Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

SCBWI SF North & East Bay Region Fall Conference 2012

  It's Sunday, the day after the big conference and I am rubbing my feet, and thinking about the things I want to remember to do next year. I will pass that information along to you. But, if you have questions, please feel free to add them at the comments section and I will get back to you.

4 things to remember for your next writer's conference

1. Wear comfortable shoes

2. Find a Starbucks before heading to conference

3.Print out the Schedule

4.Talk to the Speakers

 This conference had some firsts for me. I taught my first Vision Board class. It rocked! And, I helped writers sign up for CritConnect - the SCBWI writer's bulletin board online. 

This is Robinson A where the vision board class too place. The class made their own petite  vision boards to take home. The creativity in the room set the whole day for me.

CritConnect ~ Sign up today!

Here I am hoping writers will come over to sign up for CritConnect. As I sat with my computer, and, finally some coffee, I watched the attendees go by. Some bought books. Others talked with each other. Few approached the speakers. 

I also had quite a few writers ask me about the schedule. What's next? Where should I be? Who is speaking in that room? 

But the best question of the day came from a newbie. She's not new to writing. She writes for her day job, but she was new to children's books, and writer's conferences. She came up to my desk and asked, 

"What's the one thing you would recommend a new person to do at a conference?"

Answer: Speak to the speakers. So many new writers hang back, and when they get home, they regret not asking questions, not pitching their ideas, not saying hello.

Way back in 2003 when I first went to my first conference with a picture book in my hands, that I was SURE would get snagged immediately by the first agent who read it. I made that same mistake. I became a wallflower. And, when I got home, with pencil marks all over my manuscript, I felt down. I should have asked questions. I should have introduced myself to the speakers. 

So, that's my answer. Say hello, I'm a writer. Or, hi, I'm an illustrator. Speak up. Ask questions. But, don't ramble. Listen to others ask their questions, and learn from them too. Take everything you heard, saw, and resonated with, and, apply it to your work.

The second best question of the day:

"Should I go home, rewrite, and immediately send out my manuscript?"

Answer: If it's ready. Tricia Lawrence, one of Erin Murphy's newest literary agents said it best. She said send your ms when it's your very best work. If you died, and you would be so upset that no one got to read it, send that one. 

So, don't rush home, make a few quick changes and think you're ready to go. I made that same mistake. Take a week to not look at it. Then take the next month to really work on it. Then set it aside. Look at it again, and if you believe that it is your very best work. Press the send button.

Good luck to all the amazing attendees! And, a special thanks to the speakers! You rocked it out! Also, thank you to all those volunteers. We couldn't do it without you. And, last, but not least (cliche...i know) a special hug to the conference board. You are a great group of writers and illustrators to work with.

As always, 


  1. I'd like to add: Get plenty of sleep the night before.
    Lupe Fernandez

  2. Yes - Lupe - that's a key point.