SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Conference FAQ

 

Do I need to sign up for each breakout workshop individually?

No. You’re free to attend the workshop you wish as space allows.  

 

What should I wear?

Wear whatever you’d like but wear something you’d feel comfortable in if you had the opportunity to say hello to an editor or agent.

It is also a good idea to dress in layers. You never know if the hotel conference room will be too hot, too cold, or just right (and it’s different for every body and every room). You’re also likely to find a drastic temperature change if you leave the Marriott (California heat outside, air-conditioning inside).

 

Will people really dress up for the Writers & Artists Ball on Saturday night?

YES! People will definitely be decked out in costume for this fabulous party. The Saturday night gala is a highlight of the conference. Come in something that works for your own comfort level. Oh, and bring your dancing shoes.

 

What options are available for food – especially during conference hours – and what should we expect as far as prices go?

There are actually quite a few options for food. In the hotel, there are several restaurants, as well as a coffee shop and smaller food outlets. There are also restaurants at LA Live, an outdoor entertainment center directly behind the hotel, but they may be crowded. Feel free to bring your own lunch or snacks.

Also, don’t forget there is a buffet dinner during the Saturday night ball and a plated lunch at the Sunday “Lunch with Lois,” all included in your conference fee.

 

I have been told that I probably won’t get a contract from the get-go, but I want to get the most out of the conference. This is my dream. What should I do?

Work your way through the event with realistic goals. Conferences are not necessarily a place to get a contract or to be hired, instead they are an avenue to learn more about the industry, improve your craft, and create connections that can lead you to finding the success you’re looking for.

 

What is a good ice-breaker when approaching an agent or editor? Are there any pointers on asking if you can send them a query letter?

Most of the editors and agents will accept submissions from conference attendees for a period of time after the conference. Our advice would be to focus on learning about the editors and agents while at the conference, and then only submit to those who seem to be a good fit for you and your work after (and only if your work is ready). If you do get the chance to speak with an editor or agent, there’s no need to tell them about your work (unless they ask). Instead, ask them questions that give you more insight into their personal interests and tastes. It’s highly likely the conversation will turn to your work.

Work on answering these two questions in one sentence each. 1) What do you do? 2) What are you working on?

 

How is pitching to agents/editors handled at this conference? Is there any formalized time during the conference to meet with agents/editors or do we just do hallway/elevator pitching?

There are no formal pitching sessions. Please do not pitch to the editors or agents in the hallways, at lunch, between sessions, in the elevator, or anywhere in between. As mentioned in the previous answer, editors and agents greatly appreciate questions that allow you (and others) to get to know them and their house/agency better so that you can submit to or query them once the conference is over if they are a potential fit. 

 

Is there any way to know when my consultation is scheduled prior to the beginning day of the conference? What should I bring with me to the consultation?

You’ll receive your consultation information (consultant, day, and time) when you pick up your conference materials. It’s great to have a copy of your submitted manuscript pages, as it gives you something to take notes on.

 

What should I bring to the conference? If I have materials (stories, etc.) completed, should I bring copies? 

The only work-related materials you should bring will be for your own use. (If you’re attending the Post-Conference Intensives, you’ve been directed on what to bring, if required.) If you’re having a consultation, as mentioned above, bring an extra copy of your work to take notes on while you listen to the feedback you are receiving. The conference is not the place to pass on your work to an editor or agent. Many of them will ask to see attendee work, but they will not want it then and there. They will want it to be submitted formally, as per their guidelines.

You might consider bringing business cards. If one of your goals is to network with other writers and illustrators attending the conference, sharing your card and collecting them from others is a great way to do so.

 

I’m an illustrator, can I bring postcards?

Postcards and business cards are great things for illustrators to bring and fun to exchange with fellow conference attendees. If you would also like to bring your portfolio, there are informal opportunities like the Illustrators’ social for sharing your portfolio with other attendees.

   

Do I need to bring copies for the Peer Group Critique session?

You don’t need to bring copies for the Peer Group Critique Friday evening from 7:30pm – 9pm in Diamond 1 (organized by genre), but you most certainly could. Many people appreciate being able to read and listen.

 

Can I bring a laptop?

You can bring a laptop. That said, there are some things you might want to consider when deciding whether to bring it or not. If you choose to take notes on a laptop during sessions it can often be quite distracting to those around you, so please be considerate when making a seating choice.