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.