I made my annual trip to San Gabriel on Saturday for one of my favorite writer’s conferences: SCBWI-LA’s Writer’s Days. As usual, the SCBWI-LA team did not disappoint. The day’s schedule included inspiration and motivation from some wonderful authors of all genres, including Lee Wardlaw (my family loved her new book, Won Ton) and Dawn Knobbe.
My favorite part of the day was a panel with debut author (and fellow SCBWI member), Sara Wilson Etienne, her agent Michael Bourret and editor, Stacey Barney (Putnam Books). They took us through the process of acquiring an agent, getting the book sold, and then published. Later, Sara did a fantastic job of walking us through her promotional campaign for her book. It was fun! Educational it was, but equally enlightening, was the humanity that we gained in seeing an author/agent/editor in the flesh talking about the journey. Yes, they really are people like you and me. Yes, they get nervous too. Yes, they stay up late into the night reading a good book. Encouraging, my friends.
In this period I am currently in, where I anxiously drag my feet towards finding an agent, I found the discussion disarming and helpful. It was just what I needed. I also have to recommend the critique service. I had one of my picture book manuscripts ready and knew I just needed a professional jolt (either to tell me it wasn’t that good or to give me the thumbs up). The critique did just that and I am off on my quest for an agent. Although I have been rambling about doing this since last summer, my heart is finally into it. Thank you SCBWI-LA for that bit of confidence to spur me onward.