Friday, February 21, 2014

Go to Conferences!

Tomorrow morning, I pack my bags and head off to the SCBWI Conference in New York with my writing BFFs and Ink Sisters, Donna Boock and Alison G. Myers. As I sit at my laptop, I realize what a long way I've come since my first writing conference.

Two years ago, I toyed with the idea of going to a conference to network, maybe form some connections, and learn some new things. A great friend of mine suggested I go to a small conference and ease into the waters.



But I don't ease in, I plunge.






The next day I signed up to attend the New York SCBWI Conference. I knew the conference would be big--SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) is an international organization. I just didn't realize how BIG! Writers, Authors, and Illustrators poured out of the elevators and into the meeting rooms.

The conference didn't start until Saturday, but that didn't stop me from meeting people Friday night. I got on the official website and found out about a get-together for
out-of-towners. Perfect. Through the Twitter feed, I hooked up with soon-to-be published authors, Liz Coley and Claire Caterer (both now published), and another YA writer, G.G. Silverman. My first writer friends...**HEART*SQUEE**



Saturday, I met dozens of writers, authors, and illustrators. Some I keep in touch with through various social media, but not like Liz, Claire, and G.G.


And then I went to the Gala and met Alison. It was love at first sight. Alison and I started a critique group in March of 2012, but we didn't become the Ink Sisters, until we met Donna at the SCBWI Eastern PA Pocono Retreat in May 2013.


My Ink Sisters are invaluable to me. We laugh, we smile, we cry, we critique, we rewrite, we laugh, we eat chocolate, we drink wine, we laugh...


My point, GO to conferences.
                          TALK to people.
                                      GIVE them your card
                                                 STAY in touch


The connections you make are priceless. You can chat all you want on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Pinterest, Instagram..., but there is nothing more powerful than the face to face.
And don't be afraid of the cost. Conferences are expensive, but there are scholarship opportunities available through SCBWI at the local and the national level. You just have to look. Volunteer to help. You never know, when good things will come your way.
A conference is an investment in your career. Save money and GO! You might just find your own writing BFFs.


Write on!
Kim