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After the Conference – 13 Ways to Optimize Your Learning


“After the Conference – 13 Ways to Optimize Your Learning” by Joan Y. Edwards

The conference was a fun, powerful blast of friendly writers, illustrators, editors and agents sharing expertise and spreading optimism and inspiration. I am thankful to Teresa Fannin, the SCBWI-Carolinas, Regional Administrator and her committee for the planning and organization of it.

I hope you learned a technique that inspires you to believe in yourself and to grow in your skills as a professional writer and/or illustrator.  My goal is to help you keep going and saying to yourself, like Flip Flap Floodle in my picture book, “I won’t give up.”

After the Conference

1. Sleep, if you’re tired. Accept yourself and others as you are. Focus on what you want. Be thankful for what you have. Be grateful for where you are. Put the fun back into your writing.

2. What skill did you most want to improve? Name 3 things that you learned from the workshop in that area.

3. Visit the webpages of at least three of the presenters that intrigued you. Check out their books at the library or on www.Amazon.com.

The following links are from the SCBWI-Carolinas Fall Conference 2011.

Amanda Brice, attorney and author: http://amandabrice.net/
Amy Lennex, editor with Sleeping Bear Press: http://www.sleepingbearpress.com/
Angie Smibert, award-winning author: http://www.angiesmibert.com/blog/
Beth Revis, award-winning author: http://www.bethrevis.com/
Bettina Restrepo, award-winning author: http://bettinarestrepo.com/
Carol Baldwin, author/educator: http://maupinhouse.com/index.php/authors/carol-baldwin.html
Chris Roerden, free-lance editor: http://www.writersinfo.info/about.html
Curtis Sponsler, media consultant: http://www.animill.com/_downloads/Sponsler-Curtis_GraphicArtist-resume_06.pdf
David Diaz, Caldecott award-winning illustrator: http://www.amazon.com/Smoky-Night-Caldecott-Medal-Book/dp/0152699546
Jenn Bailey, social media expert: http://www.thesociallites.com/jennbailey/
John Claude Bemis, award-winning author: http://johnclaudebemis.com/
Josh Adams, agent with Adams Literary Agency: http://www.adamsliterary.com/
Katy Kelly, award-winning author http://katykellyauthor.com/katy_kelly_lucyrose_melonhead/Katy_Kelly_Home_Page.html
Lucy Ruth Cummins,  Associate Art Director with Simon & Schuster BFYR: http://jacketknack.blogspot.com/2009/11/interview-with-lucy-cummins-at-simon.html
Mallory Kass, editor and author with Scholastic: http://bookwizard.scholastic.com/tbw/viewWorkDetail.do?workId=1316275
Mary Kate Castellani, editor with Bloomsbury Children’s Books: http://writergirl.myartsite.com/2009/10/20/paying-it-foward-day-2/
Marietta Zacker, agent with the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency: http://nancygallt.com/whoweare.html
Rachel Orr, agent with Prospect Agency: http://www.prospectagency.com/zoo.html
Susan Uhlig, award-winning author: http://www.susanuhlig.com/
Sheila O’Connor, award-winning author: http://www.sheilaoconnor.com/

4. If you had specific questions for presenters, but didn’t get to ask them at the conference, find their contact information page and write them.

5. Make note of errors you found on your business cards or postcards so you can change them next time you order.

6. Read, edit, and organize your notes. Copy or scan them into your computer, along with information from your handouts. Highlight three major things you learned from each workshop. Write more details, if you want. Put notes into the reference section of your writing/illustrating files so you’ll be able to find them quickly.

7. Rewrite your pitch for three of your manuscripts in view of what you learned at the conference.  Read my blog How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers. Write your pitches on 3×5 cards, 4×6 inch cards, or plain 8.5 x 11 printing paper. Practice giving your pitch in front of a mirror. Use eye contact. Memorize it. Put it in 1, 2, 3, 4 order. It’ll help you remember it. Practice on the phone with friends. Practice in your critique groups. Tell people to ask, “What do you write?”

8. List top ten reasons you’re thankful you went to the conference.

9.  Send an individual letter to the organizers of the conference. Tell them what you liked and make suggestions for improvements or presentations you’d like next year.

10. After the conference information soaks into your mind, body, and spirit, write/revise three writing goals using the skills and information you learned. (Be patient with yourself.)

I allow myself to be a paid published writer/illustrator.

I allow my books to be on the New York Times Best Selling list.

I am happy and grateful that I am…

I am happy, excited, and grateful that I have…

I am happy, excited, and grateful that I can…

11. Develop your Writing/Illustrating Skills/Genre Goals

a) Read ten books in your chosen genre

b. Read three books on the craft of writing and/or illustrating.

c) Revise your favorite manuscript/illustration. Be a Pub Subber. Submit it to an editor or agent from the conference following their guidelines on the third Friday of the month (PubSub3rdFri).

12. Develop and Achieve Marketing Goals

a) Learn a new technology.

b) Be a Pub Subber. Submit manuscripts/sample illustrations to different agents and/or editors on a regular basis. (See my Pub Sub 3rd Fri blog posts)

c) Prepare a book presentation for schools/organization.

d) Prepare a proposal to present a workshop for a writing conference.

e) Prepare a pitch for a manuscript. Go from a page summary and then focus on the words to hook readers. Keep shortening your pitch: 200-100-50-25 words. The ultimate goal is a pitch that is 140 characters long (approximately 25 words) that fits in Twitter. If you have all these different lengths, you will have a pitch to use in your cover letter, proposal, and for the rave blurbs for the back cover of your book. Youll have a pitch to put in your book trailer. Your pitch is the magnetic tool that entices people to buy your book.

f) Prepare a post card, business card, bookmark, signature for email to promote you and your writing. Use your book titles and pitch blurbs.

13. Develop and Achieve Networking Goals

a) Create a website and/or blog.

b) Join a writer’s critique group.

c) Give book presentations/workshops for schools and organizations

d) Create an author/illustrator page on Facebook and post news of your publishing journey.

e) Create a Twitter Account. Twitter your blog posts and your publishing news.

f) Create a TweetDeck account to better organize Twitter, Facebook, and/or Linked-In.

g) Create a Glog (Big Poster) on Glogster: http://www.glogster.com

g) Visit the websites of three people who gave you a business card.  Email them. Here are possible points to include in your email. Remind them of how you enjoyed talking with them. Thank them for sharing a resource. Congratulate them on their manuscript or book. Compliment them for being brave, if they read their story at open mike. Thank them for giving you a new way to look at a problem.

Thank you for reading “After the Conference – 13 Ways to Optimize Your Learning.” I hope my blog leads you to have more faith in yourself. I hope you experience success in every way imaginable.

Please leave a comment. I value your opinion.

***I hope you’ll consider signing up for an email subscription to my blog from the left hand column. If you’re the 50th subscriber, you will win a choice of a free paperback copy of Flip Flap Floodle or a 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer.  Thank you to everyone who has signed up for an email subscription.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards

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6 Responses

  1. It was nice talking with you Joan. You have so much joy and laughter in you.
    Bertha

    Like

    • Dear Bertha,
      It was my pleasure to meet you. Thanks for the compliment about having much joy and laughter. I love to laugh. It’s so healing. I’m very proud of your illustrating talents. Awesome. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope I get to see you again. I hope you continue to read my blog. If you think of a topic that you’d like for me to blog about, please let me know. Do something great to celebrate you today!

      http://www.joanyedwards.com

      Like

  2. Great post conference tips. I think you’ve listed something to suit everyone looking for a follow-ups to the workshops.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Linda A.

    Like

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for reading my post conference ideas. I’m sorry you didn’t get to go. What a bummer! Perhaps you can still learn from clicking on the links of the authors, agents, and/or editors. Do something to celebrate you today!

      Joan Y. Edwards
      http://www.joanyedwards.com

      Like

  3. Hi Joan, it was great seeing you this weekend. Your blog is always so positive and I appreciate your efforts to help fellow writers. Thanks for the list in your point 3.
    Gretchen

    Like

    • Dear Gretchen,
      It was fun to see you. You looked very happy! Thanks for the compliment about my blog always being positive. I love helping my fellow writers and illustrators. I hope you use #3 and check out the sites of your favorite presenters. By checking the links before the conference, it helped me decide to do Curtis Sponsler’s Book Trailer workshop. He is so good. We were so fortunate to get to witness him at work. By checking the editors and agents websites after the workshop, it’ll help me make a better decision about where to submit my work. Good luck with all your publishing adventures. I hope the school history project is going well. Do something fun today!

      Like

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