Day Three was the best yet!
The morning began with Why Narrative Nonfiction is Hotter than Ever by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Deborah Heiligman, Elizabeth Partridge, Tanya Lee Stone and Ken Wright. It was very informative and I gained some valuable tips in case I change my focus. I also was very pleased with the possible marketability of the new writing project I am going to have my kids work on! Yay! Family writing project!
Carolyn Mackler the author of The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things presented a keynote entitled For Richer or Poorer: Writing Through Good Times and Bad.
Justin Chanda did a workshop entitled Simon & Schuster: The Not So Distant Past, and the Really Fast Approaching Future. This was another very informative workshop. He shared that Middle Grade is on a downtrend right now--(Boo) Teen is out selling adult and blasting at full force, and that those poor picture books are hardly in the picture at all. Apparently the classic picture books, Goodnight Moon, Suess, etc, out-sell new picture books 2 to 1! He suggests that if you want to sell a PB it needs to be shorter, younger, sweeter, funnier and quirkier! Part of the issue with Picture Books lag in sales is that kids are reading older books earlier these days. Mr. Chanda believes that part of the reason that YA or Teen is flourishing is because of the adult crossover. More and more adults are reading YA as a guilty pleasure. YA is the new Romance genre! He also believes that the "Harry Potter" generation have grown up into voracious readers and are causing the boom. (I think that Stephenie Meyer chick has something to do with it too!) Books from the Blog-O-sphere also contribute to the Teen frenzy.
The Golden Kite Luncheon & Awards Presentation: John Parra for PB illustration in Gracias Thanks, for non-fiction, Ashley Bryan: Words to My Life's Song (sweetest man ever), for fiction Sea of the Dead by Julia Durango, for Picture Book text, The Longest Night by Marion Dane Bauer. Congratulations.
But the best workshop of the entire event so far has definately been Deborah Halverson's The Ultimate Checklist for Submitting to Publishers: 10 Tests a Novel Must Pass to Prove it is REALLY Ready for Submission to Publishers. Now I have to admit, I was a fan of Team Halverson before I even got here. I follow her blog Dear-Editor and love, like, everything she says. But her workshop was incredibly awesome and so incredibly practical and helpful and useful that it is by far my all time favorite. (That's a lot of incredibly) I took copious notes, and learned tricks (10 of them!) that will make my novel even better! And Deborah is even more awesome in person and I couldn't have been more pleased with her workshop. She is the author of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies which will be in stores June of 2011. And I got my copy of Big Mouth autographed for my son Cy! I hope to use her editorial services in the near future. Awesomest of awesome.
Gennifer Choldenko's keynote was Kill the Bunnies: Writing Novels for Today's Kids. I love her book Al Capone Does My Shirts and she has a sequel Al Capone Shines My Shoes and a third book to wind up the trilogy will be out next year. Her newest book No Passengers Beyond this Point will be out later this year and is apparently groundbreaking. I can't wait to see what she's done.
The final keynote of the day was by Rubin Pfeffer and David Diaz, they discussed the future of publishing with the advent of the e-book and what that might look like in the publishing world. Exciting, and ultimately (possibly) more lucrative for the authors.
Another full day at the SCBWI Summer Conference. Only one day more to go.