Friday, August 15, 2008

SCBWI Through the Years With Jody

From first timers, to long timers, we've highlighted some of the best of the big summer conferences. Now it's time to take a journey through the years with Jody Feldman as she looks back at SCBWI conference experiences:

"I just returned from my 5th SCBWI National Conference in LA. You’d think I’d know everything by now. And while I do know my preferred vendors at the food court and can give good walking directions to Rodeo Drive, I still get something out of the experience each time I go (yes, aside from ordering the garlic noodles from Crustacean – yummy, but not at the food court).

2002 ... The person who would become my agent was speaking at the conference. When she was alone in the lobby after her keynote, I approached her. No pitches, no mentions of the types of things I was writing at the time. Just small talk, just to see if I felt comfortable with her. I was. A very important 90 seconds for me. I also got an amazing critique, from an editor, of The Gollywhopper Games.

2003 ... This is the conference that gave me career direction. It began with an interesting talk on branding from a marketing/PR expert, it ended with Norton Juster’s talk ... but the meat of the sandwich was a rightfully harsh critique, from a different editor, on a YA I submitted. I went home and began thinking about a good follow up to Gollywhopper.

2005 ... I went in, skeptical that it would be worthwhile this year. But I had to be in LA for another reason, so what the heck. I learned that there’s always room for inspiration and motivation. And there are always those little nuggets that can help hone your craft.

2006 ... My Gollywhopper contract wasn’t signed yet, but we had a solid deal. With that, I knew would come what I feared the most: my rewrite. Besides going there to hang out with some of the members of my online critique group, I also hoped to gain some much needed courage. Which I came away with.

2008 ... I was attending for the first time as a published children’s novelist. The biggest thrill (oh, okay, outside a few strangers seeing my nametag, pointing and saying, “The Gollywhopper Games!”), was celebrating with newer writers after their amazing critiques ... just as other experienced authors had done with me at my first conference.

Jody Feldman


Jessica Burkhart said...

I can't wait to attend my first SCBWI. Sounds like so much fun! :)

Jody Feldman said...

If you can figure out a way to go, do. You will not be sorry. Maybe overwhelmed, but not sorry.