I didn’t actually go to the conference, but I did attend two informal events with a few blueboarders. I’m regretting not attending the conference now. I skipped it because the bad economy scares this freelancer. But now I’ve decided no matter what I’m going to SCBWI LA this year. I have enough frequent flyer miles to make the trip cost efficient. Plus if I set up some meetings out in LA with graphic companies for potential telecommuting freelance work (which I do often), I can possibly write off part of the trip as a tax deduction. Speaking of tax deductions, I’m going to post some tips for (paid) writers tomorrow on items you can deduct that you may not already realize.
First, Stephanie Blake has some pictures from Friday up on her blog: http://coloradowriter.blogspot.com/2009/02/nyc-scbwi-recap-1.html
If anyone has read my early blog posts, you’ll know I’m inept at picture taking. So I send you to her blog instead for the photos. Also, I’m going to refer to people by their blueboard usernames just in case they don’t want their real names revealed.
So back to my SCBWI recap. Friday night I headed to the hotel lobby in the hopes of meeting up with blueboarders. The problem was I didn’t know what anyone looked like. On the blue boards, my avatar is my photo because I’m uncreative like that. (Really, it’s almost become a brand now because I use it on various sites and twitter). I tried to be on time, but of course I was very early. This is a flaw or a strength of mine, depending on how you look at it. On the bright side, it’s one of the reasons I always carry a book with me. I usually have some time to kill because I show up way too early to whatever appointment I have. I hung out on a subway platform for a while with my book, pretending I was waiting for a train and accidentally missing the four that passed by me. Luckily, as soon as I entered the lobby, I only had to stand there for a minute before Michie recognized me. We hit it off immediately, and I’m thrilled that she lives in Brooklyn because we decided to hit up any other YA/MG events that happen in the area. She also lent me What I Saw and How I lied, which I’ve already started devouring, and wow. After that, we found EmeraldGown by text message. The three of us moved to the hotel bar where Steph Blake, Brenda Sturgis, Lesmuir, and a few others joined us. Forgive me if I forget your screen name. I’m trying my best!
We chatted for a while and a few of us ate a decadent looking gluten-free flourless chocolate cake. Then we moved onto Cheryl Klein’s and Betsy Bird’s Kidlit Drink’s night. I had so much fun there! Editors from Razorbill were there. and possibly other houses. Agent Stephen Barbara sat at our table for a whil and remembered my very first (now trunked) college-set novel. So that was cool! I met Ellen Hopkins, which was surreal because I’d just read Identical last month and it’s still haunting me. And more blueboarders were there, SproutQ and ECM.
Also, I met several writers from the class of 2k9, and I’m super excited to read their books!
Afterward Steph Blake and Jay Asher (author of the amazing Thirteen Reasons Why) and I went back to the hotel bar and chatted for a while about books and the YA industry in general. It’s so nice to talk about this stuff out loud instead of just typing about it on message boards. Don’t get me wrong, I love that too, but it’s refreshing to use my voice once in a while and save my fingers for the book writing. I’m sad I missed keynote Jay’s speech though. Another unfortunate side effect of not attending the conference.
Saturday I slept way too late and tried not to be jealous about all the learning going on that I was missing. I had crashed at my sister’s apartment, and by the time I got dressed and went back to NJ, I had only an hour to get ready for my next night’s dinner and head back into NYC. You might say this was bad planning, but my ceramic hair straightener proved otherwise. This time Stacy Mozer set up a fabulous dinner with about 20ish blueboarders. We spanned two tables. Most of the blueboarders from the night before were there, plus a few additions, some I’d met before (Danette, Alison A) and others I met for the first time last night (YA Chica, AnneN, lostjoyfound, JMR, Frances, and others). Again, we talked for hours about everything from writing hooky query letters to critique partners to revision techniques to waiting on agented submissions.
I’m still on such a high after it all. And I’ve been seriously inspired for my WIP. I’ve made a lot of progress on it. Thanks so much to all who made my weekend spectacular. I can’t wait now for the conference this summer! And if anyone comes to NY for tours or anything, please let me know and I’ll try and show up. I’m already in event withdrawal.