Making new friends at the SCBWI-AZ

Bobbie Combs at the SCBWI-AZ

Bobbie, talking to the group

A few weekends ago, I spoke about marketing at the SCBWI-AZ’s regional conference…I love to hit the road and mingle with writers and artists. Everyone I talked to was so creative and clever! I came back inspired not only to do more of my own writing but also to do more with WLCB to support our amazing group of clients – past, present and future.

The conference theme was “Welcome to Our House” and I think it may have been the smoothest-running conference that I ever attended, probably because of the two organizers: Regional Advisor Michelle Parker-Rock and her more-than-able assistant Sharon Skinner. They run a tight ship, ably assisted by volunteers Rhonda McCormack and Dawn Young.

Thanks to all of them, and also to my own “shepherd”, Monica Minto, an amazingly talented illustrator who made sure I didn’t get lost, not once.

Joanna Cardenas and Jordan Hamessley

Joanna Cardenas and Jordan Hamessley

My fellow faculty were SO much fun and they really knew their stuff:
Karen Grencik from Red Fox Literary, who I am going to BEG to be my agent if I ever get any writing done
Liz Pelletier from Entangled Publishing, who seems to have mastered the new landscape of publishing
The 3 fabulous women from Penguin: Joanna Cardenas, Viking Children’s Books; Jordan Hamessley, Grosset & Dunlap/Price Stern Sloan and Annie Beth Ericsson, who claimed this was her first conference but was as saavy as us old-timers
Author and marketing whiz Shelley Coriel, a gifted workshop-leader
Nonfiction author and guru Larry Dane Brimner, talking about his 157th book (!)
Illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal, whose talk made me cry (in the good way!)

A few gems of wisdom I jotted down:
From Karen Grencik: “Anyone can learn the craft but it’s your unique voice that will make you stand out.”
I can’t remember who said this one: “Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from rejection letters.”
Liz told us that 67% of your income (she’s talking about companies, but authors/artists are their own companies, right?) should go right back into marketing. Wow.
Not sure who said this, either, but someone told the group: “there are so many things [about publishing] that you don’t have control over, but you CAN control your craft; make it the best it can be.”

Note to the AZ folks: I’ll come back anytime you want me to!

Michelle Parker-Rock

Michelle Parker-Rock

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