Monday, August 2, 2010

Conference Tips

Many of you know that I've been at the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators annual summer conference in LA. I've put together some handy tips for you, should you ever have the opportunity to attend either the national ones or a regional event. Because I'm just thoughtful like that, that's why.

1. Authors LIKE to be recognized. Especially debut authors whose books haven't come out yet, and especially if you say you read our blogs. We do not, in fact, find this creepy. Shockingly enough the entire point of a blog is to have people read it. (I know! Who knew!) And when other writers say that they enjoy your blog and are excited about your book? Trust me, it's a very happy thing. And if you are one of the lovely and charming people who have talked to me, you absolutely made my day.

2. But maybe some authors don't like it quite so much, so if you practically tackle M. T. Anderson so you can talk to him at the big social party, well, try to be a bit more subtle than that. (For the record, I am physically incapable of tackling M. T. Anderson, who is probably a foot-and-a-half taller than I am. Desperately tapping his arm so I can tell him "OhmygoshyouaresoamazingandyourwritingiswhatIaspiretothankyouforputtingitoutintotheworldIcan'ttellyouhowmuchitmeanstome", yes, that I am guilty of.)

3. Do not room with someone you adore. This may seem counterintuitive, but if you room with someone you see maybe once a year who happens to be one of your most favorite people in the world and is also incredibly well read and has super interesting opinions on literature and life and is also ridiculously funny and delightful, well, you won't sleep nearly as much as you should. Whereas if you were to room with someone you can't stand, hey, sleep will be a welcome respite, right? Next year I'm rooming with Glenn Beck.

4. Smile. And be friendly. I would start chatting with a group of women, thinking they had known each other for years, only to find out they'd just met the day before. People come to these wanting to network, to make friends, to talk. It's very, very easy to socialize. And hey, everyone here is interested in at least one of the same things you are: creating stories for kids and teenagers. It's an instant connection! In fact, I've met so many people I often forget how I've met them, and found myself grinning and waving at a really nice-looking girl walking through the lobby and trying to remember how I knew her only to realize that ah, that would be Carolyn Mackler, Printz Honor winner and author. Turns out I knew her from her keynote speech. And turns out even though she is like WAY too cool for me, she is just as friendly and kind and willing to chat as anyone else here. Also, she's freaking adorable. I love authors.

5. To anyone who says that writing for children is somehow less intelligent than writing for adults, I have one definitive piece of evidence for you that will forever negate the question. I give you:

M. T. Anderson. End of discussion. Children's Lit FTW.

16 comments:

Daisy Whitney said...

Virtual tackle!

Kiersten White said...

Daisy, we've talked several times about how much easier/more fun certain situations (AKA the Heart and Soul party) would have been if you were still here ; )

heidikins said...

...If I don't know who M.T. Anderson is can we still be friends? :/

xox

Erin said...

wow! i'm so glad you had fun! jealous. well, it wouldn't have been a great place for a lawyer. but jealous that i'm not a writer AND that i didn't go.

JEM said...

Oh that sounds so fun, I'm jealous. Do you have a good M.T. Anderson recommendation? I'm not saying I'm ashamed that I don't know his stuff...wait. Yes I am.

Cara said...

I love this post. Glad to know you still get excited about meeting some authors now that you're a big important author yourself. ;)

I also just wanted to tell you that a surprise copy of Paranormalcy showed up on my doorstep today! Much fangirling ensued and I keep staring at the cover. It's just so...pretty. :D

Kathryn said...

Oh, don't room with Glenn Beck. Ew...

Glad you had fun!

(PS. Your word verification was "palim" which almost freaked me out until I saw the last letter... : / )

Samantha Bennett said...

That piercing gaze, those black-rim glasses, he just looks like he's thinking intelligent things.

Nate Wilson said...

JEM, I've only read a few of M.T. Anderson's works, but I can make a couple suggestions:

FEED is excellent. Both as a story and as social commentary.

Or, if you're looking for something a little lighter, try WHALES ON STILTS.

Dayana Stockdale said...

That's really helpful! now I just have to get myself to a conference...

Jessica said...

M.T. Anderson's FEED is one of my all time favorite YA books. He is a genius. So jealous you actually met him. *squee!!*

Sarah Laurenson said...

Dang. I'm so far behind. If I'd known you were here... Ah well. Maybe next year. I'll be at the conference a lot more than I managed to get there this year.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Thank goodness authors like to be recognized! I was worried about coming across stalkerish... ;-)

So nice to meet you in LA!

Dara said...

I guess I'm not up on my children's authors...I didn't know who M.T. Anderson was until you mentioned him. I'll have to look his books up now!

However, I'm pretty sure I'd melt if I meant an author like Lisa See or Jamie Ford (actually I did meet the latter and did think I was melting because he knew me by name from the blog comments I left).

Meeting fellow authors is always so exciting especially if they are ones you admire a lot.

Ingrid Sundberg said...

Kiersten,

It was great to meet you this weekend at the conference! I adore M.T.Anderson too. I hope to be able to make it to one of the stops on your book tour. Stay fabulous!

Ingrid

Dawn Simon said...

Great post!

I'm glad you don't mind being recognized because I introduced myself to you in Carolyn Mackler's autograph line. :) It was lovely meeting you, btw.

That was my first time going to the LA conference, and I LOVED it!