I had a wonderful weekend at the SCBWI conference in Winchester and thought I’d share my experience with you.
It was a first time for me and I have to say it was such an amazing conference.
For newbies there is a wealth of support, including a SCBWI Newbies & Lone Rangers Facebook group which I joined a bit late, so here’s the link: Newbies & Lone Rangers SCBWI group
On the first day of the conference, Friday 1st of November, there were arrangements to meet up and gather newbies together to help them out. Unfortunately, I missed the earlier part of these, as I struggled to find my airbnb which was a little out of the centre of Winchester but I did catch up with the newbie crowd later at 5pm.
TIP: book your accommodation early and try to find a hotel, or airbnb in the centre of Winchester.
It’s a full-on conference with so many seminars and talks plus the invaluable one-to-ones with agents too.
TIP: keep an eye on your one-to-one times. If like me you get really engrossed listening to a speaker talking about i.e. your first page of your manuscript you might just miss your all important one-to-one like I did! That was so embarrassing! But, the lovely conference organisers managed to reschedule my one-to-one with agent Catherine Pellegrino who (was lovely.) We chatted after I’d sneaked away for a much needed calming down/don’t panic lunch. And wonder of wonders Catherine said that she liked my writing style and my characters, so I am submitting the first few chapters of my first novel and synopsis to her soon. Wish me luck!
All the conference goers, helpers, etc… are so friendly that it is easy to make new friends wherever you go and you might even find yourself dining with fellow authors you’ve never met before as I did prior to the fancy dress party on Saturday night. That was such fun! I love dressing up… I went as the black cat Shadow in my book.
TIP: talk to everyone!
Highlights for me were:
- The Hook which was judged by the following agents: Amber Caraveo (Skylark,) Megan Carroll (Watson Little,) Gemma Cooper (The Bent Agency,) and Clare Wallace, (Darley Anderson.) They are looking for submissions particularly in the YA romance category.
All four hook contestants were amazing but my two favourites were YA authors: Helen MacKenzie SCBWI Scotland who was in my Friday night critique group (and she won first prize,) and Ellie Rose McKee.
Here’s a Twitter announcement from Ellie’s feed:
— Ellie Rose McKee (@EllieRose101) November 5, 2019
Ellie had a terrible cold throughout the conference. I had huge respect for her that she managed to get on stage and deliver a pitch whilst feeling so poorly.
TIP: bring drugs/sweets/comforting elixirs to combat viruses, warm clothes, etc. Just in case you or someone else needs them.
- The party and magical cake! Here are some photos of the Central East group currently run by Debbie Edwards. Photos courtesy of Debbie: http://www.purpleraypublishing.co.uk/
- The Friday Night Critique with Matt Killeen, Helen MacKenzie, and Angela Murray which I found really helpful.
- Geraldine McCaughrean’s Keynote Speech.
- The one-to-one that I had with agent Catherine Pellegrino.
- The ruthless revision workshop with Sara Grant – which I found very useful as I am in the editing phase with the second book in my series The Curse of Time.
There are many awesome videos of the conference on the Facebook KidLit TV page which are well worth perusing. The link is here: https://www.facebook.com/KidLitTV/
I have come away with lots of positive vibes about the conference and the experience in general. Oh, and Winchester itself was a lovely place to visit, but the weather could have been better! Here I am looking particularly windswept and wet waiting for a bus…
Wait a minute… across from the bus stop I spotted this tree with its lovely heart.
So that’s why I walked in the rain!
I’ve found my tribe… I have two now! The Bloggers Bash Tribe who I meet up with every year in London at the Bloggers bash https://twitter.com/BloggersBash and now I have the SCBWI tribe too: https://www.scbwi.org/
Other posts about the conference:
Finding your Tribe: http://www.bbtaylor-books.com/finding-your-tribe/
Preparing for a writers conference: https://catherinerosevear.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/preparing-for-a-writers-conference/
Are you intending on coming to a SCBWI conference?
Or were you at this year’s conference? Do let me know in the comments below.
My social media links:
Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time