More advice from published writers

Today is my last post from the Austin SCBWI conference. It’s my seventh post about the conference and I’ve just given you a sampler from the presentations, so it shows how great these conferences can be.

Before I get into the post for today, here’s a quick recap of the other posts from the conference in case you missed any: agent Mark McVeigh on publishing, agent Andrea Cascardi on getting and working with an agent, editor Cheryl Klein on writing a great book, agent Nathan Bransford on finding the right agent for you, author/former editor Lisa Graff on writing and revising and advice from ALA winners.

The conference had plenty of other published writers, and here’s advice from them:

Kirby Larson (2007 Newbery Honor Book Hattie Big Sky): The secret of success is keeping your bum in your chair and working. No matter how bad you think it is, you have to get the first draft done and keep going.

Liz Garton Scanlon (2010 Caldecott Honor Book All the World): Find a community to help you, whether a critique group or writing partner, because it helps you live in the solitary environment of writing.

Shana Berg (A Thousand Never Evers): You should have an emotional reaction to your story when you read it.

Jennifer Ziegler (How Not to be Popular): Outlining can be an invaluable tool, but use it as a map.

Jessica Lee Anderson (Border Crossing): In dealing with rejection, rethink, revise and resend, inspire yourself with stories, nurture your creativity.

P.J. Hoover (The Emerald Tablet): Think outside of the box. Don’t settle for cliches and stereotypes. Write unique characters in unique situations coming up with unique ways of solving them.

Patrice Barton (illustrator): Shake off a creative slump by looking for the emotion and deconstructing other books.

Got any tips of your own you’d like to share? Put them in the comments.

Write On!

10 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Just read through all your posts – such an abundance of info!


  2. Glad you liked them, Sarah. Yeah, it was a great conference. And I couldn’t include everything or I’d be writing about it for months. Conferences with great lineups like these are very valuable.

  3. grier cooper says:

    A little inspiration goes a long way. Thank you for sharing!

  4. My pleasure, Grier. And I agree, a little inspiration does go a long way. šŸ™‚

  5. Thanks for this! I’m a member of the SCBWI and am embarrassed that I didn’t know about the Austin Conference. Is this an annual event? I have a cousin who lives in the area and I would use the excuse to sleep on her couch next year, if so. šŸ™‚

  6. Hey Kathy,

    Yeah, the Austin SCBWI chapter has a conference every year. Their website is at:

    And you can check events for all regions at the SCBWI website:

    SCBWI puts on some great conferences, and they’re definitely worth checking out. Look at the lineups, see if the speakers are good for what you write and sign up. The bigger conferences are more expensive, like the annual summer conference in Los Angeles and winter conference in New York, but they’re worth it. If you can’t afford them, though, you can find some great smaller conferences, like this one-day one in Austin for less money.

  7. Laura Rackham says:

    Sam, It sounds like a wonderful conference.
    CAn’t wait to hear about it all first hand.
    Thanks for the updates!

  8. It was great, Laura. The Houston one will be great too. šŸ™‚

  9. Thanks for sharing your notes and thoughts so thoroughly. It’s super helpful. I love going to regional SCBWI conferences and reading notes from others. I’ve heard Cheryl Klein and Mark McVeigh at other conferences, but didn’t take nearly so detailed notes as you did. Thank you!

  10. Thanks, Kristi. Glad you’re finding these useful. I did take pretty detailed notes, but these blogs didn’t even include all the great details the speaker gave. You get such a great idea about the person when you see them speak, and that’s useful for when you’re submitting. And then there’s all the inspiration that comes from their presentations and the fellow writers. Conferences are great.

What do you think?