This was my second time to this wonderful conference and, like last year, I was not disappointed. Ellen Braaf, the regional advisor, gives everyone a warm welcome. You immediately feel right at home. Being elbow to elbow with a hundred or so other like-minded writers for a whole day was just as inspiring the second time. This conference is high energy and high quality.
First in the queue of speakers was author Kathy Erskine. She presented GREAT writing tips. Using “great” as an acronym for her five elements of good writing. An agent panel followed her. We all love to hear what agents are looking for. Chapter books and books for boys were mentioned quite a bit. One of their recommended website was http://absolutewrite.com/. The website is for all types of writers. It has how-to articles, interviews and a business section. Andrea Tompa, Editor at Candlewick Press, compared revising your writing to wood carving. You get the big picture first then carve away to the details. The keynote speaker was author Lisa Yee. She had us in stitches. Winner of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award, she could be a standup comedian on the side. There was also a book buyer panel. What an interesting idea to hear the perspective of the buyers. The panel included a public librarian, school librarian and owner of an independent children’s bookstore. The conference ended with an editor’s question and answer session. All in all many worthwhile speakers and panelists plus good food and company.