe you could do a bit of research on the internet about this particular conference and what's gone on in previous years. That way you'll have more of an idea of what to take with you and how to prepare.


  7. I wish I could go with you. That would be super cool. I can't wait to hear your recap of the conference.

  8. I've been to screenwriting events, which, I suppose, work almost the same way. I never paid for pitches to companies (except once because it was included in the price), BUT I always found useful panels, met lots of nice screenwriters and networked. So, bring a notebook (or your laptop) to take notes, a bunch of cards (my first event I had none and felt very stupid) with your writerly references and have a great time! :-D

  9. I've only been to smaller conferences (200-300 people), and I doubt they compare to the magnitude of what you will be experiencing. Have fun!!!

  10. Jaleh--I know! It's too bad you can't go. :( But yes, I will take lots of pictures and share with everyone!

  11. Layers. Dress in lots of layers. The conference rooms are cold. And last time I went to a regional event I didn't have business cards, and boy, did I regret that. That was a DUH moment for me!

    Look for me! I'm 5' tall, and I have enough hair for four people. And my hair is long - all the way down my back. I'll look for you, too.


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