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Go Pro: Conference Edition

August 1, 2019

 

 

It's Thursday, and that means it's Go Pro day! Go Pro is my weekly blog series in which I pass on industry advice, writing craft advice, and all that good stuff.

 

Next week is the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA, and I will be there! I hope some of you will be, too. And since it will be the first time at a big conference like this for a lot of people, I thought I'd pass on a bit of advice. In fact, this is my Number One Tip for kidlit conference goers:

 

Do not go to a conference expecting to sell a manuscript to an editor or sign with an agent. That is not what these conferences are for.

 

The clue is in the conference schedule: it's not a sea of schmooze-fests. There aren't a dozen sessions called, "These are the books I'm looking for."

 

These conferences are about craft: learning new writing techniques, learning how to improve, learning how to develop your skill as a storyteller.

 

Here's the truth about publishing: you will have to rewrite your work. A lot. Your agent will have comprehensive revision notes for you, and then they might have line edit notes for you, and then when (if) your manuscript finally sells your editor will have more revision notes for you. This will be true of every book you write and sell from now until you die.

 

Your work will never be perfect. There is no finish line. There is no "The End" tagged onto anyone's craft journey. This is okay! Your goal should be to make it the best you can make it in this moment, and then to stretch and raise the bar even higher in the next revision or the next book.

 

And the editors and agents who will be at the conference want to work with people who understand that.

 

Also, breath mints. Always carry breath mints.

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