I attended the SCBWI-Michigan spring conference today. It was a great experience! Glad I went.
The first speaker of the day was Jay Asher. I was totally not expecting to like Jay Asher’s talk. To explain that rather odd statement, I need to admit to a major character defect of mine: namely, that I have a knee-jerk aversion to things that are popular. And given that Jay Asher’s novel Thirteen Reasons Why has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 1,848,327 consecutive weeks (give or take a few), it would certainly stand to reason (here invoking a strange combination of irrationality and the transitive principle) that Jay Asher himself would be at best overrated and at worst, well, worse than overrated.
Instead? He was great! He was funny, smart, informative, and inspiring! I enjoyed his opening talk very much. I also enjoyed, and learned much from, the breakout session of his that I attended later in the day. All in all, it was such a positive experience that I now plan to read his novel. Even if it is a bestseller.
The other sessions were thoroughly enjoyable as well. Loved hearing Dave Coverly and Jim Tobin discuss their collaboration on Sue MacDonald Had A Book (and I can’t wait for their next project, which they gave us a sneak preview of). Learned a lot about from Lisa Yoskowitz’s (of Dutton) talk on “Slow and Steady Wins The Race,” which covered the nuts and bolts of the timeline and process of publication. Was inspired by Ruta Rimas’s (Balzer + Bray) talk about “What Makes A Book Great”; and heard some cautionary tales and good advice from agent Beth Fleisher (Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency) on “How NOT To Get Published.” Another talk from the knowledgeable Lisa Yoskotwitz on “Standing Out in the Slush Pile” was followed by a Q&A session with the full roster of speakers. And though I missed both of author Donna Gephart’s sessions, I heard good things about them. All in all, a busy but useful and inspiring day.
And best of all of course was the opportunity to reconnect to writing friends old and new!
For more information about SCBWI-Michigan, head over to the web site. Next SCBWI-Michigan conference will be a weekend conference in October. Not sure if I’ll go to that one, but those of you considering it, I highly recommend it. SCBWI-Michigan has great conferences!