Wednesday, August 10, 2011

From the 40th Annual SCBWI Conference

I’ve been at the 40th-anniversary SCBWI conference for a week, so this post will be brief and something like a series of tweets, all concerned with making a business out of your writing.
We all got chocolate books at the Golden Kite Luncheon

Take acting or story-telling lessons. You’ll be speaking in front of groups, so you need to get comfortable.

Take voice or singing lessons so you learn how not to strain your voice.

Our society has a false dichotomy between art and business. Take yourself seriously as a businessperson.

Learn to read contracts, even if you have an agent.

Horn Book and Publishers Weekly are open to freelance book reviewers.

If you want to write reviews, start small with a local paper, a church or synagogue newsletter, etc.

To maximize your web presence:
  • define your goals and understand your options
  • set your strategy and select which tasks will help you accomplish your goals
  • assemble your resources
  • execute the above, then periodically measure results and adjust accordingly
  • add technology only in stages as you get comfortable with it
Don't worry overmuch about social media.

Think of your relationship with your agent as a long-term commitment. It took her 2½ years to sell Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

Each time you start a new book you have to figure it out for the first time. Judy Blume’s most recent book went through 23 drafts.

It’s practical to think how your strengths fit the market, but don’t chase trends.

Be analytical about your creative strengths.

It’s important to build your business team.

Treat your editor professionally: Don’t send messy drafts, and meet your deadlines.

Publishers determine marketing budgets at least a year ahead and rarely change them unless something wildly unexpected happens.

If social media isn’t in your comfort zone, don’t use it. Your discomfort will show.

Make a business plan and review it regularly.

Diversify your career: Write in a different genre or for a different age group so as not to compete with yourself.

They've posted a useful handout on social media resources on Harold's site.

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