Monday, April 14, 2008

Speech suggestions anyone?

**This has been cross-posted on the Blue Rose Girls blog.**

My next trip (I wrote about my last one here) is to Austin for their SCBWI Conference on April 26. I've been thinking about what I'd like to talk about--I was asked to talk about something that both published and unpublished writers could benefit from.

Here are a few of the topics I was tossing around:

1) I was considering recycling (and refreshing)
the talk I gave at the Oregon SCBWI conference last year. I titled it We Are All Diverse: My path to publishing, your path to publication. To be honest, it was kind of a hodgepodge speech, with some "you can do it!" encouragement to the unpublished, advice on goal setting, and also a discussion about diversity and the importance of it in publishing. I think even the published got some good stuff out of it, and since only the 60 people at the conference heard it, part of me would love to share it with a larger group. (Plus, I get to share my parents' love story as part of it.) Perhaps if there's anyone reading this who was in attendance, they could weigh in.

2) I was talking about this with Sara during our trip to Florence, and a suggestion she had was to discuss the different types of publishing experiences a writer can have--for example, a huge auction and the advantages and disadvantage that holds, versus a small advance, publishing at a big house versus a small house, etc. Perhaps I could combine this with a discussion on the "pitfalls of publishing"--issues and situations that authors may not normally think about.

3) One of my authors had suggested a while back that I talk about what makes me want to acquire a project, what are the things I think about when evaluating a manuscript, what comes into play. I'm not sure if there would be enough here to fill a whole speech (I think I have 45 minutes to an hour), but I could certainly throw this into whatever topic I decide to go with.

Any thoughts on any of these? Any suggestions? I'd like to pin down a topic by the end of this week so that I can prepare the speech this weekend. I'd appreciate any feedback.

And I've never been to Austin; I'm excited!


Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Tried to post this before but think it went in case it didn't work the first time:

I will not be in Austin, but a few topics I'd personally love to hear an editor's take on:

- picture books for older readers - do you see growth potential and what are some topics you'd like to see covered

- effective blogging - what your authors (and you) have done online that builds buzz for your books, and what not to do

- the importance of character in picture books; I still see books where the main character doesn't really have a distinct personality (let alone anyone else) and I wonder how editors weigh that--if plot, art, or subject du jour can override character?

- I never get tired of hearing about query letters, from the cringeworthy to the transcendent; plus, reading bad ones saves a speaker the struggle of coming up with jokes :)

I've also not been to a SCBWI conference in a few years, so it's almost certain that some of these topics have already been covered. I'll have to get the notes from someone...

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of option #2

Anonymous said...

I'm leaning toward #1, because it would be of interest to all levels of writer and your parents love story is swell. But really it should be whatever you feel like talking about. It's all good.


Anonymous said...

The Austin SCBWI group is evenly divided among authors who may have published 2-5+ books, currently looking for an agent/editor, and others just starting out on their writing career. A combination of ideas 2 and 3 may be an option to appeal to everyone. Just for your reference, we will have a goal setting presentation during our monthly meeting in July. Look forward to meeting you next weekend.


Diandra Mae said...

(Delurking!) I'm an illustrator and haven't tried my hand at writing (yet), but I am keenly interested in editor talks. I have to agree with Debby for this reason.

I'll admit I like Marc's suggestion relating to older PBs/early readers and what you look for.

Can't wait to hear you in person.

Oh, and be sure to check the weather before you come. It's been gorgeous flip-flop weather lately, but you never know!

Don Tate II said...

You'll have a great time in Austin. You can wear a cowboy hat and boots, even though you're not a cowboy. And no one will think you're strange. Whatever you talk about, we'll be leaning on every word -- don't sweat it. Although, regretfully, I'll have to miss. Cub Scout camping trip.