Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SCBWI Winter Conference 2010, Part 2

You guys didn't wonder if I'd forgotten about my second Winter Conference post, did you? I didn't--no way.

I should start out telling you about the book I read when I was flying to NY because it was a prize I'd won at
Solvang Sherrie's awesome blog!

DRUMS, GIRLS & DANGEROUS PIE by Jordan Sonnenblick

Here's what it says on the back:

Steven has a totally normal life (well, almost): He plays drums in the All-City Jazz Band (whose members call him the Peasant), has a crush on the hottest girl in school (who doesn't even know he's alive), and is constantly annoyed by his younger brother Jeffrey (who is cuter than cute--which is also pretty annoying). But when Jeffrey gets sick, Steven's world is turned upside down, and he is forced to deal with his brother's illness, his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece, his homework, the ba
nd, girls, and Dangerous Pie (yes, you'll have to read the book to find out what that is!).

The book was excellent. It made me cry about four different times, so I may have looked pathetic on the airplane. Luckily, books and movies that make me cry only cause tears--I don't start sobbing or honking my nose. Good thing, huh? Anyway, it was a great read. Thank you, Sherrie! I loved it, tears and all!

Let's see, back to the Winter Conference...

Something a few speakers emphasized was that we should not write for the market. We need to know what's out there without chasing trends; it's a balance. One agent reminded everyone that the books you see now sold at least a year ago.

I went to a session on series fiction led by
Francesco Sedita, Vice President and Publisher at Grosset & Dunlap. He was incredible. He's also an author (Miss Popularity series) so he can speak from both sides of the table. And what a great guy. His session flew by, it was so interesting and fun.

Jim Benton made some excellent points during his oh-so-entertaining talk.
1. Rewrite it--there are no first drafts in the library or bookstore.

2. You are not your work.

3. Editors will make you better writers, if you let them.

4. Editors are rooting for you.

#'s 3 and 4 echo
my thoughts on the writing community: we're all on the same team.

I managed to get a hot dog from a street vendor, something many of you know I've been craving for months.
It was so good.

Here's where I bought it:

This is the view from the hot dog stand:

My one regret is that I bought only one hot dog the whole trip. *sigh* I guess I'll just have to go back.


Lydia Sharp said...

Excellent points from Jim Benton. Good post. :)

Travener said...

"I managed to get a hot dog from a street vendor, something many of you know I've been craving for months..."


Stephanie Thornton said...

Great points from Jim Benton- we are all on the same team.

It's always good to have a reason to go back to a cool city, especially if that reason is food!

storyqueen said...

Thanks for posting this. I love reading about the conference...almost feels like I was there.

Paul Greci said...

Thanks for the book rec, Dawn, and for the fun and useful conference tidbits. Have a great day!

Jemi Fraser said...

Those are really good points - it's easy to feel alone, but many people are in our corners.

Glad you got the hotdog!!

Dawn Simon said...

Thanks, Lydia. I thought he made great points, too!

Travener, NY street dogs...what makes 'em so darn good? Thanks for being happy for me!

Stephanie, I agree. I wonder if I'd appreciate the hot dogs less if I lived there... Nah, what am I saying? That's just crazy talk. ;)

Shelley, I hope we can go to the same conference someday and meet. I bet we will!

Hi, Paul! You have a great day, too!

Jemi, it's true--so many people are pulling for us. We just have to persevere and keep learning! :)

Anonymous said...

I've never had an american hotdog. Our hotdogs are large, long sausages covered in batter and stuck on a stick. Then they're deep fried. You dip them in tomato sauce. The kids like having one when we get our fish and chips. I personally think they're gross! hehe

Belle said...

Great post. Not writing for the market is such good advice. And I like knowing editors are rooting for us!

Susan R. Mills said...

This is some good stuff. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, you have to go back, but you have to take me with you. :)

Dawn Simon said...

Niki, that sounds like a corn dog. And generally, I'm not a huge hot dog fan. But the hot dogs you buy from those NY street vendors. OMG, you have to try one. Or seven.

Hi, Belle! Yeah, trying to chase trends--not such a great idea. And I like knowing editors are rooting for us, too!

Susan, we'd have a blast! :)

Deb@RGRamblings said...

Great book review and thanks for sharing the awesome positive tips from Jim Benton! Now I want a hotdog...

Solvang Sherrie said...

Glad you enjoyed the book!

The notes from Jim Benton are good to remember, especially "You are not your book." Because it sure feels that way with every rejection!

Amy Tate said...

Before Michael Stern started his own literary agency, he was with HarperCollins. I heard him speak in 2007, and he said that their backlist was over two years long! He really emphasized the importance of writing what we want and not for the markets. Great post! I'm so glad you had such a great trip, and like you, I'm itching to go back!

Dawn Maria said...

I'm glad you had such a great time at the conference. Since I'm in the revision process now, I appreciated the editor comments. I like the pretzels from the street vendors best. Wish we had those here in Arizona.