Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Awesome News: A Note on our Book Drive

Conference Attendees,

You deserve a round of applause!

During our SCBWI Midsouth conference this year, we received a total of 582 books.  Many of these books have already been given away during a recent Habitat for Humanity dedication.

A special thanks to David Arnold for organizing and to those who donated books for this wonderful cause!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Conference Faculty Submission Info

The information for submitting your work to the conference faculty will be emailed to conference attendees in a personal email instead of being posted on this blog. Watch for this email in your inbox later this week.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Artist Promo Screening with Martha and Martha (Mihalick and Rago that is)

Since the Midsouth started offering this as a breakout 5 years ago, this session has never failed to be helpful. This year was no exception. Each attending illustrator was invited to bring a few promotional mailers for the editor / art director team to evaluate as if they were getting them in their in-box. Both Marthas went carefully through each submission explaining why they would choose to keep a piece on their bulletin board... or what they felt could be stronger about the mailer so that is DOES get a piece of that coveted real estate. Also, while both Mihalick and Rago are at Harper Collins, each has a different departmental process for finding and selecting illustrators for projects. It was immensely helpful to hear the differences between the smaller Greenwillow imprint and the larger Harper Collins art department.

Know the rules, then break them with Victoria Rock

Are they rules or are they challenges? Victoria Rock led us through a thought provoking discussion of the common themes most writers are advised to stay away from. There are rules, but there are more challenges: structures, themes, and plot issues that you don't necessarily have to stay away from - but if you choose these challenges then you've got to do them well. Along with this discussion, Victoria gave us a fascinating reading list. Some highlights published by Chronicle were:

• Press Here by Herve Tullet

• Good Night, Good Night Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker

• Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

• Wave by Suzy Lee

Newcomer's Dinner Saturday Night

The second annual Newcomer's dinner was a great success! Designed for those either new to the conference or new to publishing who had a lot of questions, it was almost twice as big as last year! Six teams of author illustrators went to four different restaurants to network, learn, and decompress after 9 hours of soaking our brains in the publishing world. I was the coordinator and didn't think to take a single picture, so if anyone DID take pictures during your dinners please send them to me. I'd love to see! As for my group, Team Willems, we stayed at our table for two and half hours, yakking and drinking multiple toasts to SCBWI.

Illustrator's Intensive with Martha Rago

After giving the registered illustrators an assignment 8 weeks ago, the attendees met with Martha Rago on Friday afternoon to critique our finals and discuss the changes we had made from her comments at the sketch stage. She took time to look at each of our finished pieces individually. Some of the high points from her discussion were:

• Remember to create something to find later to the pictures

• Even if it has a fantastical element it has to feel like it could happen

• Composition counts, remember the gutter and place for type.... it should be dynamic even with these technical elements.

• Always always read ABOUT books - read reviews, read histories of books such as Dear Genius and Writing with Pictures

Overall it was a fun afternoon with an intimate group of artists talking about art and book making.

Editor/Art Director/Agent Panel

Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency, Stephen Fraser of Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, Martha Mihalick editor at Greenwillow (an imprint of Harper Collins), Martha Rago associate creative director for HarperCollin's Children's Books, Victoria Rock editor at Chronicle Books, Liz Scalbla editor-in-chief of Feiwel and Friends (an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group) discussed their thoughts of the following questions 

How do you recognize extraordinary work?
Would you agree that writing something that's true to you will be true emotionally for others? 
What is the value of an agent? 
What content could an unpublished author include on the internet to interest editors and agents? 
What are your feelings about self-publishing?

Interested in any of these questions? Attend the annual Midsouth SCBWI for all sorts of interesting information!