By Lorian Steider Brady
SCBWI held its 47th Annual Summer Conference at the JW Marriott at LA LIVE in Los Angeles, August 3-6. The event spanned three extensive floors and was appropriately centered in the Diamond Ballroom. It was a perfect setting for the dazzling event.
Every day of the conference began with keynote speeches from well-known authors and illustrators or panel discussions with agents, editors, and authors. On August 4, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, award winning author of the middle grade novels One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree, made us laugh, made us cry, until, finally, the audience rose en masse for a standing ovation. And that was just one of many. Outstanding keynote speakers shone throughout the weekend, reminding us again and again to write the stories in our own hearts because there are children who want, and need, to hear our stories.
There was a wide range of morning and afternoon workshops available for both writers and illustrators following the keynotes each day — from “Writing a Successful Query Letter” and “The Promise of the First Page” to “Creating a Memorable and Professional Portfolio” or “The ABCs of School Visits.”
Agent Tina DuBois, of ICM Partners, advised pitching projects in the same voice as the manuscript itself and not strictly adhering to more traditional or formulaic query letters.
In addition to the keynotes, panel discussions, and workshops, there were individual manuscript critiques, illustrator portfolio reviews, and social media consultations taking place throughout the weekend. These provided the invaluable opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an editor, agent or author for feedback on work in progress.
To satisfy both writers’ and illustrators’ insatiable love of books, there were both book sales and book signings all weekend. There was also an Artists and Writers Ball with food and dancing. With three days of one-of-a-kind events that shone brilliantly, there was truly something for everyone at this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference, the crown jewel of 2018.
Lorian Steider Brady is a writer and educator in Long Beach where she can be found in coffee shops, her garden, or wrangling children. Contact her at lorian.steider(at)gmail.com.
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Photos courtesy of Lorian Steider Brady. (Authors pictured: Diane White, Denise Vega)