Let's slip across "The Ditch" to New Zealand and welcome to the conference blog, Maria Gill, prolific children's author and SCBWI member. Take it away, Maria...
I've travelled over from New Zealand three times (including 2012) for this conference. That's how much I value it. It is a great opportunity to meet authors, illustrators and publishers across the Tasman. I network, see if it is any different for authors in Australia and I take every opportunity to pitch my stories.
This year, I was thrilled to be asked to be on the Educational Panel. I've had 17 books published for the educational market, 10 books for the trade market, as well as numerous articles for educational journals and magazines.
I'll share my experience of making a living from educational writing, what I've learnt along the way and give tips on how other writers could find opportunities to get their writing published in this area, as well as answering questions.
Other conferences focus only on unpublished authors and that is what I love about this SCBWI conference - there's just as many published as unpublished authors/illustrators and we all get plenty from the conference. I find it beneficial hearing the process that authors have gone through to be international bestselling authors.
It is excellent there is always an American publisher or agent to give us insights into that market. The publishers are incredibly generous with their time; telling us what they are looking for (and what they're not looking for, which is just as important), sharing books they are particularly proud to publish and giving feedback on pitch sessions. It is DEFINITELY worthwhile paying for a pitch session, just for the personal feedback alone.
This year I've encouraged four (and I'm working on a couple more) to come over for the conference. We're sharing an apartment at the Hughenden (get in quick - it is a great place to stay).
We're all planning ahead what stories we'll have ready to pitch, and as well as enjoying ourselves, we'll be making sure we get the most out of the conference. And because it is my third time, I'm really looking forward to meeting up with the friends I've made over the ditch from past SCBWI conferences. See you there!