SCBWI 2014 conference

Maybe it’s because this was my third conference,  I found it less exciting and inspiring than the first two. Not that I didn’t get anything out of it. It’s just that I’ve heard what had been said in the previous two. The most important take away was the editor of the workshop I picked, would take submissions of historical fiction and I have just finished one. It was most encouraging to hear that I’ve done what she listed as essentials in writing historical fiction. Another workshop was given by an agent and I will followup with a query to him.

There was a panel discussion on the revolution of the publishing industry. Retail shelf space for books has diminished from 60 to 70% in the last 10 years, particularly in the picture books category. Authors are encouraged to get their books into libraries and schools.  Independent bookstores are doing well and growing–a surprise! e books hasn’t eroded the children’s market.

Another panel discussed censorship.  Censorship is alive and all all around the country. YA is the most targeted. It’s alarming that in high schools’ honor and advanced classes that books such as “The Color Purple”, “The Invisible Man” and “Beloved” are censored.  The author Ellen Hopkins said that she was the most banned author in 2012. She writes realistic YA novels that deal with teen pregnancy, drug addiction etc.  She has heard from young readers who found solace or guidance from her novels.  She said,”You can censor what your child reads, but not other’s children’s reading material.”  She was a credible spokesman. Her daughter was addicted to drugs as a teenager. She has custody of three grandchildren while her daughter is in jail. For me, that was the most powerful moment in the whole conference.

As always, I enjoyed the panel of illustrators. “Write visually,” advised on illustrator.”Even though you may never meet the artist”

Tomie  de  Paola is a beloved figure at the conference. He’s a judge(only judge) of a contest for illustrators . I love his comments on the work of the honorees and the winner.  Feb. 23rd( first day of the conference) was his birthday. I forgot the exact age, he’s in his eighties.


There were over 9  800 women and 180 men attendees, from 20 countries, the US except the two Dakotas and Hawaii. Who wants to come from Hawaii to NYC in Febraru?!!!

What an attendee feels after another conference is hope and inspiration.  “Talent, moxie and luck”, that’s what an author needs.