I got to the hotel on Friday morning at 10 a.m., just two hours before the conference was to start. My room was ready (!!) so I was very happy to be gifted the luxury of early check-in. Yee ha! I unpacked a bit, took a short nap and made my way down to the conference at 11:40 a.m.
When I arrived, the first thing I saw was tables filled with stacks of publisher’s catalogs, kid magazines, and submission requirements for writers and illustrators. Like a hungry little dog faced with big plate of juicy steaks, I swiftly filled up my arms with one of everything. I didn’t anticipate this type of resource material being available for the taking. I guess I should have expected it, but I was thrilled to be able to collect such a useful, practical form of career guidance - and for free, no less! Some of the catalogs would probably have cost me $5. or more each, plus postage, after writing to the publisher to request it. I dashed to the elevator and dumped my booty in my room, before heading back down to check in.
The first Keynote Speaker was Steven Fraser, a literary agent who has a ton of experience in children’s publishing: Simon & Schuster, Highlights for Children, HarperCollins. These are just a few of his credentials. He fired off so much useful, wisdom-rich advice, I don’t think my pen left my notebook the entire time. When a guy like Steven gives free career advice, stop the presses!! He was clearly extremely organized in his approach to his speech, making note of the important sound bites he offered (which was a good cue to write it down, not that any of us needed a cue, but it made it easier to identify key points). All of the information steven shared is the sort of stuff that you learn only through years of experience, unless you are lucky enough to have someone share it with you who’s been down the road several times. He also has a very unique perspective because he is an agent. This added some interesting layers to the advice he shared. (I believe Steven was the only speaker in attendance who is a literary agent.)
He recommended some books:
“Reading Like a Writer” Francine Prose
“The Sound On The Page” Ben Pagoda
I hope I spelled the names right.