My Books

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SCBWI Discover Your Voice conference

I get a lot of inquiries about writing and illustrating for children and how to get into publishing. I always want to help talented artists and writers and put them in touch with the right resources—every big career opportunity that has come my way has been the result of someone taking the time to give me advice and connect me with the right people. While I always wish I could thoroughly answer all the questions I get, and I do my best to help, the truth is that sometimes I don't feel qualified to answer every publishing question because all I really know is my own experience (and I don't think it's typical). So many paths can lead to publishing—I found mine through my illustration career and a connection I made while working at American Greetings, which is a different approach than what a writer would need to take. Most of the time I still feel really new to publishing...I definitely don't have it figured out yet, but I am guessing that is probably how I will always feel.

This year I've been invited to be a faculty presenter at the annual northern Ohio SCBWI conference, called "Discover Your Voice". I'll be giving 2 presentations, one more focused on inspiration and building visual narrative skills, the other focused on designing the whole book package and creating an engaging book experience. I'm looking forward to being in the mix of so much talent, at a conference where there is a range of perspectives and something for everyone. I feel like I can help in my own way and that I don't have to be an expert on all-things-publishing.

I admit I have a love/hate relationship with public speaking. I love the way I can connect with people and give back and the boost it brings me after the fact, but I hate the anxiety that precedes it. The funny thing that comes along with getting a children's book published (which nobody prepared me for), is the requests for public appearances and the sudden need to also fill the role as child entertainer and public orator. I think a lot of artists and writers by nature seek isolation, or at least solitude, more than they seek the spotlight, so this was not (and still is not) a natural transition for me. But, I am really grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference, meet some new colleagues and share a little piece of me. And I am finding that as my presentations take shape, I am learning new things and inspiring myself—I hope I can do the same for others (though I still secretly feel like I should be the one in the audience, and I will be when I am not presenting).

If you're in the Cleveland area on September 23 and 24 and are interested in attending the conference, click here for all the info. And here are my two presentations:

1. Creating engaging and interactive book experiences for the youngest of audiences
TARGET LEVEL - Beginner to intermediate illustrators and writers. (Writers may find this helpful.)
CONTENT/TOPIC - Learn how to format your book idea, make the most of your book components, and think beyond paper and ink. A book is more than just pictures and words—it's the whole package!
Illustrator/Author Betsy Snyder will share her beginning-to-end process of creating novelty and picture
books with special features. Find out how to choose devices from your visual toolbox that best deliver the message of your book, including format, size, materials, mechanics, art style, layout, perspective, color palette, cover design, end papers, and more!

2. Nurturing the Visual Storyteller in YOU: an artist's perspective on staying inspired, turning ideas into opportunities and making the most of your creative journey
TARGET LEVEL - Beginner to intermediate illustrators and writers. (Writers may find this helpful.)
CONTENT/TOPIC - Illustrator/Author Betsy Snyder will take you behind the scenes of children's book art, sharing the inspiration and challenges behind her books HAIKU BABY and SWEET DREAMS LULLABY and offering additional examples of techniques artists can employ to create another level of narrative through pictures. Illustrators can gain insights on choosing the storytelling style that fits, growing a kid-friendly portfolio and sustaining a career in children's publishing. Betsy will also touch on how inventive self-promotion and social media ideas can woo clients, win the work you want, and even create new and unexpected book opportunities.

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